The capture of a key aide to terrorist leader Abu Musab al- Zarqawi was announced by Iraqi officials in response to the explosion early Monday of another car bomb in Baghdad that injured at least 10 people. They said Abu Omar al-Kurdi, who has been under detention for "about 10 days" has confessed to "75 percent of the car bombs used for attacks in Baghdad since March 2003." Zarqawi has been attempting to incite civil war, thus far without success, between Iraq's minority Sunni and majority Shiite Muslims before Sunday's crucial national election.
A formal truce appeared all but certain on the part of militant groups in the Gaza Strip in negotiations with new Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. No violence was reported across Gaza as the militants agreed to a suspension of attacks against Israeli targets. On Sunday, leaders of the Jewish state pledged a similar stance so long as calm prevails. But they said "it will be a de facto cease-fire" and that Israel would issue no public declaration. Meanwhile, however, senior Palestinians predicted a "deep and negative impact" on cease-fire efforts because of Israel's resumption of work on the West Bank barrier aiamed at keeping out terrorist bombers.
Panic ensued across much of Indonesia's Sulawesi island as it was rattled by a strong earthquake. But although it caused some property damage, there was only one early report of a death and none of injuries. The 6.2-magnitude quake also did not trigger a tsunami. Sulawesi is east of Sumatra, the island jolted Dec. 26 by a far more powerful 9.0-magnitude quake and tidal wave that are blamed for at least 162,000 deaths.
On his first official trip after accepting the oath of office, new Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko visited his Russian counterpart at the Kremlin and called their nations "eternal" strategic partners. But back in the Ukrainian capital, Yush-chenko's office announced as his choice for prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, for whom Russian authorities have issued an arrest warrant on grounds that she failed to show up for questioning in a case involving the alleged bribing of Kremlin defense officials. In his inaugural address Sunday, Yush-chenko said Ukraine's place "is in the European Union," and he is expected to open a campaign for membership later this week.