Israeli armor and troops were back in control of two West Bank towns, Jenin and Qal-qilya, both centers of Palestinian militancy. Despite Palestinian condemnations, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said further reoccupations would follow and would last "as long as terror continues." The operation came in response to Tuesday's bus bombing in Jerusalem, which killed 19 Israelis and hurt 55 others. But another bombing in the city, killing at least the attacler and wounding 20 other people, was reported as the Monitor went to press. Left, an Israeli column rolls along a road outside Nablus.

Walking across a red carpet, Hamid Karzai arrived for his inauguration as president of Afghanistan's transitional government and won quick approval for his roster of cabinet ministers by delegates to the loya jirga. Ethnic Tajiks from the Northern Alliance, who had held the top three posts – foreign affairs, defense, and interior – lost the latter ministry to a Pashtun, who will oversee the ongoing fight against Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants.

Infiltration of disputed Kashmir by armed Islamic separatist militants from Pakistan has declined considerably since late May, Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes told a news conference. He said Indian troops deployed along the border could be called back "in the next month or, say, maximum two months" if the trend continues. Under heavy international pressure, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf agreed to prevent the incursions, although his government denies sponsoring "cross-border terrorism."

One of the four new hostages seized by Muslim guerrillas in the southern Philippines Tuesday escaped within hours and identified one of his captors as an Abu Sayyaf leader. The separatist group has been linked to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization. The ex-hostage, an Indonesian seaman, was being treated for minor injuries.

Concerns that civil war in the Solomon Islands has flared up again grew as police confirmed 11 men were missing after "an incident involving the use of illegal weapons." Unconfirmed reports said the men died while trying to seize an ethnic Malaitan leader, Harold Keke – or were captured and executed by Keke loyalists. A treaty ending two years of ethnic fighting was signed in October 2000, followed by democratic elections, but Keke has refused to honor either.

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