Boat capsizes, killing dozens

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KOUBI, Mali -- A total of 43 corpses had been recovered from the Niger River by nightfall Sunday since hundreds of passengers were catapulted into the waters when their boat capsized Friday night, said Hamadoun Cisse, a local official in charge of tracking casualty figures.

The boat was headed from the central port of Mopti to the northern desert city of Timbuktu, packed full of people traveling ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha this week.

Authorities said 210 survivors had been registered, leaving dozens missing.

The boat disaster comes as Mali has been gripped by more than a year of crisis, starting with a rebellion in early 2012 and a subsequent coup, followed by the seizure of the country's vast north by Tuareg separatists and Islamic extremists. The French army intervened in January, pushing the militants out of the cities, but violent attacks still take place.

Red Cross workers nabbed

BEIRUT -- Gunmen abducted six Red Cross workers and a Syrian Red Crescent volunteer after stopping their convoy early Sunday in northwestern Syria, a spokesman said, in the latest high-profile kidnapping in the country's civil war.

Simon Schorno, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Damascus, declined to provide the nationalities of the six ICRC employees, and said it was not clear who was behind the attack.

Mr. Schorno said the team of seven had been in the field since Thursday to assess the medical situation in the area and to look at how to provide medical aid. He said the part of northern Syria where they were seized "by definition is a difficult area to go in," and the team was traveling with armed guards.

Israel discovers tunnels

JERUSALEM -- The Israeli military said Sunday it discovered a concrete-lined tunnel dug from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into Israel, alleging militants planned to use it to attack or kidnap Israelis.

In response, the military froze the transfer of all construction materials to the Palestinian territory, the army said. A Hamas military spokesman in Gaza, Abu Obeida, was defiant over the tunnel discovery, saying on his official Twitter account that "thousands" more tunnels would be dug out.

American soldier killed

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A U.S. soldier was killed Sunday afternoon when a man wearing an Afghan security force uniform opened fire on a group of foreign trainers in eastern Afghanistan, officials with the international military coalition said. It was the third such attack in less than a month.

Despite the recent attacks, the number of so-called insider attacks has substantially declined this year, thanks to a broad effort by both the coalition forces and their Afghan counterparts. So far this year, 15 coalition service members have been killed in 10 attacks, compared with 55 killed last year in 43 attacks during the same period.

Also in the world ...

Attacks across Iraq killed at least 34 people Sunday, security and medical officials said, with much of the violence concentrated in mainly Shiite provinces in southern Iraq. ... A typhoon blew out of the northern Philippines on Sunday after leaving 13 people dead, but officials remained on alert after another storm was spotted in the Pacific.


First Published October 13, 2013 8:00 PM


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