MEDAN, Indonesia

Indonesian jetliner crash kills 147

An Indonesian jetliner slammed into a crowded neighborhood moments after a shaky takeoff yesterday and burst into flames, killing 147 people, including dozens on the ground. At least 15 passengers survived, among them an 18-month-old boy, officials said.

The Mandala Airlines Boeing 737-200 was heading to Jakarta in overcast weather when it plowed into a row of houses 500 yards from the airport and skidded onto a busy road in this city on northeast Sumatra island. Witnesses said some people were on fire as they fled the wreckage.Firefighters struggled to put out the blaze, which engulfed dozens of houses and at least 10 cars, in a midmorning rainstorm.

 

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan

Afghan police fight suspected militants

Thirteen suspected Taliban fighters have been killed in fighting with U.S. and Afghan forces in a southern province, and more than 40 other suspected militants were arrested, a senior Afghan official said yesterday.

Some 200 Afghan police, supported by the U.S.–led coalition, fought the militants in the mountains of Ghorak district in Kandahar province on Sunday night, said Kandahar Gov. Asadullah Khalid.

“We have the dead bodies,” Khalid said, adding that assault rifles and some ammunition was confiscated from the fighters. He said 44 other suspects were arrested and that the Afghan and coalition forces had suffered no casualties.

U.S. military spokesman Col. James Yonts yesterday confirmed that more than 40 suspected insurgents had been taken into custody, but gave no further details about the military operation in Kandahar, which he said was continuing.

 

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip

Night blast in Gaza kills 4, injures at least 30

A mysterious blast after nightfall yesterday leveled a building in Gaza City, killing four people and wounding at least 30, residents and hospital officials said. The violent Islamic Hamas group blamed Israel, but the Israeli military said it was not involved.

The explosion came hours after Palestinian security forces got their first look at demolished Jewish settlements in Gaza, touring the area ahead of Israel’s formal handover in mid-September. The joint tour by Palestinian commanders and Israeli military officials marked the first time Palestinian authorities were allowed into the settlements.

 

BAGHDAD

Insurgents launch surprise attack in Iraq

Insurgents launched a surprise attack on Baghdad’s heavily guarded Interior Ministry building yesterday, killing two police officers and wounding several others, officials said. In southern Iraq, two British soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb.

Insurgent casualties were unknown in the rare daylight assault, which began soon after sunrise and lasted about 15 minutes. Thunderous explosions could be heard in the center of Baghdad as insurgents fired rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons.

At least four U.S. Apache and Black Hawk helicopters flew over the area in central Baghdad after the firefight.

The Apaches were later joined by U.S. Army patrols in armored vehicles combing the streets to try to hunt down the attackers.

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