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News Wrap: Iraqi forces begin large-scale assault on Islamic State

In our news wrap Monday, Iraqi troops and Shiite militiamen began an operation against the Islamic State militant group, targeting Anbar province. The launch came as IS claimed responsibility for a series of car bombs and suicide attacks in Baghdad. Also, President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 nonviolent federal prisoners, the majority of whom were serving time for drug charges.

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    Greece reached a debt deal with its European creditors today after an all-night emergency summit in Brussels. It agreed to a strict timetable for enacting further unpopular austerity measures in exchange for a third international bailout.

    Now Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must push the cost-cutting proposals through his Parliament over the next two days. We will take a closer look at the new accord and get on-the-ground reaction from Greece's residents after the news summary.


    U.S. and world markets rallied today as investors welcomed the news of the Greek bailout agreement. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed more than 217 points to close above 17977. The Nasdaq rose almost 74 points and the S&P 500 added nearly 23. JUDY WOODRUFF: Another set of talks taking place in Europe over Iran's nuclear program stretched past yet another deadline today in Vienna. One ongoing dispute reportedly involved Iran's status under a U.N. arms embargo. There'd been hope that a final deal would be announced as the 17th day of negotiations got under way this morning.

    But, later, Iran's foreign minister, yelling to reporters from a hotel balcony, indicated it wouldn't come today.

    Still, in Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby remained cautiously optimistic.

  • REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, State Department Spokeman:

    There's been genuine progress made. I think Secretary Kerry believes that — and he's said as much — that we're close, but there still remains some sticking points, some issues that still need to be resolved. And so we will just — we will see where they go. But our focus is on what's going on inside the negotiating room. JUDY WOODRUFF: Kirby added that an interim nuclear agreement, which has already been extended three times in two weeks, can remain in effect for as long as necessary.


    We will have more on the fate of the Iranian nuclear deal later in the program. Iraqi troops and Shiite militiamen began a long-awaited large-scale military assault against the Islamic State today. The operation targeted the western province of Anbar two months after Islamic State fighters seized its capital, Ramadi. A military spokesman made the announcement today on state television.

  • BRIG. GEN. YAHYA RASOOL, Iraqi Join Operations Command Spokesman:

    The military operations for liberating Anbar from I.S. militants started at 5:00 a.m. today, dawn. Our armed forces, along the Shiite militiamen, special task troops, federal police and Anbar tribes, are now waging pitched battles and advancing toward their designated targets. GWEN IFILL: The launch of the offensive came as the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a series of car bombs and suicide attacks that struck Baghdad yesterday. The blasts killed at least 29 people.


    And, in Yemen, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in the capital, Sanaa, killed at least 25 civilians and injured 50 others. Relatives scrambled to pull victims from the rubble early this morning.

    The bombing struck multiple houses in a slum area of the city, in spite of a U.N.-brokered humanitarian truce between Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government.


    Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has become the 15th Republican to enter the 2016 presidential race. The second-term governor declared his candidacy this morning by tweeting: "I'm running for president because Americans deserve a leader who will fight and win for them."

    Walker built his national profile by taking on labor unions, and surviving a recall vote in 2012. He's set to make his official announcement tonight in Wisconsin. We will have more on that later in the program.


    President Obama today commuted the sentences of 46 nonviolent federal prisoners. The majority of the men and women were serving time for offenses involving crack cocaine or marijuana. The president said — quote — "Their punishments didn't fit the crime." He's now issued commutations for 89 convicts during his presidency. Most were nonviolent offenders sentenced for drug crimes.


    The Pentagon is preparing to end its ban on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a statement that the policy was outdated. He's creating a working group to conduct a six-month study on the effects of lifting the ban. That would give the military services time to work through questions like health care and housing. And the Boy Scouts of America took a major step closer to lifting its ban on gay adult troop leaders. An executive committee unanimously approved a resolution to allow individual troops to set their own policies. In May, its president, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, declared the ban unsustainable.

    The new resolution still must be ratified at a national executive board meeting in two weeks. In 2013, the organization voted to allow gay youth, but not adults, in Scouting.

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