WASHINGTON — Facing off in one of the most contested Senate races in the nation, Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and his Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner, found something to agree on this week — giving President Barack Obama the authority he’s asked for to train and arm Syrian rebels taking on brutal Islamic State militants. Continue reading
BREAKING: Israeli military says mortar fired from Gaza hits southern Israel, first time since war's end.
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 16, 2014
According to the Associated Press, the Israeli military says mortar fired from Gaza exploded in southern Israel. The military says the mortar fired did not cause any injuries or damage, while Hamas denies knowledge of any attack. Continue reading
WASHINGTON — The White House said Sunday it will find countries willing to send combat troops to fight Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq, but it’s too early to identify them.
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough signaled that the State Department in coming days will name allies that will pledge ground troops to fight the Islamic State group, something the United States does not plan to do. Meantime, McDonough said, U.S. personnel will train and equip Iraqi forces and moderate Syrian rebels to combat the extremist group, also known as ISIS and ISIL.
President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the United States will ramp up air strikes and try to build an international coalition to degrade and eventually destroy the group. The Islamic State group released a video late Saturday showing a militant beheading a British aid worker. It was similar to recent beheadings of two American journalists. READ MORE
WASHINGTON — While the Islamic State group is getting the most attention now, another band of extremists in Syria – a mix of hardened jihadis from Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Europe – poses a more direct and imminent threat to the United States, working with Yemeni bomb-makers to target U.S. aviation, American officials say.
At the center is a cell known as the Khorasan group, a cadre of veteran al-Qaida fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan who traveled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there, the Nusra Front.
But the Khorasan militants did not go to Syria principally to fight the government of President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials say. Instead, they were sent by al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to recruit Europeans and Americans whose passports allow them to board a U.S.-bound airliner with less scrutiny from security officials.
WASHINGTON — The Islamic State group doesn’t pose an immediate threat of an attack in the United States, senior U.S. officials testified Wednesday, but warned that the danger from the militants is spreading beyond the Middle East to Europe and other parts of the world. Continue reading
NEWPORT, Wales — NATO leaders grappled Thursday with whether the alliance has a role in containing a mounting militant threat in the Middle East, as heads of state converged in Wales for a high-stakes summit also focused on the crisis in Ukraine and next steps in Afghanistan. Continue reading
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Friday rushed through a $225 million bill to replenish Israel’s missile defense system, and House approval was expected in the final hours before lawmakers began a summer break. Continue reading
WASHINGTON — The United States is condemning Israel’s shelling of a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip that was sheltering displaced Palestinians. Continue reading