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IRAN: Explosion near Ahmadinejad

A deadly blast during the inauguration of an oil refinery by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad killed four people and injured 20, the semiofficial Mehr news agency said Tuesday. Authorities ruled out sabotage and instead spoke of an industrial accident caused by a gas leak at the Abadan oil refinery. According to Mehr, a "testing machine" exploded almost directly after it was placed in the area where Ahmadinejad was preparing to give a speech. The ensuing fire raged for hours and released poisonous gases, Mehr reported. The Khabar Online Web site, which tends to be critical of Ahmadinejad, quoted an engineer at the refinery as saying 30 people had been killed.


YEMEN: 38 killed in street fighting

Tribal fighters fired on government buildings, prompting soldiers to respond with intense shelling in street battles Tuesday that left 38 dead as the uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh threatened to become a militia-led revolt. Medical officials said 24 tribesmen were killed. Government officials said 14 soldiers were killed and 20 were missing as the situation deteriorated following the collapse of an Arab mediation effort to get Saleh to step down.


AFGHANISTAN: Roadside bomb kills 10

A roadside bomb killed 10 workers in Kandahar on Tuesday, and NATO again promised that the coalition would not abandon the country even if some members plan to withdraw their forces. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said plans to hand over control of seven areas to Afghan soldiers in July remained on course. Those areas include Bamiyan and Panjshir provinces, the cities of Lashkar Gah, Herat, Mazer-e-Sharif and Mehterlam, and nearly all of Kabul province. NATO also acknowledged Tuesday that soldiers shot dead an Afghan holding a flashlight during a raid, something that could add to the growing anti-foreigner sentiment. Meanwhile, two officials escaped injury in separate attacks in Kabul and in Helmand province.

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