SYRIA: Bomb kills nine in Damascus

A car bomb blew up late Thursday in a Damascus gas station, killing at least nine people, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The death toll in the blast in the Masakin Barzeh neighborhood is expected to rise, with many critically wounded. The state news service blamed "terrorists," the government's label for rebels seeking to topple President Bashar Assad. Damascus has seen a number of large bombings, many of which appear to target government buildings. Some have been claimed by the jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra, which the United States has designated a terrorist organization.

PAKISTAN: Drone kills Taliban leader

An American drone strike has killed a top Taliban commander who sent money and fighters to battle the United States in Afghanistan but had a truce with the Pakistani military, officials said Thursday. While the death of Maulvi Nazir was likely to be seen in Washington as affirmation of the necessity of the controversial U.S. drone program, it could cause more friction with Pakistan because Nazir did not focus on Pakistani targets. Nazir was killed when two missiles slammed into a house in a South Waziristan village while he was meeting with supporters and fellow commanders. Eight other people were killed, according to five Pakistani security officials.

SWITZERLAND: 3 killed in shooting rampage

A shooting in the south left three women dead and two men wounded. The suspect, a 33-year-old unemployed man, fired 20 shots Wednesday night in the village of Daillon, authorities in the canton (state) of Valais said Thursday. He opened fire from his apartment and pursued people in the street, police said. Wielding a Swiss military rifle and a handgun, the man then threatened to shoot officers sent in to stop him, police said. He was wounded by police and arrested. Guns are popular among the Swiss, with 2.3 million weapons among a population of less than 8 million. Rural gun clubs have children as young as 10 taking part in shooting competitions.

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