NUSSEIRAT REFUGEE CAMP,
Gaza Strip (AP) - In the bloodiest
day in the Gaza Strip in months, Israeli
warplanes and helicopters pounded
militant targets yesterday, killing 10
Palestinians, including seven in a
refugee camp where a car was
destroyed, and wounding about 100.
The violent Islamic movements
Hamas and Islamic Jihad threatened
revenge, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon pledged more raids and the
State Department advised U.S. citizens
to defer travel to Israel, the West Bank
With prospects for Mideast peace
efforts further clouded, U.S. officials
confirmed that John Wolf, the head of
the team monitoring implementation of
the troubled U.S.-backed "road map"
peace plan, was not planning to return
to the region soon.
The bombing raids yesterday came a
day after Palestinian militants fired
eight homemade rockets from Gaza
into southern Israel and Palestinian
gunmen ambushed an Israeli patrol in
the West Bank, killing three soldiers
and seriously wounding a fourth.
Israeli aircraft struck in five separate
locations, hitting a suspected Hamas
weapons cache twice, another store-
house and a car carrying suspected
The nighttime strike in the Nusseirat
camp in central Gaza, in which 75 peo-
ple were wounded in addition to the
seven killed, was the bloodiest since an
April missile raid on a Hamas leader in
Gaza City killed nine people.
Residents said Israeli helicopters
fired three missiles at the main street,
destroying a car. An Israeli army state-
ment said the vehicle was carrying
members of a Palestinian terrorist
squad fleeing after a failed attempt to
breach the border fence with Israel a
few miles to the northeast.
But Israel's Channel 10 TV said that
none of the dead were militants, char-
acterizing the refugee camp strike as a
Residents said one of the dead was a
doctor who was treating victims when
a second missile struck. The identity of
the other victims was not immediately
Hundreds of camp residents carried
charred pieces of the vehicle aloft and
chanted, "Revenge, revenge."-
In Gaza City, Israeli helicopters fired
missiles at a building in the Shajaiyeh
neighborhood, the same structure that
was hit in an earlier airstrike yesterday,
residents said. Eleven people were
wounded, they said.
Israeli military sources said the
attack was meant to finish the work
of the first one.
EAGLE, Colo. (AP) - Kobe Bryant
must stand trial on a charge of sexually
assaulting a 19-year-old resort worker,
a judge ruled yesterday, clearing the
way for a celebrity trial the likes of
which hasn't been seen since O.J.
Eagle County Judge Frederick Gan-
nett said prosecutors presented enough
evidence Bryant might have committed
the crime June 30. The Los Angeles
Lakers guard could face a life sentence
His next appearance, in district
court, is set for Nov. 10.
Bryant has said the sex was consen-
sual. His attorneys suggested the
woman's injuries came during sex with
other men in the days before her
encounter with Bryant at a posh resort
in nearby Edwards.
The defense can appeal Gannett's
ruling, but such appeals are rare, legal
Bryant practiced with the Los Ange-
les Lakers at their El Segundo, Calif.,
facility on yesterday and it wrapped up
about two hours before the judge
issued his ruling.
Bryant was asked then about the
decision that would be coming out of
the Colorado courtroom.
"What courtroom?" he said.
At Bryant's first appearance in state
Fed. deficit reaches record $374.3B
The federal deficit soared to $374.2 billion in 2003, the White House said yes-
terday, a record total that more than doubled last year's red ink and looked like a
prelude to even gloomier numbers.
Because the shortfall marked an improvement from a $455 billion projection
the White House made in July, Bush administration officials cited it as evidence
that their attempts to fortify the weak economy were working.
"Today's budget numbers reinforce the indications we have seen for some
months now: that the economy is well on the path to recovery," Treasury Secre-
tary John Snow said.
White House budget director Joshua Bolten said much the same but also con-
ceded that worse fiscal numbers were on the horizon, estimating the gap for the
new year "will likely exceed $500 billion even with the strengthening economy."
Bolten said spending restraint and policies aimed at bolstering the economy can
wrench the budget onto a course to halve deficits by 2009.
Even so, next year's figure could become a political concern for President Bush
and Republicans in Congress. With federal budget years running through Sept.
30, next year's figure will be ready less than a month before elections that will see
the GOP fighting to retain control of the White House and Capitol Hill.
Bin Laden is alive, U.S. officials say after tape
Osama bin Laden, by referring to recent events in his latest taped message,
showed he was alive in the not-too-distant past, U.S. officials said yesterday. It was
the strongest evidence in months that bin Laden retains command of the al-Qaida
Officials with the Central Intelligence Agency said they believed the audio
recording of bin Laden, aired Saturday on Arabic al-Jazeera television, was proba-
They reached the conclusion after technical analysis in which experts com-
pared the voice to known recordings of the terrorist leader.
Bin Laden made several references in the message that suggested it was record-
ed in the past several months. For example, he spoke of the government of former
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who served from April until Sept. 6.
Bin Laden called Abbas' government "a traitor and collaborator government" with
the United States.
Although the language suggested the message was recorded before Abbas' res-
ignation, CIA officials said they couldn't be certain of that.
VIRIGINIA BEACH, VA.
Sperg suspect to
repr snt himself
Sniper suspect John Allen Muham-
mad won the right to serve as his own
lawyer yesterday in a surprise, last-
minute request at his murder trial. He
broke a year of stony silence by pro-
claiming his innocence in a rambling
opening statement and asking a wit-
ness: "Have you ever seen me shoot
It was not clear why Muhammad
decided to fire his lawyers, who will
serve as standby counsel in the first
trial to come out of last year's sniper
spree. Just last week, Muhammad told
the judge that he was satisfied with his
Muhammad's decision to represent
himself in the death penalty case means
he could end up cross-examining his
accusers, perhaps survivors of the
In his 20-minute opening statement,
Muhammad said nothing about the
shootings except to deny involvement.
N. Korea dominates
21-nation Asia forum
President Bush pushed North Korea's
nuclear threat to the forefront of a 21-
nation summit yesterday and the com-
munist country shoved back with an
attention-grabbing missile test. Some
leaders complained that security issues
were dominating the meeting's stated
economic agenda. Gathered behind the
freshly painted walls of a government
compound, the leaders took up a major
economic dispute and agreed to revive
global trade liberalization talks that col-
lapsed recently in Mexico. They did not
offer a formula to break the impasse but
directed negotiators go back to work on
the text they had left behind, the White
A college student who said he hid
box cutters and other banned items on
two airliners in an act of "civil disobe-
dience" to expose weaknesses in U.S.
security was charged with a federal
crime yesterday, and a prosecutor said
he committed a "very serious and fool-
Nathaniel Heatwole, 20, was charged
with taking a dangerous weapon aboard
He was released without bail for a
preliminary hearing Nov. 10.
According to authorities, he told fed-
eral agents he went through normal
security procedures at airports in Balti-
more and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
HM MM MMn Bil
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