A senior Pakistani military commander has been killed by Islamic militants in the sixth day of a standoff at an Islamabad mosque. Pakistan's military said that Colonel Haroon Islam died today (Sunday) after an exchange of gunfire with militants holed up behind the walls of the Red Mosque (Lal Masjid). Government troops have blasted holes in the perimeter walls of the mosque in hopes that dozens of young women who attend a school within the compound could escape. Government officials say up to a thousand people, including women and children, are in the compound.
Iraqi officials say bombings today (Sunday) in the Baghdad area have killed at least 23 people. Just south of the capital, authorities say a suicide car bomber killed at least 15 security force recruits and wounded about 20 others. Earlier, two car bombs killed at least eight civilians in the capital. Officials say several other people were wounded in the blasts. Iraqi officials have also increased the death toll from Saturday's suicide bombing in northern Iraq, saying at least 130 people were killed and more than 250 wounded.
ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS: Israel's Cabinet agreed today (Sunday) to release 250 prisoners in a gesture to bolster Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his emergency government. Cabinet members say the release was approved by a wide margin, but that the government is still deciding on the names of the prisoners to be released. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to the prisoner release two weeks ago during a meeting with Mr. Abbas, who heads the Fatah movement. The move is part of a Western campaign to bolster the new administration Mr. Abbas named after dismissing a unity government with Islamist Hamas.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan elders and officials say NATO and U.S. air strikes have killed 133 civilians throughout the country this past week. In western Farah province, elders from the Bala Baluk area say 108 civilians - including women and children - were killed in air strikes Thursday and Friday. Afghan officials have not confirmed the killings. A senior police official (Abdul Saboor Allahyar) in northeastern Kunar province said Saturday that 25 civilians and 20 militants were killed in similar attacks.
alia's attorney general has downplayed a report that attackers in London's failed car bombings planned to trigger the blasts with phone calls from Australia. Phillip Ruddock today (Sunday) told Australian television (Nine Network) that the speculation is probably linked to the fact that several phones used in connection with the plot had once been owned by people now in Australia.
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