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U.S. strikes kill 3 in Pakistan

MIR ALI, Pakistan — A suspected U.S. missile strike killed three people Saturday in a northwest Pakistani tribal region where militants focused on fighting the West in Afghanistan are con- centrated, two Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The missile strike was apparently the latest in a lengthy campaign of such attacks by the United States, which rarely discusses the covert program but has in the past said it has taken out several top al-Qaida operatives.

Pakistan publicly opposes the strikes but is believed to secretly aid them.

Saturday’s strike occurred in the Babar Raghzai area of North Waziristan and also wounded two people, the officials said.

Explosion rocks Hezbollah stronghold near Beirut

BEIRUT — Three bombs planted under a car exploded Saturday south of Beirut, killing one person and wounding several others in an attack that apparently targeted an official from the Palestinian militant group Hamas, the state-run news agency said.

The official National News Agency said the explosion was caused by “three bombs tied to each other” that were placed under the car of an official believed to be from Hamas.

It did not identify the targeted official or the victims. One of the wounded was in serious condition, the report said.

Magma building up in Philippines’ Mayon volcano

LEGAZPI, Philippines — Fewer earthquakes have been recorded in the Philippines’ lava-spilling Mayon volcano, but magma continues to build up inside and any lull in activity could be followed by a bigger eruption, scientists said Saturday.

A hazardous eruption remains possible within days, and residents who live near the volcano’s slopes should not be misled into leaving the evacuation centers, where they spent Christmas, and venturing back to their homes, volcanologist Ed Laguerta warned.

“The number of volcanic earthquakes has gone down, but this is just part of the eruptive cycle of Mayon,” he said.

Pope in good shape two days after Christmas scare

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI appeared in good shape Saturday as he addressed the faithful two days after a woman knocked him down at the start of Christmas Eve Mass.

Benedict spoke about the plight of persecuted Christians around the world and did not mention the incident in his message to a crowd gathered in a rainy St. Peter’s Square.

On the day Christians commemorate St. Stephen, the church’s first martyr, the pope remembered those who “undergo trials and suffering because of their faith” and urged prayers for them.

— Herald wire services

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