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Other News: Afghan Suicide Attack Kills At Least 8 Americans

December 30, 2009 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Good evening.

At least eight American civilians were killed in a suicide bombing today in Afghanistan. The bomb exploded at a military base in Khost Province, near the Pakistani border. The base supports reconstruction and other civilian programs.

Hard-line government supporters turned out in force in Iran today, and graphic video footage emerged from Sunday’s anti-government protests.

These images on YouTube are from Sunday. The video could not be independently verified, but they show two police trucks with large bars on the front plowing into groups of protesters. The screams of bystanders grow louder as one of the trucks runs over a person lying in the street.

On state television today, Iran’s police chief insisted one of the trucks had been taken from police.

GEN. ISMAIL AHMADI MOGHADDAM, police chief, Iran: About the car that ran over the rioters, both the vehicle and its owner have been identified and interrogated. It became clear that the car was stolen from him and this action was done by a stolen car.

HARI SREENIVASAN: At the same time, the chief warned protesters, his forces will show — quote — “no mercy” if there are new demonstrations.

GEN. ISMAIL AHMADI MOGHADDAM: The time of moderateness is over. I have repeatedly said that before, but they thought that I was joking. From now on, anyone who participates in such demonstrations and gets involved in fundamentalist and destructive actions will see no leniency.

HARI SREENIVASAN: To counter the protests, the Iranian government gave all civil employees the day off to attend mass rallies today. From Tehran, to Shiraz, to Qom, thousands chanted “Death to America.”

And President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Western nations of fomenting unrest.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD: They have imagined that they can set a stage, and then celebrate, and then try to exaggerate the situation by fabricating news or stirring up the situation with hyperbole. No, it is not like that.

Here, Iran is a big ocean with massive depth, and it is moving, boiling, and roaring. The nation is faithful, united, idealistic, integrated, and unified, and it is living its life. They should fear the day this big ocean turns into a boiling and roaring ocean.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Despite the crackdown inside Iran, the protesters gained support in Paris and London today, where crowds rallied outside Iran’s embassies.

In western Iraq, at least 23 people died in twin bombings in Ramadi, in the worst violence there in months. Thick plumes of smoke could be seen moments after the attack, as emergency vehicles rushed to the scene. Thirteen policemen were among those killed. The provincial governor was one of the wounded.

A British man held hostage in Iraq for more than two years was released today. Peter Moore was working as an information technology consultant when Iraqi militants seized him in May of 2007.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband spoke with him by phone after his release.

DAVID MILIBAND: Peter is in good health, despite many months of captivity. He’s undergoing careful medical checks. And he’s going to be reunited with his family as soon as possible back in the U.K. He’s obviously, to put it mildly, absolutely delighted at his release.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The militants gave no reason for Moore’s release. Four of his bodyguards were abducted with him. Three were killed. The fourth is presumed dead.

Leaders in Western Australia declared a natural disaster today, as a pair of massive wildfires raged. The fires broke out Tuesday in a wheat and sheep farming district north of the coastal city of Perth. Since then, flames have scorched more than 33,000 acres of forest and farmland and destroyed roughly 40 homes.

The U.S. government has injected more aid into the auto financing giant GMAC. The new assistance will total around nearly $4 billion. The company already received more than $12 billion.

It was a slow day on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average gained three points to close at 10,548. The Nasdaq rose more than two points to close at 2,291.

Those are some of the day’s main stories. I will be back at the end of the program with a preview of what you will find tonight on the NewsHour’s Web site — but, for now, back to Gwen.