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Iraq

Algerian Presidential Elections 'Impossible' on July 4

Voice of America - Sun, 06/02/2019 - 16:51
Algeria's constitutional council said Sunday it was impossible to hold elections to choose a successor to ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika early next month as planned, after the only two candidates were rejected. "The constitutional council rejects the candidature applications" and as a result has announced "the impossibility of holding presidential elections on July 4", according to a statement carried by national television. It will now be up to interim...
Categories: Iraq

Israel, Syria Trade Fire; at Least 3 Dead

Voice of America - Sun, 06/02/2019 - 09:07
Israel attacked Syrian military positions in the country’s south early Sunday, killing three soldiers and wounding seven others, Syria’s state-run media reported.  Israel’s military confirmed it targeted several military positions in Syria, including two artillery batteries, several observation and intelligence posts and an SA2 air defense unit. It said it was responding to two rockets launched from Syria late Saturday, which caused no casualties. The army says one rocket fell within...
Categories: Iraq

Rights Groups: Abuses on the Rise in Syria’s Afrin

Voice of America - Sun, 06/02/2019 - 06:30
Rights groups are expressing concerns over the increasing abuses against civilians by rebel forces in the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin. Last week, a 10-year-old boy with Down syndrome, who was kidnapped by a rebel group, was killed along with his father and grandfather after their family failed to pay the kidnappers a ransom of $10,000, local media reported. Such incidents have been rampant since Turkish military and allied Syrian rebels took control of Afrin after a...
Categories: Iraq

Car Bomb Blast Kills 10, Hurts 20 in Syria's Raqqa

Voice of America - Sun, 06/02/2019 - 01:28
Ten people were killed and 20 wounded Saturday in a suicide car bomb attack in Ragqa, a former stronghold of the Islamic State group in north Syria, a rights watchdog said. The explosion killed five civilians and five soldiers of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-Arab alliance backed by Washington that wrested the city from IS in October 2017, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The attack, for which no one immediately claimed responsibility, was...
Categories: Iraq

Iran's Rouhani: Talks Possible Only if US Shows Respect

Voice of America - Sun, 06/02/2019 - 00:10
President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday suggested Iran may be willing to hold talks if the United States showed it respect, but said Tehran would not be pressured into negotiations, the semiofficial Fars news agency reported.    Iran and the United States have been drawn into starker confrontation in the past month, a year after Washington pulled out of a deal between Iran and global powers to curb Tehran's nuclear program in return for the...
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UN Distributes Food to Yemenis in 'Inaccessible' War Zones

Voice of America - Sat, 06/01/2019 - 17:57
The World Food Program (WFP) says it has delivered food in the rebel-held militarized zone of Nihm for the first time since civil war broke out in Yemen more than four years ago. Nihm governorate is northeast of the rebel Houthi-held capital, Sana’a, close to the Saudi Arabian border. WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel says persistent negotiations have paid off. He says WFP and a partner organization, Islamic Relief, have distributed food to an estimated 5,000 people living near the front...
Categories: Iraq

250 Ethiopian Migrants Detained in Yemen Fly Home

Voice of America - Sat, 06/01/2019 - 15:51
The International Organization for Migration reports two flights carrying an estimated 250 Ethiopian migrants are expected to depart Yemen Saturday for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as part of a larger ongoing repatriation operation. The UN migration agency says it hopes to repatriate another 1,968 Ethiopian migrants who are being detained under horrific conditions in a sports stadium in the Yemeni port city of Aden. But the operation, which was to have begun last Saturday got off to a...
Categories: Iraq

UN Watchdog: Iran Complying with 2015 Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Sat, 06/01/2019 - 12:25
The U.N. atomic watchdog said Friday that Iran continues to stay within the limitations set by the nuclear deal reached in 2015 with major powers, though its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and heavy water are growing. In a confidential quarterly report distributed to member states and seen by The Associated Press, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has stayed within key limitations set in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. The deal is meant to...
Categories: Iraq

Saudi King: Iran’s ‘Terrorist Acts’ Threaten Energy Supply

Voice of America - Sat, 06/01/2019 - 08:18
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman slammed Iran over recent attacks targeting the kingdom, describing the incidents Saturday in a speech before Muslim leaders gathered in Mecca as “terrorist acts” that threaten global energy supplies. It was the monarch’s strongest words yet since tensions spiked in recent weeks between the two regional heavyweights. The U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to deter Iran as tensions run high. The crisis stems from the Trump administration’s decision...
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Ramadan's Night of Destiny in Cairo

Voice of America - Sat, 06/01/2019 - 07:28
In Egypt, more than 30,000 Muslims gathered to pray for what is believed to be the night of destiny, known in Arabic as Laylatu Al-Qadr. Muslims memorize on this night the first revelation of the Holy Quran and believe that Allah listens to their prayers. Cairo-based photojournalist Hamada Elrasam has more from Cairo.
Categories: Iraq

Saudi King Salman Urges International Effort to Thwart Iran

Voice of America - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 20:02
Saudi Arabia's King Salman opened an emergency summit of Gulf Arab leaders in the holy city of Mecca on Thursday with a call for the international community to use all means to confront Iran, but he also said the kingdom extends its hand for peace. King Salman was speaking at the first of three high-level summits in Mecca that were hastily convened after a spike in tensions between Saudi Arabia and its rival Iran. That King Salman could bring regional leaders and heads of state to...
Categories: Iraq

Protesters in Iran, Iraq Burn Israel, US Flags on 'Quds Day'

Voice of America - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 19:31
Iranians in the capital Tehran set fire to effigies of U.S. President Donald Trump, while in the Iraqi capital, Iran-backed militiamen marched over a large Israeli flag as part of rallies Friday marking Quds, or Jerusalem Day. The annual protests come as the Trump administration tries to market its long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Held each year on the last Friday of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, Iran has marked Quds Day since the start of its 1979 Islamic...
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More Somali Refugees Return Home as Conditions in Yemen Worsen

Voice of America - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 19:18
A boat with 125 Somali refugees fleeing insecurity in Yemen arrived in the Somali port of Berbera Thursday. The voyage was organized by the U.N. refugee agency and partners in cooperation with authorities in Yemen and Somalia. This is the 33rd departure of Somali refugees from Yemen since the U.N. refugee agency and humanitarian partners began the so-called Assisted Spontaneous Return program in 2017. To date, nearly 4,300 Somali refugees have returned home. Yemen is still hosting a...
Categories: Iraq

US Troop Levels in Syria 'Quite a Bit Lower' with Help on the Way

Voice of America - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 19:01
U.S. officials are touting a "measurable decrease" in the number of U.S. troops in Syria, though they refuse to say just how many remain in the country to aid in the fight against remnants of the Islamic State terror group. The director of the Pentagon's Defeat IS Task Force, Chris Maier, became the latest official to weigh in on troop levels, describing the withdrawal only in general terms. "It's been a measurable decrease," he told reporters late Thursday....
Categories: Iraq

Center in Syria Seeks to Deradicalize IS Teens

Voice of America - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 04:22
A child rehabilitation center in the Kurdish-controlled northeastern Syria is hosting dozens of Islamic State (IS) child recruits in an effort to reform them back to normalcy.   Horie Center for Child Protection and Education was established in 2017 by Prisons Authority in the Internal Security Forces of the Kurdish self-proclaimed administration in Tal Maroof town. It currently houses about 70 children, ages 12 to 18, who were brainwashed by IS ideology and participated in...
Categories: Iraq

US ‘Concerned’ by Sophisticated, Deceptive Pro-Iran Social Media

Voice of America - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 04:07
This article originated in VOA's Persian Service. Cindy Saine contributed from the State Department. The United States has reacted with concern to reports that a recently discovered pro-Iran social media network that deceptively targeted Americans is more sophisticated than a similar network identified last year. In a report published Tuesday, California-based cybersecurity company FireEye said it recently uncovered a network of English-language social media accounts that...
Categories: Iraq

Saudi King Salman Urges International Effort to Thwart Iran

Voice of America - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 02:55
Saudi Arabia's King Salman opened an emergency summit of Gulf Arab leaders in the holy city of Mecca on Thursday with a call for the international community to use all means to confront Iran, but he also said the kingdom extends its hand for peace.  King Salman was speaking at the first of three high-level summits in Mecca that were hastily convened after a spike in tensions between Saudi Arabia and its rival Iran. That King Salman could bring regional leaders and heads of state...
Categories: Iraq

Second Saudi Ship Leaves France Without Arms, Group Says

Voice of America - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 01:44
A Saudi cargo ship has left the southern French port of Fos-sur-Mer without loading its arms cargo destined for Saudi Arabia, blocked from doing so after pressure from rights campaigners, a French rights group said Thursday.  The incident reported by ACAT, a Christian organization against torture, is the second time this month that a Saudi vessel has been blocked from loading arms in France as pressure mounts on Paris to stop arms sales to...
Categories: Iraq

Deadly Blasts Rock Iraq's Kirkuk

Voice of America - Thu, 05/30/2019 - 23:32
At least five people were killed and 18 injured in a series of explosions in the Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk, medical sources in the city's general hospital told Reuters on Thursday. At least six improvised explosive devices went off in the northern city and two more were defused by security forces, the Iraqi military said in a statement. It gave a lower death toll of three and said 16 were injured. The explosion sites included two malls, an ice cream shop and a butcher's shop,...
Categories: Iraq

Netanyahu Shows Off Trump's Map of Israel with Golan Heights

Voice of America - Thu, 05/30/2019 - 23:05
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has gifted him an official State Department map, updated to incorporate the long-disputed Golan Heights as part of Israel.    Speaking at a news conference Thursday in Jerusalem, Netanyahu addressed a nation rattled by the prospect of an unprecedented second election campaign, after the newly re-elected Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition.    In a bid...
Categories: Iraq