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Child Killed in Jerusalem Terror Attack

An infant child was killed and eight others were injured on Wednesday in a terror attack in Jerusalem when a Palestinian man drove his car into the Ammunition Hill streetcar station. Police shot and killed the driver, identified as Adbel-Rahman Shaloudi, 21, from East Jerusalem as he fled the scene. The young man was known to Israeli authorities and had "served time in jail for terror activity," according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. Rosenfeld continued by saying that security camera footage indicated that driver intentionally struck the Pedestrians.

Two of the bystanders struck remain in serious condition while the three-month-old baby, Chaya Zissel Brau, was laid to rest in a Jerusalem cemetery. The U.S. State Department announced child was also a American citizen without giving further details.

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By Michael Johnson  |  October 23, 2014 at 3:17 pm  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

Islamic State Intercepts U.S. Airdrop

A new video released earlier this week by Islamic State (IS) militants reportedly shows the group's fighters raiding a U.S. military airdrop meant for the Kurdish militiamen in the Syrian border town of Kobane. The airdrop comes as the U.S. continues its attacks on IS targets in the area and increases aid to Peshmerga fighters.

In the video, uploaded to YouTube, masked men can be seen unloading a pallet of boxes and crates next to a large parachute lying on the ground. An IS militant then opens a couple of the crates that are filled with grenades.

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By Michael Johnson  |  October 22, 2014 at 1:40 pm  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

Despite Talks, Boko Haram Launches Attacks

Boko Haram militants launched new attacks in villages across the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno over the weekend, leaving dozens dead. The assaults came just days after the central government announced a breakthrough in peace talks with the terrorist organization.

A screenshot of a video showing some of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. (Photo: CNN)

On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 15 people in the contested town of Michka. The area had been subject to fierce fighting earlier this month, when government troops attempted to retake the town from the insurgent group. Meanwhile, eight people died when terrorists rode motorcycles through Shaffa and "started shooting at every possible target," said a commander of a self-defense militia. The next day in nearby Damboa, suspected Boko Haram members drove pickup trucks into the village and killed 25 people, according to local source.

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By Michael Johnson  |  October 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

India and Pakistan Face Off in Kashmir

Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire in Kashmir on Tuesday, for the second time this week. Soldiers from both countries shot small arms and mortar rounds across their disputed border, while accusing the other side of starting the violence.

Clashes initially started on Monday, quickly spreading to numerous points along the frontier separating Pakistan and the Indian-administered region of Jumma. The fighting reached northern mountainous areas normally monitored by the UN. According to the Indian government, the Pakistani military targeted 40 Indian army posts.

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By Michael Johnson  |  October 7, 2014 at 2:49 pm  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

Turkish Parliament Debates Military Authorization

The Turkish Parliament is expected to approve a proposal on Thursday that would authorize cross-border military operations to fight jihadists in Iraq and Syria. Ankara is also likely to vote on whether allied countries can use Turkish territory and army bases to fight the Islamic State.

Even after gaining approval for missions inside Syria, Turkey is unlikely to start offensive strikes immediately. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called U.S. airstrikes in Syria only a "temporary" solution to the bloodshed, saying "tons of air bombs will only delay the threat and danger" posed by jihadists. Erdogan nevertheless urged members of his ruling AK party to endorse for the proposal as just one step in a larger effort to ease the conflict.

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By Michael Johnson  |  October 2, 2014 at 1:26 pm  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

Kabul and Washington Sign Long Awaited Agreement

Afghanistan and the United States signed a long delayed Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) on Tuesday in Kabul, guaranteeing a Western presence in the country beyond 2014. The signing comes shortly after the inauguration of Ashraf Ghani as president and months of political infighting.

Under the BSA's wide-ranging terms, 12,000 foreign military personnel will remain in Afghanistan past December. The mission will comprise approximately 9,800 U.S. troops, with remaining positions being manned by other NATO allies. The residual force will not be limited to just training the Afghan Army, but will also engage in combat operations outside their bases. A separate Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) is expected to be signed between the Afghan government and NATO soon.

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By Michael Johnson  |  September 30, 2014 at 4:08 pm  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

House Approves Plan to Aid Syrian Rebels

By a vote of 273 to 156, the House of Representatives approved President Obama's plan to train and arm Syrian rebels on Wednesday. With support from Congress, the White House hopes that assisting vetted opposition groups will help contain the spread of Islamic State (IS) fighters. The provision was attached to a continuing resolution to fund the U.S. government through December. Until now, the CIA had been covertly assisting the rebels for months.

The resolution divided both parties, with more than 40% of Democrats opposing the measure for fear of leading the U.S. into another war in the Middle East. Most Republicans backed the bill, with one senior GOP leader suggesting that the White House should be given broader military authority to combat IS militants. Yet, other Republicans worried that supporting rebel groups would allow them to fight Syrian President Bashar al-Assad better, instead of IS terrorists.

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By Michael Johnson  |  September 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm  |  Permalink  |  Submit a Comment

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