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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn / March 14, 2008



Forty-one Taliban militants, among them a senior commander, were killed in fighting with coalition forces near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, reports said, although NATO could not immediately confirm them. The Taliban, however, claimed responsibility for a car-bomb attack in which at least eight civilians died and 35 other people were hurt near the airport in Kabul, the capital. The attack had targeted a US military convoy, but no one in it was seriously injured.

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A car bomb exploded in central Baghdad Thursday, killing at least 18 people and wounding 57 others, extending the latest wave of terrorist attacks after months of calm following the US troop surge. In another incident, Roman Catholic officials in Iraq reported the death of Chaldean Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, who'd been kidnapped last month after completing a mass in Mosul. His remains were found in a shallow grave outside the city.

More than a dozen rockets fired from the Gaza Strip fell on the Israeli border town of Sderot Thursday, and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility. No one was reported hurt in the salvo, which the Palestinian militant group said was in retaliation for the killing of four of its members Wednesday night in the West Bank. Israeli jets responded with a strike against a rocket launcher in Gaza, which apparently resulted in no casualties.

"Heavily armed columns" of mercenaries crossed the border between Sudan's Darfur region and Chad, the latter's government said Thursday. It accused Sudan of responsibility, although there was no independent confirmation of such a movement. Chad often accuses its neighbor of backing rebels bent on toppling President Idriss Déby. Déby and Sudan's Omar al-Bashir were scheduled to sign a peace accord Thursday in neutral Senegal after Bashir failed to show up for the ceremony Wednesday.

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