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At least 77 dead in Kyrgyz riots

OSH, Kyrgyzstan - Ethnic riots wracked southern Kyrgyzstan on Saturday, forcing thousands of Uzbeks to flee as roving mobs of Kyrgyz men torched their homes. The interim government begged Russia for troops to stop the violence, but the Kremlin offered only humanitarian assistance.

At least 77 people were reported killed and more than 1,000 wounded in violence spreading across the impoverished central Asian nation where the United States and Russia have air bases.

Much of the nation's second-largest city, Osh, was on fire Saturday. Mobs of young Kyrgyz men with firearms and metal bars marched on minority Uzbek neighborhoods and set homes ablaze. Stores were looted and the city was running out of food.

Kyrgyzstan's third straight day of rioting also engulfed another major southern city, Jalal-Abad, where a mob burned a university, besieged a police station, and seized an armored vehicle and other weapons from a local military unit. "It's a real war," local political leader Omurbek Suvanaliyev said. "Everything is burning, and bodies are lying on the streets." - AP

Arrest in Poland for Hamas death

BERLIN - An alleged Mossad spy from Israel wanted in connection with the hit-squad slaying of a Hamas agent in Dubai has been arrested in Poland, officials said Saturday.

The man, using the name Uri Brodsky, is suspected of working for Mossad in Germany and helping to issue a fake German passport to a member of the Mossad operation that allegedly killed Hamas agent Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January, a spokesman for the German federal prosecutor's office said.

Brodsky was arrested in early June upon his arrival in Poland because of a European arrest warrant issued by Germany, which now seeks his extradition, the spokesman said, declining to be named in line with department policy. In Israel, the Foreign Ministry said without elaborating that it was aware of the man's fate. - AP

N. Korea renews threats to attack

SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea renewed its threats on Saturday to destroy South Korean propaganda loudspeakers, vowing a "merciless strike" that could turn Seoul into "a sea of flame."

Though such bellicose language is common in North Korea's official news media, the threats underscore the continuing tensions since the March sinking of a South Korean warship. South Korea has responded with measures such as curtailing trade and resuming psychological warfare broadcasts.

The broadcasts are seen as a largely symbolic gesture to signal that the sinking has pushed ties back to an era of Cold War-like hostility. The South is building a dozen sets of huge speakers to blare propaganda into the North.

- N.Y. Times News Service