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In brief: Police say suspect is cartel hit man

MEXICO CITY – Mexican officials say they have nabbed the alleged top hit man for an Acapulco drug gang suspected in the slayings of 22 people earlier this month.

The Public Safety Department says Jose Lozano was arrested along with six other suspected members of the Independent Cartel of Acapulco. The little-known gang has been claiming responsibility for killings in the area over the past five months.

The department says the 21-year-old alleged hit man was arrested Thursday and acknowledged participating in the killings of 22 people whose bodies were dumped at a shopping center. Fifteen had been decapitated.

A Sunday statement said the gang is also suspected in the September slayings of 20 mechanics who disappeared while vacationing in Acapulco.

Palestinian group blamed for attack

CAIRO, Egypt – The Egyptian government announced Sunday that it had “conclusive proof” that an al-Qaida-linked Palestinian militant group orchestrated the New Year’s Day bombing outside a Coptic Christian church that killed 25 worshippers and exacerbated sectarian tensions across Egypt.

Interior Minister Habib Adly blamed the attack on the Army of Islam, an extremist organization based in the Gaza Strip. The naming of foreigners as the culprit may help Egyptian authorities in easing escalating tensions between Muslims and Copts, who make up about 10 percent of the nation’s population.

Israelis: Flotilla raid was legal

JERUSALEM – A commission appointed by Israel’s government concluded Sunday that the country’s military did not violate international law in carrying out a deadly commando raid last spring against a protest ship that was attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel’s naval blockade.

The panel blamed activists on board the ship for instigating the violence, which ended in the shooting deaths of nine Turkish passengers, including one with dual U.S. citizenship.

Critics dismissed the panel’s findings, saying its members were incapable of conducting an objective probe.

“It’s a whitewash, just as we expected,” said Audrey Bomse, attorney for the Free Gaza Movement, one of the organizers of the May 2010 flotilla. “You don’t ask a criminal to investigate his own criminality.”

Hezbollah open to unity government

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Hezbollah and its allies are willing to be part of a new unity government with their rivals in Lebanon’s Western-backed political bloc if the candidate they are backing is chosen to be prime minister, the Shiite militant group’s leader said Sunday.

Talks on a new premier are to begin today, and Sheik Hassan Nasrallah appeared to be trying to calm tensions as the rift deepened between his group and a bloc led by caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Ministers from Hezbollah and its allies brought down the unity government Hariri had led on Jan. 12 because of differences over a U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.


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