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Iraq

US-Backed Forces in 'Clearance Operations' after Declaring End to IS Caliphate

Voice of America - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 19:30
U.S-backed Syrian Democratic Forces were conducting "clearance operations" Sunday in the last area retaken from Islamic State, a day after declaring the end of the terrorist group's self-declared caliphate. The U.S.-led coalition that has been fighting IS said SDF forces are working to identify any remaining militants previously hidden that might still be in the area and eliminate any remaining Islamic State weapons caches. For consecutive nights, bombs rained down on...
Categories: Iraq

Thousands of IS Escapees in Dire Straits at Syrian Camp

Voice of America - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 18:01
The United Nations reports thousands of people, mainly women and children, are continuing to flee to al-Hol Camp from Baghuz amid reports that U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have seized control of Islamic State’s last stronghold in eastern Syria. According to the U.N., more than 74,000 people, 90 percent of them women and children, now are residing at the al-Hol Camp. Many are family members of IS fighters. Spokesman for the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Jens...
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Timeline of the Battle Against IS

Voice of America - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 11:12
Categories: Iraq

IS in Syria Defeated, Caliphate Gone, US-Backed SDF Says

Voice of America - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 09:29
U.S.-backed forces raised their flag over the northeastern Syrian town of Baghuz and said the self-declared caliphate of the Islamic State terror group was finally dead. The long-anticipated announcement Saturday by the Syrian Democratic Forces followed several waves of coalition airstrikes that repeatedly lit up the night sky. The targets were several hundred hardened IS fighters who had been clinging to scraps of land along the Euphrates River and along a mountainous ridge on the...
Categories: Iraq

Could Venezuela Crisis End Hezbollah's Presence There?

Voice of America - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 03:01
As the political and humanitarian tumult in Venezuela unfolds, analysts say illicit activities by Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in the South American country could be disrupted. Since the beginning of the crisis in January, many observers have been wondering about the future of the Lebanese militant group and its activities in Venezuela, particularly with growing U.S. sanctions on the Venezuelan government. For years, the government of embattled President Nicolas Maduro has...
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Israeli PM Netanyahu Says He Will Sue Political Rivals for Libel

Voice of America - Sat, 03/23/2019 - 01:27
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he would sue two of his main political rivals for libel, claiming that they labelled him a traitor over a graft scandal involving a German submarine deal. In a video published on his Facebook page, Netanyahu said he instructed his attorneys to take legal action against former armed forces chief Benny Gantz and ex-defense minister Moshe "Bogie" Yaalon. Both are from the centrist Blue and White party which is seeking...
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US-backed Force Says It's in Control of IS Syria Encampment

Voice of America - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 13:01
A spokesman for U.S.-backed forces fighting the Islamic State group in Syria says his fighters are in control of an encampment in the village of Baghouz where IS militants have been besieged for months. Mustafa Bali, of the Kurdish-led force known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, says clashes however are continuing elsewhere in the village in eastern Syria as IS militants continue to fight back. Bali says on Twitter on Tuesday that controlling the encampment in Baghouz marks...
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Sweet Stunt Skyrockets Sales at Egyptian Family Juice Shop

Voice of America - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 08:28
[[A juice shop in Egypt has come up with a stunt that spiked sales so much that the family-owned store's business is booming as never before. Arash Arabasadi reports.
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UN Palestinian Agency Urges Donors to Match 2018 Funds

Voice of America - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 06:48
The head of the U.N. agency that helps 5.3 million Palestinian refugees on Monday urged donors who filled a $446 million hole in its budget last year after the Trump administration drastically cut the U.S. contribution to be equally generous this year. "Last year we had an extraordinary crisis and an out of the ordinary response," Pierre Krahenbuhl said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Our humble request to all the donors is: Please keep your funding levels at...
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Algerian Envoy Seeks to Explain Unrest at Home to US Authorities

Voice of America - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 03:40
Diplomacy always involves delicate balancing acts, but seldom more so than for Algeria's ambassador to the United States, Madjid Bouguerra. As ever-larger crowds march through the streets of his homeland demanding an end to the rule of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the veteran diplomat — who has served in Washington since 2015 — finds himself trying to reconcile his role as the president's envoy with his feelings as a self-declared Algerian patriot. “I am ambassador of...
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Iran Hints at Using Foreign Militias in Domestic Crackdown

Voice of America - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 03:40
An influential Iranian cleric says Iran might bring Shiite militias to the country from other parts of the Middle East to fight threats to the government. Musa Ghazanfarabadi, head of the Tehran Islamic Revolution Courts, told religious students in Qom this month that his government could use foreign fighters to crack down on potential popular uprisings in Iran.  "If we don't support [our] revolution, the Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi, the Afghan Fatemiyoun [Brigade], the...
Categories: Iraq

Aid Group: Children Dying as Last IS Stronghold Evacuated

Voice of America - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 03:25
Children and babies are dying at increasingly rapid rates in or on their way to al-Hol camp in Syria, as the population balloons with more evacuees from the last patch of land held by Islamic State militants, according to the International Rescue Committee. "Women and children are arriving at al-Hol camp in the gravest condition," Wendy Taeuber, the International Rescue Committee's Iraq and northeast Syria country director, said in a statement Monday. "Many of the...
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UN Experts Urge Israel to Rein In Security Forces

Voice of America - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 01:58
U.N. war crimes investigators called on Israel on Monday to stop its snipers using lethal force against protesters on the border with Gaza, as the anniversary approached of the start of demonstrations there last year in which 189 Palestinians were killed. The Commission of Inquiry said Israel should investigate the shooting of more than 6,000 people, far beyond the criminal inquiries it has announced into 11 killings. "The most important thing for the government of Israel is to...
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Algeria's Bouteflika Defies Pressure to Step Down Immediately

Voice of America - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 23:42
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Monday again defied mass protests calling for his immediate resignation, insisting on a plan to elect a successor only after a national conference and new constitution is approved. Bouteflika, 82, last week bowed to demonstrators who say he unfit to run Algeria by announcing he had reversed a decision to stand for another term. But he stopped short of stepping down and postponed elections due in April, in effect extending his current term until a...
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Israel Supporters Protest UN Rights Meeting

Voice of America - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 22:20
Hundreds of people from across Europe gathered in Geneva Monday to protest as the U.N. Human Rights Council met to discuss allegations of Israeli violations in the Palestinian territories.  While the debate over Palestinian rights was going on inside the United Nations, a rally opposing alleged anti-Israeli prejudice by the 47-member Human Rights Council was taking place outside the premises. Hillel Neuer is Executive Director of the non-governmental organization, U.N. Watch....
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Syria’s Defense Minister Slams ‘Illegitimate’ US Presence

Voice of America - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 17:34
Syria’s defense minister has slammed what he called the “illegitimate” U.S. military presence in his country, vowing that Syria has a right to self-defense. Gen. Ali Ayoub spoke on Monday in the capital, Damascus, during a rare joint news conference with visiting Iranian and Iraqi army commanders. The U.S. currently has about 2,000 troops in eastern Syria and is expected to withdraw hundreds of them in the coming months. The meeting illustrates the strong alliance between Iran, Iraq...
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OPEC Scraps April Meeting but Keeps Oil Cuts in Place

Voice of America - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 16:30
Oil producer group OPEC on Monday scrapped its planned meeting in April and will decide instead whether to extend output cuts in June, once the market has assessed the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iran and the crisis in Venezuela. A ministerial panel of OPEC and its allies recommended that they cancel the extraordinary meeting scheduled for April 17-18 and hold the next regular talks on June 25-26. The energy minister of OPEC's de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, said the market was...
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Minister: Turkey, Iran Launch Joint Raid Against Kurdish Rebels

Voice of America - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 15:56
Turkey and Iran on Monday started a joint military operation against Kurdish rebels on Turkey's eastern border, state-run Anadolu news agency quoted the interior minister as saying. Turkey has recently talked about a possible joint operation with neighbour Iran to counter outlawed militants from the the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), but this is the first time Turkish authorities have confirmed a raid. "We started staging a joint operation with Iran against the PKK on our...
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Second Israeli Dies of Wounds From West Bank Shooting Attack

Voice of America - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 14:52
 Israel's military expanded its massive manhunt for a Palestinian assailant on Monday as authorities announced that a second Israeli died of wounds sustained in a West Bank shooting attack the previous day.   Beilinson Hospital said Ahiad Ettinger, a 47-year-old father of 12, died of his wounds from the shooting and stabbing attack near the settlement of Ariel on Sunday. The attack also killed 19-year-old soldier Gal Keidan and seriously wounded another...
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Rouhani: Iran Will File Legal Case Against US for Sanctions

Voice of America - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 12:32
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the government would file a legal case in Iran against U.S. officials who imposed sanctions on the country as a precursor to action in international courts. Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television that U.S. sanctions had created difficulties including a weaker rial currency that has fed into higher inflation. The United States reimposed sanctions on Tehran after U.S. President Donald Trump chose last May to...
Categories: Iraq