NKorea fires missiles; launch toward US feared

SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea fired a barrage of short-range missiles off its east coast Thursday, a possible prelude to the launch of a long-range missile toward Hawaii over the July Fourth holiday.

Firing a ballistic missile on Independence Day would be a challenge to Washington, which has been rallying international support for enforcement of U.N. sanctions imposed against Pyongyang following a May 25 nuclear test. North Korea is banned from testing ballistic missiles under U.N. resolutions.

Comoros survivor back home in Paris

LE BOURGET, France - A severely bruised young girl believed to be the only survivor of an Indian Ocean plane crash flew back Thursday to Paris, where she was embraced gently by her father, who tried to lift her spirits with a joke.

Bahia Bakari, 12, returned to France from the Comoros Islands on a French government plane. The Falcon-900 jet with medical facilities left the archipelago nation, a former French colony, and arrived at Le Bourget airport just north of Paris.

Yemenia Flight 626 crashed Tuesday morning off Comoros amid heavy winds. Bahia, described by her father as a fragile girl who could barely swim, spent over 13 hours in the water clinging to wreckage before she was rescued. She was found suffering from hypothermia, a fractured collarbone and widespread bruises to her face, elbow and foot.

Biden in Iraq

BAGHDAD - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Iraq on Thursday to visit U.S. soldiers, just two days after all American combat troops withdrew from Baghdad and all of Iraq's cities and towns.

During his visit, Biden will meet with Iraqi leaders, including President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

A White House statement said Biden will reiterate the U.S. commitment to carry out President Barack Obama's plan to withdraw combat forces. He also will press Iraqi leaders to make more progress toward political reconciliation. It was his first trip to Iraq as vice president.