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Thursday, February 1

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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 Standard.

Fatah-Hamas battles rage across Gaza as cease-fire falters

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Gunfire rattled across Gaza City early Friday as fighters from the ruling Palestinian faction Hamas fought a pitched battle with rivals from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement near a Hamas stronghold.

The fierce midnight shootout at Gaza's Islamic University came after a day of clashes between Hamas and Fatah that left five dead and 45 wounded, shredding a cease-fire the two factions reached earlier this week. The fighting spread to districts all around Gaza City, with Abbas' office and residence coming under fire at one point.

Police under Fatah's control fought their way onto the university campus and seized hundreds of rocket-propelled grenades and more than 2,000 weapons, Palestinian security sources said.

Fatah also claimed to have detained six Iranian military officers, including a colonel and four men it called "chemical experts." Hamas denied the claims, for which there was no independent confirmation early Friday. (Posted 7:43 p.m.)

FBI agent testifies about Libby interview

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Cheney and his Chief of Staff in 2003 discussed whether to tell the press that the wife of a war critic worked at the CIA, according to testimony Thursday in the criminal trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

The FBI's Deborah Bond, a case agent as investigators tried to find out whether classified information had been improperly revealed, testified that when she and other law enforcement interviewed Libby in November of 2003, he described a conversation three months earlier with his boss, Cheney, as the two prepared a response to questions from the media about the story.

Notes Bond took at the interview described Libby as having some uncertainty when he said "there was a discussion whether to report to the press that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA."

The conversation is said to have taken place on July 12, soon after Libby says he first learned of Mrs. Wilson's employment from Tim Russert, the host of NBC's Meet the Press. (Posted 7:23 p.m.)

Orleans Parish coroner: Cannot say Katrina hospital deaths were homicides

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- The Orleans Parish coroner said Thursday he cannot classify as homicides the deaths of four patients who died at New Orleans's Memorial Medical Center in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which could impact the murder cases against a doctor and two nurses accused of killing them.

Minyard earlier said a grand jury would be empaneled in the cases of Dr. Anna Pou (prono: POE) and nurses Cheryl Landry and Lori Budo. All three were arrested in July and charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of the patients, who ranged in age from 61 and 90.

Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti has contended the patients died of a lethal drug combination administered by the three medical professionals in Katrina's aftermath, before the hospital was evacuated.

Foti began his investigation in Sept. 14, 2005, two weeks after the evacuation, when officials from Lifecare, an acute care facility operating within Memorial, reported the suspicious deaths. He has said all of those who were allegedly killed were Lifecare patients.

-- From CNN Correspondent Drew Griffin (Posted 7:12 p.m.)

New York lawmakers proposes fashion model weight regulation

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A New York City lawmaker has proposed a resolution at today's council meeting which calls upon sponsors of New York Fashion Week to ban models with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5 -- the cutoff for the World Health Organization's designation of "normal" -- from walking the event's runways.

The resolution marks the city's weigh-in on an international debate that has emerged over the fashion industry's reliance on underage and underweight models.

New York City Council member Gail Brewer introduced the measure, aimed at encouraging models to maintain healthy weights. Brewer said that among other things, she wants models to be educated on nutrition.

-- From CNN's Mythili Rao (Posted 7:08 p.m.)

Hamas, Fatah trade fire in Gaza despite cease-fire; 5 dead, 45 wounded

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Gunmen from the Palestinian ruling faction Hamas fought a pitched battle with police controlled by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas early Friday, hours after clashes that left five dead and 45 wounded, Palestinian security sources said.

The midnight firefight at Gaza's Islamic University and the earlier clashes between Hamas and Abbas' Fatah movement tore a hole through a cease-fire the two factions reached earlier this week. No details of the latest fighting were immediately available.

Thursday's clashes began after Hamas' executive forces attacked a convoy from the Palestinian presidential guard that was carrying a shipment of guns and confiscated all of the weapons, Hamas sources told CNN.

Fatah spokesman Wa'il Dahab said the convoy, which was attacked in central Gaza, was carrying generators and trailer homes. (Posted 6:04 p.m.)

Republicans want to see 2008 Giuliani bid, poll finds

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Political pundits may debate whether Rudy Giuliani can win the GOP nomination in 2008, but nearly eight in 10 registered Republicans say they would like to see former New York mayor make a bid, according to results of a new poll.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday also showed that Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who currently lead the Republican presidential pack over their lesser-known rivals, may be competing for the same pool of voters -- and that either would gain a commanding lead in the race if the other didn't run.

In addition, the poll found registered Republicans nearly evenly divided on the question of whether former House Speaker Newt Gingrich should seek the nomination, with 44 percent saying the Georgian should give it a go and 46 percent saying he ought not to get back into the political fray.

The poll's sampling error was plus or minus 5 percentage points. (Posted 5:32 p.m.)

Senate passes minimum wage increase

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate Thursday passed a bill raising the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour.

The bill also contains tax breaks for small businesses, differentiating it from the House version, which contained no such provision. A conference committee will settle the differences.

The minimum wage increase was one of the promises Democrats made during their successful campaign last year to win control of Congress. (Posted 5:23 p.m.)

Senators to introduce legislation to mandate paid leave for maternity, caring for ill family member

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Thursday announced he plans to introduce legislation to update the Family Medical Leave Act, to allow up to six weeks of paid leave for employees in the event of the birth of a child or to care for an ill family member.

Dodd said he would introduce the legislation in the next few weeks, along with Republican co-sponsor Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

One key detail is unclear: where the money will come from. Dodd said the program would be funded by a shared-cost mechanism, involving the employer, the employee and the federal government. However, Dodd and a Republican staffer said it has not yet been determined how exactly this would work, or how payments would be made.

Under the Family Medical Leave Act, authored by Dodd and signed by President Clinton on Feb. 5, 1993, employers of more than 50 people and the government to allow their employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or the serious illness of an immediate family member.

"But obviously a major problem has been an awful lot of families have not been able to take full advantage of this law because it has been unpaid," Dodd told reporters. (Posted 4:59 p.m.)

Dodd breaks with Democratic leaders, blasts Iraq resolution

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Senate resolution that would express members' disapproval of President Bush's plan to send more than 21,000 additional troops to Iraq drew fire Thursday from a Democratic presidential hopeful, who called it too weak to win his support.

"Despite this resolution that may pass, the White House has no intention of paying any attention to what we're suggesting here," Sen. Christopher Dodd told reporters. "If that's the case, then why not force them to pay some attention to what we say up here? This is the United States Senate. This is not a city council somewhere."

Dodd, D-Conn., has proposed binding legislation that would cap the number of troops in Iraq at current levels. But Democratic leaders have thrown their support behind a non-binding measure that states the Senate "disagrees" with Bush's troop increase, already being implemented.

The leadership's decision, announced Wednesday, builds critical momentum for a proposal backed by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., the influential former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee -- and increases the chances that the measure can earn the 60 votes needed to shut down a possible filibuster. It also sidelines a more strongly worded resolution backed by two Democratic committee chairmen, Carl Levin of Armed Services and Joe Biden of Foreign Relations. (Posted 4:47 p.m.)

Johnson making 'significant progress' in speech, reading

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota has made "significant progress" in his speech therapy, and is able to read and follow written commands as he continues his recovery from a brain hemorrhage and subsequent surgery in December, according to a statement issued by his office Thursday.

"Senator Johnson is using limited full sentences and is initiating conversation with his family and therapists," said Philip Marion, medical director for the Department of Rehabilitative Medicine at George Washington University Hospital.

As part of Johnson's therapy, he participated in a reading test on Wednesday, the statement said. "Simply put, he is reading," Marion said. "The test showed that he is comprehending written material and successfully following written commands." (Posted 3:57 p.m.)

Iraq general hits rough going in confirmation hearing

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Thursday's hearing to confirm top Iraqi commander Gen. George Casey's promotion to become the top general in the Army came down to a debate over whether Casey failed in Iraq or did the best he could under difficult circumstances.

The case against Casey was laid out -- in prosecutorial style -- by Republican Sen. John McCain, who slammed the outgoing Iraq commander's past rosy predictions and his reluctance to call for reinforcements while Iraq descended into chaos.

"I question seriously the judgment that was employed in your execution of your responsibilities in Iraq," McCain said. "And we have paid a very, very heavy price in American blood and treasure because of what is now agreed to by literally everyone as a failed policy."

"Senator, I don't think there is any question that the situation in the center of the country, particularly in the capital, is bad," Casey responded. "And we are working very hard to rectify that." --From CNN Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre (Posted 3:54 p.m.)

Report: Iraq 'surge' could cost more, include thousands more troops

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A report from the Congressional Budget Office says the troop increase in Iraq could cost up to $27 billion for a 12-month deployment, and could mean thousands of support troops being sent on top of the 20,000-plus combat troops the Defense Department has earmarked for deployment.

The numbers come in a letter to Rep. John Spratt, chairman of the House Budget Committee. The CBO estimates were done in response to a request from Spratt's office for a cost estimate for President Bush's plan to increase the number of troops in Iraq. The White House has estimated that the troop increase would cost about $5.6 billion.

"CBO's report concludes that the cost of the president's plan to 'surge' troops will be higher than previously indicated, both in dollar terms and in the burdens it places on our military," Spratt said in a written statement.

The report notes that the Defense Department has identified only combat troops for deployment in the increase but says, "U.S. military operations also require substantial support forces, including personnel to staff headquarters, serve as military police and provide communications, contracting, engineering, intelligence, medical and other services." (Posted 3:28 p.m.)

Suicide bombings in crowded Hilla market leave 61 dead, 150 wounded

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two suicide bombers detonated their explosives in a crowded market Thursday evening in Hilla, killing 61 people and wounding 150, police told CNN.

Hilla -- south of Baghdad -- is the provincial capital of Iraq's Babil province, and the attack occurred during the start of the Muslim weekend when people customarily go to marketplaces.

One of the bombers was being stopped by police, who suspected the person of wearing an explosives vest. But the bomber detonated before police reached him. The other detonated soon after. --From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq (Posted 1:59 p.m.)

Curfew imposed in Najaf

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Police in the southern Iraqi province of Najaf imposed a stiff curfew Thursday night. Police said the curfew bans vehicle and pedestrian movement.

It is starting at 10 p.m. and will last until until further notice.

Iraqi and U.S. troops engaged in a battle last weekend near Najaf city with people they characterize as followers of a violent Shiite cult. --From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq (Posted 1:57 p.m.)

Report: More than 1,000 Iraqis per day displaced inside country since February bombing

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- On average, more than 1,000 Iraqis were displaced from their homes inside Iraq every day in 2006 after last February's bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra.

This is one of the conclusions from the International Organization for Migration -- which this week issued its "2006 year in review report."

The report states a grim demographic reality: "These large movements of people will have long-lasting political, social, and economic impacts in Iraq."

Since 2003, the IOM has been dealing with the plight of Iraq's internally displaced persons -- the term for people who have fled their homes but stay in their country. An IDP is not considered a refugee, the term for a person who flees to a foreign country.

The IOM says there are more than 1.5 million internally displaced people in war-torn Iraq. (Posted 1:23 p.m.)

Hamas, Fatah trade fire in Gaza despite cease-fire; 5 dead, 45 wounded

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Violating a cease-fire reached earlier this week, Hamas and Fatah gunmen clashed in Gaza Thursday, leaving five Palestinians dead and 45 wounded, Palestinian security sources said.

Hamas' executive forces attacked a convoy from the Palestinian presidential guard -- loyal to Fatah -- carrying a shipment of guns in central Gaza, and confiscated all of the weapons, Hamas sources told CNN.

Fatah spokesman Wa'il Dahab said the convoy was carrying generators.

Meanwhile, Fatah-Hamas clashes in northern Gaza were sparked Thursday after Hamas tried to kidnap two members of the military intelligence service, which is loyal to Fatah, Palestinian security sources said.

The fighting violates a cease-fire, which went into effect early Tuesday after four days of heavy battles between Hamas and Fatah that left 29 dead. (Posted 12:53 p.m.)

Two men arraigned on felony charge in bomb scares that shut down parts of Boston

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (CNN) -- Two men who were allegedly responsible for helping to install electronic light boards depicting a middle-finger-waving moon man that triggered repeated bomb scares around Boston were arraigned Thursday on a felony charge of placing a hoax device in a way that results in panic.

They were also charged in Charlestown District Court with one count of disorderly conduct, authorities said.

Peter Berdovsky, 27, a freelance video artist living in Arlington, Mass., and Sean Stevens, 28, of Boston, pleaded not guilty to the charges in the brief hearing.

Assistant Attorney General John Grossman said the devices, had they actually been explosives, would have compromised the transportation infrastructure of the commonwealth.

Grossman said that authorities were concerned about the devices because they had several components similar to explosive devices, including a power source and a circuit.

"It had the appearance of an explosive, placed in a location where if one put a bomb there it could have compromised the transportation infrastructure of the commonwealth," he told the court. (Posted 12:44 p.m.)

Fire consumes Idaho high school; no injuries

MIDDLETON, Idaho (CNN) -- A five-alarm fire consumed a high school outside Boise, Idaho, Thursday morning, destroying the building but apparently causing no casualties, according to fire and town officials.

The fire broke out at Middleton High School before school had started around 7:15 a.m. (9:15 a.m. ET), according to Nampa Deputy Fire Marshal Doug Strosnider.

"Everybody's out to our knowledge," he told CNN affiliate KTVB.

Strosnider said the fire began in a boiler room and firefighters were able to safely evacuate everyone from the building. (Posted 11:44 a.m.)

U.S. military: Iraqi soldiers stop suicide truck bomber at gate of army compound

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraqi soldiers on Wednesday stopped a suicide truck bomber from penetrating an Iraqi army compound in Diyala province, the U.S. military said on Thursday.

The military said a "fuel truck attempted to breach the gate" of the compound in Muqdadiya in an attack thought to have been conducted by al Qaeda in Iraq.

"The guards immediately attempted to stop the truck with small arms fire, killing the driver," the military said.

While the bomb "never entered the front gate, it did detonate outside the entrance, wounding 13 Iraqi army soldiers." (Posted 11:28 a.m.)

MBTA to ask Turner Broadcasting to pay for costs incurred in bomb scares

BOSTON (CNN) -- The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority on Thursday plans to send a letter to Turner Broadcasting System asking the company to reimburse the organization for costs incurred in dealing with the series of bomb scares throughout the city Wednesday that shut down highways, bridges and part of the Charles River, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo told CNN.

Pesaturo said the MBTA legal department will send the letter later in the day to Turner Broadcasting, the parent company of the Cartoon Network, whose Adult Swim cartoon group authorized the placement of the electronic devices that triggered the bomb scares. The letter will put the company on notice that MTBA will seek reimbursement for all the extra costs involved in responding to the devices, Pesaturo said.

At this time, he said, there are no plans for the MBTA to unilaterally file a lawsuit against Turner in the incident.

Wednesday, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and others said Turner's statement offering an apology for the incident was not enough, and did not rule out criminal charges or a civil suit to recover the estimated hundreds of thousands of dollars it cost the city to respond to the bomb scares.

Turner Broadcasting is also the parent company of CNN. (Posted 11:27 a.m.)

In Iraq, 8 killed in strikes targeting educators, students

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Attackers targeted college students and faculty members in three major Iraqi cities in recent days, killing eight people and wounding others, authorities told CNN on Thursday.

The attacks -- which occurred in Baghdad, Tikrit and Baquba -- reflect what the United Nations says has been sustained intimidation of students and faculty at education institutions in Iraq.

An official with the Higher Education Ministry of Higher Education said three College of Law professors and a student of Nahrain University in Baghdad were kidnapped by gunmen on Sunday in Kadhimiya, a Shiite neighborhood in northern Baghdad. Their bodies were found three days later. --From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq (Posted 11:11 a.m.)

Suicide bombings in crowded Hilla market; casualties reported

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Two suicide bombers detonated in a crowded market Thursday evening in Hilla, the provincial capital of Iraq's Babil province, police told CNN.

Police said dozens have been killed or wounded, but didn't provide numbers.

Thursday night is the start of the Muslim weekend. --From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq (Posted 11:05 a.m.)

France backpedals on Iran, Chirac says he misspoke

PARIS (CNN) -- The French government backpedaled Thursday after French President Jacques Chirac, thinking he was speaking off the record to reporters, said he did not think Iran having a nuclear weapon was a "problem," and then went further to say if they used that weapon against Israel, Tehran would be "razed."

Officially, France supports U.N. Resolution 1737, which calls for Iran to abandon its nuclear program, a program that could result in Iran having the technology to build a nuclear weapon.

In an interview Monday with the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and Nouvel Observateur, Chirac said the opposite.

"I would say that what is dangerous about this situation is not the fact of having a nuclear bomb -- having one, maybe a second one a little later, well, that's not very dangerous. But what is very dangerous is proliferation," he said. (Posted 10:37 a.m.)

Storm hits parts of Southeast; flights canceled

ATLANTA (CNN) -- More than 500 flights at hub airports in Atlanta and Charlotte were canceled as wintry weather brought rain, sleet and freezing rain across north and central Georgia and up into the Carolinas early Thursday.

The National Weather Service cautioned travelers and residents that "a cold air mass (moving) across north and central Georgia... will spread a mixture of rain, sleet, freezing rain and snow" across the region.

Thick snowflakes could be seen tumbling down on Charlotte's metropolitan area by 7 a.m. and CNN meteorologist Reynolds Wolf forecast snowfall accumulations could reach as much as 3 inches later in the day.

The snow falling in Charlotte and other parts of the Carolinas is expected to transition into sleet by the afternoon and has the potential to change to freezing rain this evening, resulting in some ice accumulations on power lines and roads. (Posted 10:17 a.m.)

Iraqi official dismisses report that tribal dispute sparked Najaf fighting

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraq's government spokesman Thursday dismissed reports that the recent battle in the country's Najaf province was the result of tribal conflict, and repeated the position that the bloody fight between Iraqi and U.S. forces was sparked by a violent messianic Shiite cult.

"They were given the opportunity to surrender," said Ali al-Dabbagh. "This group used violence, and if they did not use violence, then violence would not have been used against them."

Al-Dabbagh briefed reporters about the Najaf fighting and showed video images of the aftermath. Some of the images showed what al-Dabbagh said were the group's dead leader, detained people, munitions, vehicles and a cult pamphlet.

The fighting occurred Sunday, when members of the group -- known as the Soldiers of Heaven -- gathered near Najaf city, bent on an assault on the Imam Ali Shrine and senior clerics. --From CNN's Jomana Karadsheh in Baghdad (Posted 10:14 a.m.)

Iraqi Interior Ministry: Nearly 2,000 civilians killed last month in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Nearly 2,000 civilians were killed violently last month in Iraq, an Iraqi Interior Ministry source told CNN. The source Thursday issued country-wide death toll statistics for the month of January, gathered from the Interior, Defense and Health ministries.

He said 1,990 civilians were killed last month in violence across the country, including slain bodies recovered by security forces. Around 1,936 civilians were wounded.

As for security forces, 41 Iraqi soldiers were killed and 58 Iraqi soldiers were wounded, 59 police were killed and 144 others were wounded.

There were 593 "terrorists" killed and 926 detained.

Last month's statistics, supplied by the same source, list the deaths of 1,927 civilians, 124 police, 24 soldiers, and 315 "terrorists" across Iraq.

The Interior Ministry figures charting Iraqi deaths have been sharply lower than the figures supplied by the United Nations, in its bimonthly human rights reports on Iraq.. --From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq (Posted 9:45 a.m.)

Fire risk prompts recall of Maytag, Jenn-Air dishwashers

NEW YORK ( -- Maytag and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall Thursday of 2.3 million of its Maytag and Jenn-Air brand dishwashers because of a fire risk.

The recall affects under-counter or portable plastic tub model dishwashers, which were sold from July 1997 through June 2001 at department and appliance stores and by homebuilders nationwide. (Posted 8:33 a.m.)

Police interview Blair a second time in cash-for-honors probe

LONDON (CNN) -- For a second time, police interviewed British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a witness in the cash-for-honors allegations, British police said.

"He was interviewed as a witness, not as a suspect and co-operated fully," the statement from Metropolitan police said.

Downing Street also issued a statement confirming that Blair was "briefly interviewed," but did not say what the police questioned the prime minister about.

The interview, which took place on Friday, was kept "utterly confidential" until Wednesday, when police lifted the confidentiality requirement, the Downing Street statement said.

Blair was first interviewed by police in December as part of the investigation into whether people have been nominated for British titles of nobility after giving money or making loans to political parties. (Posted 7:50 a.m.)

Final book in Harry Potter series will go on sale July 21

NEW YORK ( -- The final Harry Potter book will hit bookstores July 21, its U.S. publisher announced early Thursday.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," by J.K. Rowling, will be the seventh and final book in the best selling series of children's book of all time. Scholastic said the previous book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" was the fastest-selling book in history, selling 6.9 million copies in the first 24 hours. (Posted 7:40 a.m.)

Israel destroys Palestinian explosives lab

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The Israeli military destroyed an explosives lab it discovered in the West Bank city of Nablus Thursday and exchanged shots with two armed Palestinian militants, military sources said.

According to Palestinian medical sources, two members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militant group linked to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party, were wounded in clashes in Nablus and later died of their wounds.

Israel Defense Forces said Israeli troops fired on and hit a person trying to cut through a security fence near the Qalandia checkpoint on the road between Ramallah and Jerusalem. According to IDF, the person was evacuated by the Red Crescent. (Posted 5:46 a.m)

8 killed, 15 wounded in Baghdad attacks

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Six passengers were killed and eight were wounded Thursday afternoon when a bomb blast ripped through a bus on a commercial street in a Shiite neighborhood in central Baghdad, a Baghdad police official said.

North of Baghdad in a Sunni neighborhood, one Iraqi was killed and four were wounded when two mortar rounds slammed into a street in Adhamiya Thursday morning, a Baghdad police official said.

A day earlier, 10 mortar rounds slammed into the same neighborhood, killing four and wounding 20.

In another attack, one person was killed and three were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded in a commercial area in central Baghdad, police said. (Posted 4:59 a.m.)

29 suspected terrorists detained, 1 dead after U.S.-led raids throughout Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The U.S. military said coalition forces killed a person tied to foreign-fighter activities and detained 29 suspected terrorists Thursday, during a series of raids launched throughout the capital and in the country's western and northern regions, the U.S. military said.

Those arrested were suspected of planting roadside bombs, al Qaeda-linked kidnappings and other terrorist activities -- such as funding Iraq's insurgency and hijacking vehicles, the military said. (Posted 4:48 a.m.)

Dual military airstrikes kill four insurgents planting roadside bombs in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Dual airstrickes by the U.S. military killed four insurgents who appeared to be placing bombs along roads northwest of Baghdad Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. military said.

U.S.-led coalition forces fired upon a three-man insurgent team that had been seen planting a bomb in the road, destroying the vehicle they were traveling in.

The military did not specify if any insurgents were wounded or killed in the airstrike. (Posted 3:10 a.m.)

U.S. soldier dies from wounds sustained while serving in Iraq

BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. soldier died Thursday from "wounds sustained due to enemy action" while on active duty in Iraq's Anbar province on Tuesday, the U.S. military said. The soldier was assigned to Multi-National Force-West.

This brings the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq this month to 86 and throughout the nearly four-year-old war to 3,086. (Posted 2:39 a.m.)

2nd arrest in cartoon promo that triggered Boston bomb scares

BOSTON (CNN) -- Authorities arrested a second man late Wednesday in connection with electronic light boards depicting a middle-finger-waving moon man that triggered repeated bomb scares around Boston throughout the day and prompted the closure of bridges and a stretch of the Charles River.

Meanwhile, police and prosecutors vented their anger at Turner Broadcasting, Inc., the parent company of CNN, condemning Turner for not taking proper steps to end the bomb scares earlier and for not issuing an adequate apology to the city.

Turner Broadcasting said in written statements the devices -- battery-operated light boards aimed at promoting the late-night Adult Swim cartoon "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" -- had been placed around Boston and nine other cities in recent weeks as part of a guerrilla marketing campaign to promote the show. (Posted 2:16 a.m.)

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