World

With the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) again taking up its case, Iran issued a blunt warning to any nation considering military action against its nuclear facilities. Deputy armed forces chief Gholamali Rashid said the US, in particular, did not understand how to operate in the region and would find Iran turned "into a killing field for enemy aggressors." Last weekend, US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said there would be "painful consequences" if Iran did not halt its nuclear activities. Meanwhile, as the IAEA met Monday in Vienna on Iran's continuing refusal to abandon its nuclear ambitions, director Mohamad ElBaradei said he hoped for a diplomatic solution to the standoff "in the next week or so."

Fighting between militants and Pakistani forces was in its third day, and a spokesman for the operation said the number of casualties inflicted by his troops had risen to more than 120. A round-the-clock curfew was imposed on the town at the center of the fighting, Miran Shah in North Waziristan near the border with Afghanistan, and residents were allowed out of their homes only to buy groceries. An estimated 3,000 residents already had fled the town, and an Associated Press reporter said he saw hundreds more leaving Monday. The tribal region is a hotbed of support for the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and Afghan authorities complain that members of those groups use it as a base for cross-border attacks.

The Palestinian parliament, now dominated by Hamas, held its first working session Monday but quickly descended into loud bickering as the new majority tried to overturn decisions made while rival Fatah legislators were still in control. The latter held a strategy meeting later in the day, but analysts said the confrontation had made it increasingly unlikely that Fatah would agree to join a Hamas government.

A Muslim militant leader blamed for a rash of fatal bombings in Bangladesh was captured Monday, but not until after he tried to avoid arrest by killing himself. The capture of Siddiqul Islam was the second of a key figure in the terrorist attacks in five days. Police were not confirming reports that Islam's wife had led them to him. Although surrounded, he and other militants inside his hideout engaged police in a shootout and then detonated an explosive device, injuring seven people. Shaikh Abdur Rahman, chief of the outlawed Jumatul Mujahideen Bangladesh organization, surrendered last week. Bombings blamed on the group, which seeks to impose sharia, or Islamic law, on Bangladesh, killed 26 people in recent months.

To try to demonstrate her nation's return to normality, President Gloria Arroyo paid a surprise visit to the Philippines Stock Exchange on its first day of trading after the lifting of her state of emergency. The index of key shares responded with an 18-point gain. Arroyo called off emergency rule last Friday, saying she was satisfied that the threat of a coup by military officers and their leftist supporters had receded. But her government asked the Supreme Court to dismiss seven petitions that seek to have the emergency decree ruled unconstitutional. It also kept the pressure on the news media, which are blamed for amplifying calls for revolt, by broadcasting a documentary entitled "Fight the Betrayal" that was aimed at building public support for her.

An official inquiry was opened into the death of Milan Babic, once the president of the breakaway Serbian region of Krajina and - according to prosecutors for the UN tribunal for the Balkans - an ally of ex-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Jailers found him unresponsive in his prison cell outside The Hague Sunday night and said he'd committed suicide. Babic was serving a 13-year sentence for crimes against humanity in Croatia's war for independence in the 1990s.

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