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Al Qaeda gaining strength, U.S. says

Al Qaeda has rebuilt some of its pre-9/11 capabilities from remote hiding places in Pakistan, leading to a major spike in attacks last year in that country and neighboring Afghanistan, the Bush administration said yesterday.

Attacks in Pakistan more than doubled from 375 to 887 between 2006 and 2007, and the number of fatalities almost quadrupled from 335 to 1,335, the State Department said in its annual terrorism report.

In Afghanistan, the number of attacks rose 16 percent, to 1,127 incidents last year, killing 1,966 people, 55 percent more than the 1,257 who died in 2006, it said.

The report said attacks in Iraq dipped slightly between 2006 and 2007, but they still accounted for 60 percent of worldwide terrorism fatalities. More than 22,000 people were killed by terrorists around the world in 2007, 8 percent more than in 2006.

IRAN

Tehran complains about Clinton remark

NEW YORK — Iran complained to the United Nations yesterday about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s comment the United States could “totally obliterate” Iran in retaliation for a nuclear strike against Israel.

Iran’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the president of the Security Council expressing Iran’s condemnation of “such a provocative, unwarranted and irresponsible statement.”

Mrs. Clinton made the remarks last week while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.

AFGHANISTAN

Security forces raid militants’ hide-out

KABUL — Afghan security forces raided a Kabul hide-out yesterday where militants with suspected links to the attack on President Hamid Karzai were holed up, a top official said. Seven people died in the pre-dawn raid, including a child.

Militants hiding in a mud-brick house and security forces traded rocket-propelled grenades and automatic gunfire for several hours in western Kabul. Families evacuated the area as explosions reverberated and gunfire pierced the air.

TURKEY

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