Palestinian Gunmen Kill

Palestinian Policeman

JENIN, West Bank -- Palestinian gunmen shot dead a Palestinian policeman in the West Bank on Thursday, just hours after the Palestinian Authority agreed to give jobs to hundreds of militants in a bid to end growing lawlessness.

Ziad Bzour, 27, was killed in an attack on a police station in the city of Jenin, security and hospital officials said. Security sources said the shooting appeared to be linked to a dispute between police and a militant from Jenin refugee camp.

Earlier, Palestinian officials said the Palestinian Authority had worked out a plan to give jobs in the security forces to hundreds of gunmen in the West Bank city of Nablus. It would be the biggest move yet to absorb militants from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed faction affiliated with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement. Abbas is under pressure from Israel to disarm militants.


* BEIRUT -- Lebanon's anti-Syrian coalition, which swept parliamentary elections this month, held President Emile Lahoud responsible for a series of political assassinations and called on him to step down.

"The gathering affirms . . . that the president is providing protection for the existing political security system and is responsible for its acts," the coalition said in a statement. "The president's departure would be a main path to law and justice."

* CAIRO -- One of Saudi Arabia's most-wanted terror suspects was killed by an airstrike during fighting with U.S. and Iraqi forces in northwest Iraq, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq said in a Web statement.

Abdullah Mohammed Rashid al-Roshoud had been No. 24 on a list of the 26 most-wanted terrorist leaders put out by Saudi Arabia two years ago and was one of only three militants on the list still at large.

The posting, the authenticity of which could not be confirmed, was signed by Abu Musab Zarqawi.


* AMSTERDAM -- Dutch security services have arrested three people on suspicion of involvement in a terrorist group, one of them linked to a man charged with the murder of a filmmaker, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said one man and two women were arrested together in Amsterdam late Wednesday. Dutch authorities had issued an international arrest warrant for the man -- identified by the Dutch news agency ANP as a 22-year-old of Moroccan origin named Nourredine El F. -- after the killing of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in November.

Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch Moroccan, is due to stand trial in the killing next month.


* KABUL, Afghanistan -- Radio intercepts indicate that two top Taliban commanders are with dozens of rebels battling in the southern mountains against a blistering barrage from Afghan and U.S. forces, senior government officials said.

A Defense Ministry spokesman said the two are Mullah Dadullah and Mullah Brader.

* BEIJING -- Flooding and mudslides have killed at least 536 people across China in the past two weeks, making this one of the country's deadliest summer rainy seasons in a decade, the government said Friday.

An additional 137 people were missing, and 1.4 million had been forced to evacuate.


* ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- Aruban police on Thursday arrested the father of a youth already in custody in connection with the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, 18, of Alabama. They said Paul van der Sloot, 52, a justice official in Aruba, is considered a suspect in the case.

-- From News Services

Hindu pilgrims trek to the Amarnath shrine in the mountains of north India during a two-month-long season when the shrine, a stalagmite in a mountain cave, is open to visitors. More than 500,000 are expected to make the 10-mile trip.