World

Tensions returned to a high pitch between Israel and the Palestinians after two widely separated terrorist bomb explosions Tuesday. The blasts, for which Hamas and Yasser Arafat's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility, killed at least two Israelis and wounded 11 others. Israel promptly postponed the release of 76 Palestinian prisoners, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned that the goal of Palestinian statehood might not be achieved unless the militant organizations were dismantled. The Palestinian Authority condemned the attacks, but its prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, blamed Israel for them by "disrupting the calm" in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Although still not at full strength, peacekeeping forces were headed to key sections of Liberia's capital after new fighting erupted within hours of the departure of ex-President Charles Taylor. The government and rebel forces blamed each other for starting the violence, which centered on the airport. With Taylor arriving in Nigeria to begin a life of exile, his successor offered the vice presidency to the rebels. But the main rebel faction claimed it was responsible for ousting Taylor and thus wanted the top job for itself.

In another difficult day for US forces in Iraq, a soldier died when three bombs exploded in a synchronized attack in the so-called "Sunni Triangle," and flames from a ruptured oil pipeline that may have been sabotaged were shooting hundreds of feet into the air. Two other Americans were reported dead from other circumstances, bringing the number of such casualties to 57 since major hostilities there ended May 1.

The six-way discussions on communist North Korea's nuclear weapons program appear set to open in Beijing Aug. 27, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said. But he confirmed that US arms-control negotiator John Bolton, who angered the Pyongyang government with his criticism of its leader, Kim Jong Il, and of life in North Korea, "will not be participating." The meetings, aimed at easing tensions in the region, are to include China, the US, both Koreas, Japan, and Russia.

An impatient President Alvaro Uribe gave senior military commanders in Colombia an ultimatum: produce results in his campaign to defeat rebel insurgencies - or resign. He was angered by the failure of some commanders to pursue guerrillas aggressively - especially after a series of terrorist bomb explosions last weekend that killed eight people. All were blamed on the Revolutionary Armed Forces, the nation's largest communist rebel movement.

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