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The latest on Iraq from the AP
2014.07.10 04:44:57

Iraqi officials say 50 bodies have been discovered outside a city south of Baghdad, many of them blindfolded and with their hands bound.

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Saad Maan Ibrahim says the bodies were discovered Wednesday in an agricultural area outside the city of Hillah. Hillah is a predominantly Shia city about 95km south of Baghdad.

Ibrahim says an investigation is underway to determine the identities of the dead as well as the circumstances of the killings.



Tags: Iraq

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Israeli bombing raids
2014.07.10 04:31:41

The spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister, Mark Regev, says that Hamas is "directly responsible" for civilian casualties from Israeli bombing raids in Gaza. Regev said the armed group had embedded itself among the civilian population in the besieged area.

The conflict would go on until there was a "different reality, where people don't have to live in fear of rockets."



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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International deadlock
2014.07.10 04:28:19

Staffan de Mistura, a veteran diplomat and former UN special envoy to Afghanistan, will replace Lakhdar Brahimi as the UN mediator for Syria, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.

UN diplomats in New York said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon would announce the choice of de Mistura, a dual citizen of Italy and Sweden, later on Wednesday.

Brahimi stepped down on May 31, frustrated by international deadlock over how to end the three year civil war in Syria.



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The latest line in from the AP
2014.07.10 04:26:36

Fighters from the Islamic State group have taken control of a vast former chemical weapons facility northwest of Baghdad, where remnants of 2,500 degraded chemical rockets filled decades ago with the deadly nerve agent sarin are stored along with other chemical warfare agents, Iraq said in a letter circulated Tuesday at the United Nations.

The US government, however, played down the threat from the takeover, saying there are no intact chemical weapons and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to use the material for military purposes.

You can read the rest of the report here.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Russian gas flows via Ukraine to EU
2014.07.10 04:24:02

Russian natural gas flows to the European Union through Slovakia via Ukraine were running normally on Wednesday morning, Slovak pipeline operator Eustream said.

Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine on June 16 in a dispute over unpaid bills but has continued to supply gas which Ukraine sends on to Russia's clients. (Reuters)



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | European Union

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Four rockets launched at Tel Aviv
2014.07.10 04:12:19

The Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for the four rockets launched at Tel Aviv this morning. The group said in a statement that the rockets were M-75s, a locally-produced model with a range of about 80km.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Qassam Brigades

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Iraq: 'terrorists' seize ex-chemical weapons site
2014.07.10 04:10:15

The Islamic State group has taken control of a vast former chemical weapons facility northwest of Baghdad, where 2,500 degraded chemical rockets filled decades ago with the deadly nerve agent sarin or their remnants were stored along with other chemical warfare agents, Iraq said in a letter circulated Tuesday at the United Nations.

The US government played down the threat from the takeover, saying there are no intact chemical weapons and it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to use the material for military purposes.

Iraq's UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a letter that "armed terrorist groups'' entered the Muthanna site on June 11, detained officers and soldiers from the protection force guarding the facilities and seized their weapons.

The following morning, the project manager spotted the looting of some equipment via the camera surveillance system before the "terrorists'' disabled it, he said.

Alhakim said as a result of the takeover of Muthanna, Iraq is unable "to fulfill its obligations to destroy chemical weapons'' because of the deteriorating security situation.

He said it would resume its obligations "as soon as the security situation has improved and control of the facility has been regained.''

[AP]



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SNC's new president
2014.07.10 04:07:54

The media office of the Syrian National Coalition has officially announced that Hadi Al Bahra has been elected as the SNC's new president after he won a clear majority of votes.

- Hadi al Bahra was born in Damascus in 1959. Graduated in industrial engineering from Wichita University in the US.

-  He Joined the SNC in August 2013 as independent member and was the head of the SNC delegation in the Geneva 2 talks.

- During the Syrian uprising, al Bahra contributed to the establishment of support groups and coordinating communication between networks inside Syria and foreign media organizations.

[SNC]



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Damage done by shelling
2014.07.10 04:05:30

Residents of Luhansk examined the damage done by shelling to a number of buildings in the rebel-held Ukrainian city on Tuesday.

Both a business center and a large residential building appeared badly damaged, but no injuries were reported.

The business center was hit on Tuesday morning and the residential building around 3 pm local time.

"About an hour ago I was in the garden and there were three explosions with an interval of about 15-20 seconds each," one local woman said. "They hit the houses."

"The windows were shattered but no-one was killed. Everything is fine but people panicked a little," she added.

Battles between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian insurgents have left over 400 people dead and thousands homeless since the uprising began in April.

[AP]



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The latest line from Reuters
2014.07.10 03:56:28

The Israeli army claims to have shot down two rockets heading for Tel Aviv using its Iron Dome anti-missile system.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Abbas calls on international community to guarantee Palestinian security
2014.07.10 03:55:21

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appeared on Palestinian TV on Tuesday to appeal for international help as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continued to escalate.

"I have been in communication with many different parties during the last few days, regionally and internationally, and especially with the Palestinian factions and leaders from the Hamas movement, warning them that the Israeli government wants to take the situation to a violent circle, and all those I have spoken to reiterated that they are for the continuation of the truce and against escalation.

What's happening in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem is not a war between two armies.

The Palestinian people are an unarmed people, people who live under occupation. It's time now for the international community, and especially the Quartet and the Security Council, to take their responsibility to guarantee the international protection of our people."

[Reuters]



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Mahmoud Abbas

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Palestinian youth in West Bank clash with Israeli military
2014.07.10 03:53:26

Palestinian youth threw stones at Israeli soldiers who fired tear gas after protesters set fire to trees and tyres outside an Israeli military base early Wednesday (July 9) morning.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Palestinian youth set up barricades across a road leading to the base, setting alight tyres and other materials.

The protest started after at least 20 people were killed across Gaza on Tuesday (July 8), Palestinian officials said, by a bombardment Israel said may be just the start of a lengthy offensive against armed groups whose rockets reached unprecedented depths of its interior.

Israelis ran for cover as air-raid sirens sounded in the business capital Tel Aviv and the holy city of Jerusalem, both of which were hit in the previous Gaza war of November 2012.

Hamas said it also fired at rocket at northern Haifa, 140 km (88 miles) away, and though this was not confirmed Israel said a rocket had landed in Hadera, 100 km (60 miles) from Gaza - further than had previously been reached.

[Reuters]



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Israeli military spokesperson
2014.07.10 03:51:36

According to an Israeli military spokesperson:

- there have been 220 rockets from Gaza to Israel since the beginning of the operation, marked as the evening of July 7,

- in the past 24 hours, there have been 117 strikes (plus 29 intercepted) - from Gaza to Israel,

- from Israel to Gaza, there have been 273 air strikes from 12pm noon local time July 8th to 00:00 local time July 9th.

Gaza is still being hit by strikes, with the death toll expected to rise.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Israeli airstrike on a house in Gaza
2014.07.10 03:48:39

Hafez Hamad, the leader of al-Quds Brigade, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, along with two children, two women and a man have been killed during an Israeli airstrike on a house in Gaza's Beit Hanoun.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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Largest offensive in the Gaza
2014.07.10 03:47:32

The Associated Press reports that at least 25 people have been killed during the largest offensive in the Gaza Strip in nearly two years.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Israeli Foreign Ministry continues blaming Hamas
2014.07.09 04:44:56

Paul Hirshorn, the deputy spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry continued to blame Hamas for the escalation.

"We were reluctant to participate in an escalation. The Palestinian people are not our enemy, this is an issue with Hamas."

He blamed the Palestinian government for ruining negotiations by "getting into bed" with Hamas. "There's a deal awaiting to be done."



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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Israeli soldiers killed four Palestinian
2014.07.09 03:54:44

The Israeli army has said that its soldiers have killed four Palestinian gunmen who slipped into southern Israel by sea from the Gaza Strip, an attack which Hamas has claimed responsibility.

Hamas said it was in telephone contact with the commander of the squad that stormed Zikim beach and that he was exchanging fire with the army.

Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said four gunmen were killed by combined fire from troops, the air force and the navy. Israeli forces were still searching the area. He did not say whether the gunmen had swum in or landed by boat.

Lerner said an Israeli soldier had been wounded in the incident, which he described as rare. The Israeli military keeps Gaza under tight naval cordon.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Death toll (at 1715 GMT): 15 killed
2014.07.09 03:53:21

1 Qassam member in Nuseirat, central Gaza strip - jet airstrike
3 Qassam in traveling in car in Gaza City (including Qassam commander Mohammed Shaaban) - drone strike
7 civilians at a family home in Khan Younis, (including three children) - airstrike
2 fighters killed in airstrike in Shijaiya, east Gaza City - airstrike
1 fighter killed on motorcycle in Beit Lahia, north Gaza Strip - airstrike
1  child in Sheik Radwan area in Gaza city



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general for the Palestinian National Initiative
2014.07.09 03:51:04

Speaking to us from Ramallah, Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general for the Palestinian National Initiative said:

Rockets were launched from Gaza in retaliation to Israeli airstrikes. But how many Israeli's were killed? None. How many Palestinians? 16 today, and 45 this past week. This is an attack on all the Palestinian people.

Palestinians have the right to resist. To claim that an Israeli life is more important and more precious than a Palestinian life is completely unacceptable.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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White House condemned rocket attacks against Israel
2014.07.09 03:49:07

The White House condemned rocket attacks against Israel that reached as far as Tel Aviv and expressed support for Israel's right to defend itself.Tuesday.

"We strongly condemn the continuing rocket fire inside of Israel and the deliberate targeting of civilians by terrorist organizations in Gaza," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a news briefing.

"No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians and we support Israel's right to defend itself against these vicious attacks."



Tags: Gaza | Israel | United States

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