World

A tunnel being dug by Palestinian militants toward an Israeli army outpost in the Gaza Strip collapsed, burying at least five people alive. But the collapse was overshadowed by the most serious strain in relations between Israel and Egypt in years: the firing of a shell by an Israeli tank that killed three of the latter's policemen near a sensitive Gaza border crossing. Senior Israeli officials apologized and said the police had been mistaken for Palestinians who were assumed to be planting explosive devices. But the Cairo government demanded "an immediate and full investigation." The incident came at an awkward time, as Israel seeks Egyptian help to ensure security in Gaza after the planned withdrawal next year of settlers and the troops who protect them. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ajhmed Aboul Gheith is scheduled to visit Israel next week to discuss the matter.

Terrorist violence in Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, flared up again, as a mortar attack on government offices killed a guard and wounded four others. The barrage of at least 10 shells broke what had been two days of relative calm in the city, which US and Iraqi forces moved to pacify after mopping-up operations in Fallujah. Other military units were deploying in nearby Ramadi to confront terrorists and insurgents there.

Suggestions by Secretary of State Powell and an exiled opposition group that Iran is secretly moving on a nuclear weapons program were angrily denied by the Tehran government. Pakistan, whose former top nuclear scientist was accused of aiding Iran in the suspected project, also disputed them. A member of Iran's National Security Council called the accusation "a well-timed lie" aimed at "poisoning the atmosphere" when the International Atomic Energy Agency meets next week to consider the new deal struck by Britain, France, and Germany to trade peaceful nuclear technology with Iran for a suspension of uranium enrichment.

The outcome appeared too close to predict as voters in Ukraine prepare to go to the polls Sunday for a runoff election to choose their next president. The contest pits Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich against opposition leader Viktor Yuschenko, the narrow winner of the first balloting Oct. 31. The two sparred in a televised debate Monday, which analysts rated another draw. Above, a student who backs Yuschenko joins other supporters at a campaign rally in Kiev, the capital.

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