U.S., Iraqi forces net suspected insurgents
Big-city murders up 10 percent since 2004
Iran shrugs off latest U.N. pressure
Nazi archive to be opened by year's end
Palestinians rush crossing to Egypt
BAGHDAD - U.S. and Iraqi troops captured eight suspected insurgents Thursday in raids north of Baghdad as part of a campaign to prevent insurgents from regrouping outside the city during the ongoing security crackdown. The operation took place in Duluiyah and the Jabouri peninsula - a bend in the Tigris River about 55 miles north of Baghdad - part of the Sunni areas around Baghdad where insurgents have fled since the crackdown in the capital began last month. The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, said the security operation would be extended beyond the city limits to target these areas, which he referred to as "the Baghdad belt." "The priority clearly is Baghdad, (but) anyone who knows about security in Baghdad knows you must also secure the ‘Baghdad belts' - in other words the areas that surround Baghdad," Petraeus told reporters at his first news conference since taking command last month. Petraeus declined to specify how long the security operation would last but said it would continue as long as necessary "to achieve its desired effect."
WASHINGTON - The murder rate jumped by more than 10 percent among dozens of large U.S. cities since 2004, a study shows in the latest sign of the end of a national lull in violent crime. Robberies also spiked, as did felony assaults and attacks with guns, according to the report to be released Friday by the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based law enforcement think tank. FBI data similarly has shown a rise in violent crime - if not as dramatic - since 2004. The Justice Department says crime was historically low that year. "Two years worth of double-digit increases in violent crime demonstrates an unmistakable change in the extent and the nature of crime in America," said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the nonprofit think tank that is funded in part by the Justice Department, as well as corporations and private foundations. "There are those that say this is a statistical blip, an aberration," Wexler said. "After two years, this is no aberration." The report surveyed crime rates in 56 large U.S. metropolitan areas including Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Washington.
VIENNA, Austria - Iran on Thursday shrugged off the latest punitive U.N. action - suspension of nearly two dozen nuclear aid programs - and showed no signs it was cowed by the possibility of even tougher penalties in the form of new Security Council sanctions. The decision by the 35 board nations of the International Atomic Energy Agency to deprive Tehran of 22 technical aid projects was symbolically important. Only North Korea and Saddam Hussein's Iraq had been subject to such action previously. Still, none of the programs directly applied to the Islamic republic's developing uranium enrichment program - which Tehran refuses to mothball despite nearly three months of Security Council sanctions and the possibility that those punitive measures may be tightened.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - Moving more quickly than expected, the 11-nation body overseeing a long-secret archive of Nazi war records set procedures in motion Thursday to open millions of files on concentration camps and their victims before the end of the year. Member nations made the decision knowing that within a year 10 percent of all Holocaust survivors now living may be dead, one American archive director said. The governing commission of the International Tracing Service, the storehouse of an estimated 30 million to 50 million pages documenting the Holocaust, concluded a two-day meeting with a set of recommendations for copying and transferring files to Holocaust institutions for use by survivors, victims' relatives and scholars. The recommendations must be adopted at a formal meeting of the 11 countries in May.
RAFAH, Gaza Strip - Palestinian border guards wielding clubs and firing toward the ground pushed back hundreds of Palestinian travelers who surged toward a Gaza-Egypt border terminal Thursday during a rare opening of the coastal strip's only gateway to the world. Seven Palestinians were hurt, including two by gunfire, and passenger traffic into Egypt was halted by midmorning because of the chaos. A 61-year-old man on his way to a medical checkup in Egypt died of a heart attack. Under a U.S.-brokered 2005 agreement on Gaza's crossings, the Rafah terminal at the Gaza-Egypt border is controlled by the Palestinians and Egypt, along with European monitors. However, Israel has the final say on whether Rafah opens because the European monitors won't report to the crossing without Israel's approval. Since the June kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Hamas-allied militants, the border has been closed 81 percent of the time, according to European monitors.