Russia demandsaction on rebels
MOSCOW -- Russia demanded Saturday that Georgia take decisive military action against Chechen rebels it claims are based there and strongly urged it to accept Moscow's help, raising the stakes in its dispute with its neighbor.
Russia says Chechen rebels and foreigners who fight alongside them have been launching cross-border attacks in Chechnya from Georgia's Pankisi Gorge, and has repeatedly urged the tiny former Soviet republic to rein them in.
After initially denying there were rebels in the area, Georgia has acknowledged there may be militants among Chechen refugees in the gorge, and President Eduard Shevardnadze vowed Thursday that an upcoming police operation will cleanse it of criminals and militants.
Russia's Foreign Ministry welcomed that promise in a statement Saturday, but said it disagreed with Georgia's tactic of "peacefully pushing terrorists out" of the gorge.
"The terrorists must be blockaded, disarmed and handed over to the Russian side," the statement said. "Russia is prepared to give Georgia all the necessary cooperation it needs in solving this problem."
The Russian statement came a day after Georgia claimed Russian aircraft bombed its territory, killing at least one person and wounding five others. Russian military officials denied the accusation.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Saturday that the United States is "deeply concerned about credible reports that Russian military aircraft indiscriminately bombed villages in northern Georgia."
Palestinians executewoman spy suspect
JERUSALEM -- A Palestinian militia shot and killed a Palestinian woman suspected of collaborating with Israel Saturday, then dumped her bullet-riddled body on a street in the West Bank town of Tulkarem, the militia said.
Dozens of suspected Palestinian collaborators have been killed since the beginning of a Palestinian uprising in September 2000, but Ikhlas Khouli was the first woman reported executed.
A member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is linked to the Fatah movement of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, said the militia seized Khouli, 35, from her house Friday and took her to a deserted building where they videotaped her confessing that she had spied for Israel.
On Saturday, she was executed as a lesson to others who would consider collaborating with Israel, he said on condition of anonymity.
He said Khouli admitted she had recruited her 18-year-old son to assist her.
West Nile virussuspected in deaths
NEW YORK -- West Nile virus is suspected in the deaths of an 81-year-old man on Long Island and a 65-year-old man in Michigan, health officials said Saturday.
If confirmed, the two cases would bring the number of deaths from the disease this year to 18.
So far this year, more than 370 human cases of West Nile have been confirmed in the country's worst out break since the virus first appeared here in 1999. Seven people died in New York that year, and the virus has since spread throughout the East and Midwest.
Bomb-plot suspect hadfirepower, cops say
TAMPA, Fla. -- A doctor suspected of hatching an elaborate plot to blow up dozens of mosques and an Islamic education center had enough expertise and firepower to carry it out, police said Saturday.
Robert J. Goldstein, a foot specialist, possessed an arsenal powerful enough to level the 200-unit town house complex where he lives and a detailed "mission template" full of instructions, officials said.
"He was just a smart guy," said sheriff's Detective Cal Dennie. "He knew his stuff. It was like a James Bond thing."
Goldstein, 37, was arrested Friday and charged with possession of a nonregistered destructive device and attempting to use an explosive to damage and destroy Islamic centers. He was being held Saturday without bail.
Israeli troops kill 1
JERUSALEM -- Israeli troops patrolling the West Bank city of Jenin killed one Palestinian militant and wounded two others in a shootout Saturday, hospital officials said, in one of several clashes overshadowing an agreement turning some Gaza Strip security duties over to Palestinians.
A member of the Al Aqsa Brigades, linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, said the three militants opened fire on the troops, who then returned fire.
An Israeli tank also fired on stone throwers in Nablus, injuring six people, Palestinian witnesses said, and Israeli troops and Palestinians clashed on Nablus' outskirts after a joint Arab-Jewish peace group tried to deliver food to Palestinians living under curfew for more than two months.
In the Gaza Strip, the army demolished three Palestinian houses it said Palestinian militants used as cover in an attempted infiltration of a Jewish settlement.