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Militants Kill Over 200 in Southern Syria Attacks

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 12:49
The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings and other attacks Wednesday in southern Syria, killing at least 204 people. Multiple bombers blew themselves up near a market and a busy square in the city of Sweida. Hassan Omar, a local health official, said at least 180 others were wounded in the attack. Among the casualties were civilians who took up arms to defend against the IS assault, Omar said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human...
Categories: Iraq

Sisters Cooking It for Themselves at Iraq's Women-only Restaurant

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 05:25
At Luxury Time, a restaurant in the Kurdish city of Irbil, there are no man-size portions. The women-only restaurant, with its all-female staff, was opened this month by 23-year-old business graduate Tara Mohammed Ihssan who was fed up of unwanted attention on nights out with friends in northern Iraq. "If you want to go out, it is so uncomfortable because everyone is starring at you," she told Reuters. "So I have always thought about doing something like this for me...
Categories: Iraq

Tunisia PM: Changing Government Now Will Hurt Economy

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 05:05
Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, rejecting the president's call for him to stand down amid an economic crisis, said Tuesday that a change of government would put the economy at risk and shake the confidence of international lenders. President Beji Caid Essebsi this month urged Chahed to step down if the country's political and economic problems persisted. Since the toppling of autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, nine cabinets have failed to resolve high inflation...
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Egypt's el-Sissi Opens Power Stations in State Development Drive

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 01:02
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Tuesday opened three new power stations built for a total of 6 billion euros ($7 billion) as part of the country's development drive. Acute power shortages in the years immediately following Egypt's 2011 uprising led to frequent summer blackouts and cuts to industrial output, but the new projects initiated in 2015 are part of an 8 billion-euro deal to supply gas- and wind-power plants to boost electricity generation...
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Ankara Rules Out Compliance with US Sanctions on Iran

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 00:45
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday ruled out his country's compliance with U.S. sanctions on Iran, a move that threatens to exacerbate tensions between the NATO allies. "We have told them we will not join these sanctions," said Cavusoglu, referring to a meeting last Friday with senior U.S. officials in Ankara. "While we are explaining why we will not obey these sanctions, we have also expressed that we do not find these U.S. sanctions...
Categories: Iraq

Haley: 'Talk is Cheap' on Palestinian Situation

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 23:15
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley has blasted Arab and Muslim states for offering rhetoric on the Palestinian situation while not taking more concrete action to alleviate humanitarian suffering and support the peace process.  Haley told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that "talk is cheap" and called out many countries, including U.S. allies Kuwait, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, for their lack of or small contributions to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for...
Categories: Iraq

Intl. Coalition: Islamic State Controls Just 300 Kilometers in Syria

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 21:45
The Islamic State terror group has lost control of all but around 300 square kilometers in Syria, anti-IS coalition officials told reporters Tuesday. French Brigadier General Frederic Parisot, the director of civil-military operations for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said the group holds an area of about 30 kilometers x10 kilometers in eastern Deir el-Zour province, stretching from the town of Hajin to al-Bukamal. Parisot said he did not know the number of...
Categories: Iraq

Official: IS-Linked Group Kills 2 Policemen in Eastern Libya

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 17:48
A Libyan official says militants with links to the extremist Islamic State group have killed two policemen at a checkpoint east Libya.   Security official Ahmed al-Gabiely says the attack took place early on Tuesday in the eastern town of el-Agheila when the armed men "slit a police officer's throat" and killed another in a shootout with security forces manning the checkpoint.   He says the group later attacked a police station, raised the militant Islamic black...
Categories: Iraq

Egypt Hikes Natural Gas Prices by Up to 75 Percent

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 16:02
Egypt raised natural gas prices for households and businesses on Saturday by between 33.3 and 75 percent, the latest among tough austerity measures aimed at rebuilding the country’s economy battered by years of unrest since a 2011 uprising. The government’s decision, published in the official gazette on Saturday, should come into effect starting in August. It sets the price for gas consumption of up to 30 cubic meters to 1.75 Egyptian pounds up from 1 pound per cubic meter, an increase of...
Categories: Iraq

Israeli Military Downs Syrian Warplane

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 15:44
The Israeli military said it shot down a Syrian warplane Tuesday after it entered Israeli airspace. Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet approached Israel at a "relatively high speed" before the Israeli military fired two Patriot interceptor missiles at the jet after it entered Israeli territory. Syrian state media reported, however, the warplane was fired on as it participated in operations against rebels in Syrian...
Categories: Iraq

Group Urges Iraq to Probe Excessive Force Used at Protests

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 15:43
A leading international watchdog has called on the Iraqi government to investigate the excessive use of force against protesters demanding better services and jobs in the country's south. In a report issued on Tuesday, the Human Rights Watch also urged that members of the security forces responsible for using lethal force at the rallies be disciplined or prosecuted.   Early this month, residents of oil-rich Basra province staged protests against the lack of jobs and poor...
Categories: Iraq

Israel Partially Lifts Limitations on Gaza Cargo Crossing

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 14:17
Israel says it is partially reopening its only cargo crossing with the Gaza Strip after Hamas hostilities subsided. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Tuesday Israel will resume transferring gas and fuel through the Kerem Shalom crossing in addition to the food and essential medication it has been allowing.   Last week, Lieberman placed restrictions on the crossing after Gaza's militant rulers continued to allow incendiary kites and balloons to float into Israel even after...
Categories: Iraq

Large Stone Drops Out of Western Wall in Jerusalem    

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 04:30
A section of one of Judaism's holiest sites is closed to worshippers after a huge stone dropped out of the Western Wall Monday, barely missing a woman praying. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said the stone weighs 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and called it “a great miracle” no one was hurt. Just one day earlier, the area was packed with worshippers for the Jewish holy day Tisha B'Av, which marks the destruction of temples that stood at the site. The head of the Israeli Antiquities...
Categories: Iraq

UN Rights Chief Sharply Criticizes Israel Over Gaza Killings

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 03:53
The U.N. human rights chief sharply criticized Israel on Monday, calling recent killings by its soldiers during Palestinian demonstrations along the Gaza border fence "shocking" and saying living conditions inflicted by Israel's 11-year blockade of the territory are "grossly inadequate." Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a video address to the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People that the situation in Gaza has escalated...
Categories: Iraq

Hostile Rhetoric Escalates Between the US and Iran

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 03:48
U.S. President Donald Trump has sharply warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to "never threaten the United States," or the Islamic Republic would suffer historic consequences. Iran appeared to dismiss the threat, accusing Trump of "psychological warfare" to appeal to his base of voters ahead of the November elections. VOA's Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from Washington on the escalating rhetoric.
Categories: Iraq

Yemen Close to Famine After Port Offensive, Aid Groups Warn

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 01:28
Yemen is close to famine after a 25 percent increase in levels of severe hunger this year and an offensive on the main port city of Hodeida, a lifeline for millions, humanitarian organizations warned Monday. Thousands more people have been displaced by the conflict and many are having to skip meals and beg on the streets, they said, with an estimated 8.4 million people already on the verge of starvation. "We perceive the country to be sitting on a knife edge in terms of famine —...
Categories: Iraq

US Unleashes Rhetorical Barrage on Iran

Mon, 07/23/2018 - 23:45
U.S. President Donald Trump says he's "not at all" worried his Sunday night tweet threatening Iran with unspecified but severe consequences for its hard-line rhetoric will provoke the Iranian government.  The president replied to a reporter on the White House South Lawn on Monday afternoon when asked about his all-capital-letters tweet in which he sharply warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to "never threaten the United States" or the Islamic Republic...
Categories: Iraq

Syrian Media: Hundreds of Refugees Returning From Lebanon

Mon, 07/23/2018 - 23:15
Syrian government media reports say hundreds of refugees are returning to the country after years of exile in Lebanon.   Media also showed pro-government forces raising the Syrian flag over a number of villages in the southwestern region of Daraa, amid claims that some residents were returning to that area after signing reconciliation agreements with the government. Syrian state TV showed the first group of what it said was around 900 villagers from the mountainous Qalamoun...
Categories: Iraq

After Delays, Former Iraqi Translator Will Be US Citizen

Mon, 07/23/2018 - 20:14
More than a year after a former interpreter for U.S. military forces in Iraq was pulled out of a U.S. citizenship ceremony without explanation, he's about to be naturalized. Haeder al-Anbki said Monday he was notified over the weekend that he could participate in a naturalization ceremony next week in Orlando. Al-Anbki had sued a federal agency over the matter. He was given no explanation for the government's reversal in his case, but he credited stories by The Associated Press...
Categories: Iraq

Syria Blasts Evacuation of White Helmets as 'Criminal'

Mon, 07/23/2018 - 19:52
The Syrian government on Monday condemned a multilateral operation to evacuate hundreds of rescue workers from the war-torn country as a "criminal process" intended to de-stabilize Syria. Syrian authorities have long described the Civil Defense search-and-rescue group, which are popularly known as the White Helmets, as a terror organization.   The group rose to prominence as it filmed its operations to rescue civilians from Syrian government airstrikes in the...
Categories: Iraq