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WORLD IN BRIEF: Following Iraq upset, Allawi turns focus to negotiations

Photo by Karim Kadim

Photo by Karim Kadim

BAGHDAD -- The secular challenger who stunned Iraq with his razor-thin parliamentary election win turned his attention to negotiations over a future government Saturday even as supporters of the prime minister vowed to fight the results.

Ayad Allawi's two-seat win was hailed as a startling comeback for a politician who just four years ago was shunned as a U.S.-backed puppet, but the closeness of the race meant his road to regaining the premiership was anything but guaranteed.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's bloc has demanded a recount, claiming fraud. The Shiite leader, who angrily denounced the results after their Friday release, did not appear in public on Saturday, but his supporters promised a fight to keep him in his post.

''There are two options in front of us. The first, to continue the challenge in a legal and constitutional way and the second is to continue demanding the manual recount,'' adviser Sami al-Askari said.

Pakistan officials: Suspected US missiles kill 4

ISLAMABAD -- Suspected U.S. missiles killed four people in the Pakistan's insurgent-dominated northwest Saturday, officials said.

The strike is the latest in an escalating campaign targeting Taliban-linked militants near the Afghan border.

Two intelligence officials said the missiles struck two houses Saturday in the village of Hurmaz in North Waziristan. A military official also confirmed the information. All three spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

It was not clear who the four dead people were. North Waziristan is largely controlled by militants who launch attacks against NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

Plan for shelter emerging for Haiti quake victims

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Aid officials said they have finally figured out where to put hundreds of thousands of Haitians who lost their homes in a cataclysmic earthquake: right back where they came from.

Dreams of vast relocation camps have largely evaporated due to a lack of available land. And nobody wants to leave people living in the streets under makeshift tents of plastic and bed sheets with the official May 1 start of the rainy season looming.

So Haitians like Marie Carmel Etienne are moving back home, helped by a team funded by the U.S. Defense Department that has promised to remove the debris of shattered buildings in one Port-au-Prince neighborhood if people will dump it in the street in front of their lots.

NATO reports another death in Afghanistan

KABUL -- An international service member was killed Saturday by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan, NATO said, raising the number of alliance troops who have died in the country this month to at least 36.

A NATO statement did not identify the victim by nationality or provide further details.

However, Britain's Ministry of Defense said a British soldier was killed Saturday in a blast near the flashpoint town of Sangin in Helmand province of southern Afghanistan.

Israeli soldiers leave Gaza after fierce clash

JERUSALEM -- Israel withdrew its troops from the Gaza Strip on Saturday after some of the fiercest gunbattles with Palestinian militants in the Hamas-run territory since last year's military offensive.

Israeli troops used bulldozers to ''remove infrastructure used by terrorists to attack soldiers'' before the early morning withdrawal, a military spokeswoman said.

Gaza militants, meanwhile, fired a rocket into southern Israel on Saturday, but no injuries were reported, the military said. Two others fell short of Israeli territory.

Divers search for missing South Koreans

BAENGNYEONG ISLAND, South Korea -- Military divers plunged into the waters near South Korea's tense maritime border with North Korea on Saturday, searching in vain for 46 missing marines from a naval ship that exploded and sank, officials said.

The exact cause of the explosion was unclear, but North Korea did not appear to be to blame, officials said.

Families voiced their anger as hopes faded for the missing crew after the ship sank in one of South Korea's worst naval disasters. Divers tried twice to get to the wreckage, Rear Adm. Lee Ki-sik of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told lawmakers.