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News Wrap: Hamburg prepares for big protests during G20

July 5, 2017 at 6:45 PM EDT
In the our news wrap Wednesday, hundreds of demonstrators dressed as zombies in a peaceful protest in Hamburg, Germany. The city is bracing for mass demonstrations of up to 100,000 people in the lead-up to this weekend’s G20 Summit. Also, an American soldier has been killed in a mortar attack in Afghanistan.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: The city of Hamburg, Germany, braced for mass demonstrations, involving up to 100,000 people, at this weekend’s summit of the leaders of 20 top industrialized nations. Last night, police used water cannons to disperse crowds. Today saw hundreds of people dressed as zombies staging a peaceful march.

Tomorrow, activists plan what they call a Welcome to Hell March to greet President Trump and the leaders of Russia, China and Turkey.

Mr. Trump arrived in Warsaw, Poland, this evening to begin his European trip. Tomorrow, he will hold talks with his Polish counterpart, before delivering a speech in Warsaw Square. Poland hosts several thousand U.S. troops as part of its NATO defenses.

An American soldier has been killed in Afghanistan. The Pentagon says Private 1st Class Hansen Kirkpatrick of Wasilla, Alaska, died in a mortar attack on Monday. It happened in Helmand Province in the south. Two other soldiers were wounded. Seven U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan this year.

In Syria, artillery and airstrikes pounded away today at Raqqa, the Islamic State’s self-styled capital. Kurdish-led militia fighters backed by U.S. coalition planes are steadily advancing into the city.

John Ray of Independent Television News is there, and filed this report.

JOHN RAY: Into the city of Jihadi John and countless barbarities, a road stretching back to terror in London, Manchester, and beyond. It lies in ruins now. We pass the body of an ISIS fighter, his caliphate decomposing with him.

Beyond the sand barrier is the wall of ancient Medina that has now fallen to the Kurds. We have obtained exclusive pictures from a drone above this urban battlefield. They show the devastating power of the West’s warplanes and missiles. The so-called Islamic State is being wiped off the map.

The route to the front line involves a sprint across sniper alley, and careful steps over rubble that often conceals mines.

We are close enough to hear ISIS radio. “Now is time for jihad,” a commander urges his beleaguered forces.

The Kurds are claiming this is a great victory. They have taken the Old City walls after a months-long blood-soaked slog through the streets of Raqqa. But ahead of them now, heavily armed ISIS fighters, booby-trapped buildings and suicide bombers. These soldiers took up arms against ISIS from the start. They believe they are moving in for the kill.

RASHO, Kurdish Fighter: I want a free Raqqa for my family, for everyone in here, for every family in Syria.

JOHN RAY: Is ISIS finished in Raqqa now?

RASHO: Yes. It’s finished.

JOHN RAY: Inside the Old City, perhaps 100,000 civilians are trapped, caught between airstrikes and 4,000 ISIS fighters. Those who can’t escape run.

Home is this makeshift camp in the desert. “We have left hell behind,” they tell us.

But in one corner, separated from the rest, the brides and children of is. Their husbands or fathers are dead or in jail. Here, ISIS might measure its future in weeks or months, but its days are numbered.

JUDY WOODRUFF: That was John Ray of Independent Television News.

A gunfight between two armed gangs in Northern Mexico left at least 14 people dead early today. It happened in Chihuahua State, when members of rival drug cartels got into a shoot-out. Drug violence has pushed homicides in Mexico to their highest point in 20 years.

Pro-government militias in Venezuela attacked opposition lawmakers today with sticks and metal bars. They stormed into the congress, in plain sight of security forces. Four lawmakers were injured, and at least one had to be taken to a hospital. It was the latest incident in Venezuela’s growing political violence.

The killing of a police officer in New York City drew widespread condemnation today. An ex-convict who ranted about police online shot Miosotis Familia at close range in her mobile command post in the Bronx last night. He was killed moments later by other officers.

In a statement today, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited a string of attacks on police in recent years. He said — quote — “These killings must stop.”

In economic news, the European Union and Japan reached an agreement in principle on a far-reaching free trade deal. Their leaders plan to endorse it at a summit tomorrow.

And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost a point to close at 21478. The Nasdaq rose 40 points, and the S&P 500 added three.

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