JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli special forces stormed a West Bank hideout early on Tuesday and killed two Palestinians suspected in the June abduction and slaying of three Israeli teenagers, a gruesome attack that had triggered a chain of events that led to the war in Gaza this summer.
The deaths of the two suspects, identified by the Israeli military as well-known Hamas militants, ended one of the largest manhunts conducted by the Israeli security forces.
Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, a 16-year-old with dual Israeli-American citizenship, were abducted on June 12 while hitchhiking home in the West Bank and killed soon afterward.
The teens' abduction and slaying prompted a large Israeli crackdown on the Islamic militant Hamas group and set off a chain of events that led to a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
In an operation codenamed "Brother's Keeper," Israel dispatched thousands of troops across the West Bank in search of the youths, closed roads in the Hebron area and arrested hundreds of Hamas operatives throughout the territory.
The search ended July 1, when the bodies were found under a pile of rocks in a field north of the West Bank city of Hebron. Officials later said it was believed the three had been killed shortly after the abduction.
Israeli forces had been pursuing the suspects, Amer Abu Aisheh and Marwan Qawasmeh, since the abductions, said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman.
Lerner told reporters that there was a recent breakthrough in the search that led the Yamam, a special police counter- terrorism unit, to the hideout in an area of Hebron about a week ago.
Early on Tuesday, the Israeli special forces entered the ground floor of the two-story building and killed two Hamas operatives after coming under fire, Lerner said.
The military believes both men were killed, though troops confirmed the killing of only one suspect. Lerner said the second suspect fell backward in a hail of fire and is presumed dead, though the body has not yet been recovered.
Lerner noted the two men had been identified as the suspects early in the search, their Hamas connections were well known, and Hamas has repeatedly tried to abduct Israeli civilians and soldiers. Another three members of one the Qawasmeh family were arrested, he said.
"We were determined in bringing the ruthless murderers of Gilad, Eyal and Naftali to justice," Lerner said. "Today's successful mission brings the long-term search to an end, and the perpetrators of the crime no longer pose a threat to Israeli civilians," he said.
In Qatar, Hussam Badran, a spokesman for top Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, praised the two militants on his Twitter account. "The martyrdom of Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisheh came after a long life full of jihad sacrifice and giving. This is the path of resistance, which we all are moving in," he said.
Hamas denied involvement for weeks after the teens were abducted. However, during the Israel-Hamas war, an exiled Hamas leader responsible for West Bank operations acknowledged his group had been responsible for the abduction and killing of the teenagers.
In the days leading up to the start of the Gaza war in early July, a Palestinian youth was also abducted and killed in east Jerusalem by Israeli extremists in an apparent revenge attack over the teens' slaying.
NEW DELHI (AP) - A white tiger killed a young man who climbed over a fence at the New Delhi zoo and jumped into the animal's enclosure Tuesday, a spokesman said.
Despite repeated warnings that he shouldn't get too close to the outdoor enclosure, the man eventually climbed over a knee-high fence, through some small hedges, then jumped down 18 feet into a protective moat, said National Zoological Park spokesman Riyaz Ahmed Khan.
The male tiger, which lives on a grassy tree-filled island, grabbed the man from the moat. Footage broadcast on NDTV showed the tiger carrying the man around the island.
Authorities eventually frightened the tiger into a small cage inside the enclosure. The man, whose body remained in the outdoor enclosure two hours after the attack, was dead by the time help reached him, Khan said.
"The tiger was just being a tiger," said Belinda Wright, who has spent years working to protect India's dwindling numbers of wild tigers. "An unusual object fell into his domain. ... He's a wild animal in captivity. It is certainly not the tiger's fault."
It's not unusual for visitors to a zoo in India to taunt animals or toss bits of food through cages even though zoo rules forbid it. Groups of visitors may sometimes throw used plastic water bottles or stones into animal enclosures to get the animal to react.
Deputy Commissioner of Police M.S. Randhawa identified the man only as Maqsood and said he was thought to be about 20 years old.
Further details about him and the tiger were not immediately available.
The zoo remained open Tuesday afternoon, though authorities eventually roped off the tiger enclosure.
NEW YORK (AP) — Osama bin Laden's son-in-law was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison for acting as al-Qaida's spokesman after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who said he saw "no remorse whatsoever" from the 48-year-old imam.
"You continue to threaten," the judge said. "You sir, in my assessment, still want to do everything you can to carry out al-Qaida's agenda of killing Americans."
Abu Ghaith was the highest-ranking al-Qaida figure to face trial on U.S. soil since the attacks. The Kuwaiti cleric became the voice of al-Qaida recruitment videotapes after the 2001 attacks. He testified at trial that his role was strictly religious.
Defense attorney Stanley Cohen asked the judge to impose a 15-year sentence. A prosecutor called for life in prison.
Abu Ghaith was convicted in March on conspiracy charges that he answered Osama bin Laden's request in the hours after the attacks to speak on the widely circulated videos used to recruit new followers willing to go on suicide missions like the 19 who hijacked four commercial jets on Sept. 11.
"The storm of airplanes will not stop," the Kuwaiti imam warned in an October 2001 video that was played for the jury.
Jurors also saw frames of a video made Sept. 12, 2001, in which Abu Ghaith was seated next to bin Laden and two other top al-Qaida leaders as they tried to justify the attacks.
Taking the witness stand in his own defense, Abu Ghaith calmly denied he was an al-Qaida recruiter and claimed his role was a religious one aimed at encouraging all Muslims to rise up against their oppressors. He insisted he agreed to meet with bin Laden in a cave on the night of Sept. 11, 2001, out of respect for bin Laden's standing as a sheik.
"I didn't go to meet with him to bless if he had killed hundreds of Americans or not. I went to meet with him to know what he wanted," Abu Ghaith said.
In asking for leniency, Cohen compared his client to an outrageous shock-radio host. The attorney wrote in court papers that Abu Gaith "faces the harshest of penalties for talk — and only talk — which is at times zealous, pious and devout; at other times intemperate; at still others, offensive to core values of humanity."
In a submission seeking a life sentence, the government responded by calling the comparison to a radio host "as absurd as it is offensive" and accused the defense of trying to minimize Abu Ghaith's role in promoting al-Qaida's deadly agenda.
"Abu Ghaith was a terrorist who sat alongside bin Laden on the morning of Sept. 12, 2001, celebrating the murder of nearly 3,000 innocent, men, women and children the day before," prosecutors wrote.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A UPS employee opened fire Tuesday morning inside one of the company's warehouses in Alabama, killing two people before committing suicide, police said.
Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper told reporters that the gunman was wearing his uniform when he started shooting either in or near some offices inside the warehouse in an industrial area just north of the Birmingham airport. The sand-colored building sits on a hill and has UPS logos on the front and side. It has a parking lot surrounded by barbed wire.
The gunman had apparently shot himself by the time officers got inside the warehouse, Roper said.
Police Lt. Sean Edwards told The Associated Press on Tuesday morning that the gunman was a UPS employee, though he said later in the day that police had not yet met with company officials to confirm the gunman's current employment status. People who called 911 from their cellphones told dispatchers that the shooter was an employee, Edwards said.
No one else was hurt, Roper said.
"When these people came here to work, they had no idea this would be their last day on earth," Roper said.
Atlanta-based UPS said in a brief statement that the shooting happened around 9:40 a.m. CDT. The company added that it is fully cooperating with the investigation.
Employees who were at the warehouse when the shooting happened were being taken to another location so that they could be interviewed by investigators and provided with counseling, Roper said.
Late Tuesday morning, a long line of police cars with their lights flashing left the area as part of a motorcade with a white school bus. Also, a wrecker with a police escort left the scene towing a dark red Honda SUV.
ST. MARYS, Ga. (AP) — The Coast Guard and Navy plan to conduct a full-scale maritime exercise in the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Coast Guard says the exercise is known as Resolute Guardian. It is set to run from about 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday. It will be held near Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay and continuing south to the Saint Marys River entrance.
The exercise will include small boat maneuvers, blank gunfire and distress signal training.
The Coast Guard is advising local boaters and community members that there will be a 500-yard moving safety zone around the vessels involved. There are no waterway closures or restrictions planned.
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks were mostly lower and European stocks sank Tuesday following some disappointing economic reports and news that U.S.-led forces have started airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria.