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Israel Shoots Down Hezbollah Drone

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 17:34
Israel’s military on Tuesday shot down an Iranian-made drone being operated by members of the Hezbollah militant group as the drone approached the Golan Heights, the military said. According to the Israeli military, the drone was shot down with a Patriot interceptor missile over the Golan de-militarized zone after being launched from an airbase near Damascus. "As we understand, it was on a reconnaissance mission along the border and the Golan Heights on behalf of Hezbollah,"...
Categories: Iraq

Israel and US Open First American Military Base in Israel

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 13:06
Israel and the U.S. inaugurated the first American military base on Israeli soil on Monday, which will serve dozens of soldiers operating a missile defense system. The move comes at a time of growing Israeli concerns about archenemy Iran's development of long-range missiles. Together with the U.S., Israel has developed a multilayered system of defenses against everything from long-range guided missile attacks from Iran to crude rockets fired from Lebanon and the Gaza...
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Syian Children in Lebanon Toil to Feed Families

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 10:50
Child labor in Lebanon was already a deep-seated problem before an influx of Syrian refugees made it worse. Now, there are fears the practice could become even more widespread - and with families dependent on the income children generate, there are no easy solutions. NGOs are working on the ground to re-integrate children into the education system, and new guidelines have been issued by the U.N., to help youngsters reclaim their childhoods. John Owens reports from Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.
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Islamic State Families Moved to Site North of Mosul, Iraq Confirms

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 23:31
About 1,400 foreign wives and children of suspected Islamic State militants have been moved to a new site north of Mosul, Iraqi authorities confirmed on Monday, dismissing the concerns of aid organizations, who were not warned about the move. "They were transported to a safe location with better services, in Tal Keif, under the supervision of the Iraqi forces and specialized committees," said an Iraqi military statement. Foreign aid officials in Iraq said on Sunday they were...
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Reports: Syria's Deir al-Zor Air Base Working Again

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 23:20
The Deir al-Zor military airport in eastern Syria, which the Syrian army recaptured this month from Islamic State, began functioning again on Monday for the first time in nearly a year, Syrian state media and a monitoring group said. The military base is seen as a valuable asset for the Syrian army as it presses its campaign against Islamic State in Deir al-Zor province. Two planes landed and took off from the base on Monday, state TV reported — the first such activity there since...
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Trump Confident There is Chance of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Deal

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 22:48
U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday he is confident "we have a chance" to forge a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, but signaled new uncertainty about the U.S. view of the international deal curbing Iran's nuclear program. "Most people would say there's no chance whatsoever" of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, Trump said as he got set for one-on-one talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the annual...
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Trump: Fate of Iran Nuclear Deal Hangs on Tough UN Policing

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 18:23
U.S. President Donald Trump warned Monday that Washington will walk away from a nuclear deal it agreed to with Iran and five other nations if it deems that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is not tough enough in monitoring it.   Iran, however, said the greatest threat to the nuclear agreement is U.S. hostility.   The warning from Trump came in a message to the U.N. agency's annual meeting, being held in Vienna, that was read by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick...
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France Opens Door to Strengthen Iran Nuclear Deal

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 18:08
France on Monday gave a staunch defense of the Iran nuclear deal, suggesting there could be talks to strengthen the pact for the post-2025 period but that allowing it to collapse could lead Iran's neighbors to seek atomic weapons. "It is essential to maintain it to avoid proliferation. In this period when we see the risks with North Korea, we must maintain this line," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters. "France will try to convince [U.S.]...
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UN Investigators: Perpetrators of Crimes in Syria Must Face Justice

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 17:25
U.N. investigators are calling for perpetrators of crimes against civilians in Syria’s long-running civil war to be prosecuted and brought to justice. The latest report submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva by the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria documents multiple atrocities and gross violations committed by all warring parties. The Commission of Inquiry has run out of patience with U.N. member states it accuses of having done little to hold perpetrators of...
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Iraqi Supreme Court Suspends Kurdish Referendum

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 15:32
Iraq's supreme court has approved a request by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to suspend an independence referendum that the country's Kurdistan region planned to hold later this month. The court said Monday the vote will be on hold until it reviews cases regarding the constitutionality of the vote. Abadi has repeatedly spoken out against the referendum, including in an interview with the Associated Press on Saturday in which he called the independence vote a "dangerous...
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Turkey's Erdogan, Iraq's Abadi to Discuss Iraqi Kurdish Referendum

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 04:40
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi this week to discuss their concerns about an independence referendum in Iraq's Kurdish region. Turkey, the United States and other Western powers have advised authorities in the semi-autonomous region to cancel the vote, worrying that tensions it would generate might act as an unwelcome distraction from the war on Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. With the largest Kurdish population in the region, Turkey...
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Jerusalem Protest by Ultra-Orthodox Jews Turns Violent

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 03:50
Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews clashed with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem Sunday when an anti-military demonstration turned violent. The protest became violent when demonstrators blocked roads and resisted efforts to disperse them by riot police, mounted officers and by water cannons. "Eight rioters who used violence against police were arrested," a police statement said The protesters were demonstrating against the arrest of a community member for refusing to...
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Fatah Group Urges Hamas to Implement Reconciliation Accord

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 21:01
Following days of talks Egyptian mediators have gotten rival Palestinian factions to agree to reconcile, although Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah group is insisting rival Hamas implement the conditions it has agreed to before taking the next step. Efforts to resolve a decade-old schism between the two main Palestinian factions appears to be coming closer to fruition, after Egyptian mediators succeeded in convincing the Islamist Hamas group, which controls Gaza to...
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Khamenei: Iran Won't Respond to US 'Bullying' Over Nuclear Deal

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 18:20
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Iran will not be subject to "bullying" by the United States over the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with a group of world powers, including the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump has been a frequent critic of the agreement and after taking office has threatened to scrap the deal, which calls for Iran to scale back its nuclear activity to allay fears it is working to develop nuclear weapons, and in exchange get relief from...
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Kuwait Poised to Expel North Korean Ambassador

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 17:21
Kuwait will expel North Korea's ambassador to the Gulf country along with four other diplomats, sources said Sunday. North Korea's diplomatic presence in the oil-rich state will be reduced to a chargé d'affaires and three diplomats, diplomatic sources told news agencies on the condition of anonymity. The announcement comes two days after North Korea launched another missile over Japan, and less than a week after the United Nations imposed additional sanctions on...
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Hamas Moves to End Dispute with Abbas's Fatah Movement

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 16:58
The militant group Hamas that rules Gaza moved Sunday to end its decade-long political and territorial split with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, agreeing to dissolve its administrative body and hold general elections. With the Gaza economy in shambles and electricity typically on only four hours a day in the Mediterranean coastal enclave, Hamas said it would immediately allow the Abbas-led "unity government" to assume control. The joint government was...
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Russia Rejects Allegation it Bombed US-Backed Fighters in Syria

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 14:50
The Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday denied it had bombed U.S.-backed militias in Syria, saying its planes only targeted Islamic State militants and that it had warned the United States well in advance of its operational plans. U.S.-backed militias said they came under attack on Saturday from Russian jets and Syrian government forces in Deir al-Zor province, a flashpoint in an increasingly complex battlefield. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab...
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Hamas Takes Steps Toward Reconciliation Government

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 06:58
Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, said Sunday in a statement that it will dissolve its administrative body and hold general elections. The decision is seen as a way to end a political and territorial rift between Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement. The move opens an avenue to form a reconciliation government. “The administrative committee is now dissolved and the government can come to Gaza today to assume its responsibilities and duties,” Hamas...
Categories: Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Warns Against Kurdish Referendum 

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 04:29
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said he is prepared to intervene militarily if a referendum held by the nation’s Kurdish population results in violence. Speaking to the Associated Press Saturday, Abadi said the Kurdish vote on independence is “a dangerous escalation” that will invite violations of Iraqi sovereignty. Abadi also told an Iraqi news agency that the Kurds would be “playing with fire” by continuing with plans for the referendum, which is scheduled for September 25...
Categories: Iraq

Iraq's Abadi: Half of IS Families Detained Near Mosul Are Turkish

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 03:23
Turkish nationals make up half of the hundreds of families being held in a camp near Mosul for suspected links to the Islamic State group, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press Saturday. The Iraqi leader also confirmed that the German teenage girl found in Mosul last month is still being held in a Baghdad prison and may face the death penalty. At the camp near Mosul, Iraqi forces are holding 1,333 women and children who...
Categories: Iraq