World

Terrorists carried out their boldest attack in Baghdad in months, exploding car or truck bombs minutes apart outside the heavily fortified Palestine Hotel favored by foreign journalists. The building, located near a police checkpoint, also was hit by rocket fire. Early reports said at least 17 people were killed and damage to the building was heavy.

Hundreds of thousands of Syr-ians, organized by the government, protested in the streets of Damascus and the No. 2 city, Aleppo, against a UN report implicating their intelligence agencies in the murder last February of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The demonstration was seen as an effort to muster domestic support for beleaguered President Bashar Assad as the UN Security Council considers the report and the US and Britain demand a tough stand against his regime.

Senior leaders of Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade were killed by Israeli soldiers in a predawn raid on the West Bank town of Tulkarm. Twenty-six other Palestinians wanted by Israel were arrested in the operation, which authorities said was carried out because of intelligence indicating a terrorist attack was imminent. Islamic Jihad, which has been ambivalent about the informal truce with Israel that Hamas has accepted, vowed an "unprecedented" response.

Cancún and Cozumel, the vacation playgrounds on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, will need extensive rebuilding, authorities said, after hurricane Wilma pounded them, killing at least seven people and causing massive property damage. Army troops and police fired into the air in Cancún to keep the looting of businesses from worsening. Outer bands from Wilma also flooded Cuba's capital, Havana. Meanwhile, tropical storm Alpha was blamed for at least one death and dozens of destroyed houses in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

By an 8 percent margin, voters in Poland elected Warsaw Mayor Lech Kaczynski their president in Sunday's runoff against pro-business legislator Donald Tusk. Their parties quickly opened negotiations on forming a coalition government. Kaczynski, a conservative, embraces traditional Roman Catholic stands against abortion and homosexuality and seeks to perpetuate close ties with the US.

The proposed ban on gun sales in Brazil was soundly defeated in Sunday's national referendum. With ballot-counting almost complete, the Supreme Elections court said the "no" vote was 64 percent, compared to 36 percent by supporters.

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