Targeted Palestinian

Killed by Israeli Missile

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip -- Israeli aircraft rained missiles on Gaza early Saturday, hours after an attack in this northern town killed a Palestinian militant. The surge in violence has dimmed the prospects for peacemaking following Israel's pullout from the coastal strip.

The Israeli military said its aircraft targeted the white Subaru in Beit Hanoun on Friday because the occupants were on a mission to fire rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. No hits were reported in Sderot, but the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group affiliated with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah political movement, said an Israeli drone targeted its members after the rockets had been fired.

An al-Aqsa spokesman, using the code name Abu Ahmed, said Israel would "pay a heavy price for this crime." The man killed in the attack was identified as Majid Natat, 28, of the Gaza town of Beit Lahia.

Renewing airstrikes early Saturday, Israeli jet fighters bombarded three sites in northern Gaza. About three hours later, an additional 11 missiles were fired, also in that border area. The military said it aimed at sites and roads used to launch rockets at southern Israel.

A week of bloodshed began Monday when Israeli troops killed the top gunman from the Islamic Jihad militant group in the West Bank. An Islamic Jihad revenge suicide bombing Wednesday killed five Israelis in the central Israeli town of Hadera.


* TOKYO -- South Korea's foreign minister told Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to cease visits to a Shinto war shrine seen by critics as a symbol of Tokyo's past militarism.

Ban Ki Moon told Koizumi that his trips to the Yasukuni shrine, where convicted war criminals are honored alongside Japan's war dead, would threaten regional order.

South Korea, North Korea and China all protested Koizumi's visit last week to the Tokyo shrine. Koizumi has said he visits the shrine to pray for peace and honor the dead, not to glorify militarism.

* BEIJING -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Il promised to take part in the next round of nuclear talks in November, Chinese state television reported, as China's president, Hu Jintao, made a rare personal visit to Pyongyang to lobby for progress in disarmament efforts.


* BEIRUT -- The Shiite Muslim guerrilla group Hezbollah paraded its army in a massive show of strength to counter international calls to disarm, while its fiery leader backed Syria in the face of intense pressure over the U.N. probe into the slaying of a former Lebanese prime minister.

As tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters cheered, more than 6,000 guerrillas marched through Hezbollah's south Beirut stronghold. The annual parade marks Jerusalem Day, which calls for the return of that city to Arabs.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said his group stood "on the side of Syria's leadership and people as it is being targeted by American and Zionist attempts to punish it."


* HAVANA -- President Fidel Castro said he would allow three American aid officials to visit Cuba to assess damage from Hurricane Wilma.

In a TV address Thursday, the leader said his motive in allowing the visit was to discuss ways of sharing information about hurricane preparedness and improving disaster assistance in the region. A U.S. State Department spokesman said this was apparently the first time Castro had agreed to accept a U.S. offer of help after a natural disaster.

* PUERTO AYACUCHO, Venezuela -- Hundreds of indigenous Venezuelans marched to protest President Hugo Chavez's threat to expel a group of U.S.-based evangelists. Two weeks ago, Chavez ordered the New Tribes missionaries to leave the country, accusing the Sanford, Fla., group of links to the CIA.

-- From News Services

Members of the Shiite guerrilla group Hezbollah demonstrate skills during the annual Jerusalem Day rally in Beirut.