Another US soldier was killed and at least three more were wounded in Iraq over the weekend in new attacks against occupying coalition forces. The dead soldier became the 19th such casualty since major combat was declared over May 1. Meanwhile, sabotage was blamed for an explosion and fire that engulfed an oil pipeline 90 miles northwest of Baghdad late Saturday. The incident came as the first Iraqi crude exports since the war began were to begin flowing to neighboring Turkey.
Within hours of Secretary of State Powell's latest peace mission, Israeli soldiers shot to death one of the most-wanted Hamas militants, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned that unless new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas acts "in the most serious manner against terrorist organizations ... we will." With Powell moving on to a meeting in Jordan of the parties that drafted the road map to Middle East peace, Sharon also told his cabinet Sunday that Israel can continue building in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but should do so without fanfare.
The crackdown against antigovernment demonstrators in Iran has led to almost 475 more arrests since last Thursday, leaders acknowledged. But they warned that, "Even if they [put] us in solitary confinement, there are others who have more daring slogans and will confront the system with more violent methods." A senior member of the unelected ruling clergy called Friday for those arrested to be charged with "waging war on God," which under Iranian law carries the death penalty. For the first time in 10 days, no major protests were reported in Tehran Friday, but analysts expect an intensification as the July 9 anniversary approaches of the violence against student protests by Islamic vigilantes in 1999.
Hopes for peace in the southern Philippines rose after its main Muslim rebel movement declared publicly that terrorism "is anathema to the teachings of Islam." The statement came at the end of a unilateral truce that expired Saturday. In return, the Manila government said it welcomed the declaration and was ready to restart formal peace talks to end 31 years of Islamic insurgency in which more than 120,000 people have died. More than 200 of those have come so far this year.
At least 105 people died when a punctured pipeline from which they were scavenging fuel in southeastern Nigeria exploded into flames. Authorities said they expected the number to rise because many others were taken to hospitals in critical condition. The accident, the latest in a series that has killed hundreds of Nigerians, happened last Thursday but was not reported until the weekend.