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05/29/05 World News: Iraq Launches Major Security Operation in Baghdad


Iraq has deployed tens of thousands of troops and police in the capital, Baghdad, to hunt down and capture insurgents. Iraqi officials say the so-called "Operation Lightning" began early today (Sunday), when the first of more than 40-thousand soldiers and police began erecting scores of checkpoints on the southern and northern outskirts of the city.

The Israeli cabinet has approved the release of 400 Palestinian prisoners. n Israeli official says the ministers voted 18 to three today (Sunday) to approve the release. Israel had freed 500 prisoners last February as part of a ceasefire agreement with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Indonesia's vice president says he does not think Saturday's deadly bombings in a crowded market of central Sulawesi province were committed by local Muslims or Christians.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla says he believes the attacks in the predominantly Christian town of Tentena were carried out by outsiders with the aim of rekindling sectarian violence in the region. Mr. Kalla is expected to visit the area today (Sunday).

Citizens in Lebanon are voting today (Sunday) in the country's first general elections in 30 years that are free of a Syrian presence. Polling stations are open across the capital, Beirut, where more than 400-thousand people are eligible to vote to choose 19 representatives to the 128-seat parliament.

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