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Bridge bombing just misses Pakistan leader

Published Sep. 28, 2005

A bomb shattered a bridge and killed four people Sunday shortly before Pakistan's prime minister was due to cross it. Police said that the bombing was carried out by an ethnic party and that a delay at home saved Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.

The roar of the explosion could be heard for miles around Raiwind, 13 miles from Lahore, the site of Sharif's private residence. Police said the bomb exploded when he normally crosses the bridge.

Sharif's wife, Kusloom, said she just couldn't get her family moving this particular morning. "There was a delay in our preparation and we were at home when the blast occurred," she said.

Three civilians and a police officer were killed.

"We are investigating all the aspects of the case," said Information Minister Mushahid Hussain, "but it is too early to blame someone."

Police suspect the ethnic Muttahida Qami Movement. Sharif blames the MQM for most of the violence in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city.

The MQM, which represents Urdu-speaking people who immigrated from British India at independence in 1947, denies accusations that it is behind the violence.

Hussein calls no-fly zones illegal

BAGHDAD, Iraq _ President Saddam Hussein said Sunday the no-fly zones imposed on his country are illegal and vowed Iraq will fight violations of its airspace "with all its courage and bravery."

Hussein's remarks to his Cabinet were his first comments on the no-fly zones since Iraq fired on Western warplanes patrolling the areas last week.

Hussein said the no-fly zones are "not only a stark violation of international laws and norms, especially those of the United Nations, but a stark violation of Security Council resolutions themselves."

Hussein's comments appeared to be aimed at stoking Arab anger against the United States and Britain, which launched four days of airstrikes against Iraq in mid-December.

Khmer Rouge leaders head home

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia _ Two Khmer Rouge leaders seeking amnesty against genocide allegations headed to their former rebel stronghold Sunday, raising concerns that prying them from their home turf for trial could be difficult.

Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, two of late Khmer Rouge chief Pol Pot's trusted lieutenants, flew by army helicopter to northwestern Battambang on Sunday after a government-sponsored tour of the ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat.

The two rebels, who struck a defection deal with Prime Minister Hun Sen last week, were headed to Pailin, still under the control of other former Khmer Rouge leaders who cut their own deals with the government in 1996.

If a move is made to arrest the two leaders, it is not clear whether the administration in Pailin would resist. Hun Sen has said Khmer Rouge leaders should be tried.

Elsewhere . . .

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines _ Muslim rebels tossed a grenade into a crowd watching firefighters at a burning grocery store, killing 10 people and injuring 74. The attack was thought to have been carried out by rebels to avenge the recent killing of a chieftain in a clash with authorities.

BAALBEK, Lebanon _ Israeli warplanes attacked suspected guerrilla positions deep inside Lebanon on Sunday, wounding six people and drawing threats of retaliation from the Hezbollah militia.