Two more hostage executions and another day of car-bomb explosions increased the relentless toll of casualties in Iraq. At least 26 people were killed and more than 100 were hurt in blasts in Baghdad and Mosul. The hostages were shot by their captors, who accused them of spying for the US. But two Indo-nesian women, kidnapped last week, were freed. One of the demands for their release, the freeing of a Muslim cleric jailed for his alleged links to terrorists, was rejected by Indonesia's government.Skip to next paragraph
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With five days to go before the historic national election in Afghanistan, a rival of interim President Hamid Karzai was trying to deny him victory by organizing all other candidates into a united front. But Yunus Qanooni's prospects appeared uncertain. At best, analysts said, he might narrow the field of 18 candidates to three and force a runoff. Meanwhile, UN officials said that despite terrorist warnings, they registered at least 650,000 Afghan refugees in Pakistan to vote Saturday.
A rocket fired by Hamas terrorists hit a college campus in southern Israel, wounding one person and thwarting efforts by defense forces to deny cover in the Gaza Strip to attackers. A second rocket, also aimed at the city of Sderot, apparently fell harmlessly. The largest Israeli campaign in Gaza in four years began after rockets killed two toddlers at a Sderot kindergarten last week. So far, troops have cleared a five-mile-wide zone to try to put Israeli towns and settlements out of range.
Six more people were killed in northeast India as separatist rebels extended their latest attacks into a third straight day. Seven others were wounded in an assault on a small town in Assam State while most residents were sleeping. The national government's home minister said the attacks would not stop efforts to lure the rebels into peace negotiations.
Fifteen days after taking the early lead in Indonesia's presidential runoff election, former security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was formally declared the winner, with 60.6 percent of the vote. But incumbent Megawati Sukarnoputri still was still refusing to concede defeat, although she attracted just 39.4 percent of the ballots. She reportedly is considering filing a complaint with the nation's highest court over alleged fraud in the voting.