• 5-day humanitarian cease-fire starts in Yemen

    Updated: Sun, Jul 26, 2015

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Saudi-led coalition airstrikes came to a halt in Yemen early Monday after a five-day humanitarian truce went into effect, witnesses and security officials said. However, ground fighting broke out almost immediately in the restive city of Taiz following random shelling by Shiite Houthi rebels in three neighborhoods, they said. Security officials said ground fighting has also erupted in Marib province and in the area surrounding the strategic al-Anad military base in Lahj province. Random shelling by Houthis and their allies hit northern and western areas of the port city of Aden after the cease fire, security officials and witnesses said. The Saudi-led and U.S.

  • Yemeni troops fight rebels in strategic southern town

    Updated: Sun, Jul 26, 2015

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Saudi-backed Yemeni troops and their allies clashed with Shiite Houthi rebels in a strategic town north of the port city of Aden Sunday, security and military officials from both sides of the conflict said. The pro-government fighters had withdrawn from the town of Sabr earlier in the day after fierce battles with Shiite Houthi rebels. They returned hours later following the arrival of military reinforcements and wrested control of a large portion of the town, security officials said. The officials said five pro-government fighters were killed and 15 wounded in the battle. Local medical officials said eight rebels were killed and 20 wounded.

  • Protesters close major highway in Lebanon over trash crisis

    Updated: Sun, Jul 26, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — Protesters have closed the highway linking Beirut to southern Lebanon over the country's trash crisis. The closure of the vital highway in the coastal town of Jiyeh on Sunday comes amid reports that the government plans to move trash piled on the streets of Beirut to the Kharoub region south of the capital. The protesters stopped several trucks carrying trash and prevented them from entering the region. The closure led to major traffic jams, and authorities urged people not to use the highway. The main company in charge of collecting trash stopped its work earlier this month amid a dispute over the country's largest trash dump. Mountains of garbage have piled up in Beirut and its suburbs.

  • Syria's embattled president admits manpower shortage

    Updated: Sun, Jul 26, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — In his first public address in a year, embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad vowed Sunday to win his country's long-running civil war while acknowledging his troops had lost territory to rebel forces and were running short on manpower. Assad's speech, while confident, came in the fifth year of a conflict pitting his forces against rebels, Islamist insurgents and the extremist Islamic State group. Turkey, which has long backed the rebels, has begun striking the IS group and Kurdish fighters battling the extremists, adding a new layer of complexity to a brutal war with no end in sight.

  • Officials: Iraqi forces retake Anbar University near Ramadi

    Updated: Sun, Jul 26, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi government forces recaptured Anbar University from the Islamic State militant group Sunday after hours of fierce clashes, provincial officials said, as part of its push to reclaim territory across the embattled province. The university, located 5 kilometers (3 miles) south of Anbar's provincial capital, the militant-held city of Ramadi, was under the full control of government forces, which had entered the complex early Sunday amid intense combat with the militant group. Athal al-Fahdawi, a provincial councilman said a number of buildings in and around the university complex have been badly damaged or destroyed, but that the militants retreated.

  • Iran's top diplomat tours Arab states following nuclear deal

    Updated: Sun, Jul 26, 2015

    KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Iran's top diplomat began a three-nation regional tour Sunday aimed at deepening ties with Arab neighbors following the conclusion of the Islamic Republic's historic nuclear deal with world powers. Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-ruled Arab states lining the Persian Gulf harbor deep suspicions about Iran's intentions in the region. While the Western-allied Arab countries are cautiously hopeful the nuclear deal will reduce the chances Iran will acquire an atomic bomb, they also fear an easing of international pressure will embolden the Shiite powerhouse at a time of heightened sectarian tensions in the region.

  • Officials: Roadside bomb wounds 18 Egypt police conscripts

    Updated: Sun, Jul 26, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — A roadside bombing in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula wounded 18 police conscripts Sunday, security officials said. The officials said the blast targeted a bus carrying the conscripts in el-Arish as they traveled along a seafront road in the early morning. Hospital officials confirmed the casualty figure and said none of those hurt had life-threatening wounds. The Egyptian Islamic State affiliate, which calls itself the militant group's Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for the attack. The claim, in a statement posted on Twitter accounts of the group's supporters, could not be independently verified. Security officials also said attacks on three separate checkpoints later in the day injured thr

  • Israeli police enter Jerusalem holy site, block Arab youths

    Updated: Sun, Jul 26, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police entered a holy Jerusalem site on Sunday to prevent Arab youths from attacking visiting Jews marking a biblical holiday, a police spokesman said. Micky Rosenfeld said police received prior warnings that masked Arab youths were barricading themselves inside the al-Aqsa Mosque armed with rocks and fire bombs. He said the youths planned to attack Jews visiting the area Sunday for Tisha B'Av — the Jewish holiday marking the destruction of ancient Hebrew temples. Rosenfeld said some officers were wounded as they pushed the youths back, without providing further details. Jews refer to the hilltop site — their holiest — as the Temple Mount. Muslims refer to it as the Noble Sanctuary.

  • Bahrain breaks up weapon, explosives smuggling attempt

    Updated: Sun, Jul 26, 2015

    MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Bahraini authorities say they have broken up an attempt to smuggle weapons, ammunition and explosives into the island kingdom. The Interior Ministry said late Saturday that authorities intercepted a boat involved in the attempted smuggling on July 15. They arrested two 30-year-old Bahraini suspects, Mahdi Subah Abdulmohsen Mohammed and Abbas Abdulhussain Abdullah Mohammed. Officials say the first suspect received military training in Iran in August 2013, and that the men admitted to receiving the shipment from "Iranian handlers outside Bahrain's territorial waters." Two other men also have been arrested in connection with the smuggling attempt.

  • Turkey couples IS bombing runs with striking Kurdish targets

    Updated: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's sudden willingness to join the fight against the Islamic State group is a sign that it's afraid of losing clout with the U.S., but its second front against Kurdish rebels in Iraq on Saturday could complicate Washington's war. For months, Ankara had been reluctant to join the U.S.-led coalition against IS despite gains made by the extremist group on Turkey's doorstep. Now, Turkish warplanes are directly targeting IS locations — the latest bombing run coming early Saturday for a second straight day. Turkey then opened a second front on Kurdish rebel sites. The strikes against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, muddle the U.S.-led fight against IS.

  • Saudi-led airstrikes kill 120; deadliest in Yemen conflict

    Updated: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit a residential area in a quiet Red Sea town in Yemen, killing at least 120 people in the deadliest strike against civilians since the March offensive began, security and medical officials said. Hours later, the coalition unexpectedly announced that it would start a five-day humanitarian pause on Sunday, just before midnight. The airstrikes late Friday hit workers' housing for a power plant in Mokha, flattening some of the buildings to the ground, the officials said. A fire erupted in the area, charring many of the corpses, including children, women and elderly people.

  • Q&A: Kurds fight Islamic State and endure attacks

    Updated: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Turkish jets struck camps belonging to Kurdish militants in northern Iraq Friday and Saturday in what were the first strikes since a peace deal was announced in 2013. The strikes in Iraq targeted the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, whose affiliates have been effective in battling the Islamic State group. The Kurds of Syria and Iraq have become a major part of the war against the Islamic State group, with Kurdish populations in both countries threatened by the militants' advance.

  • Pollard's ex-wife: Israel should fund his legal defense

    Updated: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — The former wife of Jonathan Pollard, an American convicted of spying for Israel, called Saturday on the Israeli government to pay for an attorney to facilitate his freedom amid international speculation he could be released soon. Jonathan Pollard was arrested in 1985 as he tried unsuccessfully to gain asylum in Israel's Washington embassy. Since then, the case has stoked passions and divided opinions in both countries. Supporters argue that he was punished excessively given that he spied for a country that's a U.S. ally and point to other cases where spies from less-friendly countries were treated more leniently. Critics, including prosecutors and government officials, call him a traitor who they say

  • Egypt raises death toll from Nile boat collision to 35

    Updated: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Search parties retrieved four more bodies from the Nile River from a boat collision earlier this week, bringing the death toll to 35 people killed, Egypt's Health Ministry said. Ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar told The Associated Press that the search efforts continued Saturday. Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said he ordered a sum of 60,000 Egyptian pounds (around $7,600) to be paid to each family of the deceased and called for measures to be taken to prevent future collisions. Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has formed a committee to review legislation related to Nile River management. Egypt also replaced the head of the River Transport Authority in response to the collision, state media

  • Kurds march in Paris to protest Turkish airstrikes on PKK

    Updated: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — More than 1,000 Kurds and leftist Turks have marched in Paris to protest airstrikes by Turkey on Kurdish militant camps in northern Iraq. One banner held high at Saturday's march read, "To hit the PKK is collaborating with Daesh," a reference to the Kurdistan Workers' Party whose affiliates have helped battle the Islamic State group, called "Daesh" in France. The march was originally called to protest Monday's Islamic State suicide attack in the southeast Turkish town of Suruc that killed 32 people. But Turkish airstrikes on PKK camps in Iraq changed the agenda of the protest march from the Gare de l'Est train station to the Place de la Republique.

  • UK eases travel advice for visits to Iran as relations thaw

    Updated: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    LONDON (AP) — The British Foreign Office has eased its travel advisory on visits to Iran but urges caution. The new advisory issued Saturday still urges Britons to avoid traveling to parts of Iran that border Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. But it no longer urges Britons to avoid all non-essential travel to Iran. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the change is a result of the more constructive approach favored by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. He said there has been "decreasing hostility" toward Britons under Rouhani's government. The advisory still suggests that potential travelers "carefully consider the risks" of Iran travel. The easing follows announcement of a deal between Iran and major world powers regar

  • Hezbollah chief 'proud' of US sanctions on members of group

    Updated: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of the Hezbollah militant group says he is "proud" of U.S. sanctions targeting three members of the group. Speaking before a graduation event in southern Beirut Saturday, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah says such sanctions do not make the slightest difference to the group. The U.S. Treasury Department slapped sanctions last week on three Hezbollah members, including senior figure Mustafa Badr al Din, and a Lebanese businessman for their suspected militant activities in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The action freezes the U.S. assets of all four and prevents Americans from engaging in transactions with them. "This does not make a slightest difference to our brothers," Nasrallah said.

  • Palestinian official assassinated in refugee camp in Lebanon

    Updated: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese security officials say gunmen have ambushed and killed a Palestinian official in a refugee camp in southern Lebanon. They say Talal al-Urduni, a senior security official with the mainstream Palestinian Fatah movement, died Saturday in a hail of gunfire along with his bodyguard after they were intercepted by the gunmen near the Nidaa hospital in a neighborhood of the camp. Lebanese security officials say Islamic extremists in the camp were likely behind the assassination Saturday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give official statements. The assassination triggered heavy gunfire inside the camp, which could be heart in the southern port of Sidon.

  • Syria grants conditional amnesty for army deserters

    Updated: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's state-run news agency says President Bashar Assad has granted a general amnesty for army deserters and draft dodgers. But the decree, issued Saturday by Assad, stipulates that deserters must turn themselves within two months to benefit from the amnesty. There are thousands of army deserters in and outside Syria, many of whom have gone on to fight with rebels seeking to topple Assad. The overstretched Syrian army suffers manpower shortages as young men flee the country to avoid compulsory military conscription. Assad has issued similar amnesties for criminals, but has not released any of the thousands of political prisoners believed to be in Syria's prisons.

  • Australian Islamic State group medic arrested on return home

    Updated: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    SYDNEY (AP) — An Australian nurse who says he was forced by Islamic State militants to work as a medic in Syria was arrested after returning home and faces terrorism-related charges of supporting the movement. Adam Brookman, 39, was arrested at Sydney International Airport on Friday night on a Victoria state warrant relating to his alleged involvement in the conflict in Syria, Australian Federal Police said in a statement on Saturday. He is the first Australian involved with the Islamic State known to have returned home since the Sunni fighters swept into western Iraq in June last year and declared the establishment of a caliphate, Monash University terrorism expert Greg Barton said.




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