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Israelis warned to leave Sinai

JERUSALEM — Israel issued an "urgent" warning Tuesday to its citizens to leave Egypt's Sinai Peninsula immediately, citing "concrete evidence of an expected terrorist attempt to kidnap Israelis in Sinai."

The statement from the Israeli prime minister's anti-terrorism office took the unusual step of calling on families of Israelis visiting the Sinai to establish contact with them.

The commander of the anti-terrorism office, Brig. Gen. Nitzan Nuriel, acknowledged that there had been rumors that Israelis have been kidnapped in the Sinai. "We don't work according to rumors," he told Israel TV. "We work according to firm intelligence." He said it would "take some time" to disprove the rumors, which circulated all day Tuesday.

Mexico's drug war death toll tops 22,700

MEXICO CITY — More than 22,700 people have been killed in Mexico's drug war since a U.S.-backed military crackdown on cartels began more than three years ago, according to a government report.

The report said 2009 was the deadliest year in the drug war, with 9,635 people killed in violence tied to organized crime. That compares to 2,837 in 2007, the first year of President Felipe Calderon's military-led offensive.

Gang violence has continued surging this year, with 3,365 people killed between January and March, according to the confidential report sent to lawmakers Monday. The Associated Press had access to the report Tuesday.

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