Al Qaeda confirmed that its leader in Saudi Arabia and three others had died in a crackdown by security forces in the wake of the decapitation of American civilian Paul Johnson. But it claimed the mission to kidnap Johnson June 12 had been abetted by sympathizers in police ranks who'd supplied authentic uniforms and vehicles. Meanwhile, a new hunt for terrorists in the capital, Riyadh, was under way, and Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto ruler, warned other radicals to repent or die.
More international help is needed to counter terrorist resisters in Iraq, interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said. He said he'd bring all security units under a central command, but "Until our forces are fully capable, we will need support from our friends." Allawi defended a US airstrike Saturday on a residence in the restive city of Fallujah that killed 22 people, although local officials said many of the victims were women and children rather than militants led by Al Qaeda chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
One of the Arab world's most-wanted terrorists was reported dead in a sweep by Army units in Algeria. The military said Nabil Sahraoudi and an unspecified number of his lieutenants were killed in the sweep east of the capital, Algiers, late last week. Their group, the Salafists, declared allegiance last year to Al Qaeda. It split from the radical Armed Islamic Group in 1988 and is held responsible for the kidnaping last year of 32 European tourists.
In another sign of improving relations between India and Pakistan, their governments agreed to renew a ban on nuclear weapons tests and to establish a hotline between their foreign ministries to ease the risk of war on the subcontinent. A similar hotline already exists between their respective senior armed forces commanders. The first face-to-face meeting between their foreign ministers since India elected a new government last month is scheduled for Monday at a regional conference in China.
The Army and police units went on high alert in the Philippines as the government announced the final votes from the May 10 presidential election had been counted and incumbent Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had won. Her margin over film star Fernando Poe Jr. was 1.2 million votes. Poe's campaign called the announcement "a sad time in the history of our country" and accused Arroyo's allies in Congress of preventing it from offering evidence of massive fraud. It has warned of a "people power" revolt in the streets such as those that toppled presidents Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and Joseph Estrada three years ago.
Tensions were running high in eastern Congo as tens of thousands of refugees fled into neighboring Burundi and government troops were deploying in the vacuum. The activity follows a reported coup attempt earlier this month against President Joseph Kabila and a week-long insurgency in the regional capital, Bukavu, by mutinous soldiers. Concerns were heightened because the Army consists partly of ex-rebels who have not integrated well with troops loyal to Kabila.