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Iraq

Airstrikes Kill More Than 20 in Syria's Ghouta

Voice of America - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 16:38
Air strikes killed 23 people in Syria’s rebel-held eastern Ghouta district, just outside Damascus, a war monitor reported, and a woman was killed by shelling inside the government-held capital on Monday, state media said. Warplanes struck the towns of Zamalka, Arbaeen, Hazza and Beitu Soua, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Syrian army of President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russian air power and Shi‘ite Muslim militias, has besieged eastern Ghouta, the...
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Erdogan, Pope Hold Talks as Rome Locked Down in Tight Security

Voice of America - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 15:41
Tayyip Erdogan made the first visit by a Turkish president to see the pope in the Vatican in 59 years on Monday as Rome was put under heavy security measures for fear of violent demonstrations. Erdogan said before he left Turkey that he would discuss the Middle East situation and Jerusalem in particular. The Vatican was due to issue a statement about the meeting later. Both Erdogan and Pope Francis are opposed to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the...
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US Shifting Focus in Iraq from Combat to Sustaining Gains Against IS

Voice of America - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 15:34
The U.S.-led counter-Islamic State coalition says it is shifting its focus in Iraq away from supporting Iraqi combat operations, but is denying the United States is withdrawing forces from the country. “Enabled by accelerated successes following the liberation of Mosul, the coalition will shift its focus in Iraq from enabling combat operations to sustaining military gains against Daesh,” the U.S.-led coalition announced Monday, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State terror...
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Iran's Presidential Guard Shoots, Wounds Man Carrying Sword

Voice of America - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 15:24
Iran's official IRNA news agency says guards at the presidential complex in Tehran opened fire, wounding a man carrying a sword and trying to enter the compound.   Monday's report quoted Hamid Reza Goudarzi, deputy security chief, as saying that the 35-year-old man was taken to hospital. There was no information on his condition or possible motives for trying to enter the presidential complex.   IRNA says the man had managed to pass through the first checkpoint, one of...
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I Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again.

NY Times Iraq - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 13:45
I worked on Colin Powell’s speech supporting the invasion of Iraq 15 years ago. The Trump administration is doing the same thing today with Iran.
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Thousands of ISIS Fighters Flee in Syria, Many to Fight Another Day

NY Times Iraq - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 19:28
As some militants go into hiding and others slip into Turkey, the flow risks tarnishing American declarations that the Islamic State has been largely defeated.
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Al-Qaida-linked Group Claims Responsibility for Shooting Down Russian Warplane

Voice of America - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 16:33
A Syrian rebel group linked to al-Qaida is claiming responsibility for shooting down a Russian jet near the rebel-held town of Saraqeb, Syria. Russia's Defense Ministry confirmed the shoot-down on Saturday and said the pilot was killed by rebels after parachuting to the ground. Syrian monitors and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the pilot was flying a Russian-made Su-25 jet — a low-flying twin-engine aircraft designed to support ground troops —...
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Israel Legalizes Outpost in Response to Recent Murder

Voice of America - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 15:28
Israel's prime minister says an isolated West Bank outpost will be legalized in response to the recent murder of a rabbi who lived there. Benjamin Netanyahu said at a Cabinet meeting Sunday that the government "will today regularize the status of Havat Gilad to allow the continuance of normal life there." The prime minister said that those who try to "break our spirit and weaken us made a grave mistake." Legalizing the unauthorized outpost, located "deep...
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Israel Moves Toward Deporting Thousands of African Migrants

Voice of America - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 15:23
Israel is taking steps to deport thousands of African migrants.  Israeli immigration authorities have begun issuing deportation orders to asylum seekers from war-torn Eritrea and Sudan.  It is the latest step in Israel’s plan to expel about 40,000 African migrants, after they entered the country illegally during the past decade. A man who identified himself as Michael received a deportation notice.  It said that by April 1st, he must leave for an unnamed African country,...
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7 Turkish Soldiers Killed in Deadliest Day of Syrian Offensive

Voice of America - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 09:41
Turkey’s military says it has suffered its single deadliest day in its offensive against Syrian militias in northern Syria. Seven soldiers were killed Saturday. Five were killed in the Afrin region when their tank came under attack. Two soldiers were killed earlier in the day, one near the tank attack, the other along Turkey’s border with Syria. In retaliation Turkey said its jets later struck Kurdish targets in the area from which the attack on the tank came. Turkey’s “Olive...
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Israeli Soldiers Kill Palestinian Teen in West Bank

Voice of America - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 07:51
Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during an arrest raid in the village of Burqin in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health officials said Saturday. A Reuters witness said about 200 Palestinians were throwing stones at Israeli military vehicles when a gunshot was heard, adding that a wounded person was then carried to a car. Israel’s military said its forces had been searching in Burqin for suspects involved in the fatal drive-by shooting of an Israeli rabbi...
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Iranian Leaders Speak of Threat of Social Media 

Voice of America - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 06:05
Having survived popular protests across major cities in Iran, Iranian leaders are now turning to the tools that helped protesters organize and coordinate large-scale demonstrations against the government, which continued for more than a week before the government suppressed them. A senior Iranian official this week urged the country’s cyberspace authorities to remain vigilant and prevent another potential wave of protests. On the sidelines of a technical summit in the capital Tehran,...
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Ancient Egyptian Tomb Opens Window on 5th Dynasty

Voice of America - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 05:37
Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 4,400-year-old tomb near the country’s famed pyramids at the Giza plateau just outside Cairo, the Antiquities Ministry said Saturday, the latest discovery that authorities hope will help revive the country’s staggering tourism sector. The tomb was found in a wider area of Giza’s western necropolis, which is known to be home to tombs from the Old Kingdom. It likely belonged to a woman known as Hetpet, who archaeologists believe was close to...
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Old Kingdom Tomb Discovered Near Giza Pyramids

Voice of America - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 04:46
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has announced a discovery of an Old Kingdom tomb of a lady called Hetpet who was a top official in the royal palace during the end of the Fifth Dynasty.
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Suspected IS Fighters Killed in Libya Firefight

Voice of America - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 04:36
Libyan forces killed three suspected Islamic State fighters near an oilfield in the southeast of the country, a local official said Saturday. Two soldiers were also killed and five wounded during clashes over two days, one of which took place near the Dhahra oilfield Saturday, said Umar al-Faqeh, head of the Maradah administration to which the area belongs. There had been fighting in another area Friday, he added. The Dhahra field is operated by Waha, a joint venture between Libya’s...
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Turkey Denies Border Guards Shot at Fleeing Syrians

Voice of America - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 04:28
Turkish guards at the border with Syria are indiscriminately shooting at and summarily returning asylum seekers attempting to cross into Turkey, Human Rights Watch said. A senior Turkish government official denied the report Saturday, repeating that Turkey had taken in 3.5 million war refugees since the Syrian conflict began in 2011. New York-based Human Rights Watch said Syrians were now fleeing heightened violence in the northwestern province...
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Pressure Mounts on Poland to Back Away From Holocaust Bill

Voice of America - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 01:45
Poland is seeing a resurgence of anti-Semitism over pending legislation that would impose jail terms for suggestions that the nation was complicit in the Holocaust, local minority groups warned, as pressure mounts on the president to veto the bill. Parliament passed the measure Thursday, drawing outrage from Israel, U.S. criticism and condemnation from a number of international organizations. President Andrzej Duda has 21 days to decide whether to sign it...
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Militants in Syria Down Russian Fighter Jet, Kill Pilot

Voice of America - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 21:39
Al-Qaida-linked militants in Syria downed a Russian fighter jet on Saturday and killed its pilot after he ejected from the plane and landed on the ground in the embattled northwestern province of Idlib. The pilot resisted being captured and fired at the militants who then shot and killed him, according to one of the militants and Syrian monitors.   The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the downing of the Su-25 and said the pilot was killed in fighting with "terrorists." A...
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Mass Diphtheria Vaccination Campaign Set to Begin in Yemen

Voice of America - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 18:53
In Yemen, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners will kick-off a long-awaited mass vaccination campaign next week to contain the continued spread of diphtheria. The WHO says 1.4 million people in 41 districts that have reported diphtheria cases during the last month will be vaccinated against the potentially fatal disease.  It says the mass campaign will target children and adolescents up to the age of 15.   The latest official count of suspected cases of diphtheria...
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Palestinian-American Brings #MeToo Campaign to West Bank

Voice of America - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 11:56
A young Palestinian-American is the driving force behind a nascent #MeToo movement in this patriarchal corner of the world, selling T-shirts, hoodies and denim jackets with the slogan “Not Your Habibti (darling)” as a retort for catcalls and writing down women’s complaints from her perch in a West Bank square. Yasmeen Mjalli wants to encourage Palestinian society to confront sexual harassment, a largely taboo subject. “What I am doing is to start a conversation that people are really...
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