North Korea's leader reviewed a massive military parade in Pyongyang Wednesday featuring missiles that could be armed with the nuclear warheads his government has pledged to abandon. State-run news agencies quoted Kim Jong-Il as saying North Korean forces "will wipe out US imperialists if they infringe our sovereignty even a [little]." The North missed the April 14 deadline for shutting down and sealing its nuclear facilities, and a senior US negotiator warned Tuesday that patience is running out over the failure to comply.
Al Qaeda's "security emir" in Iraq has been killed, a US military spokesman said. Mohammad Abdullah Abbas al-Issawi died in a firefight with US and Iraqi forces last Friday in Baghdad, the spokesman said. He was believed responsible for sending children as young as 12 on car-bomb missions and was linked to recent poisonous chlorine gas attacks. The announcement came as the UN said in its first human rights report since the security crackdown went into effect in Baghdad Feb. 14 that civilian casualties because of sectarian violence remain high. It blasted Iraq's Health Ministry for refusing to release accurate statistics on the death rate.
For now, Israeli forces will carry out only a limited offensive in response to new Palestinian rocket attacks, government officials said Wednesday. Despite a Hamas declaration that its five-month truce with the Jewish state is over, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ruled out a large-scale offensive in the Gaza Strip, the sources said. Olmert authorized continued "pinpoint" operations to try to stop the launching of rockets, they said.
New peace negotiations opened in Somalia's capital to try to quell eight straight days of fighting between Islamist militants and Ethiopian-backed government forces. The number of dead in the violence was estimated by human rights groups at more than 350, many of them civilians. Reports said Somali soldiers were being used to flush the Islamists from hiding in Mogadishu's neighborhoods so Ethiopian forces could pound them using tank-mounted guns.