Police, youth clash in Athens

ATHENS, Greece - Masked youths set up burning barricades and threw fire bombs and chunks of marble at riot police Thursday, after a protest march erupted into new fighting that sent Christmas shoppers and panicked parents fleeing to safety.

Mothers snatched children from a carousel in the main square. Waiters stumbled from cafes choking on tear gas fired by police at rioters trying to burn the capital's Christmas tree, replaced just days ago after another tree was torched.

After two weeks of unrelenting rioting set off by the fatal police shooting of a teenager, a slogan spray-painted outside the Bank of Greece summed up the mood as Greeks prepared for Christmas: 'Merry crisis and a happy new fear.'

Senior cop in Mexico killed

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - A senior police commander's bullet-riddled body was found in the same spot where an apparent hitlist naming 26 officers was found days earlier, police said Thursday.

Roberto Ramirez, who headed up the Delicias precinct, was the sixth Ciudad Juarez officer killed this week. He was abducted late Wednesday and his body was found hours later, city police spokesman Jaime Torres said.

Followers of Saddam arrested

BAGHDAD - The arrests of more than 20 security officials for allegedly trying to revive Saddam Hussein's banned political party show how the Shiite-led government believes that supporters of the old regime still pose a threat - perhaps as much as al-Qaida or Iranian-backed militias.

Iraqi officials said Thursday that up to 25 people from the three major security ministries have been arrested over the past week on accusations of conspiring to restore the Baath party, whose exiled leaders staunchly oppose the current government.

Hamas won't extend truce

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Two Hamas officials said the Islamic group would not extend a six-month truce with the Israelis as militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets at southern Israel and Israel hit back with airstrikes Thursday.

Hamas said the cease-fire ends today, but Israel maintained the unwritten truce did not have an expiration date.