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Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's second-in-command, "probably cleared" the plot to blow up as many as 10 US-bound passenger jets, a senior Pakistani intelligence source said Thursday. The claim came as investigators in Britain were granted another week in which to interrogate 23 suspects in the plot while investigators continue to search for evidence in homes and places of business believed to be related to the case. Meanwhile, results of a new opinion poll showed majority support in Britain for profiling airline passengers by ethnic and religious background according to those perceived as posing the greatest security risk.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly pledged his help to the wife of a kidnaped Fox News cameraman in finding and freeing her husband as well as his colleague, reporter Steve Centanni. Centanni, an American, and New Zealander Olaf Wiig were seized Monday while on assignment in the Gaza Strip. No demands have been made for their release. In a related development, Abbas said he'd won agreement from Gaza militants to stop firing rockets into Israel if the latter halted its offensive there. An Islamic Jihad spokesman, however, characterized the pledge as only a "general tendency."

Using speedboats and helicopters, rescue crews ferried an estimated 6,000 Ethiopians to safety after they'd been stranded by the flooding that has devastated much of the country. Authorities, however, confirmed that at least 870 others had died and said they were preparing for that number to climb to 1,000. Tens of thousands more were cut off from food and shelter when the Omo River and its tributaries overflowed as a result of heavy seasonal rains. The government warned that pressure on major dams could cause them to fail and appealed for international help for overwhelmed emergency services.


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