Senior Hamas Leader

Killed in West Bank Raid

NABLUS, West Bank -- Israeli border police killed a senior Hamas military official in a predawn raid Monday, Palestinian medical officials and neighbors of the man said.

Amjad Hanawi, 34, the top military commander in the northern West Bank for the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, was shot and killed as he attempted to climb a fence to escape shortly after midnight, according to the accounts.

The killing came hours after the arrival in Israel of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was to meet with senior Palestinian and Israeli officials in an effort to revive the peace process.

ASIA

* BAKU, Azerbaijan -- More than 20,000 supporters of the opposition packed a square in Azerbaijan's capital Sunday in the second protest in recent days to demand a rerun of disputed parliamentary elections in this oil-rich Caspian Sea nation.

Protesters gathered under a sea of orange flags and chanted "Resign!" and "Freedom!" as they railed against what they said was a fraudulent vote. Similar protests have propelled opposition leaders to power in three other former Soviet republics in recent years.

Official results show President Ilham Aliyev's ruling party won the most seats in the 125-member legislature, while opposition parties won just a handful.

International monitors have said the vote fell short of democratic standards but declined to back the call for a new election.

Aliyev fired two governors accused of interfering in the elections, and four local election officials were detained on suspicion of falsifying results.

New balloting will take place in three districts, and in another, a seat was awarded to an opposition leader after a recount.

The opposition fears that the United States' interest in Azerbaijan's energy resources will trump its stated commitment to expanding democracy around the world. Azerbaijan is the starting point for a U.S.-backed oil pipeline to the Mediterranean.

AFRICA

* MOGADISHU, Somalia -- Heavy fighting apparently sparked by an Islamic militia's moves to close movie theaters and video stores in the lawless Somali capital has killed at least 12 people and wounded more than 21, residents said.

* NAIROBI -- Somali pirates attacked five more ships in the past week after a failed attempt to seize a U.S. luxury liner, a sharp rise of banditry apparently directed by a mysterious ship prowling the Indian Ocean.

Most of the vessels escaped, but one was commandeered, bringing to nine the number of vessels being held captive along with their crews by pirates working along Somalia's southern coast.

-- From News Services