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A massive explosion caused by a bomb rigged to a fuel truck killed at least nine people outside a Baghdad police station, wounded 62 others, and caused heavy property damage. The casualty count was expected to rise as emergency crews removed debris from the scene. Terrorists also shot to death a senior Defense Ministry official and his bodyguard outside his home late Sunday. The violence contrasted with these other developments:

• The last of 51 soldiers and police from the Philippines left Iraq, complying with a demand by terrorists holding a Filipino hostage. But there was no immediate word on whether truck driver Angelo de la Cruz had been freed by his captors.

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• Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi began his first regional tour, arriving in neighboring Jordan to seek that government's help in quelling terrorism.

• The newspaper controlled by radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was permitted to resume publishing. It was closed by the Coalition Provisional Authority March 28 for inciting attacks against US forces and their allies.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia insisted his resignation was to be taken seriously, even though Yasser Arafat had not responded to it in writing. But he hinted that he still could rescind the move because "most of the ministers in the cabinet are against this." Meanwhile, Arafat appeared to have his hands full with other concerns, reappointing as his security chief Abdel-Razek al-Majaideh, whom he'd forced out earlier this month. Majaideh will outrank Arafat's cousin, Moussa Arafat, who was given the post Saturday, causing violent protests by other Palestinians.

Furious Hizbullah leaders and the president of Lebanon immediately blamed Israel for an explosion in a Beirut suburb that killed senior guerrilla Ghalib Awali. Israel recently has ratcheted up its rhetoric against the organization, which it accuses of backing Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Awali was identified as having led multiple attacks on the Jewish state's forces when they still were based in southern Lebanon.

Five suspected Muslim gunmen burst into a Christian church Sunday night in Indonesia's Sulawesi Province, killing a woman minister as she was finishing her sermon and wounding four parishioners - one of them critically. The attackers then fled. The area has roughly equal Muslim and Christian populations, and sectarian clashes there killed more than 2,000 people five years ago.

Voters mostly ignored a call for a boycott of Sunday's historic referendum in Bolivia on giving the government greater control over the natural gas industry and approved all five of its provisions, early results indicated. The balloting also was seen as a vote of confidence in new President Carlos Mesa, who took office last October after violent riots ousted his predecessor, an advocate of allowing privately extracted gas to be exported to the US and Mexico. Analysts said the outcome of the voting almost certainly means foreign companies developing the nation's No. 1 resource will have to pay sharply higher taxes.


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