World Briefs

U.S. drone kills Taliban figure in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – An American drone strike in Pakistan has killed a top Taliban commander who sent money and fighters to battle the U.S. 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 in already tense relations with Pakistan because Nazir did not focus on Pakistani targets.

Nazir was killed when two missiles slammed into a house in a village in South Waziristan while he was meeting with supporters and fellow commanders. Eight other people were killed, said five Pakistani security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

A U.S. official confirmed the death of Nazir, along with an unspecified number of “trusted deputies.”

Car bomb in Iraq kills 20 Shiite pilgrims

BAGHDAD – A car bomb explosion tore through a crowd of Shiite pilgrims returning home Thursday from a religious commemoration, killing at least 20 and reinforcing fears of renewed sectarian violence, said Iraqi officials.

The blast erupted late in the afternoon in the town of Musayyib, about 40 miles south of the Iraqi capital. It targeted worshippers returning from the Shiite holy city of Karbala after the climax of the religious commemoration known as Arbaeen.

Children were among the 20 people confirmed killed, said a police official. He said at least 50 people were wounded.

The bomb went off in the middle of a gathering of pilgrims changing buses coming from Karbala on their way to other destinations in the country, said police.

5 charged with murder in India gang rape

NEW DELHI – Five men accused of raping a university student for hours on a bus as it drove through India’s capital were charged with murder, rape and other crimes that could bring them the death penalty.

The attack on the 23-year-old woman, who died of severe internal injuries over the weekend, provoked a fierce debate across India about the routine mistreatment of females and triggered daily protests demanding action.

Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan filed a case of rape, tampering with evidence, kidnapping, murder and other charges against the men. The charge sheet was not released, and he asked for a closed trial. A hearing was set for Saturday. Authorities have said they would push for the death penalty for the men.

Switzerland gunman kills 3 in rampage

GENEVA – A shooting in southern Switzerland has left three women dead, two men wounded and raised questions about how a troubled suspect was able to go on a rampage with an old military rifle.

The shooting – which came on the eve of students’ return to classes in Newtown, Conn., after a horrific school shooting – also highlighted the easy access to firearms in gun-loving nations.

The suspect, a 33-year-old unemployed man living on disability payments, fired about 20 shots Wednesday night in the village of Daillon, authorities in the Swiss canton (state) of Valais said Thursday.

Associated Press