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WORLD IN BRIEF: Gunmen, bombs kill 11 in Iraq

BAGHDAD -- Bombs and gunmen killed eleven people in a series of attacks in Iraq Monday, including a car bomb that exploded in a Baghdad shopping area.

The late morning blast in the capital's western Mansour neighborhood killed three and wounded at least nine people and damaged several shops, security and hospital officials said. Ball bearings, apparently packed inside the car to increase the number of casualties, littered the bomb site.

Although violence has fallen sharply in recent years, Iraqi security forces still struggle to stop deadly attacks as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw. The violence threatens to further destabilize the country as political leaders jostle for control three months after indecisive parliamentary elections.

10 NATO soldiers killed on deadly Afghan day

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Bombs and bullets killed 10 NATO soldiers, including seven Americans, in a wave of violence in Afghanistan on Monday -- the deadliest day this year for the international forces.

The bloodshed came as Taliban insurgents ramp up bombings and attacks on NATO forces ahead of a major operation in the southern Taliban stronghold of Kandahar that Washington hopes will turn the tide of the war.

In the worst single incident Monday, five American service members were killed in a roadside bomb blast in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. command said.

Two more U.S. soldiers were killed in separate attacks Monday -- one a bombing in the south and the other by small arms fire in the south.

Three other NATO service members from other countries were also killed in attacks Monday.

In addition, an American contractor died in a suicide attack against the police training center in Kandahar city, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said.

Egypt: Gaza blockade a failure, border stays open

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt -- An Egyptian security official declared the blockade of Gaza a failure Monday and said his country will keep its border with the Palestinian territory open indefinitely.

Keeping that crossing point open long term would ease the blockade imposed by Israel three years ago to isolate and punish Gaza's Hamas rulers. It also restores a link to the outside the world for some of Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinians.

Egypt opened its border with Gaza soon after Israel's deadly raid on an international flotilla of activists trying to break the blockade a week ago. Israel has not publicly protested the Egyptian move.