World

In one of the heaviest weekends of violence in the Middle East, Israeli forces destroyed the Gaza headquarters of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, retaliating for another suicide bombing and a shooting attack that killed 14 more Israelis. An officer in Arafat's office, where he had received visiting world leaders, said angrily: "This [was] the house of the nation, and look at it now." The suicide bombing, in a Jerusalem cafe favored by young people, took place in the same neighborhood as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's residence and office.

(Related story, page 1.)

For the second day, balloting in Zimbabwe's presidential election appeared likely to run overtime as huge numbers of people waited to vote - some for up to 15 hours. But observers noted that was in part because the government had reduced the number of polling stations in Harare, the capital, where opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai is believed to need a heavy turnout if he is to unseat 22-year incumbent Robert Mugabe. (Story, page 6.)

Hundreds of US troops returned to their base near Kabul, Afghanistan, as a spokesman said the major fighting in Operation Anaconda is over. But he said the mission would continue until all pockets of resistance were eliminated. Meanwhile, reports said a rift had opened between ethnic Pashtun and Tajik commanders over which of them should carry on the mission, and that some commanders favored giving the Al Qaeda and Taliban holdouts a final opportunity to negotiate surrender.

Three grandsons and the son-in-law of retired Myanmar (Burma) dictator Ne Win were arrested and at least three senior military commanders were fired in the aftermath of an alleged coup attempt. More arrests and dismissals were expected to follow. Ne Win and his daughter were confined to their residence in the capital, with communication to the outside cut - although officials denied they were under house arrest. A junta spokes-man said one those arrested attributed the coup plot to unhappiness with the military junta's political and economic policies.

In a surprise move, the top political leader of Northern Ireland proposed a national referendum on whether the volatile province should remain part of the United Kingdom. First Minister David Trimble told a convention of his Ulster Unionist Party he was confident the question would win "overwhelming endorsement" and that passage would "kill the issue for a generation." But Catholic political leaders dismissed Trimble's proposal as "an electoral ploy," and the office of British Prime Minister Blair said only "there are no plans for a referendum at this stage."

Congratulations were being exchanged in Mexico and Washington over news that the former's most ruthless narcotics cartel had been smashed. In a raid Saturday in the city of Puebla, reputed trafficker Benjamin Arellano Felix and a top aide were arrested, an achievement that US antidrug officials called "our top priority." The raid also yielded evidence that Benjamin Arellano Felix's brother, Ramon, died in a Feb. 10 shootout with police, although results of DNA testing on the remains of the victim aren't final, officials said.

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