- The Washington Times - Monday, July 13, 2009


Christians killed after church service

A car bomb exploded near a church as worshippers left Sunday Mass, killing at least four civilians and injuring 18 in one of several attacks on Iraq’s beleaguered Christian minority.

The coordinated assault came as the Iraqi military predicted that insurgent attacks, though declining, could continue for a few years, raising the prospect of militant violence after the scheduled withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of 2011.

Three Christians and one Muslim died in the bombing about 7 p.m. near a church on Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad, said a police officer who was at the scene. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Violence is sharply down in the war that began with the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, but militants still carry out lethal attacks on a regular basis, some seemingly aimed at fomenting sectarian tension. The U.S. military completed a withdrawal of combat forces from Iraqi cities to outlying bases last month as part of a plan to let Iraq take the lead on ensuring its own security.


Authorities end nightly curfew

In a nationally broadcast announcement, the interim government in Honduras said the curfew had reached its objective to “restore calm” and curb crime.

The administration of Roberto Micheletti imposed the curfew after soldiers escorted ousted President Manuel Zelaya out of the country at gunpoint June 28, plunging Honduras into political turmoil.

Daily demonstrations for and against the forcibly exiled leader have disrupted transit and prompted many businesses to close.


Invasion feared from neighbor

Guinea’s military leaders have uncovered a plot to overthrow the government in the poor, unstable West African nation, state radio reported.

It said in a report Saturday night that military ruler Capt. Moussa “Dadis” Camara put the army on high alert after learning of a planned attack from fighters in neighboring Guinea-Bissau and Liberia. It said the coup plot appears to be backlash from drug traffickers deposed by Mr. Camara when he seized power in December.

Mr. Camara seized power just hours after the death of longtime dictator Lansana Conte, a deeply corrupt ruler whose own son is believed to have been one of the country’s top drug lords. Mr. Camara suspended the constitution, but has since launched an anti-corruption crackdown and publicly interrogated top officials of the former regime accused of drug trafficking and graft.

In June, 20 people, including the former chief of the armed forces and his son, were indicted on drug-related charges after Mr. Camara ordered an investigation.


Six police officers killed in ambush

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities did not rule out Taliban militants, though other insurgent groups operate in the region.

The attack came as Pakistan’s military continued to battle militants in the Swat Valley and the South Waziristan tribal region.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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