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Israel's Ben Gurion international airport
2014.08.22 01:59:25

All flights were operating normally at Israel's Ben Gurion international airport near Tel Aviv early Thursday despite a warning issued by Hamas's armed wing in Gaza, officials said.

Ofer Lefler, spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority (IAA), told the AFP news agency flights had been disrupted for a brief 10 minute pause but aside from that, everything was operating normally.

"There has been no change to take offs or landings. Flights were interrupted for 10 minutes for security reasons but I cannot give any details on that," he said.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Tel Aviv

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Report of Ankara talk with fighters from the Islamic State
2014.08.22 01:58:07

The Turkish foreign ministry has denied a newspaper report that alleged that Ankara was in talks with fighters from the Islamic State group to hand over the historic Tomb of Suleyman Shah which it controls in Syria in exchange for dozens of nationals held hostage in Iraq.

Taraf daily claimed that IS had given Ankara three weeks to relinquish the tomb in exchange of the hostages.

It also reported that Ankara has given the offer the green light and already notified the Turkish armed forces to withdraw its troops permanently stationed around the tomb; a claim shot down by the foreign ministry as having "no basis".

It said that IS initially asked for money and arms but the two sides later agreed on the alleged deal.

In a statement, the ministry slammed the newspaper for publishing the report and added that efforts to secure the release of the consulate staff are underway.

Under a treaty signed in the early 1920s, Turkey controls the Tomb of Suleyman Shah in northern Syria as a sovereign enclave and even has armed forces permanently stationed around the historic monument.

Islamic State fighters have been holding 49 Turks including diplomats, special forces and children kidnapped from the Turkish consulate in Mosul on June 11.

The Tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of Ottoman Empire founder Osman, is located in the province of Aleppo, 25 kilometers from the Turkey-Syria border.

Click here to read the report on Taraf || Click here to read the statement from the foreign ministry

[Note: Both links lead to Turkish-language websites]



Tags: Turkey | Islamic State | Iraq | Syria

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Al-Qassam brigades
2014.08.22 01:45:23

Al-Qassam brigades, the military wing of Hamas, confirmed the killing of three of its prominent leaders: Mohamed Abu Shamaleh, Raed al-Attar and Mohamed Barhoum in an Israeli air strike.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Qassam Brigades

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US forces failed to rescue James Foley
2014.08.22 01:43:42

US forces tried but failed to rescue reporter James Foley and other US hostages held in Syria by the Islamic State, officials and reports said Wednesday, a day after the group released a video showing the journalist's beheading.

US media, citing senior Obama administration officials, said Foley was among those US Special Operations commandos were trying to rescue.

"The United States attempted a rescue operation recently to free a number of American hostages held in Syria by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (IS)," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

"This operation involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within ISIL. "Unfortunately, the mission was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location."

The White House said in a separate statement that the rescue attempt was authorized "earlier this summer."

It involved several dozen US commandos, one of whom was injured in a fierce firefight with IS militants, The Washington Post said, calling it the first known US ground operation in Syria since the country's descent into civil war.

The Post said that it was believed that Sotloff was also among the group being held that included Foley.



Tags: Barack Obama | James Foley | United States | Islamic State | Iraq | Syria

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Secretary of State has condemned the Islamic State group
2014.08.21 05:34:38

The US Secretary of State has condemned the Islamic State group after its execution of journalists, James Foley.

Kerry called the group an "ugly, savage,inexplicable, nihilistic, and valueless evil."

"ISIL is the face of that evil, a threat to people who want to live in peace, and an ugly insult to the peaceful religion they violate every day with their barbarity," he added.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | James Foley

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Obama condemned the Islamic State group fighters
2014.08.21 05:33:32

US President Barack Obama condemned the Islamic State group fighters who beheaded an American journalist as "a cancer" and said "their ideology is bankrupt."

"The whole world is appalled by the brutal murder of James Foley," Obama said, speaking a day after the group released a video of Foley being beheaded.

Obama said he called Foley's family to express his condolences. [Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | James Foley | Barack Obama

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The beheading of US journalist James Foley
2014.08.21 05:32:24

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon has condemned in "the strongest terms" the beheading of US journalist James Foley by the Islamic State group, according to Reuters.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | James Foley

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Video is authentic
2014.08.21 05:31:26

Analysis of a video showing American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff indicates that the video is authentic, a US National Security Council spokeswoman said.

"The US Intelligence Community has analyzed the recently released video showing US citizens James Foley and Steven Sotloff," spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.

"We have reached the judgment that this video is authentic. We will continue to provide updates as they are available."

Islamic State group fighters posted a video purporting to show Foley being beheaded and also showing Sotloff. [Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | James Foley

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Investigation into an Islamic State group video
2014.08.21 05:30:05

British counter-terrorism police said they had launched an investigation into an Islamic State group video purporting to show the beheading of American journalist James Foley and featuring the voice of a man with a British accent.

The Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command, that aims to protect London and the UK from the threat of terrorism, said in a statement that it was investigating the contents of the video that was posted online.

"We would like to remind the public that viewing, downloading or disseminating extremist material within the UK may constitute an offense under Terrorism legislation," the specialist operations unit added in the statement. [Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | James Foley

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Brutal murder of James Foley
2014.08.21 05:02:56

British Prime Minister David Cameron will interrupt his holiday and return to London after a video released by the Islamic State group purportedly showed the beheading of a US journalist featuring comments by a man with a British accent.

"If true, the brutal murder of James Foley is shocking and depraved," a statement from Cameron's office said on Wednesday.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | James Foley | David Cameron

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Humanitarian airlift to northern Iraq started
2014.08.21 05:01:08

A humanitarian airlift to northern Iraq has started , kicking off a 10-day operation to provide tents and other aid to half a million displaced people who are struggling for survival, United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said.

A cargo plane from Jordan touched down in Arbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, carrying 100 tonnes of emergency supplies, and will be followed by land and sea shipments, the Geneva-based agency said in a statement.

"This is a massive logistics operation ... to help the hundreds of thousands of desperate people who have fled suddenly with nothing but their lives and are now struggling to survive in harsh conditions," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres. [Reuters]



Tags: Iraq

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Government troops have taken control of a large part of Luhansk
2014.08.21 04:59:54

A Ukrainian official says government troops have taken control of a large part of Luhansk, a besieged rebel stronghold in eastern Ukraine, after days of street battles.

Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Security Council, told reporters Wednesday in Kiev that government forces are now controlling "significant parts" of the eastern city.

Hard-hit Luhansk has been without electricity, running water or phone connections for 18 days due to the fighting. Russia has sent a massive aid convoy to help the residents there but it has not yet received Kiev's approval, because the proposed route lies through rebel-held territory.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Germany says it is prepared to arm Kurdish fighters
2014.08.21 04:33:56

Germany says it is prepared to arm Kurdish fighters battling Sunni armed groups in northern Iraq.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says Germany would closely coordinate its efforts with France, Britain and other European countries who are already delivering weapons to the Kurds.

Wednesday's announcement follows intense domestic and international pressure for the German government to provide more than humanitarian assistance to those fighting the Islamic State group.

Sending weapons would be a significant step for Germany, which traditionally has shied away from such moves.

Steinmeier said the decision was taken in light of the fact that a collapse of Kurdish defenses could precipitate a wider catastrophe in Iraq that would directly affect Europe.

[AP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Germany

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Nouri al-Maliki
2014.08.21 04:32:49

The key principle in forming the government is how to maintain the political stability, simply for the reason that security construction economic and social stability are all dependent on the political stability where there is no tension, division, enmities or struggle between the parliament and the government. This is what, in the past, had crippled the state and institutions from operating, giving fertile land and nesting ground for terrorism.

--Outgoing PM Nouri al-Maliki.



Tags: Iraq

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Moscow's famed Stalin-era skyscrapers
2014.08.21 04:31:24


Protesters on Wednesday scaled one of Moscow's famed Stalin-era skyscrapers and painted the Soviet star on its spire in the national colors of Ukraine. The dangerous prank, which set Russian social networking sites abuzz, drew a harsh response from the police.

The protesters also attached a yellow and blue Ukrainian flag to the top of the 176-meter (580-foot) building east of the Kremlin along the Moscow River.

Russian authorities were not amused by the expression of support for Ukraine, where government troops are battling pro-Russian separatists.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Iraqi army fails to retake Tikrit
2014.08.21 04:20:09

Iraqi army fails to retake Tikrit in third attempt to recapture the town.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Tikrit

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Rebel-held city of Donetsk
2014.08.21 04:19:14

Government troops fought to gain control of the rebel-held city of Donetsk and a key highway in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, battles that left 34 residents and nine troops dead in just 24 hours, authorities said.

The Ukrainian troops are trying to encircle Donetsk, the largest city still in rebel hands, and also drive the rebels out of the city of Luhansk.

Several neighborhoods in Donetsk have been hit with artillery fire in the last few days and fighting on the outskirts has become more intense.

The Kiev-backed administration in Donetsk quoted the death toll of 34 "local residents" killed and 29 wounded as of noon Wednesday, a figure it said did not include any government troop deaths.

Earlier, a Ukrainian official said nine troops were killed and 22 wounded in overnight fighting in Ilovaysk, a town near Donetsk, as the government sought to retake a major railroad and highway that leads to Russia.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Hollande called for an international conference
2014.08.21 04:06:37

French President Francois Hollande called for an international conference on ways of tackling the Islamic State group.

"We can no longer keep to the traditional debate of intervention or non-intervention," Hollande told Le Monde newspaper in remarks published on Wednesday.

"We have to come up with a global strategy to fight this group, which is structured, has significant financing, very sophisticated weapons and threatens countries like Iraq, Syria and Lebanon," he said.

[Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | France

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Nine troops die in fighting
2014.08.21 04:05:13

A Ukrainian official says nine troops were killed in overnight fighting in the streets of the town of Ilovaysk, which lies just east of the rebel stronghold Donetsk, AP news agency reported.

Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, said in a Facebook post Wednesday morning that government troops now control half of the town, but rebels are offering fierce resistance after more than a day of fighting.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Benjamin Netanyahu
2014.08.21 03:51:33

"Our policy with Hamas is simple- if they open fire they will be struck back seven times over"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Benjamin Netanyahu

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