Israeli security forces arrested 10 leading Hamas figures in the West Bank Thursday, saying they were attempting to restore the militant organization's "administrative branch." The move came two days after negotiations for a proposed trade of prisoners failed. It appeared to be an Israeli bid to ratchet up pressure on Hamas to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. In the Gaza Strip, a Hamas spokesman called the arrests "immoral blackmail."Skip to next paragraph
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Law-enforcement officials in Mexico announced the capture Thursday of Vicente Zambada, the son of one of the nation's top two drug traffickers. The younger Zambada is believed to have served as chief of operations and security for the feared Sinaloa cocaine cartel. The US has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of his father, Ismael. Jesus Zambada, an uncle and also a cartel chief, was captured in Mexico City last October.
As many as 1 million people walked off their jobs across France Thursday in another protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's handling of the economy. The strike disrupted air and rail service, schools, hospitals, mail delivery, and electric power generation. Protesters held a similar strike in January, although it lacked the impact of the massive strikes of the mid-1990s.
The price of crude oil for deliveries next month appeared likely to close in the $51-a-barrel range in trading Thursday, its highest since the end of November. Analysts attributed the rise – 6 percent in the past 24 hours – to the US Federal Reserve's move to buy government bonds. But some analysts said the $50 threshold may not be sustained because of generally weak global demand for oil.