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US Military: Air Strike Kills al-Qaida in Iraq Leader in Ramadi


IRAQ: The U.S. military in Iraq says a coalition air strike has killed a local leader of the al-Qaida in Iraq militant group in the western town of Ramadi. A military statement says a laser-guided bomb destroyed a car carrying Rafa Abdul Salam Hamud Al Ithawi and his driver Wednesday, killing both men.Iraqi officials say insurgents have shot dead a leading academic and kidnapped two sports coaches for disabled athletes in the latest attacks in Baghdad.

IRAN-MISSILE: Iranian state television says the country's Revolutionary Guards have test-fired more than a score of missiles in the first hours of a 10-day military exercise. The commander of the Revolutionary Guards (Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi) says the military maneuvers (dubbed "Great Prophet") are aimed at demonstrating Iran's ability to defend itself against potential attacks. He says the exercises are not a threat to neighboring countries.

VIETNAM-DISSIDENTS: Vietnamese officials say seven political dissidents, including three naturalized U.S. citizens, will be tried on terrorism charges for plotting against the government. Officials said today (Thursday) a Ho Chi Minh City court will hear the case against the defendants, who the government says used radio broadcasts to incite unrest. The seven were arrested last year and are accused of taking orders from a pro-democracy activist Hanoi considers a terrorist.

THAILAND-SOUTH UNREST: Thailand's interim prime minister has apologized for the harsh methods the former government used against an insurgency in the country's mostly Muslim south. Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said today (Thursday) that the tactics used by his deposed predecessor, Thaksin Shinawatra, worsened the situation in the south.

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