In rapid-fire developments in Iraq, visiting US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz warned "all foreigners" to stop interfering in the nation's internal affairs and a previously unheard-of group threatened in a videotape to kill "Iraqi spies and traitors ... Americans ... and any soldier sent by any Arab or [other] country to our land." And in the latest attack on coalition forces, a US soldier and an Iraqi interpreter were killed, bringing the count to 38 American dead since major combat ended May 1. Wolfowitz said his five-day visit left him "very encouraged overall that conditions are better than I expected."
The US Embassy compound in Liberia was hit by a mortar shell and gunfire as fighting between rebels and President Charles Taylor's loyalists intensified. Meanwhile, the Pentagon ordered 4,500 marines and sailors in an amphibious group off the Horn of Africa closer to Liberia for possible peacekeeping duty, and 41 other marines were sent to reinforce security at the embassy.
A "terrorist cell of 16 people" was captured and more than 20 tons of chemicals used in explosives were seized by police in Saudi Arabia, the Interior Ministry announced. It said the militants intended to attack "vital installations and targets" and that others linked to the cell were being hunted. It mentioned no linkage to earlier terrorism involving Western interests there. Some of the chemicals were found in Riyadh, the capital, along with assault rifles, night-vision goggles, passports, and cameras.
Still more pressure was being applied to Iran's hard-line Islamic rulers as the European Union gave them until September to show progress in human rights, nuclear nonproliferation, and other areas if they wish closer economic cooperation. And some clerics joined other would-be reformers in blasting a government inquiry into the death earlier this month of a female Canadian journalist in police custody, demanding a more thorough probe that identifies "the person or persons responsible for this bitter event."
Six government officials taken prisoner in last week's military coup in São Tome and Principe were freed, and junta negotiators were discussing the return of exiled President Fradique de Menezes with mediators from other West African nations. The officials will not be permitted to perform government duties until the negotiations are over, however. De Menezes's return from Nigeria may be contingent on dissolving parliament and calling a new election, sources close to the mediators said.
Bombs damaged two buildings on the island of Corsica a day after 16 people were hurt in similar blasts in Nice on the French Riviera, and a separatist movement claimed responsibility for all but one of the attacks. The Combatants Union said Friday it was ending a six-month truce in its campaign for autonomy after eight Corsicans were found guilty of participation in the 1998 killing of France's top administrator on the island.