Under intense US pressure, Israel's army withdrew from two West Bank towns even as heavy fighting with Palestinian gunmen continued in others. Above, an Israeli soldiers gives a victory sign as his armored personnel carrier leaves Tulkarm. A Palestinian official dismissed the withdrawal there and in Qalqilya as a "lie," saying both towns remained under blockade as Israeli forces "entered new areas." The Israeli army, meanwhile, said 13 of its reserve soldiers were killed Tuesday at the Jenin refugee camp. It's the single deadliest incident involving Israeli troops in the past 18 months of unrest.Skip to next paragraph
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Secretary of State Powell said he will meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat this week as part of his Middle East mission. After talks with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo Tuesday, Powell also said the Bush administration "is prepared to put US observers on the ground" to help secure a truce between Israel and the Palestinians. (Related stories, pages 1, 8; opinion, page 11.)
A man suspected of involvement with the Al Qaeda terrorist network was released on $2,000 bail in Bombay, India. Although Mohammed Afroz is accused of waging war against India's government, a capital offense, the judge ruled that police failed to file the charges within 90 days, as required. Afroz allegedly confessed to a plot to crash a hijacked plane into the British Parliament and buildings in Australia and New Delhi.
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf kicked off a campaign to extend his rule by another five years with a rally in Lahore, Pakistan. Local governments reportedly bused in thousands of participants and gave workers time off to attend. Most opposition parties are boycotting the April 30 referendum, which, if approved, would keep Musharraf in office once civilian rule is restored in October. He seized power in a 1999 coup.
A day after clashes with United Nations police in the ethnically volatile Kosovo city of Mitrovica, thousands of Serbs rallied Tuesday to demand the release of detained hardliners. Although the UN disputed it, Serb community leaders blamed the riot on the arrest of the leader of the "bridge guards." The armed group monitors a bridge between the divided city's mainly Serb northern section and ethnic Albanian southern side.
Buddhist monks and a truck adorned with images of doves led a "peace marathon" of about 90 bicyclists and runners in Sri Lanka. The marathon, in support of a Norwegian-backed peace initiative with Tamil Tiger rebels, follows a route that stretches from the capital, Colombo, into rebel-held territory along a road formerly known as the "highway of death."