Israel Presses Search For Fugitives in NablusNABLUS, West Bank --Israeli troops cut off roads in the militant stronghold of Nablus and confined tens of thousands of people to their homes Monday for a house-to-house search for seven Palestinian fugitives, continuing a raid that began Sunday.

Soldiers found three explosives labs, the military said, and enforced a curfew in Israel's largest military operation in the West Bank since July.

Troops interrupted transmissions of local TV and radio stations Sunday to broadcast the names of the seven wanted men, apparently all members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a violent offshoot of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.

Dozens of al-Aqsa gunmen operate in Nablus, organized in small groups without a central authority. Residents have complained that they are terrorizing the city.

The Israeli commander in the West Bank said most intercepted suicide bombers and explosives have come from Nablus. "We entered the city to lower the threat level to Israel," Brig. Gen. Yair Golan said.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh condemned "the criminal Israeli assault on Nablus," saying it was designed to undermine efforts by Fatah and his Hamas movement to form a coalition government.

Also Monday, police said Erez Lebanon, a settler found stabbed to death in the West Bank, had been killed by Palestinian militants. Israeli news media said two Palestinians had confessed to the killing.

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THE MIDDLE EAST · RIYADH, Saudi Arabia --Three Frenchmen who lived in Saudi Arabia were shot dead and a fourth was wounded on a desert road leading to the holy city of Medina in an area restricted to Muslims.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said it was too early to determine whether the attacks were terrorism-related. Saudi Arabia has been waging a campaign against al-Qaeda fighters since a wave of suicide attacks on foreigners in the kingdom in 2003.

· CAIRO --Egypt has halted the satellite transmission of a private Iraqi television channel whose pro-Sunni programming had drawn criticism from the U.S. and Iraqi governments, an Information Ministry official said.

The chairman of the board of government-owned NileSat said the al-Zawraa feed was cut for technical reasons, not as an act of censorship. The channel's owner, Mishan al-Jabouri, called the move politically motivated and said he would sue Egypt.

· DUBAI, United Arab Emirates --About one in 10 of the Indians who died in Dubai last year committed suicide, the Indian Consulate reported, citing depression and anxiety among construction workers after salary payments were delayed.

· TEHRAN --A thief convicted of multiple robberies had four fingers amputated in public in western Iran, the official IRNA news agency reported. Under Iran's Islamic law, repeat offenders face amputation of their fingers for theft, but sentences are seldom carried out.


· WARSAW --A new book by the Rev. Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski includes more painful allegations pertaining to Poland's communist era, naming 30 Roman Catholic priests, including bishops, as registered informants for the secret police.

· PARIS --The number of anti-Semitic incidents in France jumped sharply in 2006, boosted by attacks following the murder of a young Jew at the start of the year and by the war in Lebanon, a Jewish group said. CRIF, the representative council of Jewish institutions in France, said physical attacks on Jews rose 46 percent to 112 last year.

ASIA · BEIJING --An 80-year-old AIDS activist, Gao Yaojie, whom Chinese authorities have repeatedly blocked from going abroad, left for the United States to receive an award from a group supported by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Gao, a retired gynecologist, said she fears reprisals if she speaks about China's AIDS epidemic.

"If I don't tell the truth," Gao said, "I lie to the people in the whole world. If I tell the truth, I am worried that I will be detained."

· LAHORE, Pakistan --At least 11 people were killed and more than 100 injured in accidents at an annual kite-flying festival in Pakistan, officials said. Many incidents involved sharpened kite strings.

Kite flyers often use strings made of wire or coated with ground glass to try to damage a rival's kite, often after betting on the outcome.


· SAN SALVADOR, Guatemala --Guatemalan President Oscar Berger blamed organized crime and corruption for the killings of four jailed police officers who were key suspects in the slayings of three Salvadoran legislators.

Armed men wearing prison guard uniforms entered a maximum security prison east of Guatemala City Sunday and shot the officers in their separate cells, officials said.

· CARACAS, Venezuela --President Hugo Chávez ordered the takeover of oil projects operated by foreign oil companies in Venezuela's Orinoco River region.

Chávez had announced the government's intention to take a majority stake in projects run by British Petroleum PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., Total SA and Statoil ASA.

AFRICA · ATHENS --Pirates hijacked a cargo ship off Somalia that had delivered food to the country and equipment to foreign aid organizations, the U.N. World Food Program said.

· CONAKRY, Guinea --Guinea's president, Gen. Lansana Conté, named a new prime minister, Lansana Kouyate, from a list approved by union leaders, replacing an ally after protests in which scores of people have been killed.

-- From News Services