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Sept. 7, 2011 at 10:01 PM   |   Comments

Perry, Romney clash in GOP debate

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney focused on one another Wednesday early in the Republican presidential debate in California.

They first attacked each other on job creation and moved on to healthcare, The New York Times reported. Neither spent much energy on President Barack Obama in the early stages of the debate.

Romney led in most polls until Perry entered the race.

The debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, sponsored by NBC News and Politico, was the first time Perry and Romney have appeared together since the Texas governor entered the presidential race. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, former U.S. Ambassador to China and ex-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and former Godfather Pizza Chief Executive Officer Herman Cain of Georgia also participated.

"Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt," Perry told Romney, citing the former Massachusetts governor and Democratic presidential candidate in 1988.

Romney responded in kind: "As a matter of fact, George Bush created jobs three times faster than you did, Governor."

Bill Whalen of Stanford University's Hoover Institution said Perry would be in the bulls-eye at the debate.

"This is the downside of marching to the front of the pack," Whelan said of Perry, whose surging candidacy is overtaking that of presumptive front-runner Romney in public-opinion polls.

"The focus is on you, the pressure is on you and the bar is raised in terms of performance," especially because Perry is "still a novelty and a novel concept at this point," Whalen told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The debate was Perry's first since entering the 2012 presidential contest last month.


Israel says Hamas bomb attacks foiled

JERUSALEM, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- An attempted suicide attack in Jerusalem was foiled and dozens of Hamas terror suspects were arrested in recent months, Shin Bet said Wednesday.

Several attacks against Israel were in the works by members of 13 different terror cells in the West Bank and Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Shin Bet, the Israel security agency, seized two bombs concealed within fire extinguishers on Aug. 21, the date of the planned attack, in the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood. Sayyid Kussama, 20, an Hamas operative, was arrested as the alleged would-be suicide bomber a day later.

The terror cells were also reportedly planning the abduction of an Israeli soldier in an attempt to use him as leverage to have Palestinians prisoners released.

Israeli security officials allege Hamas centers in Syria and Saudi Arabia funded the attack plots in order to boost military capabilities in the West Bank.


Katia brings large swells to Bermuda, U.S.

MIAMI, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- A weakened Hurricane Katia was generating large swells on Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast Wednesday night, the National Hurricane Center said.

In its 8 p.m. EDT update, the center said a tropical storm watch was posted for Bermuda. Katia, a Category 1 hurricane, was 335 miles west-southwest of Bermuda, moving northwest at 10 mph with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph.

Forecasters said Katia should shift toward the north early Thursday, and then toward the north-northwest with an increase in forward speed Thursday night and Friday.

On its forecast track, the storm's core was expected to move between the East Coast and Bermuda Wednesday night and Thursday, the hurricane center said.

Katia, which had been a Category 3 storm with winds up to 125 mph a day earlier, was expected to experience little change in strength Wednesday night, followed by a gradual weakening Thursday, forecasters said.

Hurricane-force winds extended 70 miles from the center of the storm, with tropical-storm-force winds extending 205 miles.

The center said large swells generated by Katia will affect most of the U.S. East Coast, Bermuda, the Greater Antilles and east-facing beaches in the Bahamas during the next few days. The swells likely will cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Katia was expected to produce 1-2 inches of rain across Bermuda, the center said.


IHOP death toll at 5, including suspect

CARSON CITY, Nev., Sept. 7 (UPI) -- The death toll from a restaurant shooting spree in Carson City, Nev., rose to five, including the suspected shooter, officials said Wednesday.

A man armed with a version of an AK-47 rifle opened fire Tuesday on people as they ate breakfast at the Carson City International House of Pancakes, killing two Nevada National Guard members and a civilian at the scene before he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, CNN reported.

A fourth guardsmen died later in a hospital.

Eleven people total were shot.

Law enforcement officials identified the suspected gunman as Eduardo Sencion, 32, of Carson City. Authorities said they hadn't determined a motive.

Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong said investigators decided Sencion shot indiscriminately and did not target the guardsmen, who were sitting together at a table at the rear of the restaurant, ABC News reported.

However, the National Guard's base commander said he has ordered soldiers not to wear their uniforms off base and has beefed up security on base, ABC said.

Furlong said Sencion was a Mexico-born U.S. citizen with no criminal serious record but a history of mental illness.

The sheriff identified those killed by the shooter as National Guard Maj. Heath Kelly, 35, Sgt. First Class Christian Riege, 39, Sgt. First Class Miranda McElheney, 38, and civilian Florence Donovan Gunderson, 67. Gunderson's husband, a former Marine, was among the wounded.

Furlong said some of the victims had "extremely life-threatening" wounds.

The shooting began shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday. When they arrived, law enforcement personnel said the shooting suspect was identified as a man lying wounded in the parking lot. The suspect kept shooting in the parking lot after exiting the restaurant, Furlong said.

Officials said they recovered the AK-47, an empty 30-round ammunition magazine and two other magazines. Furlong said a pistol and an assault rifle also were found in the parking lot.

"There was blood everywhere; broken glass everywhere," Steven Martin, a witness, told KRNV-TV, Reno. "It was just a war zone down there."

The sheriff likened the shooting spree's impact on his community to that of a major terrorist attack.

"Yesterday in Carson City was not unlike 9/11," Furlong said, referring to the 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and a jetliner that went down in Pennsylvania. "Families, communities, and the entire nation have been affected by what happened here."

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