World Briefs

Bombings in Iraq kill four people

BAGHDAD – A pair of bombings killed four people Sunday in attacks targeting Iraq’s security forces, officials said.

The first bomb exploded near a security patrol in the western city of Ramadi, killing one policeman and wounding seven people. Hours later, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a security checkpoint in Baghdad, killing three people – including two policemen – and wounding nine more.

Police and hospital officials in both Ramadi and Baghdad confirmed the casualty figures. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Violence has dropped across Iraq since the days when the country teetered on the brink of civil war just a few years ago, but deadly attacks still happen nearly every day. Insurgents launch frequent attacks on Shiites and security forces loyal to the Shiite-led government in an attempt to revive sectarian fighting in the country.

Syrians raid village, violence jumps border

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.

Tensions stemming from the 14-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad also touched off clashes across the border in Lebanon as the revolt threatened to morph into a broader conflict.

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 Assad’s regime and those seeking to end his rule.

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 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.

Speaking via Skype from Hama, activist Mousab Alhamadee said one local rebel leader was killed alongside five civilians.

“He was a hero in the Free Syrian Army who was trying to defend the civilians,” he said, referring to the umbrella group of local, anti-regime militias.

30 al-Qaida militants killed in Yemen

SANAA, Yemen – Government troops backed by warplanes and heavy artillery pounded al-Qaida 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 Sunday, pushing out al-Qaida-linked fighters who have controlled the area since taking it over last year. Abdullah Ahmed, who lives in the area, said the militants fled by foot after government soldiers destroyed nearly a dozen tanks and vehicles mounted with rocket launchers seized by the militants last year and kept in al-Hurur.

The attack was part of the Yemeni military’s broader campaign against al-Qaida-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.

Associated Press