Shells hit Baghdad's Green Zone after 3-month lull

BAGHDAD - Suspected militants shelled Baghdad's protected Green Zone on Saturday in the first such bombardment in more than three months.

The back-to-back strikes reverberated across the Tigris River to a popular promenade, sending families packing up from fish restaurants and abruptly halting a party at a club.

Violence across Iraq remains sharply down compared with past years, but attacks and bloodshed have edged up in recent weeks and brought worries that it could slow the return of nightlife and commerce to parts of Baghdad.

The U.S military said the Green Zone was hit by two 'indirect fire' rounds - which typically means either rockets or mortars - but there were no casualties or damage reported.

Suicide strike targets Pakistani army, killing 27

ISLAMABAD - A suicide car bomber attacked an army convoy at a checkpoint in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing at least 27 people near another emerging militant stronghold within striking distance of the Afghan border.

A deputy of Pakistan's top Taliban leader took responsibility for the bombing near the town of Hangu and said more would follow until the U.S. ends missile attacks into Pakistan's tribal areas.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the assault as a 'cowardly act of terrorism' and said the pro-Western government would use an 'iron hand' against terrorists and extremists.

While militant attacks are spreading across Pakistan, the onslaught remains fiercest near the Afghan frontier, where al-Qaida fugitives - possibly including Osama bin Laden - have found sanctuary.

Israeli troops kill Palestinian teen

RAMALLAH, West Bank - A 16-year-old Palestinian was fatally shot by Israeli troops after throwing firebombs at the gate of a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, Israeli officials said Saturday.

The Israeli military said soldiers had fired warning shots before opening fire on a group of Palestinians hurling firebombs at the Beit El settlement.

In other West Bank violence, a Palestinian man drove his Mercedes into two Israeli policemen checking motorists at a checkpoint outside Jerusalem on Saturday, Israeli police said. The driver was arrested after he told police he targeted the officers, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Iran convicts US journalist

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran convicted an American journalist of spying for the United States and sentenced her to eight years in prison, her lawyer said Saturday, complicating the Obama administration's efforts to break a 30-year-old diplomatic deadlock with Tehran.

The White House said President Barack Obama was 'deeply disappointed' by the conviction, while the journalist's father told a radio station his daughter was tricked into making incriminating statements by officials who told her they would free her if she did.

It was the first time Iran has found an American journalist guilty of espionage - a crime that can carry the death penalty.

Italian scientist, turning 100, still working hard

ROME - Rita Levi Montalcini, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, said Saturday that even though she is about to turn 100, her mind is sharper than it was she when she was 20.

Levi Montalcini, who also serves as a senator for life in Italy, celebrates her 100th birthday on Wednesday, and she spoke at a ceremony held in her honor by the European Brain Research Institute.

She shared the 1986 Nobel Prize for Medicine with American Stanley Cohen for discovering mechanisms that regulate the growth of cells and organs.

Pope to visit quake-hit area

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI will tour towns damaged by Italy's earthquake and visit a tent city of survivors in an effort to restore hope and solidarity for the area's reconstruction, the Vatican said Saturday.

The three-hour visit on April 28 will include time at the tent city on the outskirts of Onna, a hamlet that was completely leveled by the powerful April 6 earthquake.

The quake claimed 295 lives, drove some 50,000 people from their homes, and toppled or heavily damaged thousands of buildings, including churches, schools and other public buildings in the Abruzzo region in the central Apennine mountains.