World

The governor of Baghdad province was assassinated Tuesday amidst escalating violence that threatens to derail Iraq's Jan. 30 election. Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the act in a statement posted on the Internet. Interim President Ghazi al-Yawar urged the UN, which must approve any delay of the election, to look into whether elections could still be held on schedule.

Children could be the hardest-hit in devastated Indian Ocean states, where up to half the population in some affected areas is under 19. According to health officials, children may be most susceptible to diseases that may break out among the 5 million people displaced by the tsunami disaster.

Al Qaeda's suicide bombings in Riyadh last week were intended to assassinate Saudi Arabia's Interior Minister, according to an Internet statement posted on Tuesday. The interior minister, Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, vowed the kingdom would fight militants until it eradicated terrorism.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called Israel "the Zionist enemy" for the first time but also condemned "all pointless" cross-border mortar and rocket attacks by Palestinians. His comments came after an Israeli tank responding to mortar bombs killed seven Palestinian youths in a Gaza strawberry field. The Israeli army said it had targeted militants who had fired the bombs from the field into a nearby Jewish settlement, but witnesses said the militants had fled by the time the tank shell hit.

Algeria's second largest Islamic rebel group has been virtually wiped out after security forces killed and arrested its top members, authorities said Tuesday. The demise of the Armed Islamic Group, which is blamed for the brutal killings of thousands of people in the mid-1990s, deals a fresh blow to radical Islamic militants who have been fighting the secular government in the North African country for more than a decade, local media said.

The Dec. 13 indictment and house arrest of former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet was upheld Tuesday by Chile's Supreme Court. The decision upheld only the legality of the December order, which had been appealed by Pinochet's defense lawyers, who claim the 89-year-old is unfit to be tried.

The Somali government began drawing up a cabinet on Tuesday, paving the way for the Kenya-based administration to return home to rebuild the troubled nation. Kenya, home to many Somali refugees, urged the government to speed up the process. Diplomats have warned that the new president risks leading a government in exile if he doesn't return home quickly and gain legitimacy by reining in the militias operating in the country.

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