UK court convicts three of plot to blow up airliners

LONDON - Three British Muslims were convicted Monday of plotting to murder thousands by downing at least seven trans-Atlantic airliners in simultaneous attacks designed by al-Qaida to be the deadliest terrorist strike since Sept. 11, 2001.

Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, Assad Sarwar, 29, and Tanvir Hussain, 28 were found guilty at Woolwich Crown Court in London of leading a plan to detonate bombs on aircraft bound for the United States and Canada, using liquid explosives hidden in soda bottles.

Four other men were acquitted of conspiring to bomb airliners, but admitted lesser charges - and in one case conspiracy to murder. An eighth man was cleared completely.

The case brought sweeping new restrictions for air passengers, including limits on the amount of liquids and gels they can take carry on board.

British and U.S. security officials said the plan was directly linked to al-Qaida and guided by senior Islamic militants in Pakistan.

Charity says US troops stormed Afghan hospital

KABUL - The U.S. military faced more criticism in Afghanistan on Monday as a charity accused American soldiers of storming through a provincial hospital, breaking down doors and tying up staff and visitors in a hunt for insurgents.

Critics say such heavy-handed tactics violate international principles and threaten to undermine support for the war against the Taliban. The American military said it was investigating the allegation, which comes on the heels of a furor over disputed reports that up to 70 Afghan civilians died in a NATO airstrike in the country's north last week.

Suspected US missile kills 5 in Pakistan

MIR ALI, Pakistan - A suspected U.S missile struck a Pakistani militant stronghold near the Afghan border late Monday, killing five people, officials and a resident said.

The missile hit a compound in Machi Khel village in the North Waziristan tribal area - a region home to Taliban and Taliban-affiliated militant groups, some of which are suspected in attacks on Western troops stationed in Afghanistan.

The U.S. has fired scores of missiles from unmanned drones into Pakistan's lawless tribal regions over the past year, a campaign that it says has killed several top al-Qaida and Taliban commanders.

An August missile strike killed Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud in neighboring South Waziristan tribal region.

The identities of the people killed Monday were not immediately clear, said three Pakistani officials, two of whom work for the intelligence service. The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Suicide bomber hits mosque

BAGHDAD - Iraqi police say at least three people were killed and 19 wounded when a suicide bomber struck a Shiite mosque north of Baghdad.

The attack raises to at least 15 the number of people killed nationwide Wednesday in a series of bombings.

Police spokesman Maj. Ghalib al-Karkhi said the bomber detonated his explosives at the gate of the mosque in Baqouba after guards prevented him from entering the building itself.

He said two of those killed were police officers and the other was a worshipper.

The mainly Sunni city of Baqouba has been hit by several bombings despite an overall decline in violence.

No flogging for trouser-wearing woman in Sudan

KHARTOUM, Sudan - A woman journalist was convicted Monday of public indecency for wearing trousers, but was spared a sentence of flogging. A defiant Lubna Hussein said she would not pay a $200 fine and would take a month in prison instead to protest Sudan's draconian morality laws.

The 43-year old journalist has set out to challenge the police and courts since her arrest in July by insisting the case go to trial, aiming to embarrass the Khartoum government with the publicity. Her prosecution - and the prospect that she could get the full sentence of 40 lashes - drew an international outcry.

The judge's decision to impose a fine equivalent to $200 appeared to be an attempt to curb the criticism.