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Gunman kills 4 at Israeli bank

JERUSALEM - A gunman stormed into a bank in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba on Monday, killing four people and taking a hostage before killing himself, police said.

Police initially suspected a bungled bank robbery, but later changed their assessment. They identified the gunman as a former military officer who had fallen on hard times financially. The 40-year-old man arrived at the bank to withdraw money and settle a debt, police said.

He reportedly got into an argument with the bank manager and came back an hour later with a handgun that was licensed to him and opened fire. The dead included the bank manager, his deputy, and two clients. Four other people were wounded, one seriously.

After the shooting rampage, the man then took a woman hostage and held her for an hour in the bathroom before turning the gun on himself. National Police Chief Yohanan Danino told reporters: "The murderer came in with an intention to shoot."

- AP

Russia says it thwarted attack

MOSCOW - Russia's counterterrorism agency said Monday that its special forces killed two militants and detained a third believed to have been planning a terrorist act in Moscow.

A spokesman for the National Anti-Terrorist Committee, known as NAK, said on state television that the militants were Russian citizens who had received training along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. They were not identified.

NAK spokesman Dmitry Pavlov said special forces surrounded the building where the militants were holed up in the Moscow suburb of Orekhovo-Zuevo and ordered them to surrender, but instead the militants opened fire. He said one of the special forces was slightly wounded in the operation. It was not clear when the operation took place. - AP

Morsi orders troops to Sinai

CAIRO - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi ordered army reinforcements to the restive Sinai on Monday amid rising tensions there over the kidnapping of seven soldiers by suspected Islamist militants.

In a break from past practices, Morsi said he would not negotiate with kidnappers, which some interpreted as an effort by the beleaguered president to appear tough in the face of his falling popularity and a general decline in security across the country.

Presidential spokesman Omar Amer dodged a question about whether Morsi's stance was for political purposes. "We are proceeding as we are," Amer said. But he also said that "all options are on the table to free the kidnapped soldiers."

- McClatchy Newspapers