Israel and Hamas issued conflicting claims about whether a rocket attack by helicopters in Gaza City had killed the radical group's top bombmaker. At least two people who were traveling in a car died in the strike; 35 bystanders were hurt. The intended target: Mohamad Deif, who escaped a similar Israeli attempt earlier this year. Hamas acknowledged that some of its members were among the casualties but denied that Deif was one of them. Elsewhere, a would-be Palestinian bomber was intercepted and arrested en route to carry out his mission in Jerusalem, reports said.

There was only moderate support for a nationwide strike in India to protest the massacre of Hindu worshippers earlier this week by Muslim gunmen in Gujarat state. Two Muslims were hospitalized after being stabbed, and a Muslim-owned shop was ransacked in Ahmadabad, the capital, but few other signs were reported of the anticipated backlash by Hindus in the state, where three months of sectarian violence earlier this year killed hundreds of people. Indian officials accuse rival Pakistan of possible involvement in the attack on a Hindu temple.

A 48-hour cease-fire was agreed to by dissident soldiers in Ivory Coast's No. 2 city to allow foreign nationals trapped because of their mutiny to be evacuated. French paratroopers sent to the scene took students and teachers from a missionary school in Bouake to safety late Wednesday, but hundreds of other foreigners remained behind. Reports said it was impossible to tell who among the more than 100 people killed in the fight for control of the city with government forces were rebels, civilians, or loyalist soldiers.

An estimated 300 guerrillas appeared to be cornered by government troops after the heaviest fighting in southern Russia in at least two years. At least 12 soldiers and one civilian were killed, some of them when their helicopter was shot down; 17 others were wounded. Rebel losses were put at 70, plus 5 who were captured. The clashes took place 12 miles from the Chechnya border in the republic of Ingushetia.

Members of the extended family of former Myanmar (Burma) dictator New Win were sentenced to death after being convicted by a court for plotting to overthrow the nation's current military junta. They were accused of seeking revenge for the sidelining of Ne Win after the military crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in 1988. Ne Win, who now is in his 90s, was not on trial but is under house arrest.

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