Bin Laden issues warnings on Iraq

CAIRO, Egypt - Osama bin Laden warned Iraq's Sunni Arabs against fighting al-Qaida and vowed to expand the terror group's holy war to Israel in a new audiotape Saturday, threatening 'blood for blood, destruction for destruction.'

Most of the 56-minute tape dealt with Iraq, apparently al-Qaida's latest attempt to keep supporters in Iraq unified at a time when the U.S. military claims to have al-Qaida's Iraq branch on the run.

The tape did not mention Pakistan or the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, though Pakistan's government has blamed al-Qaida and the Taliban for her death on Thursday.

But bin Laden's comments offered an unusually direct attack on Israel, which has warned of growing al-Qaida activity in Palestinian territory. The terror network is not believed to have taken a strong role there so far.

Spokesman: Most of al-Qaida network in Iraq destroyed

BAGHDAD - Iraq's interior ministry spokesman said Saturday that 75 percent of al-Qaida in Iraq's terrorist network had been destroyed this year, but the top American commander in the country said the terror group remained his chief concern.

Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf said the disruption of the terrorist network was due to improvements in the Iraqi security forces, which he said had made strides in weeding out commanders and officers with ties to militias or who were involved in criminal activities.

He also credited the rise of anti-al-Qaida in Iraq groups, mostly made up of Sunni fighters the Shiite-dominated government has cautiously begun to embrace. Additionally, an increase in American troops since June has been credited with pushing many militants out of Baghdad.

Khalaf's assertion that three-fourths of al-Qaida in Iraq had been destroyed could not be independently verified and he did not elaborate on how the percentage was determined.

Poor construction cited in collapse

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt - Shoddy materials, illegal construction and a culture of corruption were blamed Saturday for the deaths of more than three dozen people buried when a 12-story apartment building crumbled to the ground.

Six days after the collapse of the building in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria, 33 bodies had been pulled from the rubble of the building, which was originally seven stories tall but had had five more added in recent years.

Alexandria's governor, Gen. Adel Labib, said at least 10 bodies were still believed to be inside, all victims of Egypt's worst building collapse in years.

Violence erupts in Kenya over voting

NAIROBI, Kenya - Thousands of Kenyans enraged over delays in announcing the country's next president burned down homes and attacked political rivals with sticks and machetes on Saturday, tainting a vote that initially was seen as a beacon of hope for democracy in Africa.

Three people were shot dead during protests in Migori, 360 miles west of Nairobi, said area police chief Grace Kaindi. In the capital Nairobi, hundreds of supporters of opposition candidate Raila Odinga marching on the electoral commission were beaten back by police using tear gas.

China: Hong Kong to wait on election

HONG KONG - Hong Kong must wait another 10 years to directly elect its own leader, China said Saturday, drawing protests from hundreds in the former British colony who said they were being cheated of the right to vote.

Protesters marched, lit candles and raised banners, saying the government in Beijing ignored the wishes of Hong Kong's 7 million people. Proponents of democracy, who say the bustling financial hub is mature enough to choose its own government, had tried to have the first direct elections held in 2007, then in 2012.

Suspected anthrax kills 8 in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan - Eight Afghans who ate an infected camel as part of a religious celebration died of what health experts suspect is a rare case of naturally occurring anthrax, officials said Saturday.

The deaths, in the southwestern province of Nimroz, included two women and an infant, said Dr. Abdullah Fahim, an adviser to Afghanistan's health minister. Ten others fell sick.

Officials cannot say positively that the deaths were anthrax related until laboratory results - expected in the next two days - are completed, said Fahim.

The outbreak began when two men tried to sell a sick camel, said Ghulam Dastagir Azad, the governor of Nimroz province.

Nobody bought the camel and the men instead killed it and distributed the meat to needy families, as is the custom during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Christians move to relief camps

BHUBANESHWAR, India - Hundreds of Christians, fearing more clashes with Hindu nationalists, fled to government-run relief camps where authorities on Saturday were providing them with food, medicine and security.

The clashes left at least four people dead last week, including three killed when police fired on a group of hard-line Hindus that had torched a police station in Kandhamal district's Brahmangaon village.