- - Sunday, May 13, 2012

MONTERREY — Forty-nine decapitated and mutilated bodies were found Sunday dumped on a highway connecting the northern Mexican metropolis of Monterrey to the U.S. border in what appears to be the latest blow in an escalating war of intimidation among drug gangs.

Mexico’s organized crime groups often abandon multiple bodies in public places as warnings to their rivals, and authorities said at least a few of the recent victims had tattoos of the Santa Muerte cult, popular among drug traffickers.

The bodies of the 43 men and six women were found in the town of San Juan on the non-toll highway to the border city of Reynosa at about 4 a.m., forcing police and troops to close off the highway.

Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene said a banner left at the site bore a message with the Zetas drug cartel taking responsibility for the massacre.


Troops kill 30 terrorists with links to al Qaeda

SANAA — Government troops backed by warplanes and heavy artillery pounded al-Qaeda positions in southern Yemen on Sunday, killing at least 30 militants, officials said.

The army launched its assault on the al-Hurur region of Abyan province at dawn, pushing out al-Qaeda-linked terrorists who have controlled the area since taking it over last year.

The attack was part of the Yemeni military’s broader campaign against al-Qaeda-linked fighters. The militants have seized towns and territory across southern Yemen over the past year, taking advantage of a security vacuum linked to the country’s political turmoil that pushed longtime authoritarian leader Ali Abdullah Saleh from power.


100 injured in clash between police, activists

DHAKA — More than 100 people including many police were injured in clashes Sunday between opposition activists and security officials in southeastern Bangladesh, witnesses said.

The United News of Bangladesh news agency said the violence broke out in Chittagong when police blocked a protest march by Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest Islamic party. It said police swung batons and fired tear gas to disperse the stone-throwing protesters.

Witnesses said at least 100 people were injured.

Local journalist Osman Gani Mansur said the protesters smashed at least 50 vehicles and set fire to at least three others in Chittagong, Bangladesh’s second-largest city, 135 miles southeast of Dhaka.


Drawing shows Iran built nuclear-test chamber

VIENNA — A drawing based on information from inside an Iranian military site shows an explosives-containment chamber of the type needed for nuclear-arms-related tests that U.N. inspectors suspect Tehran has conducted there.

The computer-generated drawing was provided to the Associated Press by an official of a country tracking Iran’s nuclear program who said it proves the structure exists, despite Tehran’s refusal to acknowledge it.

That official said the image is based on information from a person who had seen the chamber at the Parchin military site, adding that going into detail would endanger the life of that informant.


Troops kill five in farming village

BEIRUT — Syrian forces killed at least five people when they raided a Sunni farming village on Sunday, torching homes and looting shops in what activists said is a sign of worsening relations among the country’s religious groups.

The raid against the impoverished village of al-Tamana, about 35 miles northwest of the city of Hama, began late Saturday and continued through the early hours on Sunday. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five people were killed in the raid and government troops were setting fire to homes.

The relentless violence further undermines a U.N.-backed peace plan that is supposed to bring an end to Syria’s deadly crisis. A cease-fire that was supposed to begin on April 12 has had only a limited effect, throwing into doubt the rest of the plan that calls for talks between Mr. Assad’s regime and those seeking to end his rule.


Residents flee clash between army, mutineers

GOMA — Scores of residents fled heavy fighting between government forces and army mutineers in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday.

Disgruntled troops have fought for weeks under rebel leader Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, or as part of breakaway militias.

The mutineers are one-time rebels who were integrated into the national army under a 2009 peace deal but defected again after long complaining of a lack of pay, poor food and difficulties in winning promotions.

More than 10,000 people have fled to Rwanda and Uganda.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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