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[VOA] 【整理】VOA 2008-03-02

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I am Bill Thompson, from the VOA news center in Washington Israeli troops backed by tanks and war planes fought fierce battle today with Palestinian militants near two northern Gaza towns in an effort to stop rocket attacks on southern Israel. At least 33 Palestinians were killed in Israel's deadliest raid on the territory in more than a year. Palestinian hospital officials say about half of those killed were civilians, including at least 2 children. The others were said to be Palestinian militants. Some fear the violence could derail the US-led peace effort. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to visit the region next week. And the US state department now confirms she has added Egypt to her itinerary. VOA's David Galas has more. Rice is expected to meet Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Cairo next Tuesday in a newly-added stop on the trip reflecting growing US apprehension over the situation in Gaza. Israeli air strikes to Gaza retaliating for rocket fire aimed at Israeli towns near the coastal strip have killed more than 30 people, including Palestinian civilians along with militants in the last two days. Rhetorical exchanges between Israel and Hamas leaders who control Gaza have also escalated with Israeli warnings of large retaliative reactions, including a possible ground offensive to quell the rocket fire. The Bush administration rejects any dialogue with Hamas which is considered as a terrorist organization though Egypt does speak to the group. US officials would like to see Egypt try harder to curb bomb smuggling. She flies later in the week to Brussels for a NATO foreign ministers meeting, likely to be dominated by discussions of Kosovo and Afghanistan. David Galas, VOA news, the state department. The US decision to deploy naval vessels off the coast of Lebanon is drawing criticism from the pro-Syria Hezbollah group. And Syria's foreign minister is also criticizing the deployment. He told reporters in Damascus that Washington is trying to derail a potential solution to the political stalemate in Beirut. US officials would not say whether the shore forces meant specifically for Syria which Washington considers a destabilizing influence in Lebanon and other areas. After 6 months of declines civilian death in Iraq were up again in February, an increasing of 30% over January. January civilian death toll was the lowest since last June when the United States sent 30, 000 more troops to Iraq to quell the wave of sectarian violence. The Turkish military says all of its troops have now withdrawn from northern Iraq after a week-long assault on Kurdish rebels. But Turkish top military commander says the withdrawal was not the result of pressure from the US. General Nishar Bukinit told the Turkish newspaper that the withdrawal was for purely military reasons. He says the troops had accomplished their mission against Kurdish rebels. Pakistani police have formally charged the top Taliban and Al-Qaida-linked leader with the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Police have filed preliminary charges against B M and four others in an anti-terrorist court. The Pakistani government and the US Central Intelligence Agency have accused M of plotting the December 27th gun and suicide attack on the former prime minister. One person has been killed and more than a dozen wounded in a suicide bomb attack today in northwestern Pakistan. Authorities say the bomber rammed his car into another vehicle one day after at least 40 people were killed in another suicide bombing in the region's volatile Swati valley. Armenian opposition leader L T says he is under house arrest after police broke up an eleven day protest in the capital of Yerevan. Witnesses say hundreds of Armenian police swept through a tense city today, beating protestors while clearing freedom square. However, later hundreds of activists returned and resumed their protest. North Korea's leader Kim Jung Il visited the Chinese embassy in Pyongyang today while the chief US negotiator and North Korea arrived in Beijing as efforts continue to revive the stalled nuclear disarmament talks. Near Guatemala City, A crowded bus skidded off a highway and plunged into a ravine, killing at least 45 passengers and injuring 15 others. Authority says speeding may be the cause. Guatemalan buses are frequently overcrowded with navigating poorly maintained roads. I am Bill Thompson, VOA news. More news on the internet at VOAnews. com.
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