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6/24/2006 World News: Sweep Against Afghan Insurgents Kills Scores More Rebels


Afghanistan: U.S.-led coalition forces say they have killed about 65 extremists during heavy fighting in Afghanistan.
In a statement today (Saturday), U.S. officials said Afghan and coalition forces engaged extremists in the southern province of Kandahar late Friday. The officials said 25 militants were killed during the three-hour battle.
The statement said some insurgents used Afghan civilians as human shields and escaped into nearby villages.
In a separate action, coalition forces said they killed up to 40 militants during heavy fighting in neighboring Uruzgan province.

Iraq: Iraqi police say a roadside bomb has killed a local intelligence chief and his two guards in the northern city of Kirkuk. Local authorities say the blast occurred early today (Saturday).
Separately, the U.S. military says an American soldier was killed Saturday in a bomb attack in central Baghdad. The military also reported the death of a soldier in a roadside bomb attack Friday.
The Iraqi government had imposed a curfew in Baghdad to help security forces control surging violence in the capital.

Zawahiri Tape: Al-Qaida's number-two leader has appeared in a video praising Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq killed on June seventh by a U.S. air strike.
Ayman al-Zawahiri's video aired Friday on Al Jazeera.
In it, Zawahiri appeared in front of a portrait of Zarqawi. He called Zarqawi the prince of martyrs and said that no member of al-Qaida would die without avenging him.
He also criticized several Iraqi government officials and the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq.
Zawahiri did not mention Zarqawi's successor as leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer.

US Terror Arrests: The alleged ringleader of a suspected domestic terrorist cell in the United States has ties to

(the midwestern city of) Chicago - which authorities say was the group's major target.
Narseal Batiste and six other men have been accused of plotting to attack Chicago's Sears Tower - the country's tallest building - and several other buildings, including FBI offices in five cities. He appeared Friday before a judge in Miami (Florida) with four other suspects.
Another suspect was already in custody in Florida when the others were detained there Thursday. The seventh suspect is in custody in Atlanta (Georgia).

US Terror Probe: Vice President Dick Cheney says a secret government program that searches private bank records is "absolutely essential" in the fight against terrorism.
Three major U.S. newspapers ("The New York Times," the "Los Angeles Times," "The Wall Street Journal") revealed Thursday that the Treasury Department has been gathering records from the Belgium-based consortium SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), which handles millions of global financial transactions a day.
Cheney and other Bush administration strongly defended the program Friday. The vice president lashed out at the disclosure of the program, saying it would make it more difficult to prevent future terrorist attacks against Americans.

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