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Al-Qaida in Iraq on the rebound

BAGHDAD — The Sunni insurgent group al-Qaida in Iraq has rebounded in strength in recent months and appears to be launching a concerted effort to cripple the Iraqi government as U.S. troops withdraw, Iraqi and American officials say.

The group asserted responsibility for four powerful bombings that targeted five government buildings in Baghdad in August and October — the deadliest attacks directed at the government in more than six years of war. Authorities say al-Qaida in Iraq intends to carry out additional high-profile attacks in the months ahead and is attempting to regain its foothold in former strongholds just outside the capital.

Drug cartel suspect found dead in Mexico

MEXICO CITY — A top drug cartel suspect who turned state's evidence has been found dead in an apparent suicide, while a body found in Guerrero state was identified as a rebel leader who accused the state governor of drug ties, Mexican law enforcement said Saturday.

Jesus Zambada Reyes, identified as the nephew of drug lord Ismael ''El Mayo'' Zambada, was found dead of asphyxiation at a house in Mexico City, the attorney general's office said in a statement.

He was found hanging with a shoelace Friday.

Zambada Reyes was a ''cooperating witness,'' the statement said, but it did not specify if he was being held in custody or under a witness-protection program. Prosecutors say they will continue investigating the death.

Hamas announces rocket firings will stop

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Hamas announced Saturday evening that it has reached an agreement with other militant groups in Gaza to stop firing rockets at southern Israeli towns to prevent retaliatory attacks.

Hamas has mostly refrained from firing rockets since January when Israel ended a three-week offensive in Gaza aimed at stopping almost daily militant attacks.

Other Gaza militant groups have since continued with rocket attacks, but on a much smaller scale than before.

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