World Briefs: Israel hands over militants’ remains

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GAZA STRIP

Israel hands over militants’ remains

GAZA CITY — Israel on Thursday handed over to the Palestinian government the remains of 91 militants who had been killed while carrying out suicide bombings and other attacks in an effort to renew long-stalled peace talks.

The bodies had been buried in coffins in Israel and were dug up for the transfer. Seventy-nine were transported to Ramallah, which is run by the Palestinian Authority, and 12 to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, which is run by the rival Islamic militant group Hamas.

RUSSIA

Retired colonel convicted of spying for U.S.

MOSCOW — A retired Russian military officer has been convicted on charges of spying for the U.S. and sentenced to 12 years in prison, the counterintelligence agency said Thursday, the latest in a raft of espionage cases that come amid tensions between Moscow and Washington.

A court has ruled that retired Col. Vladimir Lazar will be sent to a high-security prison and stripped of his military rank, the Federal Security Service, or FSB, said in a statement.

Prosecutors said Col. Lazar purchased several computer disks with more than 7,000 images of classified maps of Russia from a collector in 2008 and smuggled them to neighboring Belarus, where he gave them to an alleged American intelligence agent.

The FSB said the maps could be used for planning military operations against Russia. Col. Lazar had served with the General Staff of the Russian armed forces in Moscow before his retirement a decade ago.

IRAQ

Bomb attacks kill 18 people, wound 53

BAGHDAD — Bombs exploded at a crowded Baghdad restaurant and near a police patrol Thursday, among attacks that killed at least 18 people and wounded 53 in Iraq’s bloodiest day in more than a month, police and hospital medics said.

Five blasts hit the capital, and the northern city of Mosul was the scene of a fatal shooting attack.

Violence has decreased in Iraq since a wave of sectarian bloodshed in 2006 and 2007, but insurgents carry out frequent attacks on security forces and civilians to undermine the Shiite-led government. The violence threatens the stability of the country following the pullout of U.S. forces in December.

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