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story.lead_photo.caption A Palestinian member of the Hamas security forces patrols during an operation Thursday to arrest suspects wanted for a roadside bombing that targeted the visiting Palestinian premier’s convoy in Gaza last week.

Gaza bombing suspect dies in gunbattle

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A man wanted for a bombing that targeted the Palestinian premier’s convoy as he visited Gaza last week was killed in a firefight Thursday with Hamas forces, the militant Islamic group that rules the territory said.

The Interior Ministry in Gaza said the suspect, Anas Abu Khousa, 26, refused to surrender when Hamas surrounded his hideout. It said Abu Khousa was killed in the exchange of fire along with two Hamas policemen. Another suspect later died of his wounds at a hospital, it said.

Last week, a roadside bomb struck a convoy carrying Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah after he crossed into Gaza. Hamdallah was unharmed, but the explosion wounded some of his bodyguards.

Palestinians have been split since Hamas seized Gaza in 2007, ousting forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Ab-bas, who now governs just parts of the West Bank. Repeated reconciliation attempts have failed.

Abbas has blamed Hamas for the bombing, an accusation that Hamas denies.

13 drug suspects slain in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine police said Thursday that they killed 13 drug suspects and arrested more than 100 suspected dealers and criminals in one day of raids in a province with a record of bloody crackdowns.

The suspects were killed in gunbattles with police in a city and eight towns in Bulacan province just north of Manila, said police Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat Jr. More than 70 raids were launched in the province Wednesday, leading to the arrests of 109 people, including 92 suspected drug dealers and users, he said.

The violence raises the death toll in President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown to 4,239 since it began in July 2016, with more than 131,500 others arrested, the national police said. The United States, European Union and other governments have expressed alarm and called on the Philippines to curb the bloodshed.

Human-rights groups have cited much higher death tolls and called for an independent investigation, including by the United Nations.

In the raids, police seized more than 250 small packets of methamphetamine, marijuana and 19 firearms, police said.

2 Americans dead, 2 hurt in copter crash

BRISBANE, Australia — A helicopter carrying American tourists crashed at a coral-viewing site on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, killing two passengers from Hawaii and injuring two others from Colorado, police said.

The helicopter pilot pulled one passenger from the wreckage after Wednesday’s crash but attempts to revive the 65-year-old woman failed, Police Inspector Ian Haughton said Thursday. A 79-year-old man also died despite bystanders’ attempts to resuscitate him, Haughton said.

A 34-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman were taken to the Australian mainland for treatment of injuries that weren’t life-threatening, he said. All four tourists knew each other.

The five-seat, single-engine Eurocopter EC120 Colibri crashed 40 miles northeast of the Whitsunday Islands near a pontoon that has underwater viewing chambers to see coral and is a popular tourist destination.

The U.S. Embassy in Australia said in a statement that it was aware that two U.S. citizens had died and was “providing all appropriate consular assistance.”

Whitsunday Air Services said the helicopter was approaching the pontoon to land when it crashed. The company has suspended operations as it works with authorities to determine the cause of the crash.

Car bomb kills 14 people in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, Somalia — At least 14 people were killed and 10 others wounded after a car bomb detonated near a hotel in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, Somali officials said Thursday.

Capt. Mohamed Hussein said the explosion occurred near the Weheliye hotel on the busy Makka Almukarramah road. The road has been a target of attacks in the past by the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab, the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa.

Most of the casualties were passers-by and traders, Hussein said. The toll of dead and wounded was announced by security ministry spokesman Abdulaziz Hildhiban.

Al-Shabab, which frequently attacks Mogadishu’s high-profile areas such as hotels and military checkpoints, claimed responsibility for the blast.

Photo by AP/FARAH ABDI WARSAMEH
Somalis stand outside a destroyed building after a car bomb blast killed at least 14 people Thursday in Mogadishu, Somalia.

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