Thursday: July 24

Live at 4am ET: We'll have the latest on Flight 17 and the Israel/Gaza conflict

 

 

July 24th, 2014
04:58 AM ET

After Day of Tributes, More Remains of MH17 Victims to Arrive in Netherlands

A week after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over war-torn eastern Ukraine, dozens more coffins containing remains of victims of the crash were due to arrive in the Netherlands on Thursday.

They will follow the first 40 wooden caskets, which were flown in Wednesday and greeted by somber, moving tributes across the country.

A lone bugler sounding the traditional military farewell "Last Post" marked their arrival at a military base in Eindhoven.

The grieving nation then held a moment of silence to honor those killed in the crash of the jetliner - caught in a war in which they had no part.

The plane was downed last week by a suspected surface-to-air missile over eastern Ukraine, where groups of pro-Russian rebels are battling Ukrainian government forces.

In a reminder of the ongoing bitter conflict, rebels claimed responsibility for shooting down two Ukrainian military jets on Wednesday. The rebels have denied that they brought down Flight 17.

MORE on CNN.com

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Filed under: MH17 • Netherlands • Ukraine
July 23rd, 2014
05:24 AM ET

MH17 Crash: First Set of Bodies En Route to the Netherlands

After spending days exposed to the elements on a Ukrainian field and then inside refrigerated train cars, the first group of victims from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 are one step closer to home.

The first plane carrying the remains of some victims are expected to arrive in the Dutch city of Eindhoven on Wednesday.

The arrival will mark a homecoming for many of the victims. Most of the 298 people on board the plane were from the Netherlands, which has declared Wednesday a national day of mourning.

Dutch royals, government officials and families of the passengers will be at the tarmac when the remains arrive. After a solemn ceremony, the bodies will be taken to a military facility for forensic testing.

But Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said it could take weeks or even months to identify the remains.

Follow this developing story on CNN.com

July 22nd, 2014
05:13 AM ET

Train Carrying Bodies of MH17 Victims Heads Across Ukraine

A train carrying 282 bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 arrived in Kharkiv, Ukraine, getting the bodies one step closer to their grieving families around the world.

The train arrived at a rail station and continued on to an undisclosed location. The bodies will eventually be taken to the Netherlands.

But a litany of obstacles remain - not just in handling the remains, but in figuring out how and why MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

See more on this developing story on CNN.com.

July 21st, 2014
05:55 AM ET

Heavy Fighting in Gaza as Death Toll Rises Above 500

Fierce fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas militants continued near Gaza City on Monday as the death toll from the conflict rose above 500.

Heavy bombardment hit areas east of the city, particularly the neighborhood of Shaja'ia, where a large Israeli assault Sunday contributed to the deadliest day of the war so far.

As clashes escalated over the weekend, Hamas said it had captured an Israeli soldier - a claim Israel later denied.

With no sign of either side backing down in a conflict in which most of the victims have been civilians, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due to arrive in Egypt on Monday to push for a cease-fire.

Speaking to CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday Kerry said that the United States supports Egypt's initiative for a truce and "will work for a fair cease-fire."

The United States has "shown our willingness to try to deal with the underlying issues," but Hamas "must step up and show a level of reasonableness," he said.

"No country, no human being, is comfortable with children being killed, with people being killed, but we're not comfortable with Israeli soldiers being killed either or with people being rocketed in Israel," Kerry said.

Follow this developing story on CNN.com

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Filed under: Gaza • Israel • Israel-Gaza conflict
July 21st, 2014
05:01 AM ET

'Moment of Truth for Russia'

There's no shortage of evidence that shows pro-Russian rebels shot down a Malaysian jet in Ukraine last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 fell from the sky in Donetsk on Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard.

There's video of a launcher with one surface-to-air missile missing, imagery showing the firing and intercepted calls with rebels claiming credit for the strike, Kerry said.

"We know from intercepts ... that those are in fact the voices of separatists," he told CNN's State of the Union on Sunday. "And now we have a video showing a launcher moving back through a particular area there out into Russia with at least one missing missile on it."

Kerry accused Russia of backing the separatists.

"This is the moment of truth for Russia. Russia is supporting these separatists. Russia is arming these separatists. Russia is training these separatists. And Russia has not yet done the things necessary in order to try to bring them under control," he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron didn't mince words either on who was to blame. In an op-ed in The Sunday Times, he called the plane crash and its aftermath "an outrage made in Moscow."

Russian President Vladimir Putin fired back with a video statement posted on the Kremlin's official website early Monday, arguing that his country has been pushing for peace in Ukraine.

"We have repeatedly called on all parties to immediately stop the bloodshed and to sit down at the negotiating table. We can confidently say that if June 28 fighting in eastern Ukraine did not resume, this tragedy most likely would not have happened," he said. "However, no one should have the right to use this tragedy to achieve selfish political objectives. Such events should not divide but unite people."

He stressed that safety must be guaranteed for international experts investigating the crash.

"We must do everything to ensure their work has full and absolute security (and) ensure necessary humanitarian corridors are provided," Putin said.

MORE on CNN.com

July 18th, 2014
03:34 AM ET

Hamas Warns of 'Heavy Price' for Israel

Deadly clashes broke out after Israeli tanks drove into Gaza and launched a ground operation that escalates the conflict with Hamas.

The incursion Thursday night follows 10 days of Israeli bombardment of Gaza that has killed more than 250 people. Israel launched the aerial offensive last week, saying it aimed to halt the firing of Hamas rockets from Gaza into Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon ordered the ground operation to destroy tunnels dug from Gaza into Israeli territory, according to a statement.

Thirteen Hamas militants used a tunnel earlier Thursday to launch an attempted attack in Sufa, near an Israeli kibbutz, but were stopped by Israeli soldiers, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The IDF said it had sent a "large" force into Gaza that includes infantry, tanks, artillery, combat engineers and intelligence units, with aerial and naval support.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Mark Regev, Netanyahu's spokesman, whether Israel planned to occupy Gaza for a long time.

Regev didn't answer directly, but said Israel's goals are to "diminish" the Hamas military force and to show that it cannot attack Israel with impunity.

You can follow all the developments at CNN.com.

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Filed under: Israel • Israel-Gaza conflict
July 18th, 2014
03:30 AM ET

U.S. Official: Missile Shot Down Malaysia Airlines Plane

A Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crashed in a rebel-controlled part of eastern Ukraine on Thursday, spurring swift accusations from Ukrainian officials that "terrorists" shot down the aircraft.

The United States has concluded a missile shot down the plane, but hasn't pinpointed who was responsible, a senior U.S. official told CNN's Barbara Starr.

The Boeing 777 with 298 people aboard fell from the sky near the town of Torez in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, officials said. A top Ukrainian official said the plane, which was on the way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was flying at about 10,000 meters (nearly 33,000 feet) when the missile hit.

A radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before the plane went down, the senior U.S. official said. A second system saw a heat signature at the time the airliner was hit, the official said. The United States is analyzing the trajectory of the missile to try to learn where the attack came from, the official said.

The Obama administration believes Ukraine did not have the capability in the region - let alone the motivation - to shoot down the plane, a U.S. official told CNN's Jake Tapper.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the plane never made a distress call.

He called for an international team to have full access to the crash site.

"We must and we will find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone will be left unturned," he said.

"If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice," Najib said.

Ukrainian officials maintained that pro-Russian separatists were behind the crash.

You can follow the updating story at CNN.com

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Filed under: MH17 • Russia • Ukraine
Hundreds of Children Found at Vermin-Infested Shelter in Mexico
July 17th, 2014
04:43 AM ET

Hundreds of Children Found at Vermin-Infested Shelter in Mexico

Mexican authorities are still unraveling the horrors allegedly committed on nearly 500 children sheltered at "La Gran Familia" refuge in the southwestern state of Michoacan.

At The Big Family shelter, scores of children - some as young as two months old - were denied visits from their parents, virtually imprisoned in vermin-infested quarters and routinely subjected to physical, psychological and sexual abuse, authorities said.

Authorities raided the sprawling, squalid shelter in the city of Zamora Tuesday after a number of parents complained about being denied access to their children, Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karan told reporters.

"We found close to 500 children in truly deplorable conditions," Murillo said.

Victims told investigators that children were routinely forced to beg for money on the streets, eat unsanitary food and sleep on hard floors crawling with rats and roaches, Murillo said. It was not clear from Mexican authorities how so many children - along with some adults - came to be at the shelter.

The operator of the shelter, Rosa del Carmen Verduzco, was detained along with eight of her employees, authorities said. They were being questioned in connection with abuse and other charges.

"This is truly upsetting," Michoacan governor Salvador Jara Guerrero told reporters. "We did not expect to find such conditions... We must not allow these things to occur - not in Michoacan, not in the republic."

MORE on CNN.com

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Filed under: Children • Mexico
July 17th, 2014
04:07 AM ET

Cease-Fire Broken: Rockets Fired Toward Israel

At least three mortars were fired from Gaza toward southern Israel on Thursday morning, some two hours after a temporary lull in hostilities went into effect to allow humanitarian supplies into the area.

The mortars fell in open areas and no injuries were immediately reported, the Israeli military said. Mortars are smaller and have a more limited range than rockets.

Israel, which said it would honor the cease-fire but not sit idle if attacked, did not immediately respond.

The five-hour long temporary halt in fighting went into effect at 3 a.m. ET, requested by the United Nations to offer a brief respite in a conflict that has killed more than 220 people.

Banks opened for the first time in 10 days in Gaza and residents poured into the streets.

Red Cross officials visited hospitals and damaged houses to assess medical needs, and worked with local officials to quickly fix water pipelines, which has left hundreds of thousands without water.

There were no reported air strikes since the cease-fire began. Still, the fear of death hung heavily over Gaza. The health ministry warned civilians to avoid gathering in squares.

"Should the humanitarian window be exploited by Hamas or other terror organizations for the purpose of launching attacks against Israeli civilian or military targets the IDF will respond firmly and decisively," the Israeli military said.

MORE on CNN.com

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Filed under: Hamas • Israel
July 16th, 2014
08:27 AM ET

Residents of Three Areas in Gaza Told to Flee

The Israeli Defense Forces said Wednesday that it warned residents of three areas in Gaza to vacate their homes because of its plans to carry out airstrikes on Hamas and other terrorist groups.

The IDF said it used recorded messages, text messages and leaflets to alert the populations in Beit Lahyia, Shuja'iya and Zeitoun, places where it said "a high volume of rocket fire at Israel has originated."

"We are all scared but we are force to live in this and there is nothing for us to do," said Abu Musbah, a, 21-year-old member of Islamic Jihad, one of the groups that is firing rockets at Israel. "The children are scared but we struggle to continue our lives."

He said he had already evacuated all of his family members from his house in Shuja'iya.

A woman in the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis said some people had fled there from harder hit areas in the north and east of the territory, filling some homes with multiple families.

"Those who have family here have come," said the woman, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions from talking to the news media.

She said she believed other people were staying in their houses, regardless of warnings from lsraeli leaflets or other means.

These are their homes, they will not run, she said.

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Filed under: Gaza • Israel
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