Earthquake takeaways: Hope fading in frigid Turkey, Syria
The search for survivors of the earthquake that toppled thousands of buildings in Turkey and Syria has reached a critical stretch, with rescue teams from two dozen countries helping locals sift through the rubble and experts warning that the realistic window to find any in the frigid temperatures is quickly closing.
Istanbul Center in Jacksonville working to connect people with loved ones, raise funds for Turkey & Syria
Rescuers in Turkey and war-ravaged Syria searched through the frigid night into Tuesday, hoping to pull more survivors from the rubble after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed more than 4,000 people and toppled thousands of buildings across a wide region.
Job: 'Sniper': Accused Islamic State fighter on trial in US
The ongoing trial of a U.S. citizen charged with serving as a sniper and weapons trainer for the Islamic State group is a reminder of the enduring and far-reaching fallout of a war that drew tens of thousands of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq.
Iran claims missile barrage near US consulate in Iraq
Iran has claimed responsibility for a missile barrage that struck near a sprawling U.S. consulate complex in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, saying it was retaliation for an Israeli strike in Syria that killed two members of its Revolutionary Guard.
UN chief: World faces a `hurricane of humanitarian crises'
The United Nations chief is warning that a “hurricane of humanitarian crises” around the world has left civilians in conflict areas paying the highest price and is compounded by a relentless wave of attacks on humanitarian and medical workers.
Israel suspects Iran connection to Mediterranean oil spill
A dog smells pieces of tar from an oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea, on a beach in the Gdor Nature Reserve near Michmoret, Israel, Monday, March 1, 2021. The cleanup from the disastrous oil spill that has blackened most of the country's shoreline is expected to take months. Over 90% of Israel’s 195 kilometer (120-mile) Mediterranean coastline was covered in more than 1,000 tons of black tar, the result of the mysterious oil spill in international waters. Iranian oil tankers increasingly have been accused of smuggling oil out of the country and selling the lucrative crude abroad after then-President Donald Trump withdrew from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers nearly three years ago. Israel's Environmental Protection Ministry had kept the particulars of its investigation into the incident under close guard and obtained a court issued gag-order on all details about the case.
US bombs facilities in Syria used by Iran-backed militia
The U.S. military conducted airstrikes against facilities in eastern Syria, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, that the Pentagon said were used by Iran-backed militia groups, in response to recent attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)WASHINGTON – The United States launched airstrikes in Syria on Thursday, targeting facilities near the Iraqi border used by Iranian-backed militia groups. The Pentagon said the strikes were retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier this month that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member and other coalition troops. Officials have noted that in the past, Iranian-backed Shiite militia groups have been responsible for numerous rocket attacks that targeted U.S. personnel or facilities in Iraq. A week later, a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone appeared to target the U.S. Embassy compound, but no one was hurt.
Charity rescue ship with 265 migrants anchors off Italy
Migrants from Eritrea, Egypt, Syria and Sudan, rest on board the Spanish NGO Open Arms vessel after having been rescued in the Mediterranean sea, about 110 miles north of Libya, on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Mateu)ROME – Italy allowed a Spanish-flagged charity ship with 265 rescued migrants aboard to anchor off Sicily on Monday. The Open Arms vessel had brought the migrants safely aboard in separate rescues last week in the central Mediterranean. Open Arms said 96 of those rescued had been adrift two days in a wooden boat without life vests in international waters. In an earlier, separate operation, Open Arms had taken aboard 169 migrants, who had departed Libyan shores, where many human traffickers are based.
Spanish-flagged boat rescues 265 migrants in Mediterranean
Migrants from Eritrea, Egypt, Syria and Sudan, are assisted by aid workers of the Spanish NGO Open Arms, after fleeing Libya on board a precarious wooden boat in the Mediterranean sea, about 110 miles north of Libya, on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Mateu)ROME – A Spanish-flagged humanitarian ship on Sunday was seeking a port of safety for 265 migrants its crew rescued from the Mediterranean Sea in the last few days. The Open Arms charity tweeted that its vessel on Saturday had safely brought aboard 96 migrants who had been adrift in a wooden boat with without life vests in international waters. In a separate operation two days before that rescue, Open Arms took aboard 169 migrants, who had departed Libyan shores, where many human traffickers are based. The traffickers launch vessels, many of them flimsy rubber dinghies or rickety fishing boats, crowded with migrants who hope to reach European shores to seek asylum.
20 migrants dead off Tunisia after boat sinks, more missing
Tunisian authorities say 20 African migrants have been found dead after their boat, which was trying to reach Europe, sank in the Mediterranean Sea. Five survivors were rescued Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020 and authorities are searching for up to 20 others believed missing. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios, File)TUNIS – About 20 African migrants were found dead Thursday after their smuggling boat sank in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach Europe, Tunisian authorities said. Five survivors were rescued and the Tunisian navy is searching for up to 20 others still believed missing. According to survivors, the migrant smuggling boat was carrying about 40 or 50 people heading toward Italy, Ben Zekri said.
French court convicts IS operative over foiled train attack
(AP Photo, File)PARIS – A French court on Thursday convicted an Islamic State operative over a train attack five years ago that was foiled with the dramatic intervention of three American passengers. The special terrorism court sentenced Morocco-born Ayoub El Khazzani to life in prison, with 22 years guaranteed behind bars. The train attack was allegedly organized by Abdelhamid Abaaoud, portrayed as the coordinator of the November 2015 attacks in Paris. He told the court that Abaaoud concocted the plan for the train attack and he followed it to the letter — until he changed his mind. The court convicted Bilal Chatra and Mohamed Bakkali of complicity and sentenced them to prison terms of 27 years and 25 years, respectively.
IS widow convicted in Charlie Hebdo, kosher market attacks
FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2015, file photo, an injured person is transported to an ambulance after a shooting at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris, France. The verdict ends the three-month trial linked to the three days of killings across Paris claimed jointly by the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. Patrick Klugman, a lawyer for the survivors of the market attack, said the verdict sent a message to sympathizers. The Jan. 7-9, 2015, attacks in Paris left 17 dead along with the three gunmen. Boumeddiene, the only woman on trial, fled to Syria days before the attack and appeared in Islamic State propaganda.
US general says IS in Iraq and Syria still long-term threat
He said a solution must come from a joint effort by diplomatic, security and humanitarian organizations. The U.S. also has about 3,000 troops still in Iraq; on Tuesday the Pentagon announced that Trump had ordered a drawdown to 2,500 in Iraq with no change for Syria. Trump has pushed for the repatriation of foreign fighters in Syria, but their home countries have largely refused to take them back. In the short run, McKenzie said, IS is in no position to pose a major security threat to the United States. The al-Qaida extremist group and like-minded militants also are severely hobbled but not eliminated, he said.
Turkish parliament approves peacekeepers for Azerbaijan
ANKARA – Turkey’s parliament on Tuesday granted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government permission to deploy peacekeepers to Azerbaijan to monitor a cease-fire deal between Azerbaijan and Armenia that aims to end the conflict in the region. Last week, the defense ministers of Russia and Turkey signed a memorandum to create a joint monitoring center in Azerbaijan, although technical details of the mission are still being worked out. Russian officials have said that Ankara’s involvement will be limited to the work of the monitoring center on Azerbaijani soil, and Turkish peacekeepers wouldn't go to Nagorno-Karabakh. The motion for the deployment in Azerbaijan was backed by four out of five parties in Turkey's parliament. Erdogan's government said the Turkish peacekeepers were crucial for the region's peace and welfare and for Turkey's national interests.
Trump aide promises 'very professional transition' to Biden
DUBAI – President Donald Trump's national security adviser promised a “very professional transition” to the administration of President-elect Joe Biden in an interview broadcast Monday, even as Trump continues to falsely claim he won the November election. “If the Biden-Harris ticket is determined to be the winner — obviously things look that way now — we'll have a very professional transition from the National Security Council. The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency also says: “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.”O'Brien, Trump's fourth national security adviser, previously served as his special envoy on hostage affairs. A top Lebanese security official said Saturday that he visited Syria for two days to speak with officials there about Tice. However, there's been no public sign of tensions easing between Doha and Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Trial in France for extremist foiled by 3 Americans on train
The heavily-armed and bare-chested El Khazzani wounded a French-American who managed to briefly yank a Kalashnikov from his hands before the three vacationing Americans took him down. Their probe showed that Abaaoud and El Khazzani traveled together from Syria to Belgium and holed up with Chatra in a Brussels apartment. The alleged train attack plot went awry when passengers moved in on El Khazzani. Once aboard the train, El Khazzani lingered in a restroom between cars and emerged bare-chested with the Kalashnikov. He jumped in after a French banker, who has asked to remain anonymous, wrestled unsuccessfully with El Khazzani.
Man sentenced to life after failed French church bombing
LYON – A Paris criminal court sentenced a 29-year-old Algerian man Thursday to life in prison for killing a woman and trying to bomb a church near the French capital in a failed 2015 attack that investigators said was plotted by Islamic State group extremists in Syria. He expressed regret over choosing that path, but denied killing the woman outside the church in the Paris suburb of Villejuif. Seven other defendants found to have helped him in the attack were sentenced to between three and 30 years in prison. The Paris court also convicted in absentia two operatives who were accused of orchestrating the attack, Abdelnasser Benyoucef and Samir Nouad, and sentenced them to life in prison. Another French terrorist trial is opening later this month, involving an attempted IS attack on a high-speed Amsterdam-to-Paris train.
Italy seizes 14 tons of amphetamines, said to be IS-made
This image taken from a video shows amphetamines pills that were seized at the Salerno harbor, southern Italy, Wednesday, July 1, 2020.Italian police have seized 14 tons of amphetamines, allegedly produced in Syria by Islamic State group to fund terrorist activities and destined for the European illegal drug market. Customs Police Col. Domenico Napolitano on Wednesday called the discovery of three shipping containers crammed with some 85 million pills, in the southern port of Salerno, the biggest amphetamine seizure ever made worldwide. (Guardia di Finanza via AP)ROME Italian police have seized 14 tons of amphetamines, allegedly produced in Syria by the Islamic State group to fund extremist activities and destined for the European illegal drug market. The amphetamines were labeled captagon, the street name for a drug whose chemical base is fenethylline. The 14 tons of amphetamines would have raked in about 1 billion euros ($1.15 billion) in street sales had they ultimately made it to consumers, customs police said.
Syria donors gather as virus, economic chaos deepen crisis
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell waits for the start of a meeting, Supporting the future of Syria and the Region, in videoconference format at the European Council building in Brussels, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool)
ISIS preys on domestic workers in Hong Kong, Singapore
ISIS Propaganda via CNN(CNN) - For six days a week, the three women worked as domestic workers in homes across Singapore. Often, it is a two-way street: the domestic workers might take the first step by reaching out to militants. Other radicalized domestic workers take on a more active role, becoming financiers, recruiters and coordinators. Of the 50 radicalized domestic workers identified by IPAC, at least 12 had attempted to reach Syria via Hong Kong, as of June 2017. Keeping a close watchThe recruitment of domestic workers in Hong Kong and Singapore has not gone unnoticed.
Political leaders unite praising death of ISIS leader
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi believed to have been killed in a US military raid, sources say. The world has spent the day reacting to the news that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. President Trump then spoke to the nation Sunday morning. "I am grateful for the skill and courage of our special operations and intelligence professionals," she said. "So they naturally and rightfully will praise the military and special operations and the intelligence community.
US, Turkish troops conduct first joint ground patrol of 'safe zone'
Gabriel Chaim for CNN(CNN) - US and Turkish troops conducted their first ever joint ground patrol within what Turkey has called the "safe zone" that runs along the Syria-Turkish border and extends into the northeast. The operation is aimed at creating a buffer zone that will keep US-backed Kurdish militia -- the People's Protection Units (YPG) -- away from Turkey's border. "Today's patrol maintained security within the area and demonstrates our continued commitment to address Turkey's legitimate security concerns," said US Army spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins. Caggins said during the operations Turkish officers documented that the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) had withdrawn their troops from the designated area and had removed a series of some defensive fortifications. The joint patrol follows earlier aerial surveillance flights and the establishment of a joint operations center.
Iranian oil tanker at center of UK standoff leaves Gibraltar
The Adrian Darya, formerly known as the Grace 1, set sail under an Iranian flag for an unknown destination. With the arrival of two engineering teams from two separate locations, the tanker is expected to depart Gibraltar tonight," Iran's ambassador to the UK, Hamid Baeidinejad, said earlier in the day via Twitter. It was seized July 4 in territorial waters of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on the edge of southern Spain. The Adrian Darya's owner said the released Iranian tanker would head to the Mediterranean, Iran's semi-official Mehr News Agency, citing Iranian Maritime official Jalil Eslami, reported last week. The US also got involved in the standoff when the Justice Department applied to extend the Iranian tanker's seizure and block its release.
US makes last-ditch attempt to stop Iranian supertanker setting sail
GIBRALTAR - The United States has unsealed a warrant for the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker anchored off the coast of Gibraltar. It is the latest twist involving the vessel at the center of a standoff between Tehran and the West. The warrant comes just a day after a judge in Gibraltar said the Grace 1 supertanker -- which is reportedly carrying 2.1 million barrels of oil -- was free to set sail. Friday's warrant from the US Justice Department appears to be a last-ditch attempt to stop the tanker setting sail, after it failed to stop Gibraltar's Supreme Court approving its release on Thursday. For now, the tanker remains in Gibraltar waters as it awaits a new captain and a number of crew members, Fars added.
US moves to block release of Iranian tanker detained in Gibraltar
GIBRALTAR - The US Department of Justice has made a last-minute application to block the release of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1, which was seized by authorities in Gibraltar last month, a spokesman for the Gibraltar attorney general told CNN. Gibraltar attorney general Joseph Triay revealed the application had been made at a short hearing at the Supreme Court on Thursday morning. The matter will return to the Supreme Court of Gibraltar at 4:00 p.m. today," the Gibraltar government said in a statement. The US Department of Justice declined to comment and the State Department has not responded to CNN's request for comment. Nearly a month later, the tanker -- and its crew -- remain detained in Iran.