8 Palestinians killed during Gaza fighting

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israel struck hard into the Gaza Strip by land and air on Friday, trading fire with gunmen in fighting that killed eight Palestinians, including a 12-year-old boy, Palestinians said.

The deaths drove the Palestinian death toll in Israeli raids to 16 since a militant attack killed two Israeli civilians at a border fuel depot Wednesday. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has pledged to keep hitting Hamas so that it cannot 'continue to operate against Israeli civilians as it does.'

China supporters try to reverse bad publicity during torch run

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Runners flanked by rows of security carried the Olympic torch past thousands of jubilant Argentines on Friday as China supporters in red windbreakers tried to reverse weeks of bad publicity for the host of the Summer Games.

People showered the parade route with confetti in a joyous celebration that sharply contrasted with the flame's chaotic last stops in Europe and the United States. No violence was reported from small groups of fenced-off demonstrators protesting China's human rights record, who exchanged jeers with pro-China demonstrators.

Hostages freed; France hunts down pirates

PARIS - Helicopter-borne French troops swooped in on Somali pirates Friday after they freed 30 hostages from a yacht, seizing six of the hijackers and recovering sacks of money - apparently ransom paid by the ship's owners.

The pirates boarded the 288-foot French luxury yacht Le Ponant a week ago, capturing its crew - 22 of whom were French - off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden. Pirates seized more than two dozen vessels off the Somali coast last year, mostly in hopes of securing ransoms.

Iranian boat reported to have approached US ship in gulf

WASHINGTON - A U.S. Navy ship encountered a small Iranian high-speed boat in the central Persian Gulf and warned it away by firing a flare, the Pentagon said Friday.

Two other similar Iranian boats in the area did not come as close.

The USS Typhoon tried unsuccessfully to establish radio contact with the Iranian boat after it came within an estimated 200 yards of the Typhoon on Thursday, outside Iranian territorial waters. A Navy official said the ship then fired the flare and continued on its way without incident.