Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the murder of another American civilian in Saudi Arabia's capital, the third such incident in a week. The remains of still another man were found, but it was unclear whether he was the American the terrorist organization said it had abducted. Its statement called the latter, an aircraft engineer, "a Christian parasite." The first victim, identified as Kenneth Scroggs, an electronics company employee, was shot in the back.

Stepping up the pace of violence in Iraq, terrorists killed at least 12 people in a car-bomb attack, assassinated two senior officials of the interim government in two days, and shot to death a prominent Kurdish cleric as he visited neighbors. In other violence, US troops killed two more members of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's militia in a firefight in Baghdad.

Calling its nuclear program "a source of pride," Iran's government said it would accept no further attempts by the international community to impose restrictions. Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said it was "not fair" that Iran should continue to be the target of US and European efforts, expected to be debated beginning Monday by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, to void its decision to build a heavy-water reactor. He said Iran's nuclear program is "irreversible."

An appeal is expected as soon as Monday by executives of another newspaper in Zimbabwe after the government closed it on grounds that it had modified its name without prior notification. The closure of the weekly Tribune will be for one year, authorities said. The move leaves only four independent publications that cover the troubled nation's economic and political affairs. All others as well as all TV and radio outlets are controlled by the government or by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF political party. Last September, the government shut down the independent Daily News and its Sunday counterpart, both frequent Mugabe critics.

Widespread skepticism greeted claims by Congo's government of a failed coup attempt against President Joseph Kabila and that its leader had disappeared into a dense forest. Doubters in Kinshasa, the capital, suggested the claims were being made as a pretext for Kabila to sidetrack the national election due next year. On Friday, followers of a major in Kabila's personal guard seized state radio to announce they were "neutralizing" his transitional government. But they were routed by Army troops, and Kabila was unhurt.

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