Iranian warships enter Mediterranean
TEHRAN, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Two Iranian warships sailed through the Suez Canal Saturday into the Mediterranean Sea, Iranian naval officials said.
CNN said it is not clear where the destroyer and supply ship are headed.
Iranian navy Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari was quoted by Iran's semiofficial Mehr news agency as saying "the navy's 18th fleet will in the best way carry the message of peace and friendship to regional countries, and display the might of the country and the sacred system of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Egypt, which has sovereignty over the Suez Canal, is bound by the 1978 Camp David Accords, which guarantee the right of free passage by ships belonging to Israel and all other nations on the basis of the Constantinople Convention of 1888, CNN said.
Tensions between Israel and Iran are high amid speculation Israel could stage a pre-emptive against Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.
Syrian forces open fire on funeral march
DAMASCUS, Syria, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Activists say Syrian troops fired on mourners Saturday in Damascus as a funeral turned into a protest against President Bashar Assad.
The protest had started as a funeral march to mourn the deaths of three youths shot dead Friday. The procession, however, turned into a large demonstration near Assad's palace, with hundreds of anti-government protesters shouting for an end to the Assad regime. Security forces opened fire on demonstrators and used tear gas, killing two and injuring several others, the BBC reported.
The New York Times said the march through the middle-class neighborhood of Mezze marked the biggest demonstration seen in the capital since the uprising began last year.
"If the rallies have reached Damascus and are big enough, we will no longer need an armed revolution," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London said.
The newspaper said some demonstrators carried palm fronds to indicate their peaceful intent.
Violence across the country has intensified as activists were killed Saturday in the cities of Hama and Daraa. Government forces opened fire in the streets of Al Atrab and a law enforcement official was killed, which the government blamed on an "armed terrorist group," CNN reported.
The intensifying climate comes during a visit from Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun in an effort to "push for a peaceful and proper solution to the Syrian crisis," in Zhai's own words.
China and Russia have stood resolute against attempts by the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution formally condemning the Assad regime for its response to protestors. Both governments sent envoys to Syria in February to discuss resolutions with officials of the Assad government.
Zhai told reporters Saturday China remains a friend of Syria and is urging a referendum on the draft of a new constitution and parliamentary elections, China's Xinhua news agency reported.
Fla. man arrested in airport Rolex theft
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Broward County, Fla., Sheriff's detectives arrested a man who allegedly stole a $6,500 Rolex watch at an airport security checkpoint.
When Igor Adrian Ramos, 37, of Sunny Isles Beach, was arrested Friday and charged with grand theft, he was wearing the stolen watch, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.
"Crime Stoppers tips confirmed what detectives were finding at the same time," Broward Sheriff's Spokesman Jim Leljedal said. "Through the investigation, they had narrowed it down to a couple of flights and he was on one to New York the day of the theft."
The victim, Gloria de Regalado, was traveling from south Florida to Kentucky Jan. 18. Ramos was behind de Regalado at a security checkpoint at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
De Regalado said she blamed herself for losing her valuable watch because she was juggling so much luggage. The watch and a bracelet apparently slid into the next bin in line.
Video surveillance shows the woman leave behind the items, and the man believed to be Ramos can be seen picking them up and putting them in his backpack.
The man did not make any attempt to inform Transportation Security Administration agents or Broward Sheriff's deputies of his findings, investigators said.
Woman shot in the leg during dogfight
PLANTATION, Fla., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- A Plantation, Fla., woman has defended her son for accidently shooting her in the leg while trying to save her from a pack of manic dogs in their home.
Sonia Piccione, 84, told police she watched other people's dogs for them, as well as owning four of her own. Eleven dogs and seven cats converged on her when she arrived home late for feeding time.
Her son, William Scott Hart, 50, heard her cry for help in the garage and called 911 before retrieving Piccione's revolver. Hart said he tried to fire when he saw "a clear patch," but both his mother and one of the dogs suffered a shot to the leg.
Piccione was not seriously heart and will soon be discharged from the hospital, The Miami Herald reported. Hart said he has suffered several injuries breaking up dogfights in the home.
Police investigated Piccione's home and gave her five citations for animal cruelty. A spokeswoman for Broward Animal Care called the home "a hoarding-type situation."
Police hunt for suspected priest killer
THORNBURY, England, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Police are on the hunt for Stephen Farrow, wanted in connection with the killing of the Rev. John Suddards of the Church of England.
Suddards, 59, was found by workers Tuesday morning stabbed to death in his home near St. Mary's Church in Thornbury.
Detective Inspector Simon Crisp told The Daily Telegraph Farrow may try to hitchhike.
"I must stress that Farrow is dangerous and should not be approached under any circumstances," Crisp said. "He is a white man, 6 feet, 4 inches tall, with a scar on his right brow. He uses the names of Steven Lewis and Adrian Capel Farrow."
Crisp urged anyone who spots Farrow to call 999 immediately.
Police released a suspect arrested earlier this week after questioning.
Suddards moved to Thornbury from Essex in July. After serving as a barrister, he decided to become a priest at the age of 31 and had served the church for 22 years.