45,000 soldiers, police assigned to evacuate Gaza
· JERUSALEM - Israel plans to send 45,000 troops to evacuate 9,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank, Israel's defense minister said Tuesday - a massive deployment that reflects concern some resistance to the pullout might be violent.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon insisted Tuesday that opposition will not stop the operation. Many settlers are expected to offer passive resistance, but security officials have issued repeated assessments that militant settlers or their backers from outside Gaza might open fire.
The main settlers' council called on its followers to descend on Gaza on July 18, a month before the pullout begins. ''Tens of thousands will march to Gush Katif (the main Gaza settlement bloc) to cancel the uprooting program, while avoiding violence and disruption of the lives of the country's citizens,'' the statement said.
Insurgents mount attacks against diplomats in Iraq
· BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents mounted attacks against Arab and Muslim diplomats in Iraq on Tuesday, wounding Bahrain's top envoy in a kidnapping attempt. Pakistan's ambassador also escaped an assault on his convoy.
The attacks came three days after gunmen seized Egypt's top envoy to Iraq as he was buying a newspaper in the capital, appearing to signal an insurgent campaign to discourage Islamic countries from bolstering ties with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.
Al-Qaida in Iraq purportedly claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the Egyptian diplomat, Ihab al-Sherif, in an Internet statement.
Two cars belonging to the Russian Embassy in Baghdad also came under fire Sunday in the capital, but no embassy personnel were wounded, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday in Moscow.
Militants storm disputed Hindu shrine in India
· LUCKNOW, India - Militants blew up a security wall with a car bomb and stormed a Hindu shrine at the heart of India's biggest religious controversy Tuesday, triggering a gunbattle in which security forces killed five attackers.
Police also found the torn body of a sixth man, who was believed to be the suicide bomber, said Jyoti Sinha, chief of the paramilitary force that guards the disputed Ram Janmbhoomi temple complex in the northern city of Ayodhya, a religious site claimed by both Hindus and Muslims.
Hindu nationalists blamed Pakistan-based Muslim militants for the first major attack on a Hindu temple site since 2002. Police didn't blame any group.
Explosion tears through police post in Dagestan, Russia
· MAKHACHKALA, Russia - An explosion tore through a police post in the southern Russian region of Dagestan Tuesday, killing at least one officer and wounding three, a regional police spokeswoman said.
The blast took place in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, said Marina Riasulova, a spokeswoman for the regional Interior Ministry.
Dagestan borders Chechnya, where separatist rebels have been fighting Russian forces since 1999, and violence that some believe is connected with the Chechen insurgency is increasing in the republic.
Ten police troops died Friday in Makhachkala when their truck was blown up outside a public bathhouse.
President Bush thanks Denmark for its help in Iraqi war
· COPENHAGEN, Denmark - President Bush thanked Denmark in person for sending troops to Iraq, stopping in Copenhagen on Tuesday on his way to Scotland for a summit of world leaders.
The leaders of rich nations will be talking about Africa aid and the world's climate beginning Wednesday in Scotland.
Still focused on events at home, Bush spent a few hours on the flight from Washington looking over material on potential replacements for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who announced her resignation Friday.
U.N. will hand over notes from council on oil-for-food case
· UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations will give oil-for-food investigators informal notes from Security Council meetings about the $64 billion program, having received no objection from the council's 15 members, a U.N. spokesman said Tuesday.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave the council until Tuesday to voice opposition to his plan to turn over the potentially sensitive documents.
The Independent Inquiry Committee, headed by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, requested the documents as part of its probe into alleged corruption in the program, under which Iraq received food, medicine and humanitarian goods in exchange for oil.
- From wire reports