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World Briefs: 2 dead, 13 hurt in crash onto crowded street

- - Wednesday, January 16, 2013

GREAT BRITAIN

LONDON — A helicopter crashed into a crane and fell on a crowded street in central London during rush hour Wednesday, sending flames and black plumes of smoke into the air.

The pilot and one person on the ground were killed and 13 others injured, officials said.

The helicopter crashed in misty weather just south of the River Thames near the Underground and mainline train station at Vauxhall, and close to the headquarters of spy agency MI6.

Police said one person had critical injuries. Six were taken to a hospital with "minor injuries," and seven treated at the scene, London Ambulance Service said.

SYRIA

Car bombs kill 22 near security targets

DAMASCUS — Suicide bombers driving vehicles packed with explosives blew themselves up near security targets in northern Syria on Wednesday, killing at least 22 people, state-run media and activists said.

The near simultaneous attacks in the city of Idlib brought the carnage of Syria's civil war to a second major urban center in the country's north in as many days, following the massive blasts a day earlier that killed 87 people at a university in the commercial hub of Aleppo.

There were conflicting reports about the number of explosions Wednesday in Idlib, where rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad control much of the countryside, while the regime remains in charge of the city itself.

The state-run SANA news agency said two suicide bombers hit a pair of roundabouts in the city, killing 22 people and wounding 30.

IRAN

U.N. investigators, Iran open talks on nuclear probe

TEHRAN — Senior U.N. investigators opened a new round of talks on Wednesday with Iranian officials in Tehran in the hopes of restarting a probe into allegations that the Islamic republic carried out atomic bomb trigger tests and other suspected weapons-related studies.

The semiofficial ISNA news agency reported that negotiations started at the headquarters of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization. It gave no further details.

The U.N. meetings are considered an important test of Iran's willingness to address Western concerns before the possible resumption of wider dialogue with the U.S. and other world powers.

EGYPT

Apartment building collapse kills 17

CAIRO — An eight-story apartment building collapsed, killing 17 people Wednesday in Egypt's Mediterranean port city of Alexandria — the second tragic accident in the country as many days.

Eight other people were injured and rescue teams continued to search for survivors under the rubble, Assistant Interior Minister Abdel-Aziz Tawfeeq said.

Military police from a nearby naval base formed a security ring around the site for the rescue operation.

The building collapse came a day after 19 police conscripts were killed when the last car of a train they were riding jumped the tracks and smashed into another train just outside Cairo.

IRAQ

String of attacks kills at least 31

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber driving a vehicle packed with explosives blew himself up outside the offices of a major Kurdish party in northern Iraq early Wednesday, the deadliest in a wave of morning attacks that killed at least 31 people across the country.

The violence comes amid rising tensions among Iraq's ethnic and sectarian groups that threaten to plunge the country back into chaos nearly a decade after the U.S.-led invasion.

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, car bombs and coordinated attacks are favorite tactics of Sunni insurgents, such as al Qaeda's branch in Iraq.

From wire dispatches and staff reports