MAIDUGURI, Nigeria -- Suspected Islamic militants wearing army fatigues gunned down 44 people praying at a mosque in northeast Nigeria, while another 12 civilians died in an apparently simultaneous attack, security agents said Monday.
Sunday's attacks were the latest in a slew of violence blamed on religious extremists in this West African oil producer, where the radical Boko Haram group, which wants to oust the government and impose Islamic law, poses the greatest security threat in years.
It was not immediately clear why the Islamic Boko Haram would have killed worshipping Muslims, but the group has in the past attacked mosques whose clerics have spoken out against religious extremism. Boko Haram also has attacked Christians outside churches and teachers and schoolchildren, as well as government and military targets.
Attacks kill 26 in Iraq
BAGHDAD -- Three blasts including a suicide bomb in a cafe killed 26 people in central and western Iraq on Monday evening, officials said. They were the latest attacks in a months-long surge of violence.
In the deadliest of the blasts, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt inside a cafe in Balad, 60 miles north of Baghdad, killing 15 people and wounding another 30, police said. Militants frequently attack Shiite civilian targets to undermine the government.
Meanwhile, Al-Qaida's branch in Iraq claimed responsibility for attacks that killed 69 people last week during the Muslim holiday following the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Kerry defends NSA spying
BOGOTA, Colombia -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry defended the National Security Agency surveillance programs on Monday and played down their impact on U.S. efforts to deepen relations with two key allies in Latin America.
Brazil and Colombia, two of the United States' closest friends in the region, have been rankled by reports that citizens of Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and other countries were among the targets of a massive NSA operation to secretly gather information about phone calls and Internet communications worldwide. The disclosures were made by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Mr. Kerry sought to play down the rift during a press conference in Bogota before heading to Brazil on his first trip to South America as secretary of state.
Nazi-era war criminal dies
BUDAPEST -- Laszlo Csatary, a Hungarian who'd been convicted by Slovakia for aiding the deportation of Jews to Nazi death camps and who was awaiting trial in his home country, died at age 98.
Csatary died Aug. 10 from pneumonia at a hospital in Budapest. Csatary denied the allegations against him.
A Slovakian court sentenced Csatary in absentia to death in 1948, with the punishment later commuted to life imprisonment.
In 1944, Csatary worked as a Hungarian policeman in charge of 12,000 Jews held in a brick factory in Kosice, now part of Slovakia. He beat detainees with a dog leash "regularly and without justification and without regard to the detainees' gender, age or health," according to a June 18 statement from Hungary's prosecutor's office.
On June 2 of that year, as Jews were forced into trains for deportation to Nazi death camps, Csatary rejected a request to have a window cut in a wagon where 80 people were crammed to let in air, according to the charges.
Dutch prince dies
AMSTERDAM -- Friso van Oranje, the brother of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands whose love for a woman led him to renounce his claim to the throne, has died 18 months after a skiing accident left him in a coma. He was 44.
He died Monday in the Huis ten Bosch palace in The Hague, the Dutch government information service said. The cause was complications from brain damage suffered after an avalanche buried him while skiing in Austria in February 2012.
-- Compiled from news services