World Briefs: Bombs kill 42 in Iraq

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BAGHDAD — Bombings in Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk killed at least 42 people in Iraq on Saturday as the government investigated a deadly attack on a Sunni mosque the day before that has heightened sectarian tensions amid a fragile political transition.

In oil-rich Kirkuk, long disputed by Baghdad and the Kurdish regional government, three bombs went off in a crowded commercial district, killing 31 people and wounding dozens, Kirkuk deputy police chief Tarhan Abdel-Rahman said.

In Baghdad, a suicide bomber had earlier driven an explosives-laden car into the gate of the intelligence headquarters in Karrada district, killing six civilians and five security personnel, a police officer said. He said 24 other people were wounded.

Israel bombs high-rise

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel bombed an apartment tower in downtown Gaza City on Saturday, collapsing the 12-story building in an unprecedented strike, while Hamas kept up heavy rocket fire that sent more Israelis fleeing border areas close to Gaza.

The violence signaled that a speedy resumption of truce talks is unlikely, despite another appeal by mediator Egypt. Gaps between Israel and Hamas on a border deal for blockaded Gaza remain vast, and repeated rounds of talks have ended in failure.

The Israeli military said the missiles targeted a Hamas operations room in the building, but did not explain why the entire tower with 44 apartments was brought down.

Gaza police said a warning missile had been fired five minutes earlier and that some residents were able to rush out of the building in time. Still, 22 people were wounded, including 11 children and five women, according to Gaza hospital officials.

Volcano eruption begins

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano began erupting Saturday under the ice of Europe’s largest glacier, prompting the country to close the airspace over the volcano.

Thousands of small earthquakes have rattled the volcano, located deep beneath the Vatnajokull glacier, in the last week. Seismic data indicated that magma from the volcano was melting ice beneath the glacier’s Dyngjujokull icecap, Meteorological Office vulcanologist Melissa Pfeffer said.

The remote area, 200 miles east of the capital of Reykjavik, is uninhabited.

Tripoli airport seized

TRIPOLI, Libya — Forces from the Libyan city of Misrata on Saturday seized Tripoli's main airport after more than a month of fighting with a rival group, a Misrata spokesman said.

War planes had earlier struck Misrata positions in Tripoli in an attack claimed by renegade general Khalifa Haftar. The raids killed 10 people and wounded dozens, the Misrata faction said.

The fighting is the worst since the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Wrong orbits for 2 probes

PARIS — European space officials say they’re investigating whether the inaccurate deployment of two satellites will complicate their efforts to develop a new Galileo satellite navigation system that would rival America’s GPS network.

The European Space Agency and launch company Arianespace say the satellites ended up in off-target orbits after being launched Friday from Kourou, French Guiana, aboard a Soyuz rocket.

Saturday’s agency statement did not explain the difference between the satellites’ intended orbits and its current ones, nor whether their orbital paths could be corrected.

Also in the world ...

China on Saturday called U.S. criticism of an approach by one of its jets to a U.S. Navy patrol plane off the Chinese coast last week “completely groundless” and said its pilot had maintained a safe distance from the U.S. aircraft. ... Germany's foreign intelligence agency has been spying on Turkey for nearly four decades, Focus magazine said Saturday in a report that could raise tensions further between the NATO allies.

— Compiled from news services



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