The death toll in a weekend hostage-taking siege at a Saudi Arabian oil industry complex reached 22 by Monday. Most of the dead in the 25-hour ordeal by suspected Al Qaeda militants were expatriate workers at the vast complex in Khobar. The attack, the second targeting the oil industry in a month, was carried out by at least four militants who stormed the complex, spraying gunfire, killing people, and taking at least 50 hostages. Saudi commandos eventually descended on the building and rescued 41 hostages. One attacker, the reputed ringleader, was arrested, but three others, using hostages as human shields, managed to escape in a stolen car.
Iraq's Governing Council delayed plans by a day to name a new interim government by the end of May, causing Iraqi politicians to complain that Washington was meddling in the process. Meanwhile, US troops clashed Monday with fighters loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, eroding a deal to halt the fight. Two US soldiers were killed.
Twelve suspected members of a Turkish Al Qaeda cell went on trial in Istanbul Monday in the first case brought against 69 people accused in connection with the November suicide bombings that killed 61 persons and wounded 600 others. Several ringleaders remain at large in the attacks. Defense attorneys argued that the case should be handed over to other tribunals.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the former president of Haiti, boarded a jet Sunday in Jamaica, where he temporarily sought asylum, to fly to South Africa, where he is to live under tight security in Pretoria, the capital. Aristide, who has accused the US of overthrowing him, fled the country as rebels approached the capital of Port-Au-Prince in February. Most of the 1,900 US troops sent to secure and stabilize the country have assisted with relief efforts in recent days, when floods have killed more than 1,400 in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
After a senior pro-Taliban Sunni cleric was killed by an unknown assailant, thousands of Pakistani police and paramilitary troops were deployed to protect the mosques and homes of Shiite and other religious leaders. At least 22 people were injured in attacks in Karachi following the murder of Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai, a radical cleric from the majority Sunni sect. Police issued a sketch of a suspected gunman, who shot Shamzai in his car.