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Thursday, August 10

Editor's Note: The CNN Wire is a running log of the latest news from CNN World Headquarters, reported by CNN's correspondents and producers, and The CNN Wire editors. "Posted" times are Eastern Daylight.

U.S. Embassy issues terror warning in India

NEW DELHI (CNN) -- The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi Friday warned American citizens of possible terrorist attacks across India in the coming week.

"We are saying in our message we have learned foreign terrorists and possible members of al Qaeda allegedly plan to carry out terrorist attacks targeting major public facilities, such as gathering places and airports," U.S. Embassy spokesman David Kennedy said.

The warning came a month after a string of deadly bomb blasts ripped through Mumbai's commuter train system, killing more than 180 people.

India celebrates its Independence Day on August 15, typically a time of heightened security for the nation.

"The warning to American citizens is really ... to alert them that the embassy has learned of a possible threat of Indian facilities in New Delhi and Mumbai," Kennedy said. "We encouraged U.S. citizens to create a low profile." (Posted 2:53 a.m.)

Israeli soldiers and Lebanese civilians wounded in fighting

BEIRUT (CNN) -- Five Israeli soldiers sustained minor injuries Friday during operations in Qantara, east of the port city of Tyre, Israel Defense Forces said.

In northern Lebanon, Israeli airstrikes on a bridge in Akkar left 11 Lebanese civilians dead and 13 wounded, according to Lebanese Internal Security Forces. The bridge connected a route leading to the Syrian border, the sources said. (Posted 2:52 a.m.)

Bank of England lists names of 19 terror suspects

LONDON (CNN) -- The Bank of England Friday froze the finances of 19 of 24 individuals arrested in connection with an alleged terror plot to bring down commercial airliners.

The following suspects had their finances frozen:

1. ALI, Abdula, Ahmed

2. ALI, Cossor

3. ALI, Shazad, Khuram

4. HUSSAIN, Nabeel

5. HUSSAIN, Tanvir

6. HUSSAIN, Umair

7. ISLAM, Umar

8. KAYANI, Waseem

9. KHAN, Assan, Abdullah

10. KHAN, Waheed, Arafat

11. KHATIB, Osman, Adam

12. PATEL, Abdul, Muneem

13. RAUF, Tayib

14. SADDIQUE, Muhammed, Usman

15. SARWAR, Assad

16. SAVANT, Ibrahim

17. TARIQ, Amin, Asmin

18. UDDIN, Shamin, Mohammed

19. ZAMAN, Waheed

(Posted 2:07 a.m.)

Bank of England freezes funds of 19 terror suspects

LONDON (CNN) -- The Bank of England froze the funds of 19 terror suspects Friday, who were arrested in connection with an alleged plot to bring down up to 10 airplanes, a British Treasury spokesman said.

"On the advice of the police and security services, the Treasury has instructed the Bank of England to issue notices to effect a freeze of the assets of a number of individuals arrested in yesterday's operations," Ed Balls, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said in a statement.

After months of surveillance, British authorities arrested 24 men overnight Thursday, saying they were within a couple of weeks of staging an attack. (Posted 2:06 a.m.)

Bank of England freezes funds of 19 under terror financing laws

LONDON (CNN) -- The Bank of England froze the funds of 19 people Friday under the country's terrorist financing laws, according to a statement on the Bank's Web site. (Posted 12:51 a.m.)

Afghan, coalition forces kill three suspected al Qaeda members

(CNN) -- Afghan and coalition forces killed three suspected al Qaeda members and detained three associates during a raid in eastern Khowst province Friday, a statement from the Coalition Press Information Center said.

The operation took place near the village of Ya'Qubi and included a firefight.

"The purpose of this operation was to capture an al Qaeda facilitator considered a significant threat to Afghan and Coalition forces," the statement said. "Credible intelligence linked the targeted terrorist to remote-controlled improvised explosive device and vehicle-borne improvise explosive device attacks in Khowst Province." (Posted 12:50 a.m.)

Israeli airstrikes pound southern suburbs of Beirut

BEIRUT (CNN) -- The southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital were rocked by at least 11 explosions Friday morning as Israeli air strikes pounded the city, heralding a 31st day of fighting between the Jewish state and Hezbollah.

Lebanese internal security forces said there also were strikes in Akkar in north Lebanon, and said there were casualties but did not yet have a number.

The previous day, Israel took the fighting against Hezbollah into new realms, bombing the heart of Beirut and seizing a Lebanese army base in a Christian-dominated town, according to Lebanon's interior minister.

Israeli jets dropped leaflets across Beirut on Thursday, calling on residents of the city's southern suburbs -- a Hezbollah stronghold -- to evacuate. Meanwhile, Hezbollah continued firing rockets into northern Israel, killing a child and another civilian in the village of Deir al Assad, Israeli ambulance services said. (Posted 11:27 p.m.)

Xinhua: Typhoon Saomai kills 81

BEIJING (CNN) -- Eighty-one people died and 11 were missing Friday after Typhoon Saomai made landfall in east China's Zhejiang Province, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The typhoon is the eighth to strike China this year, Xinhua said. It made landfall Thursday afternoon with a top wind speed of 216 kilometers per hour (134 mph) -- the strongest typoon to hit the southeastern part of the country in the past five decades, Xi Jinping, secretary of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, told the news agency.

More than 1,000 homes were toppled by the storm, and 97 percent of power lines in Cangnan County were downed, Xinhua said. As of late Thursday, the county's average precipitation was more than 300 millimeters (11 inches), according to the report. (Posted 10:06 p.m.)

Officials: Undercover British agent had infiltrated terror plot group

(CNN) -- An undercover British agent infiltrated a group suspected of plotting to blow up as many as 10 planes en route from Britain to the United States, giving authorities intelligence on the alleged plan, several U.S. government officials told CNN. (Posted 7:46 p.m.)

Richardson calls on Lieberman to 'step aside'

(CNN) -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson Thursday became the first prominent national Democrat to directly call on Sen. Joe Lieberman to drop his independent bid for re-election to his seat in Connecticut.

Richardson, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and a possible 2008 White House contender, called Lieberman "a good friend of mine" and a "true public servant." But he said in a statement that he was backing Ned Lamont, the man who defeated Lieberman in Tuesday's Democratic primary. (Posted 7:10 p.m.)

Russia proposes humanitarian cease-fire in Mideast conflict

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Russia has proposed a 72-hour cease-fire between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas to allow for humanitarian aid deliveries, its U.N. ambassador said Thursday.

The announcement came after Security Council powers spent much of the day negotiating over a proposal to bring an end to the conflict, with diplomatic sources reporting progress toward an agreement. (Posted 7:09 p.m.)

Schwarzenegger details security increases

(CNN) -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spelled out Thursday the ramped-up security at the state's major airports in the wake of the uncovered terror plot to blow up trans-Atlantic planes.

The governor said 300 armed National Guard soldiers have been deployed to the three largest airports in the state -- Los Angeles International, San Francisco and Oakland -- which have the most flights to and from Europe. The soldiers, armed with long rifles as they were after Sept. 11, will remain there until the national threat level is lowered from its current red status to yellow, he said.

Flanking Schwarzenegger at the press conference, California Highway Patrol Commissioner Mike Brown said the patrol had contacted all commercial airports in the state and offered backup security in their areas. (Posted 7:08 p.m.)

Oil price plunge elicits mixed views on terror plot influence

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The price of crude oil plummeted $2.35 settling at $74.00 a barrel on the NYMEX Thursday, matching its second largest price drop of the year, but oil analysts were divided on whether the market was responding to news of a thwarted terror plot targeting trans-Atlantic flights.

Tom Bentz, an analyst at BNP Paribas Commodity Futures, noted that the market's volatility to news events seems to be extremely high these days.

But other energy analysts completely disagreed, claiming the big drop preceded the announcement of the terrorist plot.

Fadel Gheit, Oppenheimer & Co. senior energy analyst characterized the assessment that the terror plot caused oil to plummet as "nonsense." (Posted 6:43 p.m.)

Israel seizes Lebanese army base

BEIRUT (CNN) -- Israeli forces seized a Lebanese army base in a Christian-dominated town Thursday, Lebanese officials said.

The Israelis had moved into the largely Christian town of Marjeyoun in an effort to root out the Hezbollah fighters who have fired more than 3,000 rockets into Israel since the conflict began,

The Lebanese military source said Israeli troops backed by five tanks moved into the army base in Marjeyoun, meeting no resistance from the garrison of about 350 soldiers and police. Acting Interior Minister Ahmed Fatfat said negotiations to release the troops were under way "at the highest levels" late Thursday, involving the United States and France.

"We didn't want them to evacuate the barracks so the Israelis can say that they just abandoned and left," he told Lebanese television network New TV.

The military source said the garrison was disarmed and locked in rooms throughout the base as Israeli troops searched the facility. There was no comment from the Israeli military on the move.

The troops are armed only with "simple individual weapons" and was conducting humanitarian aid missions in the area, Fatfat said. They had no orders to fight the Israelis. (Posted 6:21 p.m.)

Security Council powers raise hopes of Mideast peace deal

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Permanent members of the U.N. Security Council hinted Thursday that agreement was near on a plan to bring the nearly month-old Mideast conflict to an end, with nearly all the major sticking points in previous proposals resolved, diplomatic sources said.

Diplomatic sources said the United States and France have reached agreement on the major steps to end the fighting between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas, but are still waiting to hear whether Israel and Lebanon will accept the plan.

The latest proposal would call for Lebanese government troops, along with an expanded U.N. mission, to deploy into southern Lebanon in parallel with an Israeli withdrawal. Those troops would be the only military force in the area, meaning Hezbollah would pull back from the Israeli-Lebanese border.

The remaining question is whether the U.N. contingent -- a beefed-up version of the existing observer mission UNIFIL -- will have a mandate under Chapter VII of the U.N. charter, which would give it the authority to use force. The United States supports a Chapter VII mandate for the mission, as do countries likely to contribute troops to the force. (Posted 5:29 p.m.)

2 suspects in British plot had made 'martyrdom tapes'

ATLANTA (CNN) -- Two of the suspects in the alleged British terror plot left "martyrdom tapes," according to sources with detailed knowledge of the British investigation.

In addition, senior U.S. government sources told CNN that two of the terror plot suspects recently traveled to Pakistan and later received money wired from there.

It was not known if the reports referred to the same two suspects. --From CNN's Mike Brooks and Kelli Arena (Posted 5:25 p.m.)

Some U.S. flights canceled; reticketing fees waived

(CNN) -- American Airlines announced the cancellation for Thursday of six of its daily flights between London Heathrow Airport and the United States as a result of crowded passenger and screening conditions at Heathrow.

Canceled are three of the airline's 16 flights departing London for the United States and three going the other way -- one each from Chicago, Boston, and New York's JFK airport.

Both American and United Airlines said they will waive reticketing fees for those wanting to change plans from now until September 1 and wave fees associated with excess and overweight baggage. (Posted 4:03 p.m.)

Bond denied for suspect in Miami terror case

MIAMI (CNN) -- A judge denied bond for Lyglenson Lemorin, one of seven suspects arrested in June in an alleged plot to blow up buildings in Miami and elsewhere, including the Hancock Tower in Chicago.

Lemorin was arrested in Atlanta while his six co-defendents were arrested in Miami. The judge had already denied bond for the other six.

Lemorin's attorney argued that his client had left the group and moved to Atlanta, but the judge ruled that he was a flight risk.

The seven men, all arrested June 22, face charges of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, including al Qaeda, and plotting to bomb buildings around the country as part of a "jihad" against the United States. (Posted 3:42 p.m.)

Pakistan also made arrests in terror plot

ISLAMABAD (CNN) -- Pakistani authorities made arrests coordinated with those in Britain in the alleged terror plot to blow up commercial airliners, a spokesman for the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

"In fact, Pakistan played a very important role in uncovering and breaking this international terrorist network," the spokesman said. "Cooperation on this particular case was spread over a period of time."

The spokesman did not say how many arrests were made. (Posted 3:10 p.m.)

24 arrested in terror plot

LONDON (CNN) -- Metropolitan Police said Thursday evening that 24 suspects have been arrested in the plot to blow up commercial airlines flying from London to the United States.

Police initially said 21 had been arrested, but altered that number after all those arrested in overnight operations had been processed into custody. (Posted 2:45 p.m.)

'Terrorist,' 3 associates captured, U.S. military says

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A "terrorist and three of his associates" were detained by coalition forces in a raid in western Baghdad's Abu Ghraib neighborhood Thursday, the U.S. military said.

"The targeted terrorist had recently formed a foreign fighter cell in the area and has ties to senior al Qaeda in Iraq leaders. Intelligence also indicates that he is in charge of a kidnapping and assassination cell," the military said. (Posted 2:27 p.m.)

6 of 11 Egyptian students now in federal custody

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Six of the 11 Egyptian students who didn't show up for classes after entering the United States are in federal custody, the FBI said Thursday.

Federal agents on Thursday arrested three more of the students -- two in Maryland and another in Chicago -- who were part of a group that "failed to show up for a scheduled academic program at Montana State University" after arriving in New York nearly two weeks ago, the FBI said in a statement released by Special Agent Richard Kolko.

They were apprehended by the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) Enforcement agents.

"Preliminary investigation by FBI and ICE agents has not identified any credible or imminent threat posed by any of the eleven Egyptian students," the FBI said.

Three others were taken into custody Wednesday. (Posted 2:09 p.m.)

Annan presses Security Council for Mideast settlement

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan pushed the Security Council on Thursday to come up with a plan by week's end for ending Israel's conflict with Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas.

In a statement issued early Thursday afternoon, Annan's office said he is working "very intensely" on reaching a resolution acceptable to both Israel and Lebanon, and he repeated his call to end the fighting and "save civilians on both sides from the nightmare they have endured for the past four weeks."

"The secretary-general believes that it ought to be possible for the Security Council to adopt a resolution by the end of the week," his office said. (Posted 1:26 p.m.)

Najaf bombing, hike in Baghdad monthly body count stoke fears of civil warfare

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Fears that Iraq's violence could spill into a nationwide civil war gained a bit of traction Thursday after a bloody suicide bombing in a holy Shiite city in the south and news that the Baghdad morgue received 1,850 bodies in July -- the highest monthly total since sectarian strife escalated six months ago.

A bombing at the Askariya Mosque in the north-central city of Samarra on Feb. 22 sparked an upsurge of reprisal killings between Islam's two largest groups -- the Shiite and the Sunni. The establishment of a national unity government and a major security crackdown in Baghdad, now in its second, bulked-up phase, hasn't been able to stop the vengeance slayings.

Many of the sectarian deaths have been in Baghdad and other cities such as Baquba, where there are mixed populations. Bodies have been found dumped in the capital every day, usually with gunshot wounds and signs of torture, the signature modus operandi for sectarian killers.

The Baghdad morgue figures illustrate the carnage. The Health Ministry counted 1,850 bodies in July, 1,350 in June, 1,398 in May, 1,155 in April, 1,294 in March, and 1,110 in February.

Now, the violence has spread to the Shiite heartland, where a Sunni insurgent group's message on a militant Web site is claiming responsibility for the attack in Najaf. (Posted 1:05 p.m.)

Man trying to reach airplane lavatory with liquid medicine causes security scare

(CNN) -- Trying to reach the lavatory during take-off, an Eritrean man Thursday scuffled with a flight attendant on a Qatar Airlines flight, prompting passengers to detain him and the airline to turn the plane around, a Jordanian government official told CNN.

The 21-year-old man was apparently trying to take medication in a liquid form, which raised concerns with the airline, which was aware of a plot to blow up U.S.-bound planes with liquid explosives. In reaction to that plot, U.S. and British officials have stepped up security at airports, including a ban on all liquids on all flights.

Initial reports from a Jordanian airport official said the man tried to force his way into the cockpit of the flight, which was heading from Amman, Jordan, to Doha, Qatar. (Posted 12:55 p.m.)

Bush says uncovered terror plot reminder of war with 'Islamic fascists'

GREEN BAY, Wis. (CNN) -- An uncovered terror plot targeting U.S.-bound flights is "a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation," President Bush said Thursday.

Speaking on the tarmac of an airport in Green Bay, Bush thanked British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- a close ally -- and his government for "busting this plot."

He also thanked U.S. officials who helped in the investigation.

"This country is safer than it was prior to 9/11," Bush said. "We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people but obviously we're not completely safe because there are still people that still plot and people who want to harm us for what we believe in. (Posted 12:05 p.m.)

Homeland Security memo: Plotters targeted as many as 10 flights to U.S.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An internal document of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, obtained by CNN, outlined details of the alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound airliners departing Britain.

"Late Wednesday and early Thursday morning, British authorities disrupted a major terrorist plot to simultaneously blow up as many as ten airplanes in mid-flight en-route from Britain to the United States," the document said.

"It is alleged the plotters planned to use liquid explosives which could be overlooked by X-rays during the screening process and smuggled onto planes via carry-on baggage. The airlines targeted by the terrorists were United, American and Continental airlines as well as British Airways. Investigators believe the bombs were planned to go off simultaneously, targeting flights inbound to the United States," it said. (Posted 12:01 p.m.)

Situation at Heathrow beginning to ease

LONDON (CNN) -- London Heathrow Airport continues to experience "severe disruption" to its operation, but the situation is "very slowly beginning to ease," Heathrow chief executive officer Tony Douglas said Thursday.

Douglas made the announcement outside Heathrow shortly after 1 p.m. (8 a.m. ET)

The Department for Transport has asked all British airports to apply stringent security measures as a result of the ongoing security threat and police investigation.

As of 12:45 p.m., a total of 231 arrivals had been canceled, including 180 international and 40 domestic flights, according to a Heathrow statement.

A total of 224 departures have also been canceled, including 176 international and 48 domestic flights. (Posted 11:07 a.m.)

Chertoff: Plotters in 'final stages' of blowing up flights heading to U.S.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Terrorists who had been under surveillance in Britain for several months were in the "final stages" of carrying out a plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights to the United States before police arrested them in an overnight raid, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Thursday.

"There were very concrete steps under way to execute all elements of the plan," he said.

Speaking at the same news conference, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the 21 people arrested "were extremists who had gone beyond just stating a desire to kill Americans."

Some of the suspects were British citizens of Pakistani descent and planned to detonate as many as 10 planes, a U.S. government source told CNN. (Posted 10:58 a.m.)

2 killed in Katyusha attack on Israeli village

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Two Israeli civilians -- including a child -- were killed and two were wounded when Hezbollah militants launched a Katyusha rocket into the village of Deir al Assad in northern Israel on Thursday, Israeli ambulance service officials said.

Another rocket struck Kriot in the northern suburbs of Haifa, with one person suffering shock, authorities said.

Police in Israel said 136 rockets had struck northern Israel on Thursday up to 4:45 p.m. (Posted 10:28 a.m.)

Gaza-Egypt border crossing is closing, Israel says

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel on Thursday said the Gaza-Egypt border crossing is closing hours after it was opened for the first time in several weeks.

The Israel Defense Forces said that because of specific security alerts, it and the operators of the border crossing decided to shut it until further notice. (Posted 10:25 a.m.)

Chertoff: Terror plot 'well-advanced,' 'suggestive of al Qaeda'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The intelligence that uncovered a plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights from Britain to the United States is "suggestive of an al Qaeda plot," U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said.

However, he added that "because the investigation is still under way we cannot form a definitive conclusion." The suspects planned to carry liquid explosives and detonators "disguised as beverages, electronic devices or other common objects," Chertoff said.

The alleged plot was "well-advanced" and in its final stages, he noted. While the suspects were probably not motivated by any anniversary, Chertoff said the plot was reminiscent of a plot by 9/11 coordinator Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 1999 who had envisioned detonating bombs on 11 airlines possibly traveling over the Pacific Ocean.

Chertoff said the alleged plot involved U.S. airlines with specific routes from Britain, but declined to name any specific carriers. A U.S. administration official told CNN's Jeanne Meserve the plot involved Continental, United and American Airlines -- adding that the list was not exclusive of other airlines. (Posted 8:39 a.m.)

Chertoff: Unclear if all terror plot suspects in British custody

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- It is unclear if British authorities have arrested everyone involved in the alleged plot to detonate explosives aboard several trans-Atlantic flights to the United States, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said.

British authorities said 21 arrests have taken place and raids on residences and businesses are ongoing. (Posted 8:37 a.m.)

13 killed in Baghdad attacks

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Attackers killed 13 people in three attacks in Baghdad on Thursday, police told CNN.

Two of the incidents occurred a half-hour apart in southwestern Baghdad.

Six people were killed and three were wounded when a bomb exploded in a restaurant about 3 p.m..

Three people were killed and two were wounded when clashes erupted between Iraqi police commandos and gunmen 30 minutes later.

In western Baghdad around 10 a.m., four people were killed in fighting between Iraqi security forces and gunmen. (Posted 8:20 a.m.)

Lebanese death toll at 834; Israeli toll hits 122

(CNN) -- Nearly one month of fighting between Israeli troops and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon has resulted in 834 Lebanese deaths and 122 Israeli deaths, authorities in both countries said.

Of the 122 Israeli dead, 82 are soldiers and 40 are civilians killed in Hezbollah rocket attacks on northern Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said. Of those wounded, 288 were soldiers and 576 were civilians.

Meanwhile, Lebanese Internal Security Forces reported that most of the Lebanese deaths were civilians. More than 3,200 Lebanese have been wounded since the conflict began July 12.

Hezbollah has fired 3,333 rockets into northern Israel to date, Israeli authorities report. (Posted 8:07 a.m.)

Clarke: Investigation uncovering terror plot involved 'unprecedented' surveillance

LONDON (CNN) -- The plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights heading from Britain to the United States in midflight by means of smuggled explosives was uncovered by "an unprecedented amount of surveillance," said Peter Clarke, head of the United Kingdom's anti-terrorist police chief.

"We have been looking at meetings, movements, travel, spending, and the aspirations of a large group of people," Clarke said at a news conference Thursday.

Later in the news conference, British Home Secretary John Reid said, "Had this plot been carried out, the loss of life to innocent civilians would have been on an unprecedented scale." British authorities decided late Wednesday to put the country on its highest alert, stepping up security measures at airports and halting flights to and from the United Kingdom.

In his brief statement, Clarke added that intelligence suggested that the explosions were to be constructed in the United Kingdom. He said the investigation reached "a critical point" Wednesday night and that is when investigators decided "to take urgent action in order to disrupt what we believed was planned." (Posted 8:06 a.m.)

Israel warns of attacks on trucks on northern Lebanon coastal highway

BEIRUT (CNN) -- Israel dropped leaflets in northern Lebanon warning it would "intensify its operations" and would target any type of truck moving on the coastal road because "it will be suspected of transporting rockets, military ammunitions and terrorists."

"Be aware that anybody using pick-ups or trucks puts his life in danger," Israel warned on the leaflet. The leaflets were dropped into northern Lebanese towns, such as El Beddaoui, Lebanese Internal Security Forces said. (Posted 7:34 a.m.)

Suicide bomber kills 34 in Iraqi city of Najaf

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A suicide bomber strapped with explosives detonated himself at a police checkpoint near a holy shrine in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf Thursday, killing at least 34 people and wounding 108 others, a Najaf police official said.

The predominantly Shiite city was crowded with Shiites from throughout Iraq, who were in the city to commemorate the death of Zainab, the Prophet Mohammed's daughter, police said.

The attack comes as Iraq has been enduring months of Sunni-Shiite sectarian fighting. (Posted 6:11 a.m.)

British police disrupt terrorist plot to bring down plane; 21 arrested

LONDON (CNN) -- British police foiled a major terrorist plot designed to commit "mass murder on an unimaginable scale," New Scotland Yard Deputy Commissioner Paul Stephenson said.

According to Stephenson, the scheme involved a plan to blow up a number of passenger jets flying between the United Kingdom and the United States. He said 21 people were arrested by London, Birmingham and Thames Valley police overnight in the ongoing operation.

"This is about people who are desperate ... who want to do things that no right-minded citizen of this country or any other country would want to tolerate," Stephenson said. (Posted 6:05 a.m.)

U.S. raises threat level after alleged Britain terror plot foiled

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States Thursday raised its terror threat level after British police announced they foiled a major terrorist plot to blow up passenger jets flying between the United Kingdom and the United States.

The threat level is at the highest level of "severe," or red, for commercial flights originating in the United Kingdom bound for the United States, according to the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, the threat level has been raised to "high," or orange for all commercial flights operating in or coming to the United States, the DHS statement said.

It is the first time the DHS has raised the threat level for a specific group of flights, CNN's Jeanne Meserve reported. (Posted 5:59 a.m.)

Two killed in Katyusha attack

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Two Israeli civilians -- including a child -- were killed and two were wounded after Hezbollah militants launched a Katyusha rocket into the village of Deir al Assad in northern Israel Thursday, Israeli ambulance service officials said.

Lebanese Internal Security Forces announced Thursday as a result of the regional clashes, 834 people have been killed and 3,211 wounded since fighting began on July 12. Israel Defense Forces reported Wednesday 120 have been killed -- including 38 civilians -- and more than 700 wounded. (Posted 5:49 a.m.)

500 more bodies sent to Baghdad morgue in July

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- At least 1,850 bodies -- many riddled with bullets -- were sent to Baghdad Central Morgue in July, a jump of about 500 from the previous month, a Health Ministry official said.

Most of the deaths were due to violence in Iraq, the official said. (Posted 5:12 a.m.)

2 al Qaeda in Iraq leaders captured

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Coalition forces captured two wanted al Qaeda in Iraq leaders and five other members in separate raids conducted in Baghdad and east of Mosul Wednesday, a Multi-National Forces in Iraq statement said.

In the Baghdad raid, coalition forces captured a senior al Qaeda leader who specialized in bomb making. Military intelligence indicated the leader's group was planning a market bombing attack.

The raid near Mosul targeted another al Qaeda leader. His group has been linked with smuggling foreign fighters into Iraq through Syria, coalition forces said.

The Multi-National Force did not report any casualties during the operation. (Posted 4:49 a.m.)

Israel takes control of Christian area in Lebanon

BEIRUT (CNN) -- Israeli forces "took control" of the largely Christian town of Marjeyoun in southern Lebanon Thursday and warned residents to remain in their homes as they moved toward the nearby town of Blatt, Lebanese military intelligence and Lebanese police told CNN.

The secured area overlooks the Litani River, where Hezbollah fighters have reportedly fired rockets into Israel, sources said.

Lebanese intelligence said the troops did not experience any resistance during the operation, however Arab-language network Al Jazeera reported Israeli forces advanced into Marjeyoun where Hezbollah announced they had engaged them in "violent battles."

Arab news networks Al Manar and Al Arabiya reported at least two Israeli tanks were destroyed in fighting there.

Lebanese Internal Security Forces announced Thursday as a result of the regional clashes, 834 people have been killed and 3,211 wounded since fighting began on July 12. Israel Defense Forces reported Wednesday 120 have been killed -- including 38 civilians -- and more than 700 wounded. (Posted 3:55 a.m.)

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