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>Gunmen steal gold; al-Qaida suspected

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Gunmen raided a jewelry shop Saturday in western Iraq, killing four before fleeing with a large amount of gold, officials said.

The brazen robbery is the latest in a string of violent attacks on lucrative targets such as banks, jewelry stores and money exchange houses. Police speculate that insurgents seeking to replenish their funds may be behind the attacks.

Police and hospital officials said six attackers used handguns fitted with silencers during the heist in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad. The victims were believed to have been the owners of the shop, police said.

A police officer said al-Qaida could be behind the attack, since the robbery was accompanied by killings, a trademark of the group.

An al-Qaida front group claimed responsibility for last week's strike on the Central Bank of Iraq, in which 26 died. On June 9, gunmen killed three jewelers before fleeing with gold in southern city of Basra. Two weeks earlier, a similar robbery in Baghdad left 15 dead.


>Iran will not send ship to bust blockade

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran will not send a blockade-busting ship to Gaza in defiance of Israeli warnings, an Iranian lawmaker said Saturday, citing Israeli "restrictions."

Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash said that instead of sending a ship, an Iranian delegation of lawmakers would travel to Lebanon and sail on a Gaza aid ship from there.

The Iranian ship had been expected to sail Sunday for Gaza carrying 1,100 tons of relief supplies and 10 pro-Palestinian activists, but plans were canceled "due to restrictions imposed by the occupying Zionist regime," Bighash said.

Iran on Tuesday had announced the plan to send the ship, prompting Israel to warn its archenemy to drop it. Israeli officials said naval commandos were training for the possibility of taking on a vessel with a suicide bomber on board.

After the killing of nine Turkish activists in a May 31 raid on another aid ship, Israel eased its land blockade of Gaza but maintained a naval blockade it says is necessary to keep weapons shipments out of the hands of Gaza's Hamas rulers.


>Pilot drops his pants at security screening

SAO PAULO (AP) -- A United Airlines pilot was briefly detained at the international airport in Rio de Janeiro after lowering his pants during a security screening, police said Saturday.

Michael D. Slynn, 49, was asked to remove his belt and shoes as part of a routine security screening Friday afternoon. In response, Slynn laughed at security guards and lowered his pants to his ankles, police said.

Slynn was detained but released shortly afterward and allowed to fly back to Washington, D.C., after signing a document promising to appear before a judge the next time he is in Brazil, police said.

Sarah Massier, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based airline, wrote in an e-mail, "We are investigating the matter."

Federal Police Chief Rafael Andreatta was quoted on the Internet site of the Brazilian newspaper O Globo as saying the pilot "did not respect security rules and made fun of officers."