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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn / April 23, 2008



Israel was expected to allow 86 truckloads of humanitarian aid – in the form of food, medicine, and other needs – into the Gaza Strip Tuesday even though its defense forces foiled an apparent terrorist attack on a border terminal hours earlier. Three armed Hamas militants were killed as they approached the Eretz crossing. Hamas said it would agree to a new cease-fire that would apply only to Gaza, dropping a demand that it also include the West Bank. But it vowed to seek eventual inclusion of the latter, also.

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In its first break with President Pervez Musharraf's use of force against Islamist militants, the new government of Pakistan freed the leader of a pro-Taliban group that fought the invaders of neighboring Afghanistan in late 2001. Maulana Sufi Muhammad had been in jail for six years. The new government has said it will negotiate with any militants who are "prepared for reconciliation." Muhammad's Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Law has renounced violence, although it will be allowed to campaign peacefully for the sharia legal code.

Oil industry giant Royal Dutch/Shell said it may fall well short of its target for deliveries through the end of next month because of sabotage against three pipelines in Nigeria. Attacks in recent days by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) helped to push the price for a barrel of crude to a new record high, $118.05, on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday. MEND warned of further attacks and asked ex-US President Carter to mediate in its bid to win the release of one of its leaders who is awaiting trial for treason.

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