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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn and Ross Atkin / January 27, 2005



With their time to undermine Sunday's vote running out, terrorists in Iraq set off more car bombs, shot at political party offices, seized three men who worked for the national elections commission, and posted a warning on one of their websites that said, in part: "We have men who love to die as much as you love to live.... Don't blame us; blame yourselves [if harm comes to you on election day]." The incidents came on a day when US losses in Iraq were the greatest for a 24-hour period since the war began in 2003. Thirty-six Americans died: 31 of them aboard a marine transport helicopter that crashed in an area that was said to be experiencing bad weather.

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The capture of another aide to terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was announced by Iraq's Interior Ministry - the second in less than a week. The ministry identified him as Khamees Mohsen al-Egaily and said he was involved in bombings and other deadly attacks. Iraqis who turn in terrorists will be rewarded, the ministry said.

Momentum toward a resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians appeared to pick up speed, as the two sides resumed high-level contacts that had been cut off two weeks ago. But sources said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wouldn't meet face-to-face until after Abbas has formed his cabinet. Israeli defense sources said late Tuesday that targeted attacks against Palestinian militant chiefs would be halted, and Abbas was given the go-ahead to deploy 2,000 security police across the southern Gaza Strip to deter rocket attacks against Jewish settlers there.

Sweeping new security powers will be put in place in Britain, the government said, after the nation's highest court ruled that the post-Sept. 11 emergency laws on detaining terrorist suspects are a violation of "basic rights." The new measures will apply to British nationals suspected of links to terrorist groups as well as to foreigners. Under them, suspects may be forbidden to meet certain persons and may be subjected to curfews, electronic tracking, and house arrest. The government would not have to prove that such suspects had committed crimes, and any violation of the new laws would itself be a crime.

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