Iraqi troops clash with members of Shiite cult Friday

BAGHDAD - Violence left nearly 50 people dead in two major southern cities Friday when members of a shadowy, messianic cult attacked police and fellow Shiite worshippers - a year after a similar plot was foiled during Shiite Islam's most important holiday.

Iraqi authorities said at least 36 people were reported killed in Basra, Iraq's second largest city, and at least 10 in Nasiriyah, where witnesses said U.S.-led coalition jet fighters and helicopter gunships targeted a police station seized by cult gunmen.

U.S. military spokesman Maj. Brad Leighton said an Iraqi request for air support in the area was approved, but he could not confirm whether airstrikes were carried out.

Militants open fire on tourists in Yemen, killing 2

SAN'A, Yemen - Suspected al-Qaida militants opened fire on a convoy of tourists in a remote desert mountain valley Friday, killing two Belgian women and their Yemeni driver. It was the second recent militant attack on foreign tourists in Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden.

The victims were traveling in a convoy of at least four vehicles through an ancient, ruin-filled desert valley called Wadi Daw'an in Yemen's eastern Hadramut region when the gunmen attacked, a security official said. Four people were wounded.

Pakistan army says dozens killed near Afghan border

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan - Dozens of Islamic militants died in clashes with Pakistani troops Friday, the army said, amid reports that government forces had launched an operation to clear the area of fighters who overran military positions near the Afghan border.

The intensifying combat highlighted the deteriorating security in the region, a stronghold of Taliban and al-Qaida.

Engines in crash failed to respond to demand for increased thrust

LONDON - The engines on a British Airways plane that crash-landed at London's Heathrow airport failed to respond for a demand to increase thrust about two miles before it reached the runway, a preliminary accident report said Friday.

Using flight recorder information, investigators will focus on what might have caused the engine problem on British Airways Flight 038 from Beijing to London, according to the report from Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch.