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IRAQ

Violent deaths decline in February

BAGHDAD | The number of civilians, police and soldiers killed in violence in Iraq dropped in February, the worst death toll resulting from a terrorist attack on Shiite pilgrims, official figures showed on Tuesday

The Health Ministry said 119 civilians were killed in bombings and other attacks last month compared with 159 in January.

Fifteen police officers and 33 soldiers were killed, compared with 55 and 45 respectively in January, according to Interior and Defense ministry figures.

In February, 235 civilians, 85 police officers and 66 soldiers were wounded.

Many of the deaths in February were the result of attacks on Shiite pilgrims near the city of Samarra, 62 miles north of Baghdad.

ISRAEL

Settlers suspected of vandalizing property

JERUSALEM | Vandals smashed the windows of seven Palestinian cars and threw a firebomb at a Palestinian house in the West Bank early Tuesday in a rampage that Israeli police blamed on Jewish settlers.

Settler groups are furious over the police demolition of two structures at an unauthorized West Bank outpost on Monday, followed by new hints from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel soon could be forced to curb construction in the settlements.

Jewish extremists frequently attack Palestinian property to protest Israeli government action to curb Jewish settlements. They call this policy “price tag.”

TURKEY

Masses mourn Islamist leader

ISTANBUL | Turks, including the country’s political leaders, paid their respects on Tuesday to former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, founder of the country’s modern Islamist movement. Mr. Erbakan died on Sunday.

Somber music poured from loudspeakers outside Istanbul’s 15th-century Fatih Mosque, and street vendors sold scarves emblazoned with the message “Mujahid Erbakan.”

They celebrated Mr. Erbakan as a holy warrior as mourners chanted “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, proteges of Mr. Erbakan’s, joined other leaders for prayers in front of the coffin, laid out in the mosque’s courtyard and draped in green cloth adorned with verses from the Islamic holy book, the Koran.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Official probes crash that killed 4 Americans

AL AIN | The top civil aviation official in the United Arab Emirates said Tuesday that investigators are looking into possible defects on a 1940s-era plane that crashed two days ago, killing four of the Americans on board.

Saif al-Suwaidi, director general of the UAE’s Civil Aviation Authority, also said that human error has not been ruled out in Sunday’s crash in Al Ain, about 60 miles east of the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi.

The aircraft, which was built in 1946 and reportedly modified in recent decades, crashed shortly after takeoff.

Mr. al-Suwaidi said the plane was in good condition and fully certified but that investigators Tuesday were examining possible hidden defects because of the plane’s age and upgrades.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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