Death toll at 9 in Costa Rica

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - Helicopters plucked tourists from destroyed, mountaintop resorts as the death toll from Costa Rica's magnitude-6.1 earthquake rose to at least 9 victims, the Red Cross said Friday.

Dozens more remained missing as survivors reported seeing people buried by landslides.

'I watched as the earth took my aunt and my cousins ... I watched them be buried,' Miguel Angel Marin told Channel 7 news.

The quake shook the Central American nation Thursday afternoon, collapsing homes, unleashing massive landslides, and trapping hundreds of people in damaged mountain towns.

Protesters rally against Israel

CAIRO, Egypt - An estimated 50,000 people protested in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria after Friday prayers, joining thousands of people in more than a dozen cities in the Middle East and elsewhere rallying against the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

The protests coincided with a call from Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi for Arab countries to allow their citizens to fight the Israelis in Gaza - the strongest such push by an Arab leader since Israel began its operation against the militant Palestinian group Hamas two weeks ago.

Israel, Hamas continue fight

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israeli jets and ground troops hammered at Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip and Islamic militants fired barrages of rockets at southern Israeli cities Friday, ignoring a U.N. resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire after two weeks of combat.

The Israeli prime minister's office said the U.N. action was not practical, and senior Cabinet ministers decided to press on with the offensive.

Small bombs hit Pakistan

LAHORE, Pakistan - Five small bombs exploded outside two theaters in a major eastern Pakistan city late Friday, but there were no casualties, police said.

The explosions spurred panic in Lahore, a cultural hub that has largely escaped the scores of suicide and other bomb attacks that have bedeviled Pakistan in the past two years.

Police investigator Mushtaq Sukhera said religious extremists were behind these and other similar attacks.