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International

Haiti police exchange fire

with troops near national palace

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haitian police officers exchanged gunfire for hours Sunday with soldiers of the newly reconstituted army outside the national palace, in a dangerous escalation of protests over police pay and working conditions.

At least three police officers were wounded, fellow officers told The Associated Press. The army’s high command said in an online statement that a soldier had been wounded by a bullet in the back.

Haiti’s raucous three-day Carnival celebration was to have started Sunday afternoon in Port-au-Prince and other major cities but the government announced Sunday night that Carnival was cancelled in the capital “to avoid a bloodbath.” Police protesters and their backers had burned dozens of Carnival floats and stands at recent protests, saying they did not believe the country should be celebrating during a crisis.

Shortly after noon Sunday, AP journalists saw dozens of men who said they were off-duty officers march with hundreds of supporters toward the palace in the latest in days of demonstrations demanding better pay for Haitian law-enforcement officers.

The protest stopped outside the army headquarters, which faces the palace.

AP journalists then saw soldiers at the headquarters building fire into the air. Shortly afterward, an exchange of fire erupted between the soldiers and police. It was not clear which side began firing at the other first.

Israel strikes Gaza, Syria after

Palestinian rockets attacks

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israel military said early Monday that it struck Palestinian militants targets in Gaza and Syria in response to rockets fired toward southern Israel on Sunday evening, hours after Israel said it killed a Palestinian militant who tried to place a bomb along the Israel-Gaza barrier fence.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group claimed responsibility for the rocket barrages. Palestinians were furious over the image of the man’s lifeless body dangling off the front of an Israeli bulldozer that crossed into Gaza to retrieve it. There was also criticism in Gaza of the territory’s Hamas rulers for not responding.

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