48 Syrian soldiers killed in Iraq ambush 19 dead in Kenya election violence Police stop van with IRA mortars
BAGHDAD -- Dozens of Syrian soldiers who had crossed into Iraq for refuge were ambushed Monday with bombs, gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades in an attack that killed 48 of them.
The fact that the soldiers were on Iraqi soil raises questions about Baghdad's apparent willingness to quietly aid the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Iraqi officials blamed the well-coordinated attackon al-Qaida's Iraq arm.
Iraqi officials said the Syrians had sought refuge through the Rabiya border crossing in northern Iraq during recent clashes with rebels and were being escorted back home through a different crossing farther south when the ambush occurred. Their convoy was struck near Akashat, not far from the Syrian border.
Ali al-Moussawi, a spokesman for Iraq's prime minister, provided the death toll and said nine Iraqi soldiers were also killed. He said the soldiers had been allowed into Iraq only on humanitarian grounds and insisted that Baghdad was not picking sides in the Syrian conflict.
MOMBASA, Kenya -- Kenya's presidential election drew millions of eager voters who endured long lines to cast ballots Monday, but the vote was marred by violence that left 19 people dead, including four policemen hacked to death by machete-wielding separatists.
Officials urged voters not to be intimidated by the violence amid fears the impending election results could spark another round of the ethnic-related bloodshed in which more than 1,000 people died after the 2007 vote.
The election is the first presidential poll under a new constitution designed to prevent the ethnic violence of 2007-08. Enthusiastic voters formed long lines around the country, and election officials estimated turnout at 70 percent of 14 million registered voters.
DUBLIN -- Northern Ireland police stopped an Irish Republican Army splinter group from firing mortar shells at a police station, a senior officer said Monday. Detectives interrogated three men suspected of involvement.
Police tracking the attackers' movements rammed the minivan containing four mortar tubes and shells as it drove into Northern Ireland's second-largest city, Londonderry, on Sunday night. They arrested the minivan driver, a motorcyclist trailing the minivan, and another man in a search of a home linked to the mortars' storage.
Police Chief Superintendent Stephen Cargin said he was sure that IRA die-hards were about to fire a mortar salvo at one of Londonderry's police stations. The mortar rounds would have been fired through a specially cut hole in the van roof.