Suspicion quickly fell on two Malaysians with ties to Al Qaeda for plotting the latest terrorist bombings on the tourist island of Bali, which killed 26 people Saturday and wounded more than 100 others. The bombings were carried out minutes apart in crowded restaurants almost three years to the day after terrorist bombs planted by the militant Muslim group Jemaah Islamiyah exploded on Bali, killing 202 people. The suspects are identified as Noordin Mohamad Top and Azahari vin Husin.
Iraq's Al Qaeda leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has ordered foreign militants operating there to return home and open new terrorist fronts with their car-bombing skills, the Interior Ministry in Baghdad said. The claim was based on a letter found in the possession of Zarqawi's second-in-command after he was killed a week ago by US and Iraqi forces.
Israel suspended its offensive against targets in the Gaza Strip and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed to reschedule his postponed summit with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as rocket attacks on Jewish towns subsided. Meanwhile, Abbas's Fatah movement easily won local elections in the West Bank over Hamas and other participants in what officials said was an 84 percent voter turnout. Fatah had not been expected to do well, and Hamas accused elections officials of bias.
Claiming he never granted an interview to a Dubai newspaper, Iran's president denied its report that he threatened to stop exporting oil if his government is referred to the UN Security Council over its suspected nuclear weapons program. But the Khaleej Times said it was standing by its report as well as the journalist involved. Iran is the No. 2 producer of oil among members of OPEC, and withholding exports almost certainly would raise the price of crude on world markets - although it also would affect Iran's main source of revenue accordingly.
Smokers who claim they were deceived about the addictive qualities of cigarettes indicated in court papers over the weekend that they'll seek $15.3 billion in damages from Canada's three largest tobacco companies. The class-action suit, filed in February by more than 1.7 Quebec residents, is believed to be the largest in Canadian history. The latest development came one day after the Supreme Court cleared the way for British Columbia's government to try to recoup from cigarette manufacturers the cost of medical treatment for sick smokers.