BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) – Colombian officials and anti-narcotics agents will seek the extradition from Cuba of one of the world’s biggest drug traffickers, who was captured last week while trying to get to Mexico, police said.

Luis Hernando Bustamante, a leader of Colombia’s Norte del Valle cartel that allegedly smuggled more than $10 billion worth of cocaine into the United States, was arrested by Cuban authorities July 2 while trying to make his way to Mexico, a Colombian police official said Friday on condition of anonymity.

Bustamante was arrested after Colombian intelligence agents learned that he traveled to Havana last month on a fake Venezuelan passport, the official said. Colombia then notified Cuban authorities.

Gaza explosion kills four

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – An explosion Saturday on the outskirts of Gaza City destroyed a black Mercedes, killing four Palestinians and injuring one. Palestinian officials claimed the car came under Israeli tank fire, but the military denied involvement.

Israeli tanks and helicopters were in the general area of the blast in al-Zahra, not far from the Jewish settlement of Netzarim. But the Israeli army said it had not fired at any car and its soldiers were not in the immediate area of the explosion.

Instead, a military source said an army helicopter had fired machine-gun warning shots earlier near the area where Palestinian gunmen were firing at soldiers.

The Palestinian Public Security directorate in Gaza, after first saying the car was destroyed in an Apache helicopter missile strike, issued a statement saying further investigation revealed the damage was caused by a tank shell

New Egypt P.M. vows action

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – Egypt’s new prime minister, appointed after the resignation of the country’s entire Cabinet, said Saturday his administration will fight unemployment and work to meet the needs of families.

A day after being chosen by President Hosni Mubarak to take over as prime minister, 52-year-old Ahmed Nazief also said the state of the Egyptian economy was not bad. Nazief took over from Atef Obeid after the resignation of Egypt’s 30-plus member Cabinet on Friday.

Newspapers Saturday lauded the resignation of Egypt’s government as “the first steps of change,” reflecting wide disenchantment with the administration that had been criticized for failing to bring about economic, political and social reforms. The last Cabinet reshuffle was in July 2002.

Four killed in rebel attack

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) – Taliban rebels attacked two military checkpoints, triggering fighting that left four people dead in southern Afghanistan, officials said Saturday.

The violence underscored the poor security in the region ahead of presidential elections set for Oct. 9. Taliban-led rebels have launched repeated attacks, despite the presence of 20,000 U.S.-led forces.

In the bloodiest battle, about 50 suspected Taliban fighters armed with assault rifles and machine guns attacked an Afghan militia checkpoint in the Spinboldak district of Kandahar province late Friday.

Three Taliban rebels were killed, and one seriously wounded rebel was captured after 30 minutes of fighting against 40 Afghan militia forces, local border security chief Abdul Raziq said.

He said one of the dead was a Taliban commander in the district, Fazal Bari. None of the militia forces was hurt.

In another clash, suspected Taliban riding in three vehicles attacked a checkpoint Friday in a remote, desert area of Grieshk district of Helmand province, killing an Afghan soldier and wounding two others, district chief Lal Mohammed said.


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