An explosion at the home of a leading Hamas activist killed three Palestinians on Thursday and injured five others in Gaza City, doctors and witnesses said.
The cause of the blast was not immediately clear. The Israeli military had no immediate comment.
Meanwhile, about 1000 people gathered in Nablus for the funeral of Ayed Mansour, a Palestinian intelligence office and member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militia linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement.
Mansour was gunned down Wednesday as he stepped from his car in the village of Kalil, near Nablus. Palestinian security officials said Israeli troops lying in ambush opened fire from two directions. The Israeli military said it had no knowledge of the incident.
At three children killed in Italy quake
A strong earthquake rocked central and southern Italy on Thursday, trapping about 50 children in a nursery school after the roof collapsed. At least three children were killed, firefighters said.
Twenty children and one teacher were rescued from the school in San Giuliano di Puglia and taken to nearby hospitals, said police and firefighters in Rome, who were coordinating the rescue effort.
Chechen accused of plotting new attack
A suspected Chechen terrorist was arrested in Moscow carrying 18 pounds of mercury -- a poison -- while allegedly planning a new attack, and Russian officials said Thursday evidence implicated the top Chechen elected leader in last week's hostage siege in a Moscow theater.
Sergei Krym-Gerei, an alleged member of prominent Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev's gang, was carrying the mercury in a bottle when arrested. He has refused to answer questions.
Meanwhile, a Kremlin spokesman said Thursday the leader of the Chechen hostage-takers, Movsar Barayev, was heard on intercepted telephone conversations saying he acted on orders from top rebel leader Shamil Basayev, who in turn was carrying out an order from separatist president Aslan Maskhadov. Barayev was killed in the hostage rescue operation.
Sharon tries to rebuild government
Ariel Sharon tried Thursday to rebuild a government left in shambles by the departure of the center-left Labor Party, and the Israeli leader was expected to court ultranationalists opposed to a peace deal with the Palestinians.
The political instability in Israel bodes ill for a new U.S.-backed peace plan, and Palestinian officials say they fear a government stacked with hardliners will adopt even tougher policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
French urge caution on McDonald's
The French division of McDonald's has run ads that included a surprising suggestion: Kids shouldn't eat at McDonald's more than once a week.
The advertisements, quoting information from specialists, aim to show that "McDonald's meals are part of a balanced weekly diet," said Euro RSCG, the agency that came up with the ads, which appeared this spring, mostly in French women's magazines.
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