Iraqi police say bomb blasts have damaged a revered Shi'ite Muslim shrine in the city of Samarra, raising fears of a further escalation of sectarian violence. Authorities say the explosion caused the two minarets of the Askariya Mosque to collapse. There were no reports of casualties. The Iraqi government imposed an indefinite curfew in Baghdad (starting at 1100 UTC) and Samarra after the attack. Radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for three days of mourning and his Mahdi militia urged restraint following the blasts. Lawmakers loyal to the cleric suspended participation in parliament in response to the attack. Sunni religious leaders have appealed for calm.
Indonesian police say they have arrested the country's most-wanted militant, Abu Dujana, the alleged leader of the Southeast Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah. Abu Dujana was captured Saturday along with several other suspected terrorists in raids on Indonesia's main island of Java. Police announced the arrests today (Tuesday). Officials say DNA tests confirmed his identity. Asian and Western authorities accuse the al-Qaida linked Jemaah Islamiyah of carrying out deadly bomb attacks on Indonesia's Bali island in 2002 and 2005, and an attack on the Australian Embassy in 2004.
CAMBODIA-KHMER ROUGE: Cambodian and international judges in Phnom Penh have approved rules for the long-awaited trials of former Khmer Rouge leaders. The agreements were reached during a week-long meeting on the court's internal regulations. Court officials had argued for months over procedures, legal fees charged to foreign attorneys and allegations of political interference. The trials were expected to begin this year, but are now unlikely to start before 2008. The radical communist Khmer Rouge is blamed for killing nearly two million Cambodians through starvation, disease, overwork and execution during their 1975 to 1979 rule.
Factional fighting between rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah spread to central Gaza today (Wednesday). Hamas says it seized two more Fatah security positions in the latest fighting. Hamas fighters also tightened their hold on northern Gaza and gave Fatah forces there until Friday to surrender their weapons. In Gaza City, six more fighters were killed in factional clashes today (Wednesday).
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his country is not concerned by the threat of further United Nations sanctions over its nuclear program. In a televised speech today (Wednesday), he said Iran does not consider U.N. sanctions resolutions to have any value. The U.N. Security Council has already imposed two rounds of sanctions on Iran for its failure to stop sensitive nuclear work.
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