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Gunman attacks group of aid workers

KABUL (AP) -- A gunman attacked a group of German and Afghan aid workers inspecting a high school under renovation in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, killing one person and injuring several others, officials said.

One of those wounded in the attack in Khost province was a German citizen, said a spokesman for the German Foreign Office, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with department policy. The person who was killed was Afghan.

In Khost, the attacker opened fire from a vehicle as he approached the site in Khost City and then fled to a nearby house, where he engaged police in a gunbattle that was ongoing Friday evening, said acting provincial Gov. Taher Khan Sabari.

A total of three people were wounded in the initial attack, including the German and two Afghans, said the German spokesman and a local police official, Gulam Mohammad.

Separately, NATO said a serviceman died Friday in a bombing in southern Afghanistan. The international force did not disclose the nationality of the soldier who died.

Several others were wounded in the gunbattle that followed the initial assault.



Searches stepped up for 46 missing sailors

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korean authorities stepped up searches for 46 sailors still missing early today, hours after a naval ship sank near a disputed sea border with North Korea.

Navy and coast guard vessels, as well as air force planes, were searching the waters near South Korea's Baeknyeong Island where the 1,200-ton Cheonan sank during a routine patrolling mission.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said rescuers had picked up 58 sailors but 46 still were missing.

President Lee Myung-bak ordered officials to find the cause of the sinking quickly while keeping in mind all possibilities, presidential spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said Saturday. There was no indication North Korea was to blame, but troops kept a vigilant watch.

Lee reconvened a security meeting and instructed officials to make all efforts to rescue the missing sailors, the spokeswoman said. Kim added there were no signs of North Korean troop movement.

Some senior government officials have speculated the sinking may have been an accident, not an attack, South Korean media said.



5 soldiers, 32 rebels killed in border clash

PARACHINAR, Pakistan (AP) -- Taliban fighters seized a security checkpoint close to the Afghan border, sparking clashes that killed five soldiers and 32 insurgents in a region where the army is pressing an offensive, officials said Friday.

Many of the dead insurgents in the Orakzai tribal region were Arab and Uzbek, said Maj. Gen. Tariq Khan, the commander of the Frontier Corps, a major force in the battle against the Pakistani Taliban in the northwest. He was speaking in the regional capital, Peshawar, after attending the funeral of an officer killed in the fighting Thursday.

Khan said the operations in Orakzai were aimed at hunting Taliban insurgents who had fled a large offensive in nearby South Waziristan. That operation has been praised by the United States, which says fighting extremists on the Pakistani side of the porous border is key to winning the war against the related Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

Militants control much of the region, which has become a magnet for jihadists from around the world.

The army said the clashes started when security forces tried to recapture a checkpoint taken Thursday night by militants in the Kalaya area.

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