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Day of attacks kills 8 NATO troops

KABUL | Insurgent attacks in Afghanistan killed eight NATO service members in one of the deadliest days for the military coalition this year, signaling the start of what many fear will be a particularly violent fighting season as President Obama looks to start drawing down troops, authorities said Sunday.

The spate of attacks happened Saturday, when two separate bomb blasts in the south killed three soldiers and a suicide bombing by a Taliban sleeper agent killed five NATO service members at a U.S. base in the east.

Fighting usually increases in Afghanistan as the weather warms and insurgents climb back over the mountainous border with Pakistan. This year, NATO has pushed further into Taliban strongholds in the south and has said the goal is to hold these areas so that militants cannot re-establish their dominance.


March date set for parliamentary election

TEHRAN | Iran’s official news agency said parliamentary elections have been set for March.

The report Sunday by IRNA quoted Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar as saying the voting will take place March 2.

Plans for the election could be a springboard for protests by Iran’s opposition after facing a relentless crackdown since unrest following the disputed 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But it also may be a test of strength for Mr. Ahmadinejad, who has been challenged by the current parliament.

The last parliamentary election was in 2008, when conservatives won the majority of seats in the 275-seat chamber.


2 Palestinians arrested in settler stabbings

JERUSALEM | Israel on Sunday announced the arrests of two Palestinian teenagers in the deadly stabbings of a West Bank settler family last month, capping a monthlong investigation that involved mass-arrest raids and the detentions of hundreds of Arab villagers.

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