Thursday: July 31

Live at 4am ET Thursday: Fresh shells fall near UN school-turned-shelter in Gaza

 

 

July 30th, 2014
06:21 AM ET

Poll: Most Israelis Don't Want a Cease-Fire

While the vast majority of casualties are Palestinians in Gaza, Israel continues to ward off rocket attacks from Gaza with its Iron Dome missile defense system. Israeli officials say they are committed to destroying tunnels used by Palestinian militants in Gaza to make their way into Israel.

A poll released this week showed 86.5% of Jewish Israelis surveyed say Israel cannot accept a cease-fire because "Hamas continues firing missiles on Israel, not all the tunnels have been found, and Hamas has not surrendered," according to the Jerusalem Post.

But Israel's incursion into Gaza has had ripple effects around the world. Chile, Peru, Brazil and Ecuador have pulled their ambassadors out of Tel Aviv to protest the Israeli offensive.

It's unclear how many in Gaza want militants to stop rocket attacks.

Last month, a poll by the Washington Institute for Near East policy found most Palestinians in Gaza oppose a two-state solution and want to work toward a five-year goal of abolishing Israel. But the majority said they support nonviolent methods of "popular resistance."

Most Israelis support a two-state solution, according to a poll by the Dialog Institute, Haaretz reported.

See the latest on this story on CNN.com

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Filed under: Gaza • Israel
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.

June 24th, 2014
04:43 AM ET

Iraq, Militants Fight for Oil Refinery

The sprawling offensive by militants in Iraq has now reached the country's largest oil refinery - but it's unclear who has control over the strategic target.

On Tuesday morning, the state-run Iraqiya news agency said Iraqi security forces still control the Baiji oil refinery.

The report also said Iraqi special forces have killed the militant leader who led the attacks against the refinery and goes by the name of " Abu Qutada."

But hours earlier, militant fighters believed to be from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized the refinery, several Iraqi security sources told CNN.

CNN cannot independently confirm either claim.

The Baiji refinery, in the northern Salaheddin province, is a crucial resource because it refines much of the fuel needed for domestic consumption. Long lines have already formed at many gas stations across the country.

MORE on CNN.com

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Filed under: Iraq
June 23rd, 2014
04:34 AM ET

John Kerry Arrives in Iraq as More Cities Fall

As radical Sunni militants snatch city after city in their march to Baghdad, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Iraq on Monday during the country's tensest time since the U.S. withdrawal of troops.

He'll meet with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the man some say needs to step down.

With al-Maliki's Shiite-led government losing more ground to militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Kerry has implored the leader to rise above "sectarian motivations" to become more inclusive and more representative of its population.

Kerry will also meet with Iraq's foreign minister as well as both Shiite and Sunni leaders.

His trip will "emphasize our highest-level commitment to Iraq during this time of crisis," a State Department official said.

Kerry will also speak with key leaders about forming a new government "in line with the constitutional timeline that they're on."

But outside the rooms of high-level talks, parts of Iraq are falling by the day.

See the latest on the crisis that is spilling far beyond Iraq's borders from CNN.com.

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Filed under: Iraq • John Kerry
June 16th, 2014
04:32 AM ET

Iraq Crisis Pulls in U.S. and Iran as Violent Militants Capture More Cities

One by one, Iraqi cities seem to be falling to a militant group bent on continuing its march forward.

What's happening in Iraq now has all the makings of a civil war - and a full-blown foreign policy crisis. The United States is mulling direct talks with Iran while it boosts security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad with military personnel.

Why Iran? In recent days, Iran has sent hundreds of troops to fight alongside Iraqi government security forces in Diyala province, a senior security official in Baghdad told CNN.

Clearly, the crisis in Iraq is spilling far beyond its borders. Here's the latest:

Iraq's military strikes back at ISIS

After days of violent advances by the militant group ISIS, the Iraqi air force killed more than 200 militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Iraqi state TV reported Monday.

The air raids against ISIS took place in Saqlawiya, northwest of Falluja, according to state TV.

ISIS has been fighting to take control of Iraq, seizing cities across the country.

Iran enters the mix

In recent days, Iran has sent about 500 Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops to fight alongside Iraqi government security forces in Iraq's Diyala province, according to a senior security official in Baghdad who spoke to CNN on Friday.

But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denied reports that some of Iran's elite forces are in Iraq to help bolster Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a fellow Shiite.

"If the Iraqi government wants us to help, we will consider it," Rouhani said, according to an English translation of his remarks Saturday on state-run Press TV.

But "so far they have not asked specifically for help." Rouhani added that Iran could give strategic guidance if requested.

The Obama administration is exploring possible direct talks with Iran over the deteriorating situation in Iraq, two senior U.S. officials told CNN.

Both officials ruled out any type of teaming up with Iran because the United States and Iran don't have a lot of common interests - other than a stable Iraq.

The United States is wary of furthering Iran's already considerable influence in Iraq. The Shiite Iranian regime is al-Malaki's closest ally in the region. And the Obama administration is concerned appearing to team up with Iran would both alienate Iraq's Sunni majority and worry Sunni allies of the United States in the region.

MORE on CNN.com

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Filed under: Iran • Iraq • Syria
June 10th, 2014
06:13 AM ET

Attack Under Way at Airport

For the second time in two days, Pakistan's largest and busiest airport was forced to shut down after militants launched a brazen attack on airport security forces.

Tuesday's assault targeted the Airport Security Forces camp near Karachi's Jinnah International Airport, the airport's manager told CNN's Saima Mohsin.

It was not immediately clear how the militants were carrying out their attack or how many casualties may have resulted. At least 30 ambulances rushed to the scene, Mohsin said.

Late Sunday night, 10 militants stormed the same airport's cargo area, leading to an hours-long assault that left 36 people dead.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for that assault, saying the attack was retaliation for the death of former chief Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in November in North Waziristan.

The militant group, also known as the TTP, had warned of more carnage starting Tuesday.

Shahidullah Shahid, another TTP member, said earlier this week that the group would engage "in a full-out war with the Pakistani state, starting on June 10."

But the airport itself is safe, Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority said Tuesday.

"#Jinnah Airport is safe, #ASF academy is under attack,"the aviation authority tweeted Tuesday.

MORE on CNN.com

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Filed under: Pakistan
June 4th, 2014
05:57 AM ET

Taliban Video Shows Bergdahl's Release

Dressed in white, with a striped shawl draped across his shoulder, the gaunt-looking American looks up at the Blackhawk chopper circling overhead.

Armed Taliban men stand around him, one with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher ready.

When the chopper lands, the American is led there by two men, one carrying a white flag. He is given a patdown, loaded on to the helicopter and whisked away.

A new video released by the Taliban showed the final moments of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's five years in captivity, just before he was handed over to the United States.

The narration on the video says the transfer took place in Khost province, in eastern Afghanistan.

"We had a number of tribal elders with us ... in order to build trust between us and the other side," a voice in the video says.

"We told them that we had warned all our Mujahideen fighters in Khost province and especially in Batai area not to attack them."

The 17-minute video also showed an unusual sight: Taliban members shaking hands with men from the Blackhawk chopper.

The Pentagon said early Wednesday it has no reason to doubt the video's authenticity.

"But we are reviewing it," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

"Regardless, we know the transfer was peaceful and successful, and our focus remains on getting Sgt. Bergdahl the care he needs."

MORE on CNN.com

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Filed under: Taliban
Iran Holds 'Happy' Video Director
May 22nd, 2014
04:10 AM ET

Iran Holds 'Happy' Video Director

ix people who were arrested in Iran for dancing in a YouTube video to Pharrell Williams' song "Happy" have been freed, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said Wednesday, citing a source close to the families.

The director of the video was not released, the group said.

One of the six announced that she was freed. "Hi I'm back," Reihane Taravati wrote on her Instagram account, thanking Williams and "everyone who cared about us."

The fan video is one of many to the hit song that has sold millions of downloads worldwide.

Tehran Police Chief Hossein Sajedinia ordered the arrests of the three men and three women for helping make an "obscene video clip that offended the public morals and was released in cyberspace," the Iranian Students' News Agency reported Wednesday. Authorities forced the young people to repent on state TV.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani seemed to think differently. "#Happiness is our people's right. We shouldn't be too hard on behaviors caused by joy," a tweet on his account said. It seemed to be quoting one of his comments from June 2013.

Pharrell Williams denounced the arrests.

"It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness," the Grammy Award winner said on his Facebook page.

Just like in the singer's original video, the Iranian fan version features a montage of men and women dancing to the song in a variety of settings.

Taravati gushed over the reaction to the video in the days before the Tuesday arrests.

"178K VIEWS thank you," she wrote on her Facebook page last week. She also posted a picture of people featured in the video on Instagram.

"People of Tehran are happy! Watch and Share Our Happiness!," Taravati wrote. "Let the world hear us! we are happy and we deserve to be!"

MORE on CNN.com

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Filed under: Free Happy Iranians • Happy
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