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Head-on train crash in Italy kills 13

Published Aug. 24, 2005

A passenger train and a freight train collided head-on in heavy fog in northern Italy on Friday, killing at least 13 people, injuring dozens and crushing several cars.

The force of the crash, on a line between Bologna and Verona, lifted one train car vertically into the air until it was nearly perpendicular to the tracks.

Israeli, Palestinian killed

NABLUS, West Bank _ Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a group of Israelis soldiers in the West Bank on Friday, killing one and wounding three, a day after militant leaders in the area told Palestinian presidential candidate Mahmoud Abbas they were ready to abide by a cease-fire.

The attack by militants from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent offshoot of Abbas' Fatah movement, cast doubt on Abbas ability to prevent militant violence.

Also Friday, Israeli forces shot and killed a 23-year-old Palestinian walking near the Gaza settlement of Netzarim, Palestinian security officials said. The Israeli army said the man was armed with an anti-tank missile and was suspected of planning an attack.

As Palestinian presidential candidates finished the last official day of campaigning before Sunday's election, Abbas canceled a visit to Jerusalem. He had been scheduled to travel to Jerusalem to pray at al-Aqsa mosque, hold a rally and tour the Old City. Israel wanted to give Abbas a large security detail to protect him from Jewish extremists, but Abbas decided that being surrounded by Israeli security would have been embarrassing.

Art thief sentenced

STRASBOURG, France _ A French court handed a 26-month prison sentence Friday to Stephane Breitwieser, a 33-year-old former waiter who stole hundreds of artworks across Europe.

Breitwieser was in court although prison officials said he had been stopped from hanging himself in jail Thursday night when his cellmate raised the alarm.

His mother, Mireille, who told the court she took a hammer to stolen paintings and other works worth millions of dollars to cover her son's tracks after his 2001 arrest in Switzerland, was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Breitwieser, who pleaded for leniency for his mother, acknowledged stealing 239 pieces of art that French police valued at $14-million to $20-million.