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US cannot bomb the IS inside Syria
2014.08.22 03:19:40

The US cannot bomb the Islamic State group inside Syria without asking President Assad, Omran al-Zoubi, the interim information minister has said.

Speaking to Al-Mayadeen TV, Al-Zoubi said, "the American planes can only strike inside Syria if they ask for the consent of the government because Syria looks at the war on terror as being comprehensive and not partial.

"The international community cannot afford double standards and dismiss the role of Turkey, Qatar and other countries in the region in the financing of terrorism and it must deal with the threat as a whole."



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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Statement by Arouri
2014.08.22 02:55:15

An addition to the previous post: No other senior Hamas official has repeated or confirmed the comments in the statement by Arouri, MWC is seeking further comment.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson speaking to Reuters
2014.08.22 02:54:00

"An ICRC team visited Luhansk (on Wednesday) to check the roads and establish contacts for the delivery of the convoy, having received security guarantees for the mission. We hope all issues can be resolved shortly."



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Syria war toll over 180,000: NGO
2014.08.22 02:53:00

More than 180,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict broke out in March 2011, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a new toll published on Thursday.

The Britain-based monitoring group, which relies on a network of sources on the ground, said it had documented the deaths of 180,215 people.

Among them were 58,805 civilians, including 9,428 children and 6,036 women.

The group said 49,699 members of the armed opposition had been killed, among them fighters from armed groups like Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State.

It did not break the figures down further.

The new toll includes 66,365 regime forces - 40,438 from the military, and 25,927 members of a pro-regime militia.

The Observatory also documented the deaths of 561 members of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, which is fighting alongside the regime, and 1,854 other non-Syrian pro-regime fighters.

The toll also includes 2,931 unidentified people whose deaths the Observatory has confirmed without being able to record their identities.

The conflict has also displaced nearly half of the country's population.

[AFP]



Tags: Syria

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Three kidnapped Israeli settlers
2014.08.22 02:42:10

A senior Hamas official said members of his group kidnapped three Israeli settlers whose deaths in June provoked a spiral of violence that led to the ongoing war in Gaza, the first acknowledgement of the movement's involvement.

Saleh al-Arouri, a Hamas official from the West Bank who lives in exile in Turkey, was speaking at a conference of international Islamic scholars in Istanbul.

"The popular will was exercised throughout our occupied land, and culminated in the heroic operation by the al-Qassam Brigades in imprisoning the three settlers in Hebron," he said, referring to the group's armed wing.

Hamas officials have up to now refused to confirm or deny any involvement.

[Reuters]



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Qassam Brigades

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Dutch museum keeps disputed Crimea treasure
2014.08.22 02:39:33

A Dutch museum has said it would delay the return of Crimean archaeological treasures it is exhibiting, fearingĀ  a legal tussle with either Russia or Ukraine.

The priceless medieval artifacts, on loan from four Crimean museums, went on display at Amsterdam's Allard Pierson Museum in February, less than a month before the peninsula was annexed by Russia.

The museums, now under Russian authority, have asked for them to be returned, while the Ukrainian government in Kiev has also claimed the treasures.

The exhibition, entitled "The Crimea: Gold and Secrets from the Black Sea", features items spanning the 2nd century BC to the late medieval era, including a ceremonial Scythian helmet made from gold, as well as a lacquered box, originally from China, which in Roman times found its way to Crimea via the Silk Road.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Netherlands | Crimea

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Four more foreign hostages near Aleppo
2014.08.22 02:38:06

Islamic State fighters have seized four more foreign hostages near Aleppo in recent days, taking the number of foreigners they now hold to more than 20.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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Israeli drone hit
2014.08.22 02:28:33

Gaza medical sources say that 2 other Palestinians were killed as Israeli drone hit a car at Nasser neighborhood in Gaza city.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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IS demanded a $135m ransom for Foley release
2014.08.22 02:23:01

Islamic State group fighters who captured and later beheaded US journalist, James Foley, had earlier demanded a $135m ransom for his release last week.

The family of the reporter received an email from the group last week, in which they made clear that Foley was going to be killed, according to Philip Balboni, the chief executive of the Global post, who the journalist worked for, said today.

You can read the full report on the Boston Globe website.



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

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Latest UNHCR estimates on Ukraine
2014.08.22 02:18:17
  • 415,800 people have fled their homes
  • At least 190,000 are displaced within Ukraine
  • 197,000 have fled to Russia - of those, 78,000 have applied for refugee status
  • 14,600 have travelled to Poland
  • 13,883 headed to Belarus


Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Activists say the regime continues to use toxic gas
2014.08.22 02:15:41

Syrian activists say the regime continues to use toxic gas in its fight against the rebels, a year after a major chemical gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus killed hundreds and sparked international condemnation.

Video posted on Wednesday, a day ahead of the anniversary of the August 21 attack, purports to show victims in a field hospital being treated from what activists say was a fresh gas attack in the Damascus suburb of Jobar.

Activists said Wednesday's attack killed three fighters, while seven suffered from breathing difficulties.

The footage - which may be disturbing to some viewers - cannot be independently verified by MWC.




Tags: Syria

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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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