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Suicide bomber kills schoolchildren

KABUL — A suicide bomber killed 17 Afghan civilians, including 12 schoolchildren, yesterday in an attack aimed at Dutch NATO troops patrolling a crowded bazaar in the south of the country, the Interior Ministry said.

About 30 people, including seven Dutch soldiers, were wounded in the attack in the small town of Deh Rawud in Uruzgan province, officials said. Some of the wounded were in critical condition.


Al Qaeda gives warning for honoring Rushdie

CAIRO — Al Qaeda’s No. 2 issued an audiotape yesterday threatening to retaliate against Britain for having honored the novelist Salman Rushdie, a U.S.-based monitoring group said.

Ayman al-Zawahri’s 20-minute speech was titled “Malicious Britain and Its Indian Slaves.” It was produced by as-Sahab, the multimedia wing of al Qaeda, to be distributed to extremist Web sites, said the U.S.-based SITE Institute, which monitors al Qaeda messages.


Army requests U.S. attack helicopters

TAIPEI — Taiwan’s army wants to buy 30 Boeing Apache attack helicopters from the United States, an official said yesterday, in a deal that almost certainly would roil rival China.

Col. Dai Kuang-chao said the military opted for the Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow over Bell’s AH-1Z Cobra because it better suited the army’s needs.

The deal, worth $1.5 billion, must be approved by the U.S. government and Taiwan’s legislature.

From wire dispatches and staff reports