Thousands in Europe protest Gaza violence

BERLIN - Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in cities across Europe and in Lebanon on Saturday, shouting protests against the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

Protesters burned Israeli flags in Sweden and threw shoes at the U.S. consulate in Edinburgh, Scotland. In central London, three officers were hurt when demonstrators hurled shoes and placards at police outside the Israeli Embassy. One officer was knocked unconscious.

But in Innsbruck, Austria, volunteer security personnel arranged by the Islamic organizers of a demonstration moved quickly to surround and protect an elderly man after he suddenly unrolled an Israeli flag in the middle of the protest.

Israel tells Gazans to brace for war escalation

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israel dropped bombs and leaflets on Gaza Saturday, pounding suspected rocket sites and tunnels used by Hamas militants and warning of a wider offensive despite frantic diplomacy to end the bloodshed.

Egypt hosted talks aimed at defusing the crisis, but war had the momentum on a bloody day on which more than 30 Palestinians, many of them noncombatants, were killed.

At hospitals, distraught relatives - men in jeans and jackets and women in black Islamic robes - sobbed and shrieked at the loss of family. Flames and smoke rose over Gaza City amid heavy fighting.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas predicted a 'waterfall of blood' unless all parties adhere to a U.N. call for a cease-fire. But Israel has said the Security Council resolution passed Thursday was unworkable, and Hamas, the Islamic group whose government controls Gaza but is not recognized internationally, was angry that it was not consulted.

5 Somali pirates drown with share of $3M ransom

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Five of the pirates who hijacked a Saudi supertanker drowned with their share of a $3 million ransom, a relative said Saturday, the day after the bundle of cash was apparently dropped by parachute onto the deck of the ship.

The Sirius Star and its 25 crew sailed safely away Friday at the end of a two-month standoff in the Gulf of Aden, where pirates attacked over 100 ships last year. Hundreds more kidnapped sailors remain in the hands of pirates.

The drowned pirates' boat overturned in rough seas, and family members were still looking for four missing bodies, said Daud Nure, another pirate who knew the men involved.

Death toll rises to 13 from quake in Costa Rica

VARA BLANCA DE ALAJUELA, Costa Rica - Search crews dug into a collapsed hillside in Costa Rica looking for at least 10 victims believed buried by a 6.1-magnitude earthquake that has killed at least 13 people, the Red Cross said Saturday.

Trained dogs signaled that bodies were underneath a landslide near the town of Cinchona de Alajuela, north of San Jose, the capital. Witnesses said at least 10 people had been seen on a road and at a restaurant now believed buried under the fallen earth.

Iraqi governmentwon't forcibly evict Iranians

BAGHDAD - Iraq's government has promised not to forcibly evict an Iranian opposition group, the U.S. ambassador said in a broadcast interview aired Saturday, despite warnings from the prime minister that its members will not be allowed to remain in the country.

The presence of the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran has long been a source of friction between the U.S. and Iraq, which is under pressure from neighboring Iran to deport the group - branded as a terrorist movement by both Washington and Tehran.

Yemen releases Bin Laden's former driver

SAN'A, Yemen - The lawyer for Osama bin Laden's former driver said his client has been released from a Yemeni prison after serving out his sentence.

Lawyer Khaled Al-Anas said Salim Hamdan was released Friday.

A Yemeni Interior Ministry official has confirmed the release but said it happened Saturday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

- From wire reports