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Al-Qaida blamed for truck bombing

BAGHDAD – The U.S. military sent search dogs Sunday to help find more than a dozen people still missing and feared dead after the country’s worst bombing this year devastated a northern Iraqi town just over a week before U.S. troops are due to leave Iraq’s cities.

The truck bombing Saturday near the ethnically tense city of Kirkuk flattened a Shiite mosque and dozens of mud-brick houses around it, killing at least 75 people.

Iraqi police blamed al-Qaida in Iraq, saying the attack was part of an insurgent campaign to destabilize the country and undermine confidence in the government.

Another bomb exploded Sunday evening in a cafe in a Shiite enclave in a mainly Sunni area of southern Baghdad, killing at least two civilians and wounding 13, police said.

Sabah Amin, a senior health official, said 75 people, including 35 children, had died and 254 others were wounded.

Brazil identifies 11 victims of Air France crash

SAO PAULO, Brazil – Medical examiners have identified the first 11 of 50 bodies recovered from the Air France flight that plunged into the Atlantic three weeks ago, officials said Sunday.

Five bodies were identified as Brazilian men, five as Brazilian women and one as a “foreigner of the male sex,” the Public Safety Department of the northeastern state of Pernambuco said in a statement. The department did not reveal the nationality of the non-Brazilian victim.

Air France Flight 447 fell into the ocean off the northeast coast of Brazil on the night of May 31, killing all 228 people aboard. Thus far, 50 bodies have been retrieved from the ocean.

Bodies likely those of abducted guards

LONDON – Two bodies handed over to British authorities in Iraq have been identified as bodyguards kidnapped in Baghdad two years ago, the government said Sunday.

The Foreign Office said the two bodies were “highly likely” those of Jason Creswell, from Glasgow, Scotland, and Jason Swindlehurst, from Skelmersdale in northwest England.

The two men worked for Canadian security firm GardaWorld and were abducted in May 2007 along with information technology consultant Peter Moore and two other bodyguards, identified only as Alan and Alec. The five men were overpowered by armed Shiite militants outside the Finance Ministry in Baghdad and have since been seen only in a few videotapes made by their captors.

Tropical Storm Andres heading toward Mexico

MIAMI – Tropical Storm Andres has formed off the southwestern coast of Mexico, becoming the first named storm of the season in the Eastern Pacific, forecasters said.

The government of Mexico on Sunday night issued a tropical storm watch from Zihuatanejo northward to Manzanillo.

The National Hurricane Center said the center of the storm as of 8 p.m. PDT was about 200 miles south of Zihuatanejo and 330 miles south-southeast of Manzanillo.