Mourners vow revenge for fallen leader of revolt

n BAGHDAD - Some 1,500 mourners called for revenge Friday as they buried the leader of the Sunni revolt against al-Qaida, who was assassinated by a bomb after meeting with President Bush earlier this month.

An al-Qaida front in Iraq claimed responsibility for the blast that killed Adbul-Sattar Abu Risha, 37, and three companions. A statement posted on the Internet by the Islamic State of Iraq called Abu Risha 'one of the dogs of Bush' and described Thursday's killing as a 'heroic operation that took over a month to prepare.'

Officials say Bhutto will not be booted from Pakistan upon Oct. 18 return

n ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto is coming home next month to press for the restoration of democracy, regardless of the outcome of her talks on sharing power with Pakistan's U.S.-allied military president, her party said Friday.

The government, meanwhile, said Bhutto would not suffer the fate of political rival Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister who was swiftly expelled when he returned from exile Monday, but officials said she would have to face pending corruption charges.

Putin says Zubkov may take over as Russian president

n MOSCOW - Vladimir Putin rewrote the rules for Russia's closely watched presidential succession on Friday, naming his new prime minister as one of a handful of people with a fighting chance of replacing him in the Kremlin next spring.

Putin anointed Viktor Zubkov as a strong candidate hours after parliament approved his nomination as premier.

Russian planes intercepted in NATO airspace

n LONDON - British and Norwegian jets intercepted Russian military aircraft on Friday after they breached NATO airspace near the U.K. and Finland, defense officials said.

Finland's prime minister demanded an explanation from Moscow. Interception of Russian warplanes in NATO patrolled-airspace has become increasingly common since the Kremlin ordered strategic bombers to carry out long-range missions for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Officials: Syria on nuclear watch list

n ROME - A senior U.S. nuclear official said Friday that North Koreans were in Syria and that Damascus may have had contacts with 'secret suppliers' to obtain nuclear equipment.

Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, did not identify the suppliers, but said North Koreans were in the country and that he could not exclude that the network run by the disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan may have been involved.

Top Iranian leader predicts Bush will be tried over Iraq

n TEHRAN, Iran - President Bush and other American officials will one day face trial just like deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for 'the catastrophes they caused in Iraq,' Iran's supreme leader said Friday.

Speaking to thousands of worshippers during the first Friday prayer of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Bush will be called to account for the U.S.-led invasion.

Sudanese leader offers Darfur truce

n ROME - Sudan's president met with the pope and Italy's premier Friday and offered to declare a cease-fire with Darfur rebels to coincide with the start of U.N.-backed peace talks next month.

At least two rebel groups quickly dismissed his offer.

After President Omar al-Bashir's meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican expressed hope the upcoming talks would end the suffering in Darfur.