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WORLD IN BRIEF: Iranian group: Health care blocked in Iraq

Iranian group: Health care blocked in Iraq

BAGHDAD -- Members of an Iranian opposition group claimed Friday that Iraqi authorities are limiting their access to outside health care at a camp in northern Iraq where they have been under watch since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The charges are the latest complaints about conditions at Camp Ashraf, which was raided by Iraqi security forces in July in a melee that reportedly left 11 people dead and dozens injured.

Iraqi officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the accusations by the Iranian group, the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, which used Iraq as a base for years under Saddam. But one Iraqi lawmaker, Ahmed al-Alwan, said it appeared that authorities were ''tightening controls'' on the camp.

Marines launch offensive in Afghanistan

KABUL -- U.S. Marines swooped down behind Taliban lines in helicopters and Osprey aircraft Friday in the first offensive since President Barack Obama announced an American troop surge.

About 1,000 Marines and 150 Afghan troops were taking part in ''Operation Cobra's Anger'' in a bid to disrupt Taliban supply and communications lines in the Now Zad Valley of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, the scene of heavy fighting last summer, according to Marine spokesman Maj. William Pelletier.

A U.S. military official in Washington said it was the first use of Ospreys, aircraft that combine features of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

Massacre at mosque shows Taliban strength

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan -- A Taliban suicide squad targeted Pakistani military officers and their families praying at a mosque Friday close to army headquarters in a gruesome display of the militants' ability to strike at the center of power in this U.S.-allied, nuclear-armed nation.

The barrage of bombs and bullets left 37 people dead, including seven senior officers and 17 children.

The deaths of so many top brass inside a heavily fortified area a few miles from the capital was a major coup for the Pakistani insurgents, who are under pressure as the army pushes an offensive against their stronghold of South Waziristan along the Afghan border.