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Iraq

Tunisia Police Kill 3 Islamist Militants

Voice of America - Sun, 05/05/2019 - 04:58
Tunisian police killed three Islamist militants in the central city of Sidi Bouzid on Saturday, a security source told Reuters. Police seized weapons in the operation, the source added, without giving details. The Interior Ministry said early Saturday that the security forces foiled attacks planned in the holy month of Ramadan after they arrested “a dangerous terrorist” this week. One of the Arab world’s most secular nations, Tunisia became a target for militants after being hailed...
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Source: Brother of Algeria's Bouteflika, 2 Ex-spy Bosses Arrested

Voice of America - Sat, 05/04/2019 - 23:51
Said Bouteflika, the powerful brother of deposed Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was arrested Saturday along with two former intelligence chiefs, a security source told AFP.    Gen. Mohamed Mediene, known as Toufik, who headed the secret service for 25 years, and former intelligence coordinator Athmane Tartag were the two spy chiefs arrested, the source said, asking not to be named.    The security source did not provide a reason for the...
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Libyan Officials: Militant Attack Kills 9 Troops at LNA Base 

Voice of America - Sat, 05/04/2019 - 21:49
Libyan officials say militants have killed at least nine soldiers in an attack on a training camp for the self-styled Libyan National Army in the country's southwestern desert.    The officials said militants clashed Saturday with guards near an air base seized earlier this year by the LNA in the town of Sabha. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.    The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for...
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Syrian Forces Intensify Bombardment of Rebel-Held Area

Voice of America - Sat, 05/04/2019 - 20:09
Syrian government bombardment of rebel-held areas in the country's northwest has killed and wounded dozens and forced thousands to flee their homes, further endangering an eight-month truce in the last major rebel stronghold, opposition activists said Saturday. The recent escalation of violence is the most serious in Idlib province and nearby areas since Russia and Turkey negotiated a cease-fire in September. The shaky truce had averted a major government offensive on the last major...
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Reports: Iran to Keep Enriching Uranium Despite US Move

Voice of America - Sat, 05/04/2019 - 18:33
Iran will continue with low-level uranium enrichment in line with its nuclear deal with world powers, Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani was quoted as saying on Saturday, despite a U.S. move to stop it. Washington acted on Friday to force Iran to stop producing low-enriched uranium and expanding its only nuclear power plant, intensifying a campaign aimed at halting Tehran's ballistic missile program and curbing its regional power. "Under the (nuclear accord) Iran can...
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Gaza Militants Fire Rockets; Israel Reprisals Kill 3

Voice of America - Sat, 05/04/2019 - 11:25
Militants fired a barrage of rockets Saturday from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip into southern Israel, the Israeli military said. Israel retaliated with air strikes from Israeli aircraft and tanks. The Gaza Health Ministry said four Palestinians died, including a pregnant woman and an infant. One airstrike Saturday struck a building housing the Turkish news agency Anadolu. Turkey strongly condemned the strike. Israel said at least 250 rockets were lobbed into Israeli territory and...
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Reports: Iran’s Intel Agents Detain Journalist Arrested at May Day Rally

Voice of America - Sat, 05/04/2019 - 03:56
Reports from Iran say a correspondent for a state-approved newspaper has been detained in a Tehran prison ward run by intelligence agents after she attended a rally by labor activists outside parliament. In a series of tweets posted Thursday and Friday, colleagues of Marzieh Amiri at Iran’s Shargh Daily newspaper, which labels itself reformist, said she had been detained at Evin Prison’s Ward 209. The ward is run by Iran’s intelligence ministry. Shargh Daily correspondent Sudabeh...
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4 Palestinians Killed, 2 Israeli Soldiers Hurt in Gaza Violence

Voice of America - Sat, 05/04/2019 - 03:06
Four Palestinians, including two Hamas militants, were killed in an Israeli airstrike and protests Friday as gunshots from the Gaza Strip wounded two Israeli soldiers, officials said, in a new flare-up that shattered a monthlong easing of hostilities that Egypt had mediated.    The calm along the Gaza-Israel frontier was in exchange for Israel's scaling back restrictions on the territory. However, Gaza's Hamas rulers accused Israel of not honoring the...
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UN Rights Chief ‘Appalled' by Iran Execution of Two Minors

Voice of America - Sat, 05/04/2019 - 01:36
The UN human rights chief voiced outrage Friday at Iran's execution of two 17-year-old boys charged with rape and robbery, stressing that executing children is banned under international law. Mehdi Sohrabifar and Amin Sedaghat were executed on April 25, after a trial that the UN rights office said appeared to have "seriously breached fundamental due process guarantees." "I am appalled," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement,...
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Military Escalation Continues in Northwest Syria

Voice of America - Sat, 05/04/2019 - 00:27
Russia has increased its airstrike campaign on the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib in the past few days, which rights group warn could lead to a new humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country.      More than 100 Russian airstrikes have targeted Idlib and parts of the neighboring province of Hama in recent days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told VOA.   The observatory, which has researchers across Syria, charged that Syrian government...
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Hundreds of Thousands Protest Against Ruling Elite in Algeria

Voice of America - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 22:14
Hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied peacefully in Algiers after Friday prayers, chanting "We will not shut up!" and demanding the departure of Algeria's ruling elite a month after the downfall of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Weeks of demonstrations forced Bouteflika out of office on April 2 after 20 years in power. Protesters have continued mass demonstrations every Friday, demanding other members of the elite also give way. They are calling for the resignation...
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Kushner: Mideast Peace Plan Maybe Not ‘Smart Money Bet’

Voice of America - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 12:08
President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law acknowledged Thursday that it might not be a “smart money bet” to gamble on the success of the White House’s long-awaited blueprint for Mideast peace. But he insisted that it is a very detailed, fresh approach that hopefully will stimulate discussion and lead to breakthroughs in resolving the decades-old conflict. Jared Kushner remained tight-lipped about the guts of the plan. He described it as an “in-depth operational document” not...
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Senate Fails to Override Trump Veto of Yemen Bill

Voice of America - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 02:09
The U.S. Senate on Thursday failed to override President Donald Trump's veto of a bill demanding the U.S. stop supporting the Saudi coalition fighting in Yemen. The vote was 53 to 45 in favor, but it fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass in the 100-member Senate. Both the House and Senate passed the bill earlier this year despite Trump's promise to veto. The bill marked the first time in history that Congress invoked the 1973 War Powers Act, which says a...
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U.S. Airstrikes and Raids Killed 120 Civilians in 2018, Pentagon Says

NY Times Iraq - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 20:53
The number of civilian casualties investigated by the Defense Department is far lower than what watchdog groups have also reported.
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Hamas Chief Heads to Egypt After Gaza-Israel Flare-up

Voice of America - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 19:49
Hamas’ leader in Gaza left for talks with Egyptian officials Thursday after a new outbreak of violence, as the militant group accused Israel of slowing down the implementation of Egyptian-mediated understandings aimed at easing the situation in the Palestinian enclave. The visit by Yehiyeh Sinwar to Cairo came hours after the Israeli military struck several Hamas sites in Gaza in response to incendiary balloons with explosives launched from the strip late Wednesday. After the...
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Trump’s Favored Sanctions Meet Resistance

Voice of America - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 18:25
President Donald Trump is increasingly reliant upon economic sanctions to achieve his foreign policy goals, despite a repeated emphasis that the use of military force remains a viable option.  However, these coercive measures, analysts say, have not produced their intended results, and at times have put the United States at odds with allies.   Venezuela In the case of Venezuela, the Trump sanctions that include the seizure of Venezuela’s oil assets in the United States,...
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Russia, Iran Maneuver for Influence in Syria

Voice of America - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 18:00
Once-hidden Russian-Iranian disagreements over Syria are starting to surface. Moscow and Tehran are jostling to wield the main influence over the government of President Bashar al-Assad, adding further complexity to the still-far-from-complete endgame of Syria’s brutal civil war, say diplomats and analysts. Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Iranians want to be able to present themselves as the true victors of the conflict that has left almost half-a-million people dead and to...
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HRW: 'Mass Surveillance App' Used to Target Muslims in China's Xinjiang

Voice of America - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 15:54
The Chinese authorities are using a “mass surveillance” app to profile, investigate, and detain Muslims in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says. The New York-based watchdog said on May 2 that the mobile app is being used to "collect a wide array of information from ordinary people in Xinjiang," ranging from their blood type and height to their “religious atmosphere” and political affiliation. The tool monitors people’s movements by tracing...
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Displaced Families Languish in Tripoli as Libya Fighting Continues

Voice of America - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 15:51
The ongoing fighting in Libya pitting the western-backed government in Tripoli against a renegade Libyan general has displaced tens of thousands of people who are now flooding the Libyan capital. Local aid workers say they don't have the capacity to take care of these families if the war expands and soldiers in Tripoli are warning there appears to be no end to the standoff. VOA's Heather Murdock is in Tripoli with this report.
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US Ending Iranian Oil Sanctions Waivers

Voice of America - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 12:48
The United States is tightening its economic sanctions on Iran by ending a set of waivers Thursday that had allowed some of the country’s largest oil buyers to continue their purchases. With the expiration of waivers for eight buyers, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States would be exerting “maximum pressure” on the Iranian government. The U.S. State Department called the move a fulfillment of the Trump administration’s promise “to get Iran’s oil exports to zero and...
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