As promised, the rebels holding the port district of Liberia's capital gave up control to West African peacekeepers, who were joined for the first time by scores of US marines (Story, page 1.). Although the freeing of the port was expected to ease distribution of vital food aid, looters already had emptied warehouses, and the retreating rebels were seen carrying off still more supplies. Interim President Moses Blah was to meet with leaders of the rebel factions that control most of Liberia, with mediators hoping both sides can sign a peace accord Saturday.
Islamic Jihad vowed to avenge the death of one of its leading militants after a gunfight with Israeli soldiers in Hebron on the West Bank. Army sources said the warehouse in which Mohamad Sidr's remains were found was an explosives factory. They said he was responsible for killing 19 Israelis and two international observers as well as the wounding of 82 others in a series of bombings and shootings. A similar Israeli operation against two Hamas members last week led to two retaliatory terrorist bombings Tuesday.
Gunmen attacked a clearly marked Red Cross convoy near Kabul, Afghanistan, killing two humanitarian aid workers and wounding three others in a second straight day of violence since NATO took command of peacekeeping operations there. Diplomats said they were "increasingly worried" at the resurgence in such attacks, apparently by regrouping Taliban members, and expressed doubt that the war-torn country would be secure enough by next June to hold scheduled elections.
Furious members of the minority Serb community in Kosovo demanded justice for the ambush of six teenagers at a swimming party near an ethnic Albanian town Wednesday. Two were killed by machine-gun fire; the rest were wounded, one of them critically. Police said they had no suspects, although suspicion fell on local Albanians. The Serb government in Belgrade demanded an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on what it called an attempt by extremists to create an ethnically pure Albanian state.
Emergency crews raced to stabilize both sections of a tanker that broke apart off Karachi, Pakistan, and was spilling oil into the Arabian Sea. The Communications Ministry said, "The worst is over," but wouldn't discuss how much of the estimated 73,850 tons of crude in the vessel's tanks had leaked. Doctors said they were alarmed at the number of residents complaining of illness caused by fumes from oil that was blackening local beaches.