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NATO sees alarming build-up of Russian forces near Ukraine
2014.08.23 04:21:21

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Friday the alliance had observed an alarming build-up of Russian ground and air forces in the vicinity of Ukraine.

"We have also seen transfers of large quantities of advanced weapons, including tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery to separatist groups in eastern Ukraine," Rasmussen said in a statement.

Rasmussen said Russia continued to escalate the crisis in eastern Ukraine and that this could lead to further isolation of Moscow.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | NATO

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Friday's attack on a Sunni mosque
2014.08.23 04:20:19

The UN Secretary General has condemned in the "strongest terms" Friday's attack on a Sunni mosque in Bani Wais, near Baquba.

Ban Ki-Moon called on the Iraqi government to ensure the attack was properly investigated and those responsible were held to account.

"The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the impact such acts of sectarian violence will have on the already grave security situation and on the political process," a statement by the UN said.

More than 70 people are believed to have died in the attack.



Tags: Iraq

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Clashes near Nablus
2014.08.23 04:19:28

At least 10 Palestinians have been injured in clashes near Nablus between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters as rage mounted across the West Bank over Israel's 47th day assault against the Gaza Strip that has killed more than2092.

The injuries occurred in clashes with Israeli forces at Beit Furik checkpoint east of Nablus, Palestine TV reported on Friday.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Russia complies with international law in convoy operation
2014.08.23 04:18:30

Moscow is not in breach of international law over its humanitarian convoy to Ukraine, a senior Russian diplomat said on Friday.

"We are acting in full accordance with international humanitarian law norms," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in a statement.

"We cannot accept and will not accept the disastrous situation in which people living in the south-east of Ukraine have found themselves.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Sunni parliamentary blocs suspended talks
2014.08.23 04:17:45

Two Sunni parliamentary blocs have suspended talks on forming a new Iraqi government to protest an attack on a Sunni mosque that killed at least 64 worshipers during Friday prayers.

The blocs affiliated with Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al Mutlak are demanding that outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the main Shia parliamentary bloc hand over the perpetrators within 48 hours and compensate the families of victims. [AP]



Tags: Iraq

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Israeli child killed by mortars
2014.08.23 03:37:55

A spokesman for Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel's Prime Minister has promised harsh retaliation for the death of an Israeli child killed by mortars- the first Israeli child killed in the conflict.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Benjamin Netanyahu

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EU condemns Russia convoy entering Ukraine
2014.08.23 03:36:34

Russia's decision to send a convoy of aid trucks across the border into eastern Ukraine without Kiev's consent or an escort of international observers is a clear violation of Ukraine's border, the EU's foreign policy chief's office said on Friday.

"This is a clear violation of the Ukrainian border. This also goes counter to the previous arrangements reached between Ukraine, Russia and the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross)," Sebastien Brabant, spokesman for the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said.

"We urge Russia to reverse its decision."

Ukraine said Russia had launched a "direct invasion" of its territory, while Moscow warned against any attempt to disrupt the convoy which it said was a purely humanitarian operation.

The EU said it commended Kiev's restraint and readiness for talks to avoid a further escalation of the crisis, adding Russia's humanitarian assistance should be channeled in full respect of international law and agreements with Ukraine.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | European Union

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Germany distances itself from Qatar-Islamic State allegations
2014.08.23 03:34:57

Germany said Friday it regretted any offense caused to Qatar after a cabinet minister linked the Arab state to financing of  Islamic State group fighters in Syria and Iraq.

"We regret if there have been any misunderstandings" a foreign ministry  spokesman said after the comments by Development Aid Minister Gerd Mueller to a  German public broadcaster.

On the funding allegations, he said: "I am not aware of such information."

Mueller, speaking to ZDF about the financing the group Islamic  State group, said: "A story like this always has a history ... Who is financing  these troops? Hint: Qatar."

Doha denies supporting the fighters who have overrun large parts of Syria and Iraq and who this week sparked global outrage with the  release of a video showing the beheading of US journalist James Foley. [AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Qatar | Germany

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Al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for firing rocket
2014.08.23 03:22:17

Al-Qassam Brigades has claimed responsibility for firing a rocket at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Qassam Brigades

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Russian foreign ministry statement:
2014.08.23 03:20:55

"The responsibility for any possible consequences of provocations against the humanitarian convoy lie completely with those who are ready to continue to sacrifice human lives for their ambitions and geopolitical plans."



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Attack on a Sunni mosque in Baquba
2014.08.23 03:20:09

The death toll from an attack on a Sunni mosque in Baquba has gone up to at least 73.

Local sources say fighters from a Shia militia, locked the doors inside the mosque in Diyala province, 120km from Baghdad, and opened fire of worshipers inside.

Witnesses also said the attack could have been in retaliation for a roadside bomb attack on a recruitment event held by the same militia.



Tags: Iraq

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Netanyahu use an image of James Foley's execution to link Hamas to the Islamic State
2014.08.23 03:07:50

Hamas spokesman Izzat al-Rishq has criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for using a picture of a slain American journalist to equate Hamas to the Islamic State group

Netanyahu used an image of James Foley's execution to link Hamas to the Islamic State group On Thursday, but later removed the picture.

"The attempt by Netanyahu and his spokesman Ofir Gendelman to link Hamas and compare us with other groups is a deception and disinformation campaign that will not fool anyone", Rishq said in a statment on Friday.

"We strongly condemn and reject how Netanyahu, Gendelman and the Israeli media exploit the picture of the slain American journalist James Foley who was executed in a brutal manner", he added.

"We condemn  the low and cheap use of this image without any respect for the sanctity of the dead."

The picture is still up on the Israeli Foreign Ministry's twitter account.

Foley's sister had previously asked that people refrain from watching or sharing the video of Foley's execution.

"Please honor James Foley and respect my family's privacy. Don't watch the video. Don't share it. That's not how life should be", she wrote on Twitter.

Her Twitter account has since been deleted.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Islamic State

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Ukrainian authorities:
2014.08.23 03:04:15

90 trucks from a Russian aid convoy had crossed into Ukraine without permission:

"They passed into Ukraine without clearance or participation of the International Red Cross or (Ukrainian) border guards."

Military spokesman Andriy Lysenko

"We consider this a direct invasion by Russia of Ukraine."

Ukrainian state security chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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700,000 Iraqis have gathered in the Kurdish north
2014.08.23 03:01:56

About 700,000 Iraqis have gathered in the Kurdish north after being driven from their homes by Islamic State fighters, the United Nations said as it stepped up a massive aid operation to the region.

"The Kurdistan region of Iraq is now hosting close to 700,000 displaced Iraqis, most having arrived in early June," Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the UN's refugee agency, told reporters in Geneva.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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The death toll in Gaza
2014.08.23 02:52:47

The death toll in Gaza stands at at least 2,091 Palestinians dead.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Reuters witness - 70 trucks in Ukraine, Rostov region
2014.08.23 02:51:46

Large portions of the border in the Rostov region are held by pro-Russia separatists. Ukraine had previously said the trucks would not be allowed to cross the border in areas not controlled by the army.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Shia militia opened fired inside an Iraqi Sunni mosqueI
2014.08.23 02:50:04

At least 30 people were killed when a Shia Muslim militia opened fired inside an Iraqi Sunni mosque in Diyala province on Friday, an Iraqi security source told Reuters news agency.

The security source said at least 30 bodies had arrived at the hospital in the city of Baquba in Diyala province. Witnesses said the death toll from the attack was higher, but it was not immediately possible to verify the reports.



Tags: Iraq

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Putin 'informed' of aid convoy's move
2014.08.23 02:36:54

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been informed that a Russian aid convoy has moved towards the Ukrainian city of Luhansk, where pro-Russian separatists are fighting Ukrainian government forces, RIA news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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All sides agreed on the need to form a 'proper' government
2014.08.23 02:35:56

Iraq's most influential cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said on Friday that all sides agreed on the need to form a "proper" government in Baghdad and repeated his call on compatriots to fight the Islamic State group.

Speaking through an aide after Friday prayer sermons in the sacred Shia Muslim city of Kerbala, Sistani expressed concern over the plight of about 18,000 Shia in the town of Amerli who are surrounded by IS figthers.

[Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Ali al-Sistani

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UN human rights chief
2014.08.23 02:33:52

In her last address to the Security Council, the UN human rights chief sharply criticized the body for its ineffectiveness on Syria and other intractable conflicts, saying its members have often put national interests ahead of stopping mass atrocities. Here is our story:

UN's Pillay slams Security Council 'failure'

In final address Navy Pillay says a more responsive UN Security Council could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.



Tags: Syria | Navy Pillay

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