Libya blast kills two Egyptians

TRIPOLI, Libya - Egypt's Foreign Ministry said an explosion at an Egyptian Coptic church in Libya's third largest city, Misrata, has killed two people and wounded two others.

The statement by the Foreign Ministry says Sunday's explosion killed two Egyptian citizens working at the church in preparation for New Year's Eve Mass.

Egypt's ambassador visited the church after the attack and urged Libyan security forces to ensure the property is guarded. Tens of thousands of Egyptian workers have returned to work in Libya following last year's civil war, despite security dangers. - AP

U.S. plane gets repairs in Iran

TEHRAN, Iran - A small American commercial plane left Iran on Sunday after it was repaired following an emergency landing at an Iranian airport this month, state TV reported.

The plane experienced technical failure and was forced to land 16 days ago at the airport in Ahvaz, Mahmoud Rasoulinejad, head of the state-owned Iran Airports Co., said.

Rasoulinejad said three passengers left Iran for Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, but the plane remained under repair in the airport. He said the plane took off from Iran upon arrival of needed parts and completion of repairs. It was not clear why the plane's landing was not announced earlier. - AP

Israelis at odds on peace plan

JERUSALEM - Israel's president and prime minister are trading charges over making peace with the Palestinians.

President Shimon Peres told a summit of international ambassadors and diplomats Sunday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is a reliable peace partner. He said Israeli diplomacy must change "from an aggressive approach to a moderate approach of dialogue."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party and his hawkish election partner released a statement calling the Israeli president out of touch and labeling Abbas a "peace rejecter."

Peres won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. Netanyahu is expected to win Jan. 22 elections, and the hard-line bloc maintains a lead over dovish parties. - AP

Gunfire injures two in Iraq

BAGHDAD - Gunshots wounded at least two people Sunday at demonstrations in western Iraq when bodyguards and security forces protecting a Sunni politician opened fire to disperse protesters, a local official said, the first casualties in more than a week of rallies.

Some demonstrators demanded that the politician, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, quit the Shiite-dominated government. Video showed hundreds of angry protesters chasing Mutlaq's entourage, throwing rocks and bottles as automatic gunfire rang out.

Mutlaq's office described the incident as an assassination attempt by "rogue elements" in the crowd. - AP