Its truce with Israel "no longer exists," Hamas declared Tuesday, announcing the launches of rockets and mortal rounds into the Jewish state. There were no reports of casualties in the first sustained attack since last November. A spokesman said it was in revenge for the killings over the weekend of nine Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Senior Israelis accused Hamas of not "keep[ing] the cease-fire they promised" because it had helped other Palestinian militants fire rockets.
Pledging to "be loyal to secular principles," Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul accepted the ruling party's nomination Tuesday for president of Turkey. Since the party has a majority in parliament, which will choose the next chief executive beginning Friday, he is virtually assured of victory. But analysts said he'd be no less controversial a nominee than Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom Turkey's fiercely secular military leaders suspect of harboring an Islamist agenda. Gul's wife, Hayrunisa, wears traditional Islamic attire in public. Erdogan chose not to seek the presidency.
Despite NATO skepticism, Afghan commanders insisted again Tuesday that they've surrounded 200 Taliban militants in southern Uruzgan Province, among them ruthless military leader Mullah Dadullah. The Taliban called the claim "baseless," saying Dadullah was in neighboring Helmand Province. Thirteen Taliban were killed and four others were wounded in fighting with NATO and Afghan troops elsewhere, reports said.
The declared winner of Nigeria's troubled presidential election called for unity in his first news conference Monday night. But the appeal by Umaru Yar'Adua was ignored by the political opposition, which called for "revolution," as well as by several of the nation's respected newspapers, one of which editorialized that the election had made Nigeria a global "laughing stock."
Without saying so directly, a senior Russian diplomat reportedly suggested that his country's UN mission will veto plans for the eventual independence of Kosovo, the breakaway Serbian province. The Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov as saying Tuesday that the independence blueprint drawn up by special UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari "will not pass." Ahtisaari's proposal, now before the Security Council, is embraced by Kosovo's majority-Albanian population but is vehemently opposed by Serbia.
As many as 74 workers were killed and seven others were taken hostage Tuesday in a dawn attack on an oil-exploration site in eastern Ethiopia. The facility reportedly was destroyed. Most of the victims were Ethiopian guards, but the site was operated by the Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau of China, which said the hostages all are Chinese. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by a group calling itself the Ogaden National Liberation Front.
Tamil separatist rebels claimed responsibility Tuesday for their second aerial attack on Sri Lankan government forces, following up a strike last month that took the latter by surprise. A military spokesman acknowledged the deaths of six soldiers but said they'd also come under artillery attack and that the Tamil planes were driven off by defensive fire before they could bomb the main airbase in the northern Jaffna peninsula. The Tamils are suspected of having as many as five light aircraft, all smuggled into Sri Lanka in sections and then reassembled.
An angry President Rafael Correa blasted the reinstatement of 51 opposition members of Ecuador's Congress as "shameless" and said he'd have them arrested if they tried to reclaim their seats. The Constitutional Court ruled that their dismissal last month by a lower court was in violation of the national charter, which Correa, a leftist, seeks to rewrite. The ruling cannot be appealed. But it appeared uncertain when – or even whether – the 51 will be able to return. They have been replaced by alternates, and Congress now is considering a bill that would dissolve the high court.