Suicide bomber kills 25 at party

A suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday in the midst of a celebration to welcome home an Iraqi detainee released from U.S. custody, killing at least 25 people, Iraqi officials said.

The attack occurred outside a house in the Abu Ghraib area on Baghdad’s western outskirts, according to residents and police. It was unclear if the former detainee was among the casualties.

Residents and police said Ayyid Salim al-Zubaie, a sheik in the mainly Sunni area, had invited dozens of guests to a banquet in honor of his son, who was released earlier in the day from Camp Bucca in southern Iraq.

Residents said the detainee-son had quarreled with al-Qaida members while in detention and may have been the target of the attack. The guests also included several members of the local awakening council, a U.S.-allied group that has turned against al-Qaida.

The U.S. military, meanwhile, announced the arrest of an al-Qaida in Iraq figure who allegedly planned the 2006 kidnapping of American journalist Jill Carroll


Eight believed dead in avalanche

Eight climbers were missing and presumed dead Sunday after an avalanche swamped a commonly used hiking trail near Mont Blanc, western Europe’s highest peak.

The avalanche, triggered when a chunk of ice as wide as two football fields broke off a mountain face, appeared to be the worst in the French Alps in more than a decade, officials said.

“There’s no chance of finding anyone alive,” French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said while visiting the region. Five Austrians and three Swiss were missing. Seven other people were hospitalized.

The avalanche began about 3 a.m. after a massive block of ice known as a serac cracked off a side of the Mont Blanc du Tacul, one of the peaks in the Mont Blanc range, at an altitude of some 11,800 feet.

From wire reports

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