World Briefs: Nigeria raids target rebels

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MAIDUGURI, Nigeria -- Nigeria's military has killed 56 suspected members of Islamist rebel group Boko Haram around the northeastern town of Bama on Saturday after slaying at least 50 insurgents earlier last week, the army said.

Soldiers "launched an intense attack on Boko Haram elements" with air support Saturday, army spokesman Capt. Aliyu Ibrahim Danja said in an emailed statement Monday.

The military operation was the second assault on Boko Haram in Borno state in less than a week. On Dec. 24, the army killed at least 50 suspected insurgents retreating into neighboring Cameroon after a Dec. 20 attack on a military base in Bama.

4 journalists arrested

CAIRO -- Four journalists working for Al-Jazeera have been arrested by Egyptian authorities, the pan-Arab satellite channel said on its website, in an apparent escalation of Egyptian authorities' harsh campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Qatar-based channel called for their immediate release.

The Interior Ministry, in a statement cited by regional news outlets, said the men were accused of making reports harmful to national security and possessing Muslim Brotherhood publications.

17 killed in clashes

BAGHDAD -- Heavy fighting erupted Monday between government security forces and tribal gunmen when the police moved to dismantle a Sunni protesters' camp in Ramadi, west of Baghdad in Anbar province, police and local officials said. At least 17 people died in the clashes, according to a security official.

Battles also broke out in other parts of the province, including Fallujah. The security official, who asked not to be named, said 12 civilians were killed and 26 were wounded in fighting in Ramadi and Hit, a nearby city. In Fallujah, the official said, five soldiers were killed and 15 people were wounded.

Bombs target Musharraf?

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistani authorities defused four small bombs Monday planted near the house of former President Pervez Musharraf, just two days before he is to appear in court in a treason case, a police official said.

An onlooker spotted the devices alongside a road about a quarter-mile from Mr. Musharraf's farmhouse on the outskirts of Islamabad, said police officer Nayyar Saleem.

Bank-hacking arrests

MADRID -- Spain's national police, acting along with an unidentified U.S. security agency, arrested eight members of a global banking hacking network responsible for stealing more than $60 million from cash machines worldwide.

Police said in a statement Sunday they had arrested six Romanians and two Moroccans in the suburbs of Madrid. Police seized material including 25,000 euros ($34,000) in cash, jewelry, computers and about 1,000 unused cards.

The U.S. had been investigating the illegal activities carried out by a complex organization involved in cash withdrawals since 2007, according to the statement.

Also in the world ...

Police in China's far western Xinjiang region killed eight people Monday when a group wielding knives and throwing explosives attacked a police station, ... The total debt of local governments in China has soared to nearly $3 trillion as the country's addiction to credit-fueled growth has deepened in recent years, according to the findings of a long-awaited report released Monday by the central auditing agency.

-- Compiled from news services

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