Death toll from Iraq bombings rises to 68

BAGHDAD - It was a beautiful evening and the streets of Baghdad's Karradah neighborhood were packed with shoppers and young people mingling at the start of the Iraqi weekend - then the extremists struck, again.

The death toll from twin bombings Thursday night rose to 68 killed, 120 wounded on Friday and showed just how tough it will be to rejuvenate Iraq's capital when bombers still hit one of its safer and more vibrant neighborhoods regularly.

The U.S. military blamed al-Qaida in Iraq for the attack Friday, one of the deadliest so far this year.

Islamist fighters seize 2nd strategic town in Somalia within 24 hours

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Islamist insurgents killed five government soldiers while briefly taking a strategic town in central Somalia, police and residents said, the second such seizure within 24 hours.

The attack late Thursday took place in Belet Weyne, near a critical road junction that links Somalia to the border with Ethiopia. Hundreds of troops are stationed at the junction, which is also Ethiopia's main supply route.

Colombia says rebel leader killed is another blow to guerrillas

BOGOTA, Colombia - A top rebel leader was killed by his own chief of security, who gave Colombian troops the leader's severed hand as proof, the defense minister said Friday.

Ivan Rios was the second top rebel killed in a week, a major setback for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country's largest rebel force.

No top Colombian rebel leader had ever been slain until Raul Reyes was killed Saturday in a cross-border raid by Colombian troops into Ecuador that set off an international diplomatic crisis.

Thailand ponders charge against 'Merchant of Death'

BANGKOK, Thailand - Thai officials said Friday they might file terrorism charges against a reputed Russian arms dealer arrested at U.S. behest, and a war crimes prosecutor expressed a desire to try the man dubbed the 'Merchant of Death' for fueling African civil wars.

Viktor Bout, 41, was detained Thursday at a hotel, where American officials said he had come to finalize a deal to sell and transport portable surface-to-air missiles and other weapons to men he believed represented the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

- From wire reports