WEST BANK

Killing of teen defended

A senior West Bank commander who killed a Palestinian stone-thrower last week opened fire because he felt "mortal" danger after stones hit his jeep's windshield, the Israeli military said yesterday. It said Col. Israel Shomer exhausted "all measures" before firing at 17-year-old Mohammed al-Kusbah, without elaborating on what the measures were. Palestinian witness Haroun Hazeen told The Associated Press, however, that the officer got out of his jeep and opened fire immediately, shooting even as al-Kusbah fled. Hospital physician Samer Saliba says al-Kusbah was shot in the face and back. Sarit Michaeli from the rights group B'Tselem said the case sends a message to soldiers that lethal force is acceptable even when stone-throwers no longer seem to pose a threat.

RUSSIA

2 pilots killed in training

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A military aircraft crashed yesterday shortly after taking off on a nighttime training flight and both pilots were killed, the Defense Ministry said. It was the fifth accident involving a Russian military aircraft in the past month, but the first with fatalities. The Su-24 bomber crashed while taking off from an airfield in the Khabarovsk region in the Far East, the ministry said. The plane banked sharply to the left and struck the ground, the ministry said. The military said it has grounded its fleet of Su-24s until the cause of the crash could be determined. On Friday, a MiG-29 fighter jet went down in southern Russia but the pilot ejected safely.

MEXICOMarine copter attacked

Six people are dead after suspected criminals opened fire on a Marine helicopter near the U.S. border, the Mexican navy said. The incident Sunday was in a rural area south of Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas. The navy said yesterday the suspects fired, hitting the Blackhawk helicopter seven times. The helicopter crew returned fire, killing six suspects. The navy said the crew detected armed men in an area long dominated by the Zetas cartel.