KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) -- Pakistan's interior minister Friday predicted a "major breakthrough" and more arrests within 48 hours in the search for Daniel Pearl and rejected a claim from his self-confessed kidnapper that the Wall Street Journal reporter is dead.
Police said they were focusing their search on two suspected Islamic militants -- Mohammed Hashim Qadeer and Imtiaz Siddiqi, both of whom were believed to have met Pearl last month while he was researching a story on extremist groups.
Israeli military takes casualties
JERUSALEM (AP) -- The commander of an elite Israeli undercover unit was killed in an accident during an army sweep of a Palestinian village Friday, just hours after a powerful bomb blew the turret off an Israeli tank and killed three soldiers.
The deaths were a serious blow to the Israeli military, which had suffered relatively few casualties during the past 16 months of fighting.
The destruction of the Merkava-3 tank, one of the most heavily armored tanks in the world, marked the first time that Palestinians destroyed a major piece of Israeli military hardware, a feat even the better-trained Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon never matched in 18 years of fighting against Israeli forces.
Afghan official killed by mob
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A mob of Muslim pilgrims enraged over flight delays for the pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca stormed a plane at Kabul airport and beat Afghanistan's aviation minister to death, tossing his body to the tarmac, officials and eyewitnesses said.
Afghanistan's Cabinet met in emergency session for several hours late Thursday following the killing of the aviation and tourism minister, Abdul Rahman. The Kabul airport was sealed off Friday morning and white-helmeted Interior Ministry police were stationed every few yards on the roads leading to the main entrance.
Rahman, 49, was trained as a medical doctor. He fled Afghanistan when the Taliban took over and had been living in exile in New Delhi. In interviews since taking over as aviation and tourism minister in the interim government, he had spoken enthusiastically of his wish to make Afghanistan a tourist destination.
Two men were detained for questioning in the minister's death, said Faraidoon, an Interior Ministry spokesman who uses only one name.
Yemen is holding five on FBI alert
SAN'A, Yemen (AP) -- Yemen is holding five of 17 men named in an FBI terrorism alert released this week and has provided the United States with information about them, Yemeni and U.S. officials said.
The five Yemeni nationals, who trained in Afghanistan, were already in custody at the time the list was released on Monday, having been arrested between late last year and early this year, Yemeni officials said Friday.
China expels 33 Americans
BEIJING (AP) -- China has expelled 33 Americans, four Britons and five Germans detained during a protest by foreign members of Falun Gong on Tiananmen Square in central Beijing, diplomats said Friday.
Chinese police said they detained more than 40 foreigners during the protest Thursday, the biggest yet by foreign followers on the square against a 2 1/2-year-old Chinese crackdown on the meditation group.
The protest came a week before a visit by President Bush to Beijing. Possibly to avert a diplomatic backlash, Chinese authorities took the unusual step of issuing a statement saying they had treated the detainees humanely. But Falun Gong said some of the protesters were beaten.
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