Israeli air strikes kill two Palestinians

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip

An Israeli helicopter fired missiles at a Gaza City building
yesterday, killing two Palestinians and wounding 14, including a
2-year-old girl. The attack was the start of a new Israeli
offensive sparked by a suicide bombing at an Israeli seaport.

The missile strike came just hours after Israel’s Security
Cabinet approved a new campaign of stepped-up raids into Gaza
cities and towns and killings of Palestinian militants, including
leaders of the violent Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups, an Israeli
security official said.

Throughout the day yesterday, Israeli tanks were seen mobilizing
around the volatile coastal strip, while Palestinians lined up at
bakeries and groceries to stock up on food in case of new Israeli
assaults. The Israeli military said the building destroyed in the
missile strike housed “Islamic Jihad terrorists, involved in
attacks against Israelis.” Islamic Jihad officials confirmed
one of those killed was a member of the group but said the main
target, area commander Mohammed Kharoubi, escaped. They would not
say if Kharoubi was hurt in the attack. Israel Radio said he had
been lightly wounded.


New Haitian leader builds unity government


Haiti’s new prime minister worked to build a unity
government yesterday, and with 11 of 13 ministers reportedly
chosen, none was from ousted President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide’s Lavalas Family party.

Aristide spent his second day in neighboring Jamaica, where he
returned Monday after two weeks of exile in the Central African
Republic. He was given temporary asylum in Jamaica to meet with his
daughters. Aristide’s return to the Caribbean, however,
caused fears in Port-au-Prince and Washington that his presence
would provoke more unrest in Haiti.

Chanting “Vive Aristide!” dozens of young men
demonstrated in the tense Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Belair,
demanding Aristide’s return and the departure of a U.S.-led
international peacekeeping force. “One day, Aristide is going
to return here. He hasn’t done anything wrong,” said
protester Edeg Rosier, a 31-year-old electrician. “Aristide
represents something special for us. He represents the poor and the
forgotten.” Wilgo Supreme Ebouard, leader of a neighborhood
group, angrily complained that peacekeepers patrol the slum from
dusk to dawn and that residents are afraid to leave their


Iraqi insurgents kill humanitarian workers


Drive-by gunmen killed two Europeans working on a water project
south of the Iraqi capital yesterday, bringing to six the number of
foreign humanitarian workers cut down in shooting attacks in Iraq
over the past two days.

Four American missionaries also working on a water project in
the northern city of Mosul were killed in a similar attack a day

The twin attacks seemed to signal a shift by insurgent gunmen to
so-called “soft” targets in their effort to snarl work
by the U.S.-led coalition to rebuild Iraq in preparation for the
American hand-over of authority to the Iraqis on June 30.

Three Iraqi police officers and a translator working for the
U.S. military also were gunned down yesterday, victims of a
long-running rebel campaign to kill those perceived as
collaborating with the United States.


Ohio shooting suspect had mental illness


The man wanted by police in a deadly string of highway sniper
attacks has a history of mental illness and is believed to have a
semiautomatic pistol and ammunition, authorities said

Charles McCoy Jr., 28, lived with his mother within miles of
where the gunman’s bullets killed a passenger, shattered
windshields, dented school buses and drilled into homes and a

“McCoy has had mental health issues in the past and is
currently not on medication,” the Franklin County
Sheriff’s Office said in a bulletin released to police
departments across the country. “He is believed to have
suicidal or homicidal tendencies.”


Fed keeps interest rates at 45-year low


Federal Reserve policy-makers, worried about companies’
inability to create new jobs, held interest rates at a 45-year low
yesterday and signaled anew that they will be slow to order any
future increase that could cramp the economy’s recovery.

Private economists viewed the Fed policy statement as more
somber than its comments after a similar meeting in late January,
reflecting the fact that the central bank has seen two
disappointing monthly employment reports since then.

Some economists said the Fed likely would not raise its target
for the federal funds rate, the interest that banks charge each
other, from 1 percent until sometime in 2005.


—Compiled from Daily wire reports

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