World news briefs: 1/1/13

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Raid ignites W. Bank fury

TAMOUN, West Bank -- An arrest raid by undercover Israeli soldiers disguised as vegetable vendors ignited rare clashes in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, residents said, leaving at least 10 Palestinians wounded.

Israeli army raids into Palestinian areas to seize activists and militants are fairly common. The raids are normally coordinated with Palestinian security forces, and suspects are usually apprehended without violence.

The clashes began early Tuesday after Israeli forces disguised as merchants in a vegetable truck arrested one man. Regular army forces then entered the town, prompting youths to hurl rocks to try to prevent more arrests.

Israeli forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition as youths set tires and bins on fire to block the passage of military vehicles. In several hours of clashes, dozens of masked youths hid behind makeshift barriers, hurling rocks and firebombs at soldiers.

Faris Bisharat, a resident of Tamoun, said 10 men were wounded, some by live fire. Mr. Bisharat said the wanted men belong to Islamic Jihad, a violent group sworn to Israel's destruction. It wasn't clear how many men Israeli forces sought to arrest. There were no immediate details on how seriously the 10 were hurt.

The Israeli military said it arrested a "terrorist affiliated with the Islamic Jihad terror group." It said two soldiers were injured during the raid.

Aleppo flights stopped

BEIRUT -- Clashes between government troops and rebels Tuesday forced the international airport in Aleppo to stop all flights in and out of Syria's largest city, while fierce battles also raged in the suburbs of the capital Damascus.

The rebels have been making inroad in the civil war recently, capturing a string of military bases and posing a stiff challenge to the regime in Syria's two major cities -- Damascus and Aleppo.

The opposition trying to overthrow authoritarian President Bashar Assad has been fighting for control of Aleppo since the summer, and they have captured large swathes of territory in Aleppo province west and north of the city up to the Turkish border.

In the past few weeks, the rebels have stepped up their attacks on airports around Aleppo province, trying to chip away at the government's air power, which poses the biggest obstacle to their advances.

India welfare program

NEW DELHI -- India will send billions of dollars in social welfare money directly to its poor under a new program inaugurated Tuesday, aiming to cut out the middlemen blamed for the massive fraud that plagues the system.

Previously officials only handed out cash to the poor after taking a cut -- if they didn't keep all of it for themselves -- and were known to enroll fake recipients or register unqualified people. The new program would see welfare money directly deposited into recipients' bank accounts and require them to prove their identity with biometric data, such as fingerprints or retina scans.

Paris Apple store robbed

PARIS -- Armed robbers on New Year's Eve got away with what initial reports said was some $1.3 million of products from an Apple Inc. store in Paris.

The robbery, carried out by four or five armed and masked individuals, occurred in the late evening, about three hours after the store had closed, the reports say.

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