• Attacks kill 28 civilians in and around Baghdad

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — A wave of attacks in and around Baghdad on Tuesday killed at least 28 people as Iraqi security forces repelled an attack by the extremist Islamic State group on the country's largest oil refinery, officials said. The attacks came as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with President Barack Obama in Washington and appealed for greater support from the U.S.-led coalition carrying out airstrikes against IS militants who captured a third of both Iraq and neighboring Syria in a blitz last year. Obama pledged $200 million in U.S. humanitarian aid to Iraq to help those displaced by Islamic State attacks — an offer of assistance that appeared to fall short of the Iraqi prime minister's request for greater mili

  • Iran expects delivery of Russian missiles by end of the year

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    MOSCOW (AP) — Russia said Tuesday that it would be at least six months before it could deliver the S-300 air defense missile system to Iran, but the Kremlin confirmed that a barter deal to supply Russian goods in exchange for Iranian oil was already being implemented. Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed his move in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling him that Israel shouldn't be worried about the "purely defensive" weapon. The United States criticized Putin's decision on Monday to lift a five-year ban on delivery of the missile system, which would give the Islamic republic's military a strong deterrent against any air attack.

  • Washington Post: Reporter's access to lawyer still limited

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian has had an "unacceptable lack of access to legal counsel" while jailed for nearly nine months in Iran and still has not had a substantive discussion with his lawyer, the newspaper's executive editor said Tuesday. Formal charges against the journalist have not been made public. Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency, which is seen as close to hard-liners in the Islamic Republic, reported this week that he is accused of "espionage" and "acting against national security." The Post's executive editor, Martin Baron, said in a statement that Rezaian only met defense lawyer Leila Ahsan once weeks ago before she had officially been named as his attorney.

  • Iran minister defines Yemen peace plan details

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    MADRID (AP) — Iran's foreign minister called Tuesday for a peace plan for war-torn Yemen that includes humanitarian aid, dialogue and the formation of a broad-based Yemeni government after a proposed cease-fire already rejected by Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has been carrying out airstrikes in Yemen against the Houthi rebels who control the capital, Sanaa. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said no preconditions as to who would run Yemen can be imposed before dialogue begins with the country's different factions, because doing so "will prolong the disaster." During a visit to Madrid, Zarif did not address Saudi claims that Tehran has been giving the Houthis military support.

  • Israel's leader speaks to Putin over Russia missiles to Iran

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister says he has spoken to Russia's president to convey his displeasure over Russia's decision to sell advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu's office says he spoke with Vladimir Putin Tuesday to protest Russia's planned delivery of advanced S-300 air defense missile systems to the Islamic Republic. Israeli military officials consider the Russian arming of Iran an additional obstacle before any potential military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. Netanyahu says he told Putin the move would only increase Iran's aggression in the region and undermine security in the Middle East. Israel says the Russian announcement is a direct result of the international c

  • Turkey launches nuclear plant construction, sparking protest

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey held a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of parts of its first nuclear reactor, sparking an angry protest by activists. Activists say Tuesday's ceremony came despite ongoing court cases against the nuclear plant being built by Russia in Akkuyu, in the Mediterranean coastal province of Mersin. Protesters blocked a gate leading to the ceremony area, briefly preventing officials from leaving the site. Security forces pushed the activists back with water cannons. Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said the plant was designed to withstand powerful earthquakes, adding: "There cannot be a developed Turkey without nuclear energy.

  • US, Iran face political obstacles to potential nuclear deal

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — A potentially path-breaking nuclear deal could face political trouble in Iran and the United States, but not necessarily elsewhere. The framework deal struck April 2 between Tehran and six world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — sets in motion efforts toward a final accord by this summer. Depending on the final terms, it could require legislative ratification. The deal faces opposition in U.S. Congress and from hardliners in Iran, but appears to be less contentious in the other key signatory countries. Here's a look at what may await there: RUSSIA If Russia signs and ratification is required, President Vladimir Putin's allies in parliament would be all but

  • Hamas consolidates its grip on Gaza as reconstruction stalls

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Eight months after a ruinous war with Israel, the reconstruction of Gaza has barely begun, and the Islamic militant group Hamas remains entrenched despite expectations that it cede some of its power to West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The logic was that the Western-backed Abbas would be a more effective and credible conduit for aid. In addition, with Abbas wielding some control in Gaza, including at border crossings, Israel and Egypt might have been more likely to ease their blockade of the territory, letting in more goods. Instead, each side has protected its own turf — Hamas in Gaza and Abbas' Fatah party in the West Bank — by clamping down on dissent.

  • Erdogan 'condemns' pope over Armenian genocide comment

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he is "condemning" Pope Francis for describing the slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks as "the first genocide of the 20th century" and for urging the international community to recognize it as such. Turkey denies the killings that began 100 years ago were genocide and contends those who died were victims of civil war and unrest. Turkey also insists the death toll has been inflated. It responded to the pope's words Sunday by recalling its ambassador to the Vatican and accusing Francis of spreading hatred and "unfounded claims." On Tuesday, Erdogan said he was "condemning and warning" Francis against making "such a mistake aga

  • AP Interview: Afghan warlord warns of Islamic State rise

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    HERAT, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan could face a war with the Islamic State group if the government does not resolve internal differences and improve the security situation, one of the country's most powerful warlords warned in an interview with The Associated Press. The Islamic State group, based in Iraq and Syria, is believed to have a small presence in Afghanistan, where the Taliban are the most powerful militant group and have been waging an insurgency against the government. Ismail Khan, long a dominant figure in Afghanistan's western province of Herat, told the AP that the numbers of IS supporters are growing because of the government's divisions.

  • Israel nabs repeat cheese smuggler from West Bank

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — When Israeli health inspectors spotted a mail truck crossing into Israel from the West Bank, something didn't smell right. Further examination discovered the source of their suspicion — cheese. The agriculture ministry says the truck contained 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of cheese stuffed into cans, bottles and other unsanitary containers. The driver, a Palestinian in his 40s from east Jerusalem, was arrested in Monday's incident. He is an employee of Israel's mail service and admitted to smuggling the cheese in hopes of reselling it. The ministry says the same man was caught a month earlier, committing the same offense. The cheese was not refrigerated, had no health certificates and was unfit

  • Kim Kardashian, Kanye West visit famed church in Jerusalem

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — An assistant to Kim Kardashian and her husband, Kanye West, says the couple paid an early morning visit to a Crusader-era church marking the traditional spot of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Sharon Schaveet, an Israeli producer who helped organize the visit, said the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was empty during their 5 a.m. visit local time Tuesday. A photo on Kardashian's Instagram account showed the couple kneeling together at the church. It was their last stop before leaving for Paris. Kardashian's sister Khloe has returned to the United States. On Monday night, the couple dined at a Jerusalem restaurant with the mayor.

  • Man charged in UK with murder of Syria-born imam

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    LONDON (AP) — British officials say they have charged a man with the murder of a Syria-born Muslim cleric who was shot in London. The Crown Prosecution Service says 36-year-old Leslie Cooper is charged with killing Abdul-Hadi Arwani, who was found last week in a parked car with gunshot wounds to his chest. Police say Cooper will appear in court later Tuesday. Paramedics pronounced the 48-year-old Arwani, a former imam at the An-noor mosque in west London, dead at the scene. Counter-terrorism police officers have been tasked with investigating the murder. The imam's daughter, Elham Arwani, told the Evening Standard newspaper that Arwani had been critical of Syria's President Bashar Assad, but the family did not b

  • Israel allows Palestinian doctors to drive into Jerusalem

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli officials have given permission to 100 Palestinian doctors to drive to jobs at Israeli hospitals — the first time Palestinian motorists have been permitted to enter the country in 15 years. Cogat, the Israeli security branch responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, says its commander, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, approved the order for doctors who "work shifts and other jobs that require heightened responsiveness." The program began on Tuesday. Officials say it could be expanded if it is successful. Israel restricted Palestinian access to the country after the outbreak of an armed uprising against Israeli rule in late 2000. Palestinians need permits and must cross through checkpoints in or

  • Syrian rebels attack government held neighborhood in Aleppo

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian militants, including members of al-Qaida's local branch, attacked a government intelligence center in the northern city of Aleppo, damaging much of the building by blowing up a tunnel under it, activists said Tuesday. The attack on the Air Force Intelligence headquarters began late Monday night and lasted until early Tuesday, said Aleppo-based activist Ahmad Hamed via Skype. He claimed the attack killed dozens of government troops. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting killed 13 militants and killed and wounded more than 20 troops and pro-government gunmen. There was no immediate word from the government on the attack.

  • Gunmen on motorcycle kill Egyptian policeman

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's state news agency says gunmen on a motorcycle shot dead a policeman manning a checkpoint just outside Cairo. MENA quotes a security official as saying another two policemen were wounded in the shooting early Tuesday in Shibeen al-Qanatar, north of the capital. Attacks on security forces spiked following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi amid mass protests against him. The attacks have mainly occurred in the northern Sinai Peninsula. At least 14 people, mostly soldiers and police, were killed in attacks there on Sunday. Maj. Gen.

  • Turkey deporting British group seized on Syrian border

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    ISTANBUL (AP) — A Turkish official says authorities have begun deporting back to Britain nine British citizens who were arrested trying to cross into Syria. One of the group, the son of a local politician in Britain, was expelled late Monday, and the other eight were expected to fly back Tuesday from the southern city of Antalya to Manchester. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of rules against commenting without prior authorization, said the group bought their own airline tickets. The group was detained in Hatay province, bordering Syria, on April 1 and comprised three men, two women and four children aged 1 to 11. The nine are among a spate of recent cases of U.K.

  • Israeli celebrity rabbi pleads guilty to bribery

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A lawyer for an Israeli celebrity rabbi with a following in the United States says his client has pleaded guilty to bribing a senior police official and could face a year in prison. Eyal Rozovsky tells Army Radio that Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto is "paying a price for something not easy that he did." He says Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has agreed to submit testimony on Pinto's character to seek leniency in his sentencing. Pinto pleaded guilty in an Israeli court Tuesday as part of a plea bargain he reached last year. He admitted to offering bribes in 2012 to receive classified information on a police investigation into one of his charitable organizations.

  • Australia to deploy 300 additional troops to Iraq

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Australia's government said Tuesday it had completed preparations to send about 300 additional troops to Iraq and would deploy them over the coming weeks. The troops will work alongside about 100 New Zealand troops at the Taji base north of Baghdad. Australia's government said the combined force isn't being deployed in a combat role but rather to train Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State group. The troops are part of an international coalition effort to defeat the group, which is also known as ISIS and Daesh. Australia already has 170 special forces troops in Baghdad advising and assisting Iraqi security forces.

  • UN to vote on arms embargo against Yemen rebel leaders

    Updated: Tue, Apr 14, 2015

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council scheduled a vote Tuesday on a draft resolution that would impose an arms embargo on leaders of Yemen's Shiite Houthi rebels and their key supporters, ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his son. The resolution is aimed at ending the Houthis military campaign against supporters of the embattled current president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and the rebels' attempt to take over the strategic Mideast country. Saudi-led airstrikes in support of Hadi and escalating fighting on the ground between the Houthis and Hadi's supporters have pushed the Arab world's poorest nation to the brink of collapse.




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