The investigation into last week's terrorist bombings in Spain is in "a decisive phase," the outgoing government said, refusing to elaborate. But although it announced new security measures for transportation terminals and other potential targets for new attacks, Prime Minister-elect José Rodriguez Zapatero said he intended to implement internal reforms aimed at tighter coordination among law-enforcement agencies. He also suggested that President Bush was wasting his time by calling on Spain not to withdraw its troops from peacekeeping work in Iraq.

Four more Palestinians died in the Gaza Strip on Day 2 of the latest Israeli retaliation for terrorist attacks. The campaign was authorized by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's security cabinet following two bombings in the port city of Ashdod Sunday that killed 10 Israelis. The offensive is aimed at weakening Palestinian militants as much as possible before Israel pulls out of Gaza, a security source said on condition of anonymity.

Residents took advantage of a lull in fighting to flee an area along the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier after angry tribesmen retaliated for a raid by Army troops that killed 24 people suspected of being members of Al Qaeda or of harboring them. Eighteen others were arrested Tuesday, and 16 Pakistani troops also died in the fighting. President Pervez Musharraf has pledged to rid tribal areas of foreign terrorists.

President Mohamad Khatami, already having alienated Iranians who had hoped he'd accomplish political reform, conceded publicly that his two central proposals were beyond salvaging. Both were aimed at checking the power of the unelected Muslim clerical rulers. The hard-line clerics, who recently disqualified thousands of candidates for parliament who proclaimed themselves reformers, also have blocked all legislation they don't like, have shut down more than 100 liberal publications, and jailed dozens of dissident activists and writers. "I declare that I have met with defeat," Khatami said.

A confrontation between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo turned violent, with authorities reporting seven deaths and as many as 200 other people hurt. The clash erupted in the city of Mitrovica as Albanians vented their anger at the drowning of two children who reportedly had been hounded into a river by Serbs. UN peacekeepers have been guarding the city for four years.

Police were hunting two men believed to have stolen parts of a gas heating system, which later exploded in Arkhangelsk, Russia, collapsing an apartment block and killing at least 50 residents. As many as 20 others were trapped in the ruins, and authorities said there was little hope they would be found alive.

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