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WORLD IN BRIEF: Shark maims 4 in Red Sea

CAIRO — An oceanic white tip shark badly mauled four Russian tourists swimming close to their beach hotels in two separate attacks at an Egyptian Red Sea resort, a local conservation official said Wednesday.

Director of Sinai Conservation Mohammed Salem said the shark attacked two Russians swimming in the Ras Nasrani area near the famed Sharm el-Sheikh resort in the Sinai Peninsula and bit their arms off.

The same shark may also have been involved in an attack on another pair of Russians on Tuesday swimming close to the resort beach, he added.

The shark badly injured a middle-aged woman’s legs and back and bit off her hand. She had a heart attack and had to be resucitated at the hospital.

The second victim, a 70-year-old woman was found with her right hand and left leg torn off.

Iran to boost security for nuclear scientists

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran said Wednesday it will increase security for its nuclear scientists as a funeral was held for a leading expert killed in a mysterious assassination that the government blamed on the Mossad and the CIA.

Iranian state media said the killing of the scientist and the wounding of another on Monday was part of a Western campaign to sabotage its nuclear program, which the U.S. and its allies suspect is aimed at producing weapons — something Iran denies.

According to Iran, that campaign included the abduction of Iranian scientists, the sale of faulty equipment and the planting of a destructive computer worm known as Stuxnet, which briefly brought Iran’s uranium enrichment activity to a halt last month.

Iran’s chief suspect is archenemy Israel, whose Mossad spy agency has a long history of assassinating foes far beyond the country’s borders. In this case, Iran accuses Israel of enlisting agents of an Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahedeen, to carry out the hit, the defense minister said.

Special forces operations down by half in Iraq

BAGHDAD — Elite counterterrorism units in Iraq are running half as many operations this year as they have annually since 2008, in part because of a nationwide drop in violence, senior U.S. military officials said Wednesday.

Joint U.S.-Iraqi special forces missions have been one of President Barack Obama’s top priorities for the some 50,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq. The teams hunt down insurgents and help train Iraqi commandoes and SWAT units.

The average number of missions a week has dropped to an average of about 25, down from around 50 in 2008 and 2009.