Israeli Airstrike Kills

Senior Gaza Fighter

GAZA STRIP -- Israel killed a senior Gaza militant in an airstrike Wednesday and wounded 10 other people after vowing to avenge a suicide bombing that killed five Monday in the Israeli city of Netanya.

The violence put a new strain on a shaky Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire and distanced the chances of resuming peace efforts already largely on hold as Israel readies for a national election in March.

Mahmud Arqan, 29, senior field commander for the Popular Resistance Committees, was killed when two missiles struck his car in the Gaza town of Rafah.

Medics said 10 other people were wounded, among them three children younger than 10 who were struck by shrapnel from the vehicle as it traveled in a residential area.

The Israeli strike touched off a series of shooting incidents that persisted long past nightfall.

Palestinian witnesses said Israeli army gunners pounded northern Gaza. The army said troops had fired several rounds at launch sites after militants fired rockets and a mortar shell struck inside Israel.

AFRICA

* JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's ruling African National Congress suspended deputy party leader Jacob Zuma pending his trial for rape. Zuma, once seen as the front-runner to succeed President Thabo Mbeki in 2009, was charged Tuesday.

europe

* BELFAST -- A Northern Bank supervisor who said he aided a gang of robbers under threat of death was charged as a willing participant in the record $50 million heist last year in Belfast. Chris Ward, 24, did not offer a plea at his arraignment. Government officials have blamed the robbery on the outlawed IRA, which denies involvement.

THE AMERICAS

* SANTIAGO, Chile -- A Chilean court stripped ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet of immunity from prosecution so that he can face new human rights charges in 29 cases of people who disappeared during his 1973-90 rule.

The cases were part of Operation Colombo, which involved the disappearance of 119 members of a revolutionary group. Pinochet, 90, is already under indictment in the disappearances of nine other people in Operation Colombo.

* TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- Honduras's ruling party candidate for president conceded defeat even though official results were still unavailable 10 days after the vote. The concession by Porfirio Lobo Sosa cleared the way for Manuel Zelaya of the Liberal Party to become president-elect.

ASIA

* KABUL, Afghanistan -- An Afghan court convicted two Britons and an Indian on gun-smuggling charges, giving them two-year suspended sentences. An American, Sargon Heinrich of California, was cleared.

* DHAKA, Bangladesh -- At least five people were killed and more than 50 wounded Thursday when two bombs exploded in Netrokona, a town in northern Bangladesh, police said. The blasts followed three others in the country in the last 10 days.

-- From News Services