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Afghan suicide attack kills 16, including 4 Czech soldiers

Afghan suicide attack kills 16, including 4 Czech soldiers

8 July 2014 | 17:24 | FOCUS News Agency
Kabul. A Taliban suicide bomber killed 16 people including 10 civilians and four Czech soldiers in an attack in eastern Afghanistan Tuesday, officials said, as foreign troops wind down their war against the insurgents, AFP reported.
Czech chief of staff Petr Pavel told reporters in Prague that the bomber was in a crowd of Afghans talking to soldiers who were investigating rocket attacks against Bagram airbase, a major US military facility nearby.
The attack, which was claimed by the Taliban, comes as Afghanistan is mired in political crisis, with a bitter row raging over allegations of fraud in the presidential runoff election.
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Afghan crisis: Nato troops among 16 dead in Bagram bombing

Afghan crisis: Nato troops among 16 dead in Bagram bombing

8 July 2014 | 09:59 | FOCUS News Agency
Kabul. A suicide bomber has killed 16 people - including four Nato soldiers - in an attack on the outskirts of Bagram air base in north-eastern Afghanistan, BBC reported.
Ten civilians and two police officers were also reportedly killed in the attack on a clinic near the largest US base in the country.
The attack comes amid a mounting crisis over the presidential election result.
Supporters of losing candidate Abdullah Abdullah say he will create a "parallel government" if his rival is elected.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that a failure to accept the result could harm security and aid.
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Four NATO soldiers killed in east Afghanistan: official

Four NATO soldiers killed in east Afghanistan: official

8 July 2014 | 09:12 | FOCUS News Agency
Kabul. Four soldiers from the US-led NATO mission fighting in eastern Afghanistan died on Tuesday in "an enemy forces attack", the coalition force said, as foreign troops wind down their war against the Taliban, AFP reported.
"Four International Security Assistance Force service members died as a result of an enemy forces attack," a statement from ISAF said. In line with coalition policy, it did not name the nationalities of the victims.
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U.N. experts trace recent seized arms to Iran, violating embargo

U.N. experts trace recent seized arms to Iran, violating embargo

28 June 2014 | 06:03 | FOCUS News Agency
New York. A U.N. expert panel has concluded that a shipment of rockets and other weapons that was seized by Israel came from Iran and represents a violation of the U.N. arms embargo on Tehran, according to a confidential report obtained by Reuters on Friday, Reuters reports.
The finding comes just days ahead of the next round of negotiations in Vienna between Iran and six world powers aimed at securing a deal that would gradually lift international sanctions on Tehran -- including the arms embargo -- in exchange for curbs on the controversial Iranian nuclear program.
Despite Israel's public statements that the seized arms were destined for Gaza -- an allegation that Gaza's governing Islamist militant group Hamas dismissed as a fabrication -- the experts said the weapons were being sent to Sudan.
The experts do not speculate in the report about why the arms were being sent to Sudan, a country which Western diplomatic and intelligence sources have told Reuters has in the past been a conduit for Iranian arms shipments to other locations in Africa, as well as the Gaza Strip.
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Iran, Russia to finalise new nuclear plants deal: media

Iran, Russia to finalise new nuclear plants deal: media

23 June 2014 | 10:39 | FOCUS News Agency
Tehran. Iran is moving to finalise plans with Russia to build at least two more nuclear power plants on its southern Gulf shores, media reports said on Monday, AFP reported.
The announcement came as Russia's Rosatom deputy chief Nikolai Spassky arrived in Tehran for a two-day visit during which he will meet senior nuclear officials.
Spassky will also meet Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, a senior negotiator in talks with world powers on Iran's nuclear ambitions, the official IRNA news agency reported, without elaborating.
Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said after months of negotiations, the deal will be signed this week, the ISNA news agency reported.
Under a provisional agreement, Russia will build two more 1,000-megawatt plants next to Iran's sole existing plants in the southern Gulf port city of Bushehr.
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Top Iraq Shiite cleric calls for new govt to avoid past mistakes

Top Iraq Shiite cleric calls for new govt to avoid past mistakes

20 June 2014 | 14:54 | FOCUS News Agency
Baghdad. Iraq's top Shiite cleric called on Friday for the country's next government to be "effective" and avoid past mistakes, in an implicit criticism of the embattled incumbent premier, AFP reported.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for the "formation of an effective government that is acceptable on a ... national level (and) avoids past mistakes," in remarks made by his spokesman on his behalf.
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Iran says Obama lacks will to combat terrorism in Iraq

Iran says Obama lacks will to combat terrorism in Iraq

20 June 2014 | 14:22 | FOCUS News Agency
Tehran. US President Barack Obama lacks "serious will" to combat terrorism, a top Iranian official said Friday after an Iraqi appeal for American airstrikes went unanswered, AFP reported.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian's comments followed a statement from Obama on the Iraq crisis in which he pledged to send military advisors to Baghdad but stopped short of further action at this stage.
Fighters from the Sunni extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and their allies, have made swift territorial gains in Shiite-majority Iraq in a push that began last week.
ISIL considers Shiites, also a majority in neighbouring Iran, to be apostates.
"Delaying the fight against terrorism and ISIL and putting conditions on it have fuelled suspicions and doubts about the United States' objectives in Iraq," Abdollahian said, according to the state broadcaster's website.
"Obama's comments show the White House lacks serious will in fighting terrorism in Iraq and the region," he added.
On Thursday, Obama had warned Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Iran against promoting sectarianism after Tehran vowed to help Iraq against the fighters and defend Shiite holy sites located in its western neighbour.
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Obama warns Iran against stirring sectarian tide

Obama warns Iran against stirring sectarian tide

20 June 2014 | 02:46 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. US President Barack Obama warned Iran on Thursday it could end up fighting sectarian fury "in a whole lot of places" unless it helped stabilize Iraq and pushed for an inclusive, multiethnic government, AFP reports.
Shiite Iran could play a "constructive" role in helping ease the crisis in Iraq sparked by the lightning advance of Sunni radicals from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Obama said.
But he cautioned that "old habits die hard," following several days of maneuvering between Tehran and Washington over possible cooperation amid signs both sides may have a common interest in preventing Iraq's plight from worsening.
Obama's intervention came as he announced the dispatch of 300 military advisors to help assess training needs for Baghdad's armed forces but insisted that he was not getting drawn back into a war Washington launched to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003 and which he declared over in 2011.
"Our view is that Iran can play a constructive role if it is helping to send the same message to the Iraqi government that we're sending," Obama said.
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Obama to send advisors to Iraq, open to military action

Obama to send advisors to Iraq, open to military action

19 June 2014 | 23:03 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. President Barack Obama pledged to take "precise" military action if needed to check marauding Sunni radicals in Iraq and offered up to 300 US advisors to train Iraqi forces facing a crisis splintering the country on sectarian lines, AFP reports.
But Obama, who based an entire political career on ending US involvement in Iraq, insisted the United States is not slipping back into the morass -- and issued a sharp warning that sectarianism spells disaster for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Iran.
Obama signalled stepped up White House action after meeting top national security advisors to discuss how to respond to swift gains by rbel Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces, which have seized several key cities and threatening to advance on Baghdad.
The fighters have northern Iraq's biggest city, Mosul and taken swathes of territory in an advance which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, left an unknown number dead and alarmed Western nations who fear the establishment of a vast new "terror" haven.
Obama was adamant, however, that "American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq."
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Rampant rise of Islamic fundamentalism is the root cause for the situation in Iraq: J.D. Gordon

Rampant rise of Islamic fundamentalism is the root cause for the situation in Iraq: J.D. Gordon

19 June 2014 | 22:07 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. “Rampant rise of Islamic fundamentalism is the root cause for the situation in Iraq.” That is what Jeffrey. D. Gordon, former Pentagon Spokesman said in an interview for FOCUS News Agency in connection with the crisis in Iraq, where Sunni terrorist organization has been seizing territory since June 10.
“The security disaster unfolding today in Iraq has a number of direct causes, though from a strategic standpoint, the rampant rise of Islamic fundamentalism is the root cause. This rise also explains why Russia remains under siege from radical Islamists operating from Chechnya, Dagestan and beyond. From a tactical standpoint, there are several key factors on why ISIS has been so successful on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria,” Jeffrey. D. Gordon said.

The entire interview later in the Opinion column
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If the U.S. withdraws all troops from Afghanistan by 2016 as planned, the security situation will deteriorate: Jeffrey D. Gordon

If the U.S. withdraws all troops from Afghanistan by 2016 as planned, the security situation will deteriorate: Jeffrey D. Gordon

19 June 2014 | 21:19 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. “If the U.S. withdraws all troops from Afghanistan by 2016 as planned, the security situation will deteriorate similarly to what we see today in Iraq.”That is what Jeffrey. D. Gordon, former Pentagon Spokesman said in an interview for FOCUS News Agency in connection with the planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2016 and the expected consequences.
According to Jeffrey Gordon the Taliban remains strong and will potentially topple the Afghan government in Kabul.
“The Taliban remains strong and will potentially topple the Afghan government in Kabul, and at a minimum, will carve out autonomous regions in the Hindu Kush Mountains along their eastern border with Pakistan, plus southern strongholds of Kandahar. Al Qaeda and affiliates would come back again to plot and train for the next 9/11-style mass attack on the West. The world would in essence, return to a pre-9/11 type scenario. It would be a nightmare for both the U.S. and Europe,” Jeffrey Gordon said further.

The entire interview later in the Opinion column
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Obama: US ready for 'precise' military action in Iraq

Obama: US ready for 'precise' military action in Iraq

19 June 2014 | 20:48 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. US President Barack Obama on Thursday said he was ready to take "targeted" and "precise" military action in Iraq if necessary following the swift advance of radical Sunni fighters, AFP reported.
Obama said Washington was prepared to send up to 300 military advisors to study how to train and equip Iraqi forces and had already increased its surveillance and intelligence capabilities in the country.
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The success of ISIS will hurt relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia: Jeffrey D. Gordon

The success of ISIS will hurt relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia: Jeffrey D. Gordon

19 June 2014 | 20:16 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. “The success of ISIS in seizing a 400-mile wide stretch of territory across both Syria and Iraq, equaling roughly 1/3 of each country, will hurt relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia/Gulf States. That is what Jeffrey. D. Gordon, former Pentagon Spokesman said in an interview for FOCUS News Agency in connection with the crisis in Iraq, where Sunni terrorist organization has been seizing territory since June 10.
In his words the effect of the situation in Iraq will similar with the events on 9/11 when Americans learned that 15 of 19 hijackers were Saudis. “It will cause many to rightfully question the alliance and demand change”, Jeffrey D. Gordon said.

The entire interview later in the Opinion column
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Simply focusing on defeating ISIS with military force is treating the symptom, not the disease: Jeffrey D. Gordon

Simply focusing on defeating ISIS with military force is treating the symptom, not the disease: Jeffrey D. Gordon

19 June 2014 | 19:11 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. “Simply focusing on defeating ISIS with military force is treating the symptom, not the disease.” That is what Jeffrey. D. Gordon, former Pentagon Spokesman said in an interview for FOCUS News Agency in connection with the crisis in Iraq, where Sunni terrorist organization has been seizing territory since June 10.
On the 12-th of June the United Nations Security Council called a crisis meeting regarding the terrorist attacks in Northern Iraq. According to Jeffrey D. Gordon the U.N. should work to expose and correct the root of the problem, which is the rise of radical Islam over the past several decades and related proxy war between Saudi Arabia, Gulf States plus Turkey which support the radical Sunni elements, against Iran and Syria which support the radical Shia elements.

The entire interview later in the Opinion column
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Top priority for now is ensuring that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad will be adequately protected: Jeffrey D. Gordon

Top priority for now is ensuring that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad will be adequately protected: Jeffrey D. Gordon

19 June 2014 | 18:34 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. “The top priority for now is ensuring that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad will be adequately protected and can be evacuated on short notice”. That is what Jeffrey. D. Gordon, former Pentagon Spokesman said in an interview for FOCUS News Agency in connection with the crisis in Iraq, where Sunni terrorist organization has been seizing territory since June 10.
“Therefore additional U.S. security forces have deployed to the Embassy and 500 Marines with helicopters have been stationed off the coast onboard the amphibious ship, USS Mesa Verde,” Jeffrey D. Gordon said.
“It would be a nightmare for the U.S. if another tragedy like the Benghazi terror attack was successfully repeated,” Gordon said and added that the U.S. is exploring options, to include the possibility of air strikes, launched by both drones and manned aircraft. “It’s why the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush has been deployed off Iraq’s coast,” Jeffrey D. Gordon said further.

The entire interview later in the Opinion column
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Afghan police kill Taliban who cut off voters' fingers

Afghan police kill Taliban who cut off voters' fingers

17 June 2014 | 10:16 | FOCUS News Agency
Herat. Afghan police hunted down and killed two Taliban insurgents who cut off the fingers of 11 elderly men who voted in the presidential election run-off, officials said Tuesday, AFP reported.
All voters in Afghanistan had their fingers marked with ink after voting to prevent them from casting more than one ballot, but the ink also identified those who participated in the election in defiance of Taliban threats.
"Insurgent commander Mullah Shir Agha and one of his officers were killed in a police operation yesterday in Herat," a statement from the interior ministry said.
"The pair were accused of having cut off the ink-dyed finger of 11 voters."
The ministry said another insurgent involved in the attacks was injured in the operation and held by police.
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US, Iran hold brief talks on Iraq crisis in Vienna

US, Iran hold brief talks on Iraq crisis in Vienna

17 June 2014 | 04:06 | FOCUS News Agency
Vienna. The United States and Iran briefly discussed the crisis in Iraq on the sidelines of a critical fifth round of nuclear talks in Vienna, US officials said Monday, AFP reports.
The two nations, which have been bitter foes for more than 30 years, are both deeply concerned by a major insurgency by Sunni militants who have overrun swathes of Iraq over the past week.
"The issue did come up briefly with Iran on the margins of the P5+1 in Vienna today, separate from our trilateral meeting" which had included the EU, a senior State Department official said in a statement, asking not to be named.
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed to CNN television that there were "brief discussions."
It is yet to be determined "if we want to keep talking to Iran about Iraq," she added, acknowledging though that Tehran and Washington had "a shared interest" in ensuring militants don't get "a foothold any more in Iraq."
But she stressed: "No outside country can fix Iraq's problems. We need Iraq's political leaders from across the spectrum to step up."
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U.S. ready to discuss Iraq crisis with Iran, official says

U.S. ready to discuss Iraq crisis with Iran, official says

16 June 2014 | 18:39 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. The State Department's No. 2 diplomat arrived in Vienna on Monday prepared to discuss possible collaboration with Iran on dealing with the crisis in Iraq, according to a senior administration official, Los Angeles Times reported.
The official said Deputy Secretary of State William Burns flew to Austria to join international negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, but may also take up on the sidelines of those talks the threat posed by an Al Qaeda-inspired Sunni extremist group that has been seizing territory from the Iraqi government.
"There may be a discussion of that issue on the margins," said the administration official, who declined to be identified based on ground rules set by U.S. officials. The official was briefing reporters on the outlook for the Iran nuclear talks this week.
U.S. and Iranian officials have been hinting for several days that they may discuss at least limited cooperation on how to deal with the extremist group, which has seized the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit in the last week. The group is known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
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Kerry open to US-Iran cooperation on Iraq

Kerry open to US-Iran cooperation on Iraq

16 June 2014 | 16:52 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday he would be open to cooperating with Washington's traditional foe Iran on Iraq, and warned drone strikes were an option to halt a militant assault, AFP reports.
"I wouldn't rule out anything that would be constructive," Kerry told Yahoo News when asked if the United States would cooperate militarily with Iran, one of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's key allies.
Kerry also said that US President Barack Obama is carrying out "a very thorough vetting of every option that is available," including drone strikes.
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Saudi calls for national consensus government in Iraq

Saudi calls for national consensus government in Iraq

16 June 2014 | 15:28 | FOCUS News Agency
Riyadh. Saudi Arabia called Monday for the quick formation of a national consensus government in Iraq, blaming Baghdad's "sectarian" policies against Sunni Arabs for the unrest now sweeping the country, AFP reports.
The Sunni-dominated kingdom, whose relations with the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki have been strained, also warned against foreign meddling in Iraq after jihadist-led Sunni militants took control of vast swathes of territory north of Baghdad in a matter of days.
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US condemns 'horrifying' Iraq massacre by ISIL militants

US condemns 'horrifying' Iraq massacre by ISIL militants

16 June 2014 | 06:18 | FOCUS News Agency
Baghdad. The United States on Sunday condemned a "horrifying" massacre by Islamic militants said to have killed hundreds of Iraqi soldiers as they advanced on the capital after seizing vast swathes of northern Iraq, AFP reports.

Iraq said it had "regained the initiative" against fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, amid grisly reports of atrocities committed during the militants' lightning offensive. Photos posted online were said to show Sunni militants summarily executing dozens of captured members of the security forces, while tweets attributed to ISIL claimed they had killed 1,700 Shia soldiers. "The claim by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that it has massacred 1,700 Iraqi Shia air force recruits in Tikrit is horrifying and a true depiction of the bloodlust that these terrorists represent," US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

"While we cannot confirm these reports, one of the primary goals of ISIL is to set fear into the hearts of all Iraqis and drive sectarian division among its people." Psaki said the US would evacuate some of its staff and boost security at its embassy - America's largest worldwide, and located in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone - due to "ongoing instability."

Australia followed suit, announcing it was withdrawing a number of officials from Baghdad, with only an "essential core" of embassy staff to remain. US-trained Iraqi forces folded immediately as ISIL extremists captured key towns in swift succession last week, abandoning vehicles and positions and discarding their uniforms. They seized Iraq's second biggest city Mosul and Tikrit, late dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown and capital of Salaheddin province. In four days, they came within 80 kilometres (50 miles) of Baghdad's city limits. Iraqi officers said their forces were now starting to repel the militants, and that soldiers had recaptured two towns north of Baghdad.

As troops began to drive back the militants, they found the burned bodies of 12 policemen in the town of Ishaqi in Salaheddin province, a police colonel and a doctor said.
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US condemns 'horrifying' massacre in Iraq's Tikrit

US condemns 'horrifying' massacre in Iraq's Tikrit

16 June 2014 | 02:28 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. The United States condemned Sunday a "horrifying" massacre by militants said to have killed hundreds of Iraqi Shia air force recruits in the northern city of Tikrit, urging the country to unite, AFP reports.
Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have overrun a succession of major towns and cities in the north of Iraq over the last week and are closing on Baghdad.
On Friday, tweets attributed to ISIL claimed the militants had killed 1,700 Shia soldiers as they advanced toward the capital, a figure that has not been independently verified.
"The claim by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that it has massacred 1,700 Iraqi Shia air force recruits in Tikrit is horrifying and a true depiction of the bloodlust that these terrorists represent," US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
"While we cannot confirm these reports, one of the primary goals of ISIL is to set fear into the hearts of all Iraqis and drive sectarian division among its people."
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US to boost embassy security in Iraq

US to boost embassy security in Iraq

16 June 2014 | 00:04 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. The US embassy in Baghdad plans to increase security staff and evacuate some personnel after militants captured vast swathes of territory and advanced toward the capital, officials said Sunday, AFP reports.
It was unclear how many staff members would be evacuated from the embassy, the largest US mission in the world, which is located within the heavily fortified Green Zone that houses much of the international presence in the city.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the staff would only be "temporarily relocated" to US consulates in Basra in the south and Erbil in the northern Kurdish territories. Neither area is currently threatened by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant militants.
Other staff will be taken to the US embassy in the Jordanian capital of Amman, where they will work on Iraq-related issues.
"The Embassy of the United States in Baghdad remains open and will continue to engage daily with Iraqis and their elected leaders -- supporting them as they strengthen Iraq's constitutional processes and defend themselves from imminent threats," Psaki said in a statement.
She stressed that Washington "strongly supports Iraq and its people" as they face the militants' onslaught.
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Syria pounds ISIL bases in coordination with Iraq: NGO

Syria pounds ISIL bases in coordination with Iraq: NGO

15 June 2014 | 17:08 | FOCUS News Agency
Beirut. Syria's army has been pounding for 24 hours major bases of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in coordination with the Baghdad government, a monitor said Sunday, as cietd by AFP.
The strikes against ISIL - which has spearheaded a week-long jihadist offensive in Iraq - have been more intense than ever, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"The regime air force has been pounding ISIL's bases, including those in the northern province of Raqa and Hasakeh in the northeast," which borders Iraq, said the Britain-based group.
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Iraq forces kill 279 militants in 24 hours: spokesman

Iraq forces kill 279 militants in 24 hours: spokesman

15 June 2014 | 16:14 | FOCUS News Agency
Baghdad. Iraqi security forces have killed 279 "terrorists" in the past 24 hours, as they push back against a major militant offensive, a security spokesman said on Sunday, AFP reported.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's security spokesman, Lieutenant General Qassem Atta, made the announcement during a televised news conference.
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Kurd forces hold Iraq border crossing with Syria: official

Kurd forces hold Iraq border crossing with Syria: official

15 June 2014 | 13:53 | FOCUS News Agency
Sulaimaniyah. Kurdish forces are in control of one the two official border crossings with Syria, which they seized after Iraqi forces withdrew, a senior Kurdish security official said on Sunday, AFP reported.
The Kurdish troops took control of the Rabia crossing on Tuesday and have held it since, Jabbar Yawar, the secretary general of the ministry responsible for the Kurdish peshmerga forces, told AFP.
Two peshmerga fighters were killed in an attack by militants after Kurdish troops took the crossing, Yawar said.
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Syria govt retakes strategic town on Turkey border: state TV

Syria govt retakes strategic town on Turkey border: state TV

15 June 2014 | 12:00 | FOCUS News Agency
Damascus. Syrian government forces on Sunday recaptured the strategic town of Kasab, near the only border crossing with Turkey in northwestern province of Latakia, state television reported, as cited by AFP.
"Units from the army are reestablishing security in the province of Latakia after killing a large number of terrorists and destroying their weapons," the television said, referring to rebels who had been in control of the town for more than two months.
Kasab, an Armenian town, is strategically important because it is located near the only border crossing with Turkey in sensitive Latakia province, the heartland of the Alawite sect from which Assad hails.
Rebel fighters including members of Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front withdrew from the town on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, leaving only a small number of men behind.

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Iran warns against military intervention in Iraq

Iran warns against military intervention in Iraq

15 June 2014 | 09:48 | FOCUS News Agency
Tehran. Iran warned on Sunday that "any foreign military intervention in Iraq" would only complicate the crisis, after the US said it was deploying a warship in the Gulf, AFP reported.
"Iraq has the capacity and necessary preparations for the fight against terrorism and extremism," foreign ministry spokesman Marzieh Afkham was Sunday quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.
"Any action that complicates the situation in Iraq is not in the interests of the country nor of the region," Afkham said, adding, "The people and government of Iraq will be able to neutralise this conspiracy."
Iraq is battling an offensive by Sunni militants who have advanced to within 80 kilometres (50 miles) of Baghdad's city limits after seizing a swathe of the country's north.
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US 'committed' to Iraq: Kerry

US 'committed' to Iraq: Kerry

15 June 2014 | 08:12 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. The United States is "committed" to supporting Iraq as it battles Sunni militants who have seized a swathe of the country's north, Secretary of State John Kerry told his Iraqi counterpart Saturday, AFP reported.
President Barack Obama said he was "looking at all the options" to halt the offensive that has brought the militants within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of Baghdad's city limits, but ruled out any return of US combat troops. A US carrier group was ordered into Gulf waters.
During a phone call with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Kerry stressed that the United States was "committed to supporting Iraq," a State Department statement said.
"Assistance from the United States would only be successful if Iraqi leaders were willing to put aside differences and implement a coordinated and effective approach to forge the national unity necessary to move the country forward and confront the threat of ISIL," or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, it added.
He urged the Iraqi government to ratify election results "without delay," form a new government on time and to respect the rights of all its citizens from various religious and ethnic backgrounds.

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Iraq crisis: US orders aircraft carrier to Gulf, Iran offers help

Iraq crisis: US orders aircraft carrier to Gulf, Iran offers help

15 June 2014 | 06:37 | FOCUS News Agency
Baghdad. The United States ordered an aircraft carrier into the Gulf Saturday over the Iraq crisis, where Sunni Arab jihadists have seized a swathe of the country, as Shiite Iran said it would consider helping foe Washington should it take action.
The order came as Iraqi commanders said that soldiers had recaptured two towns north of Baghdad, and thousands of volunteers answered a call to arms from top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
US President Barack Obama said, as cited by AFP, he was "looking at all the options" to halt the offensive that has brought Sunni Arab militants within 50 miles (80 kilometres) of Baghdad's city limits, but ruled out any return of US combat troops.
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PICTURE OF THE DAY
Military memorial in Ottawa, Canada.
Military memorial in Ottawa, Canada.

VIDEO OF THE DAY
Some 10,000 Syrian Kurds receive asylum in a refugee camp in Turkey.
Some 10,000 Syrian Kurds receive asylum in a refugee camp in Turkey.
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