Britain: Stonehenge attack

LONDON — Two men attacked the ancient monument of Stonehenge with a hammer and chipped off a piece of stone the size of a large coin, a conservation group said Thursday.

Two men hacked the piece from the Heel Stone, the central megalith at the ancient site, English Heritage spokeswoman Debbie Holden said. They were spotted by security guards but escaped by jumping over a fence and driving off.

Wiltshire police are investigating last week's incident at the UNESCO World Heritage Site 90 miles west of London.

Cuba: Gitmo delay denied

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE — A military judge on Thursday denied motions to delay the arraignments of five Guantanamo detainees suspected of mounting the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In his ruling, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann said the military commission found that the interests of justice in the complex legal case would be best served by completing the arraignments on June 5.

"It is precisely because of the anticipated complexity of this case that it is important that the process get under way," Kohlmann said in the ruling, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

Gaza Strip: Truck explodes

GAZA CITY — A Palestinian detonated a powerful truck bomb at the main pedestrian crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Thursday, causing extensive damage that dealt a serious blow to Gazans' hopes of opening up their sealed-off territory.

Although the bomber killed only himself, the magnitude of the explosion — which shook buildings for miles — raised fears that Palestinians are adopting tactics used by al-Qaida, Hezbollah and other extremist groups.

Germany: Sharks threatened

BERLIN — An international environmental group has added three sharks and a ray to a list of species threatened with extinction, saying the animals risk being wiped out.

The study released Thursday concluded that 11 species of sharks and rays that swim primarily in the world's open oceans are under enough pressure from overfishing to make the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's "red list" of threatened species. The list is a comprehensive inventory of 41,000 species and subspecies compiled by a network of experts around the globe.

The group said part of the threat was due to increasing demand mainly in Asia for shark fin soup.

Iraq: Deadly copter strike

BAGHDAD — An American helicopter strike killed eight civilians, including two children, during an assault near the northern Iraqi town of Baiji, the Iraqi police said Thursday.

The U.S. military confirmed that two children were among the people killed Wednesday night during an operation against "known terrorists" working with the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaida in Mesopotamia.

But while the military expressed regret and confirmed that an investigation was under way, it said the children were "unfortunately" killed while traveling in a vehicle whose other occupants "exhibited hostile intent." It did not identify the other people killed.

Italy: N-plants planned

ROME — Italy announced Thursday that within five years it planned to resume building nuclear energy plants, two decades after a public referendum resoundingly banned nuclear power and deactivated all its reactors.

"By the end of this legislature, we will put down the foundation stone for the construction in our country of a group of new-generation nuclear plants," said Claudio Scajola, minister of economic development. "An action plan to go back to nuclear power cannot be delayed anymore."