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January 7, 1996
Web posted at: 2:30 p.m EST (1930 GMT)
Amir

Rabin assassin jokes in court; is ejected

TEL AVIV, Israel (CNN) -- The man who has confessed to killing Yitzhak Rabin joked in court on Sunday that he might have used a cellular telephone in the assassination. It apparently was a reference to the killing of a Palestinian bombmaker who died Friday when a cellular phone exploded in his hands.

During a hearing about the means Yigal Amir allegedly used to assassinate Rabin, the defendant said, "My idea was to do it with a cellular phone." Amir was smiling broadly as he said it. Amir broke into proceedings with several other comments, as well, and eventually was ejected from the courtroom.

Amir's trial on premeditated murder begins January 23. He has not entered plea, although he has confessed to shooting Rabin on November 4.

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Chechnya

Major clashes in Chechnya kill dozens of rebels

MOSCOW (CNN) -- Major clashes near the Chechen capital of Grozny killed about 30 rebels on Saturday, according to Russian military officials. Russian news agencies report three government soldiers were killed.

Most of the dead reportedly were killed in the village of Shatoi, south of Grozny. Rebels there have put up a fierce resistance to the Russian military suppression of their separatist drive.

Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said the situation in Chechnya is worsening after the relative calm of the last several months. The Chechen civil war is now 13 months old.

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Bulgaria

Death toll from collapsed bridge rises

ELKHOVO, Bulgaria (CNN) -- The death toll from a collapsed bridge in southeastern Bulgaria rose to six on Sunday. The footbridge over the icy Toundja River gave way on Saturday as about 80 people stood on it. Townsfolk were attending a festival at the time.

Nine people were being treated for injuries they suffered from falling in the river. One of the bridge's iron railings broke under the weight of the people.



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