News Wrap: 12-Year-Old Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 4 Near Kabul
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The Taliban has launched its promised new spring offensive in Afghanistan. The first attack on Sunday, used a 12-year-old boy as a suicide bomber. He blew himself up at a bazaar in the district of Paktika Province, southeast of Kabul.
And in Ghazni, a gunman opened fire on a checkpoint, killing two policemen.
Mourners in Libya cried out for revenge today over the death of Moammar Gadhafi’s second youngest son. Seif al-Arab Gadhafi’s funeral was held in Tripoli. Libyan officials said he was killed in a NATO airstrike on Saturday. But NATO officials have denied targeting Gadhafi or his family. In response, mobs on Sunday attacked Western embassies and other diplomatic sites that were evacuated weeks ago. They included the British, Italian and U.S. embassies.
In Syria, security forces rounded up hundreds of anti-government activists, intensifying a crackdown on the six-week-old revolt. The arrests happened all over Syria. Witnesses said security officials went house-to-house in search of men under the age of 40. On Sunday, one of the key cities in the uprising, Daraa, came under heavy shelling by government tanks. They were led by President Bashar Assad’s brother.
Disaster relief efforts geared up today for tornado victims across the American South. In all, 342 people were killed and thousands more were injured in last week’s storms. In Alabama today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency set up offices to help people apply for aid. And shelters began providing free eye clinics, as volunteers worked to get prescription drugs to those who need them.
More rain fell on southeast Missouri today, as officials considered blasting a levee to save an Illinois town. The federal courts have refused to block an Army Corps of Engineers plan. It calls for blowing open a levee at Birds Point, Mo. The goal is to relieve possible flooding at Cairo, Ill., farther up the Ohio River. Missouri officials warned it would inundate more than 100,000 acres of farmland.
In economic news, Chrysler reported it made $116 million in the first quarter of the year, its first profit since 2006. But on Wall Street, that news, and the killing of Osama bin Laden, had little effect in the end. The Dow Jones industrial average lost three points to close at 12,807. The Nasdaq fell nine points to close at 2,864.