In our news wrap Thursday, Islamic State militants reportedly executed more that 150 Syrian soldiers taken during recent fighting. Meanwhile, President Obama tamped down expectations for military action in Syria, saying the U.S. priority is to fight Islamic State in Iraq. Also, JPMorgan Chase is investigating a possible cyberattack, the scope of which is unclear.
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President Obama moved today to tamp down talk of imminent military action against Islamic State fighters in Syria.
At the White House, he said his priority is to roll back the militants’ gain in Iraq, where U.S. airstrikes are already under way. He said calls to expand the campaign into Syria amount to — quote — “putting the cart before the horse.”
President Barack Obama:
We don’t have a strategy yet. I think what I have seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are.
But there’s no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done.
Separately, there was word that Islamic State fighters executed more than 150 soldiers Syrian captured in recent fighting. The troops were taken prisoner after militants seized a key air base in northeastern Syria. A video posted on YouTube showed a long line of bodies lying face down in the sand.
Gunmen on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights detained 43 U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji today. U.N. officials say it happened during fighting between an unidentified armed group and Syrian troops. Another 81 peacekeepers from the Philippines were trapped. Afterward, U.N. troops kept a close watch on the Syrian side of the Heights. Their mission is to monitor a zone of separation between Syrian and Israeli forces.
J.P. Morgan Chase has confirmed it’s investigating a possible cyber-attack, but it says the scope is unclear. Bloomberg News reported it’s part of a series of coordinated and sophisticated attacks by Russian hackers. And The New York Times reported at least four other banks were also targeted in the last month. The stolen data includes checking and savings account information.
A family feud over control of a supermarket chain in New England is finally over. The disagreement, which began in June, spawned worker and customer boycotts of Market Basket that attracted national attention. Now Arthur T. Demoulas will buy the majority stake in the chain from his cousin for $1.5 billion. He celebrated with employees today in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. The battle for control ultimately cost the grocery chain millions of dollars in lost revenue.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 42 points to close at 17,079. The Nasdaq slipped nearly 12 points to close at 4,557. And the S&P 500 dropped three points to 1,996.
The National Football League is getting tougher on domestic violence. Commissioner Roger Goodell announced today players will be suspended for six games for a first offense. They will be banned outright if it happens a second time. Goodell was criticized when he suspended the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice for just two weeks for allegedly hitting his fiancee.
Today, Goodell acknowledged he — quote — “didn’t get it right.”