News Wrap: White House considering Yazidi rescue measures
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The United States moved closer today to new moves to rescue thousands of Yazidi refugees in Northern Iraq. They’re trapped on a mountain, surrounded by fighters of the Islamic State group. The U.S. military is already airdropping supplies, and 130 American advisers have arrived to assess things.
Today, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said the president is awaiting their recommendations.
BEN RHODES, Deputy National Security Adviser: There needs to be a lasting solution that gets that population to a safe space, where they can receive more permanent assistance. We don’t believe that that involves U.S. troops reentering a combat role in Iraq. It involves, frankly, a very difficult logistical challenge of moving folks who are in danger on that mountain to a safer position.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Rhodes suggested the next move could involve a rescue mission with the help of Kurdish forces and the British. Meanwhile, the Yazidis are pleading for safe passage out of Iraq.
We have a report from Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: These are the survivors of an ancient religious minority which, until a week or so ago, many in the West had never even heard of.
“We are Yazidis,” they cry. “Our children are dying every day, yet we haven’t hurt anyone.”
Their families are living in this high school playground because they have nowhere else to go. Yesterday, we watched thousands streaming into Iraqi Kurdistan for safety, though the U.N. reckons over 20,000 may still be trapped and at risk of genocide.
Nofa Baracat walked for 15 miles with her baby son. She told me then she kept him alive by having him suckled milk by a mountain goat. Today, we found her family living in the high school. They have no idea where they’re going, and they are terrified of the jihadists who hounded them here.
WOMAN (through interpreter): They have buried people alive. They have killed children. They said, either you will convert to Islam or we will slaughter you.
JONATHAN RUGMAN: Around 1,000 Yazidis will be sleeping here tonight, and for all of them, the dream of a united Iraq has been shattered forever.
What is striking when you talk to these Yazidi refugees is that none of them have told us they will ever go back to their homes. They say that Iraq is finished for them. It is not a case of building refugee camps. They don’t want to be fed here. They want to leave the country.
This afternoon, Yazidis in this camp gave us the same message. Just because foreign helicopters are poised to airlift their trapped relatives doesn’t mean they will settle here in Kurdistan, on the borders of a ruthless, self-declared Islamic state.
Yet bulldozers are busy leveling the ground for four more camps. And because nobody really knows how many are dying on Sinjar Mountain, nobody knows how many survivors to expect.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Later, the U.S. military announced a drone attacked Islamic State fighters on an armed truck near where the Yazidis are trapped. Separately in Baghdad, a series of attacks killed at least 29 people, this, while on the political front, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki insisted he won’t accept a new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, until Iraq’s highest court rules on the issue. But Maliki’s political party lined up behind Abadi.
GWEN IFILL: The Islamic State group made new advances in neighboring Syria today. Opposition groups reported the militants captured two key towns just 30 miles northeast of Aleppo. It followed fierce clashes with rival rebel factions.
JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s word that a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas is being extended just as it was set to expire. Palestinian negotiators said late today the extension will run for five days. Israel didn’t immediately comment, but the Israeli military said several rockets were fired from Gaza as the news broke.
GWEN IFILL: Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, are urging an end to nighttime protests over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager. Last night, demonstrators held a largely peaceful event, but, later, police shot and wounded another man who allegedly pulled a handgun.
This afternoon, police Chief Thomas Jackson said he wants to prevent violence, but accommodate the protesters.
THOMAS JACKSON, Chief, Ferguson Police Department: They have a very strong message they want to get out. They’re looking for answers. I understand that. I understand the anger. But there are some people that come out and, after dark, it does get a little dangerous. So we think it’s better for peaceful demonstrations to occur during the daylight.
GWEN IFILL: The chief said once again he will not publicly identify the policeman who shot the teenager, at least for now.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The skies opened over New York’s Long Island suburbs today and dumped a summer’s worth of rain in just a few hours. More than 13 inches fell in the town of Islip.
The deluge transformed roads into rivers, submerging many cars in several feet of water. Some roads were still shut down during the busy morning commute so crews could rescue stranded drivers.
STEVE BELLONE, Suffolk County Executive: We have seen that before, where a couple of cars get stuck in a very specific area. This is nothing like anyone has ever seen here, dozens and dozens, hundreds across the county, of cars being stuck in major flooding.
JUDY WOODRUFF: At least one person died in a wreck at the height of the storm. The same system drowned parts of Detroit earlier this week.
GWEN IFILL: The death toll from fighting in Eastern Ukraine has spiked. The United Nations estimated today at least 2,086 people have been killed since mid-April, up from 1,129 in late July.
Meanwhile, a Russian humanitarian aid convoy was parked in southwestern Russia, awaiting permission to cross the border. Ukrainian authorities insist it could be cover for an invasion.
JUDY WOODRUFF: One of the challengers in Brazil’s upcoming presidential election was killed today in a plane crash.
Eduardo Campos was on a small was on a small plane that was trying to land in bad weather in the city of Santos. Campos was running third in the race to unseat President Dilma Rousseff, who’s seeking a second term. The election is October 4.
GWEN IFILL: Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak denied today that he ordered deadly force against protesters in 2011. More than 900 people were killed in the uprising that deposed him that year. Mubarak, now 86 years old, testified in a Cairo courtroom.
HOSNI MUBARAK, Former President, Egypt (through interpreter): Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, who is before you today, didn’t order at all the killing of protesters or the shedding of the blood of Egyptians. And I didn’t issue an order to cause chaos and I never issued an order to create a security vacuum.
GWEN IFILL: Mubarak was initially found guilty in 2012, but his conviction was overturned last year. He’s now being retried. A final verdict will be issued in late September.
JUDY WOODRUFF: On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 91 points to close at 16,651; the Nasdaq rose nearly 45 points to close at 4,434; and the S&P 500 added almost 13 points to finish at 1,946.