JERUSALEM – Two Israeli soldiers and a Palestinian civilian were killed Friday as a gunbattle between troops and Palestinian militants widened into some of the fiercest fighting in the Gaza Strip since Israel’s military offensive there last year.
Gaza’s Islamic Hamas rulers confirmed their gunmen were involved in Friday’s violence – marking a shift from the group’s tendency over the past year to avoid confrontation with Israeli forces. Palestinian groups did not confirm the Israeli military’s claim that two militants were killed in the clashes.
Israel’s military said its troops crossed into Gaza after they spotted militants planting explosives along the security fence on the border. A gunbattle broke out, leaving two soldiers and two militants dead, the military said.
Putin warns of widespread floods
MOSCOW – Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Friday that thousands of Russian towns and villages could be affected by “unusually strong” spring floods as record snowfall melts after the harshest winter in years.
Russia’s NTV television reported Friday that hundreds of people in the central Voronezh region had to be evacuated after their homes were flooded. TV footage showed emergency workers using boats to ferry stranded people out.
Putin told emergency officials in a televised meeting Friday that some 3,000 villages and towns, as well as hundreds of railroad tracks and bridges, could be submerged throughout the spring across Russia’s vast territory.
Police chief’s body found decapitated
MONTERREY, Mexico – The decapitated body of the police chief of a northern Mexico town and the body of his brother were found inside the chief’s patrol truck Friday, authorities said.
Hours earlier, gunmen killed a deputy police chief and his bodyguard in another part of Mexico’s north.
The body of Heriberto Cerda, the police chief in Agualeguas, was found on the bed of a patrol pickup truck, which was left on a dirt road in the nearby town of General Trevino. His head was on his lap, said a spokesman for Nuevo Leon state prosecutors.
The windshield and driver’s door of the patrol car had “C.D.G.,” an acronym for the Gulf drug cartel, written in blood, photos showed.