• Israel rights group criticizes army's use of dogs at rallies

    Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli human rights group has criticized the military's use of dogs at protests, citing the case of a Palestinian teenager who was bitten after he threw rocks at troops in the West Bank. Sarit Michaeli of Btselem says the footage, broadcast Monday on Israeli media, was filmed in December. She says troops set the dog on a crowd of Palestinians throwing rocks and the animal bit the 16-year-old. Michaeli says the youth was taken to hospital and later sentenced to over a year in prison for throwing rocks and a firebomb in separate incidents. She says dogs are unnecessary as the military has other means to disperse Palestinian rock-throwers.

  • Reports: Turkey detains 10 IS militants

    Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish media reports say police have detained 10 suspected Islamic State militants in raids. The Dogan news agency said Monday that the suspects were detained for questioning following simultaneous early morning raids to homes in the northwestern province of Sakarya on Sunday. There was no immediate official confirmation of the raids, which were also reported in the pro-government Sabah newspaper. The suspects are believed to be Turkish citizens; there was no further information on them. Last month, authorities detained five Turks suspected of belonging to the IS group. Three suspected foreign IS militants were arrested last year after killing a soldier, a policeman and a truck drive

  • Lebanon bans basketball fans from games after brawl

    Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon has banned basketball fans from attending games after a fist fight broke out between players from rival teams. Sports and Youth Minister Abdul-Muttaleb Hinnawi told the local Al-Jadeed TV on Monday that the decision was taken by the interior minister. The decision came after a Sunday night game between Lebanon's most popular teams, the Christian-backed Sagesse club and Sunni Muslim-supported Riyadi. During the match a fist fight between two players escalated into a brawl. Local media said four players were injured and the game was halted with less than a minute left, with Riyadi leading 109-98. A few fans ran onto the court and joined the fight.

  • 'Jihadi John' born into stateless family in Kuwait

    Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    KUWAIT CITY (AP) — The Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John" was born to a family of undocumented residents in an impoverished corner of oil-rich Kuwait, two members of the country's so-called stateless community said Monday. The details flesh out the background of Mohammed Emwazi, who was last week identified as the knife-wielding, British-accented masked militant in several of the extremist group's beheading videos. Emwazi left Kuwait for Britain when he was a boy. He went to state schools in London before studying computer science at the University of Westminster, leaving for Syria in 2013. A family acquaintance from Kuwait described the young Emwazi as a polite boy, almost timid in nature.

  • Israel says it busted Gaza smuggling ring helping Hamas

    Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel said on Monday it has busted an Israeli-Palestinian smuggling ring that funneled iron, electronic equipment and other prohibited materials to Gaza, bypassing Israel's stringent border security to help Hamas rebuild its militant infrastructure following last year's war. Nine people in the ring, among them three Jewish Israelis who own companies that sell the materials, were charged with assisting an enemy in wartime, terror financing and fraud. The remaining ring members were said to be Palestinians from Gaza. Hamas, a bitter enemy of Israel's, suffered heavy losses in the 50-day war, in which Israel carried out some 5,000 airstrikes throughout Gaza. Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel.

  • US ambassador to Yemen meets country's embattled president

    Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to Yemen visited the country's embattled president Monday in the southern port city of Aden, where Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has set up base after fleeing house arrest at the hands of Shiite rebels in the capital, Sanaa. The visit reflected U.S. support for Hadi in his campaign against the rebels known as the Houthis, who in September overran Sanaa and in January declared they have taken over the country. Ambassador Matthew Tueller was the first Western diplomat to visit Hadi since he fled Sanaa. As they took a walk around the presidential palace on Mt. al-Asheqeen overlooking Aden, Tueller told cameras Hadi is the "legitimate" leader of Yemen.

  • Kerry defends Israel before UN rights panel

    Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    GENEVA (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday delivered a vigorous defense of Israel before the U.N. Human Rights Council, urging its members to end what the United States says is its unfair and biased focus on the Jewish State that could undermine its credibility. His remarks came as the Obama administration attempts to blunt complaints that it has not been strong enough in its support for Israel, criticism now centered on its pursuit of a nuclear deal with Iran. Even as a bitter U.S.-Israel dispute over a possible Iran deal was expected to heat up in Washington later Monday, Kerry affirmed America's steadfast commitment to its top Mideast ally and called on the council to take a more balanced approach toward Israel

  • Iran blames West for rise of Islamic State group

    Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    BERLIN (AP) — Iran's foreign minister has accused the West of fueling Islamic extremism by failing to protect the rights of Muslim immigrants. Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday that "a sizeable number" of those joining the Islamic State group and others were second-generation immigrants in western democracies. He noted that some of those "beheading innocent civilians speak European languages with native accents" — a veiled reference to "Jihadi John," who appeared in several IS propaganda videos showing the execution of the group's prisoners. "Jihadi John" was revealed last week to be Mohammed Emwazi, a young man raised in London.

  • Libyan parliament names Hifter top army commander

    Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Khalifa Hifter, a veteran general leading a campaign against Islamist militias, has been named the general commander of the armed forces loyal to the internationally-backed government. Lawmaker Tarek al-Garoushi says that parliament speaker Aqila Issa, in his capacity as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, also promoted Hifter to the highest rank of general on Monday. Al-Garoushi says the promotion is designed to "unify the ranks of the army" in accordance with "popular demand." In eastern Libya, Hifter has amassed popular support by battling Islamic militants who have run amok since the ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in a 2011 uprising.

  • Thousands mourn Turkish novelist Yasar Kemal

    Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    ISTANBUL (AP) — Political leaders and fellow writers are among thousands who gathered for the funeral of Yasar Kemal, one of Turkey's best-known novelists. Kemal, whose focus on social injustices brought him into conflict with authority, died on Saturday aged 91. Mourners bid him farewell on Monday chanting: "Yasar Kemal was our honor." Kemal was best-known for his 1955 novel "Memed, My Hawk," which was based on the troubled feudal relations in Turkey's southern regions where he grew up. He also turned his pen to defending the rights of Kurds and other minorities in Turkey.

  • Australia bans travel to Iraqi city of Mosul under new law

    Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Iraqi city of Mosul, which is held by Islamic State movement fighters, on Monday became the second terrorist hot-spot to be declared off-limits to Australians under new counterterrorism laws aimed deterring foreign fighters. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the Mosul district in northern Iraq had been declared a designated area under a section of the Criminal Code created in October last year. That means that it is an offense under Australian law punishable by 10 years in prison to enter the district or to remain in it without a legitimate purpose. The Syrian Islamic Statement group stronghold of al-Raqqa province became the first designated area under the law in December.

  • UN report: Libya's flow of weapons needs tighter controls

    Updated: Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A new U.N. report says Libya's ability to prevent the flow of weapons into and out of the chaotic country is "almost nonexistent," and it calls for the tightening of an arms embargo that the government says must be loosened so it can defend itself. The report by a panel of experts also recommends the creation of a maritime monitoring force to help Libya's government prevent both the flow of weapons and the illegal export of the country's oil. The country has Africa's largest proven reserves of crude. The international community is alarmed by the recent emergence of Islamic State group-affiliated fighters in the north African country, which is divided by two rival governments and multiple militias.

  • Argentine president: late prosecutor had also praised her

    Updated: Sun, Mar 1, 2015

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said Sunday the prosecutor who had accused her of a criminal cover-up had also praised her, characterizing the late Alberto Nisman's actions as contradictory in a sharply worded speech that included a rebuke of Israel over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center. Fernandez said documents had been found in Nisman's safe, one written in December and the other in January. She said in both he spoke favorably of the president's speeches to the United Nations aimed at getting justice for the attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, which killed 85 people.

  • Bomb kills 2 near police station in southern Egypt

    Updated: Sun, Mar 1, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian security official says a bomb went off near a police station and mosque in the southern city of Aswan, killing two civilians and wounding a soldier and four others. He said the crude bomb went off near an electrical transformer on a road that runs along the River Nile, severing the foot of the soldier, who was a conscript. Last week, a series of blasts went off in Cairo, killing one person and wounding at least seven others in another series of attacks using homemade explosives that authorities blame on Islamist militants. The government is ramping up security ahead of a planned investment conference this month it hopes will draw billions of dollars from abroad.

  • AP Essay: 'Jihadi John' won't have the same impact unmasked

    Updated: Sun, Mar 1, 2015

    LONDON (AP) — As "Jihadi John," he was a terrifying figure, his identity concealed by a black mask, his threatening tone backed up by his oversize, serrated knife and his willingness to use it in the name of Islamic State and its self-declared caliphate. His professional-looking videos began with a political rant and ended with his victims lying dead at his feet, severed heads cupped in the sands of Syria. He seemed both judge and executioner, savoring each fresh kill. After the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., many believed that terrorists would turn to crude weapons of mass destructions to attack cities. Few predicted that a man with a knife and a video production team could have such an impact using a medieval technique.

  • Iraqi premier gives ultimatum ahead of hinted Tikrit attack

    Updated: Sun, Mar 1, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's prime minister called on Sunni tribal fighters to abandon the Islamic State group Sunday, ahead of a promised offensive to retake Saddam Hussein's hometown from the extremists. Haider al-Abadi offered no timeline for an attack on Tikrit, the hometown of the late Iraqi dictator some 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad that fell into the hands of the Islamic State group last summer. However, Shiite militias and Iraqi security forces have stationed themselves around Tikrit as state-run media has warned that the city "will soon return to its people." But sending Shiite militias into the Sunni city of Tikrit, the capital of Iraq's Salahuddin province, could reprise the bloody, street-by-street insurg

  • Israeli military conducts 'surprise' drill in West Bank

    Updated: Sun, Mar 1, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's military has called up thousands of soldiers in a "surprise" training drill in the West Bank. The military said Sunday's exercise was to train soldiers in "different scenarios." The military declined to elaborate and emphasized that the exercise was planned in advance and was not connected to any current developments or security threat. Israeli media said the exercise would last at least two days. About 13,000 reserve soldiers received phone calls telling them to be on alert, though only 3,000 had to report for duty. The military said different units, including infantry, are involved in the drill, which is bigger in scope than regular ones that are carried out periodically. The dr

  • Activists say Islamic State releases 19 Syrian Christians

    Updated: Sun, Mar 1, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — The Islamic State group released at least 19 Christians on Sunday who were among the more than 220 people the militants took captive in northeastern Syria last week, activists and a local leader said. The news provided a modicum of relief to a Christian Assyrian community that has been devastated by the abductions, which saw Islamic State fighters haul off entire families from a string of villages along the Khabur River in Hassakeh province. But fears remain over the fate of the hundreds still held captive. Bashir Saedi, a senior official in the Assyrian Democratic Organization, said the 16 men and three women arrived safely Sunday at the Church of the Virgin Mary in the city of Hassakeh.

  • Egypt court declares part of election law unconstitutional

    Updated: Sun, Mar 1, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court on Sunday ruled as unconstitutional a clause in the election law that draws voting districts, a verdict that is almost certain to delay parliamentary elections scheduled to start later this month. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said in a statement that he has ordered the government to adopt the "necessary legislative amendments" within a month to comply with the Supreme Constitutional Court's ruling. Another court is likely to rule later this month on whether the election should be delayed, but a date for the new vote would be decided by the Supreme Electoral Commission, which went into an emergency meeting on Sunday following the verdict.

  • Rival Yemeni camps entrench as Iran flights arrive

    Updated: Sun, Mar 1, 2015

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — An Iranian airplane delivered supplies to Yemen's Shiite rebel-held capital on Sunday, while the president gained support from influential tribal and provincial leaders in signs that the rival camps seeking to rule the rapidly unravelling country are entrenching their positions. The first direct flight from Shiite powerhouse Iran to Sanaa was carrying 12 tons of medical supplies as well as tents and Red Crescent aid workers, Iran's deputy ambassador Rasai Ebadi told The Associated Press. It came a day after rebel Houthi representatives signed an agreement in Tehran to set up 14 direct weekly flights between the two countries.




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