GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip

Suicide bomb kills three Israelis

Two Palestinian suicide bombers blew themselves up at a vital Gaza-Israel crossing point, killing themselves and three Israelis, Israel Radio and a militant group said. Fifteen Israelis were injured, Israel TV said.

The attack took place at 11 p.m. at the Karni crossing, where all the farm produce and other goods enter and leave the Gaza Strip.

A statement to The Associated Press from the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, affiliated with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, said the fighters were killed “in a martyrdom operation” near the Karni crossing in southern Gaza.

Such language usually indicates a suicide attack against an Israeli target. A spokesman for another group, the Popular Resistance Committees, said militants filmed the attack. The Palestinians set off an explosive device weighing more than 220 pounds, Israel Radio reported.

Israeli rescue services said ambulances were having difficulty entering the area because of an exchange of gunfire between militants and Israeli forces.



Graner’s defense ends with no testimony

The defense for Spc. Charles Graner Jr. rested its case yesterday without the accused ringleader of abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison taking the stand.

The jury of four Army officers and six senior enlisted men was expected to begin deliberating after closing arguments today.

Graner’s lawyers had indicated earlier that Graner would probably be the final witness and that he would offer his version of what occurred in a scandal that stirred outrage against the United States around the world.

Defense lawyer Guy Womack said the other witnesses provided all of the evidence necessary to make the case that military and civilian intelligence agents controlled Abu Ghraib and ordered Graner to soften up detainees for questioning.



Insurgents oppose elections, kill Sistani aid

Gunmen killed a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most senior Shiite Muslim cleric, along with the aide’s son and four bodyguards in the town of Salman Pak, south of Baghdad, an official in the cleric’s office said yesterday.

Insurgents trying to derail Iraq’s Jan. 30 elections appeared to be sending a message to al-Sistani, who strongly supports the vote. Insurgents have targeted electoral workers and candidates.

Gunmen opened fire on a minibus picking up a Turkish businessman from the Bakhan Hotel in central Baghdad yesterday, killing six Iraqis and kidnapping the Turk, who reportedly ran a construction company that worked with U.S.-led occupation authorities.



Pundit under investigation for ‘propaganda’

Leaders of a Senate committee have asked the Education Department to turn over records of recent years’ public relations contracts, while reminding the education secretary of a federal ban on “propaganda.”

The request came after revelations that the Bush administration had paid a prominent black media commentator, Armstrong Williams, to promote the new education law that had been strongly supported by President Bush.

Separately, a Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission called Thursday for his agency to investigate whether Williams broke the law by failing to disclose that the Bush administration paid him $240,000 to plug its education policies.


— Compiled from Daily wire reports


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