World

American troops scored another victory in fighting with followers of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Najaf, Iraq, killing "just under 50" and capturing his brother-in-law. Meanwhile, the official US spokesman in Baghdad disputed suggestions by the State Department in Washington that a nuclear scientist and former opponent of Saddam Hussein had been tapped to become prime minister in a new Iraqi government. The post will not go to Hussain Shahristani, the spokesman said, adding, "There's no final decision on candidates."

Taliban remnants absorbed one of their worst beatings in a single military operation in southern Afghanistan. Afghan authorities said 28 Taliban died after US troops with whom they were fighting called in airstrikes. No Americans were hurt. A US field commander said the confrontation did not appear to have been coordinated "by one higher authority" but that "anticoalition militia activity" in the area has increased in the past month to six weeks.

A new rift appeared to be opening between Israel and one of its few friends in the Muslim world over the Jewish state's latest offensive against a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Turkey's prime minister rejected an invitation to pay an official visit and was quoted as saying Israel first would have to take concrete steps toward peace. Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously had offered to mediate in peace efforts involving the two sides. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz also reported that Turkey's government was considering recalling its ambassador "for consultations."

A policeman died and at least 27 other people were hurt after terrorists exploded two car bombs minutes apart near the US Consulate in volatile Karachi, Pakistan. Reports of a third blast at the site proved false, but a bomb went off hours earlier in the city's seaport, causing two deaths. On Tuesday, 15 police were hurt in Quetta, Pakistan, when a bomb blew up beside the truck in which they were riding.

Emergency aid worth $2.5 billion was offered by the European Union to survivors of the flooding along the Dominican Republic-Haiti border as reports said the number of deaths had risen to more than 500. US and Canadian troops from the multinational peacekeeping mission in Haiti were bringing food, bottled water, and medical supplies to the area.

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