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A US soldier died and two others were hurt when a rocket-propelled grenade fired by unknown attackers in Iraq hit their ambulance. The incident was the latest in a growing series of ambushes of symbols of US occupation. Attacks also were reported against an American tank, an Army truck, and a civil operations center, with the latter killing an Iraqi and wounding 12 others.

A Palestinian terrorist exploded a bomb inside a grocery store in an Israeli town near the West Bank, killing himself and the owner. Despite the attack, which came a day before Secretary of State Powell is expected in Israel, soldiers and police began dismantling the first of several occupied West Bank settlements as called for in the "road map" to peace with the Palestinians.

A militia fiercely loyal to Iran's hard-line clerical rulers warned it would defend the Islamic regime "as we would our own lives." The Basij was supplementing other security measures in Tehran against antigovernment protests that were in their ninth straight night. More than 300 demonstrators have been arrested to date, and analysts were expecting the protests to intensify as the anniversary of the July 9, 1999, vigilante rampage against student demonstrators approaches.

Support for the US position on referring North Korea's nuclear weapons program to the UN Security Council appeared to be waning among other governments in the region. At the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) annual meeting, China, South Korea, and the Philippines said it was inappropriate - or at least too soon - to ask the Security Council to declare North Korea in violation of its obligation to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to seek sanctions against the Pyongyang regime. North Korea says it will consider any sanction an act of war.

Nobel Peace Prize-winning democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi spent another birthday in detention by the junta in Burma (Myanmar), which said it could not "give a date" when she'd be freed. Meanwhile, ASEAN, which demanded Wednesday that she be released, indicated Thursday that it didn't wish to discuss the issue further, "to save time" for consideration of other problems.

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