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Soldiers open fire on protesters; 15 dead

BEIRUT (AP) -- Defying government guns, thousands of Syrian protesters poured down city streets and a main highway Friday to press demands for President Bashar Assad's ouster. Security forces opened fire, killing at least 15 people, including two children, activists said.

"Our revolution is strong! Assad has lost legitimacy!" a YouTube video showed protesters chanting in Zabadani, a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital.

Syria's streets have become the stage for a test of endurance between a 3-month-old pro-democracy movement, bloodied but resilient, and an iron-fisted but embattled regime. The latest round of protests and killings came as international pressure mounted on Assad.

"We will not stand by while the Syrian regime uses violent repression to silence its own people," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said after the European Union expanded sanctions -- asset freezes and travel bans -- to more members of the Syrian leadership.

The Syrian opposition says 1,400 people have been killed in the government crackdown.


Militant group claims to have caught 3 spies

BEIRUT (AP) -- Hezbollah's leader said Friday that the Islamic militant group had captured three spies in its ranks, two of whom were allegedly recruited by the CIA to spy for Israel.

It was the first time the Iranian-backed group has claimed that it had been penetrated by spies, a rare acknowledgment of a security breach for an organization that has maintained a cohesive image. The U.S. Embassy in Beirut denied the allegation.

In his televised speech, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said CIA members at the embassy had recruited at least two Hezbollah members and the group was investigating whether the U.S. intelligence agency or another foreign agency recruited a third. "We now have proof that this embassy is a spying nest and that some U.S. diplomats are intelligence officers penetrating and recruiting Lebanese society and Lebanese political factions," he said.

Nasrallah did not name the suspects, saying he wanted to protect their families "whom I know personally."


Bin Laden widow given OK for Yemen return

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Officials in Pakistan said Friday the country has agreed to let Osama bin Laden's youngest widow return to her native Yemen. But they would not reveal when she'll leave.

Amal Ahmed Abdullfattah, two other widows and eight of bin Laden's children were detained following the May 2 U.S. raid that killed the al-Qaida chief in the northwestern Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

A Pakistani security official said Friday that Pakistan has granted Abdullfattah permission to go home.

An official at the Yemeni embassy in Islamabad confirmed an agreement had been reached on her deportation.

The security official said Abdullfattah has fully recovered from a bullet that struck her leg during the raid.

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