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News Wrap: Israeli airstrikes targeting terrorists kill 26 people

In our news wrap Wednesday, new Israeli airstrikes targeting Islamic Jihad fighters in the Gaza Strip killed 26 people, including at least three minors, in the area's heaviest recent fighting. Israel’s defense minister urged against Palestinian reprisals. Also, protests in Lebanon resumed after its president warned of more delays in forming a new government and a soldier killed a man overnight.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: The tense alliance between the U.S. and Turkey was on display in Washington. Just last month, the president of Turkey brushed aside U.S. objections and invaded part of Syria.

    Today, he was welcomed at the White House.

    Amna Nawaz has our report.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    With impeachment hearings dominating the Capitol, a separate drama played out at the White House. Outside, Kurdish Americans and others protested the visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    But, inside, President Trump gave his guest a warm reception, despite deep and ongoing tensions, most recently over Syria.

  • President Donald Trump:

    The president and I have been — we have been very good friends. We have been friends for a long time.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    That overlooks serious disagreements between the longtime allies. Last month, after speaking with Erdogan, Mr. Trump announced a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Northeastern Syria.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Turkey, Syria, let them take care of it. Let them take care of it. We want to bring our troops back home.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    That cleared the way for a Turkish military offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria. They had helped the U.S. battle ISIS, but Erdogan considers them terrorists, in league with Kurdish separatists inside Turkey.

    Mr. Trump warned Erdogan repeatedly to restrain his operation, even writing him a blunt letter, telling him — quote — "Don't be a fool." Erdogan ignored him. But the two nations did reach an agreement, announced by Vice President Pence.

  • Mike Pence:

    Today, the United States and Turkey have agreed to a cease-fire in Syria.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    At the same time, Turkey, a NATO ally, turned to Russia, and now Turkish-Russian patrols are policing the Syrian border.

    This afternoon, Erdogan stood by his policy at a White House news conference.

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (through translator):

    We're just fighting terrorists, period. They don't have a nationality. If you don't fight back, then, tomorrow, you will have to pay a very hefty price.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The two leaders also spoke about Turkey sending captured Islamic State fighters back to their home countries, further straining ties with NATO partners.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I have spoken to Europe about it. I think they should help us with ISIS.

  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (through translator):

    It's important foreign fighters should be accepted by countries of origin.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Also on the agenda today, Turkey purchasing Russian missile defense systems, and the U.S. canceling sales of F-35 stealth fighter jets to Ankara as a result.

    Mr. Trump said today — quote — "I expect we will work it out."

    The president also called in Republican senators to meet with Erdogan and voice their concerns.

    South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham criticized the president's withdrawal decision and has denounced Erdogan.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.:

    The purpose of this meeting is to have an American civics lesson for our friends in Turkey, and there is a pony in there somewhere, if we can find it.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Back at the Capitol, the top Republican in Congress expressed his worry, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:

    So, I share my colleagues' uneasiness at seeing President Erdogan honored down at the White House.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    A bipartisan bill is now before the Senate imposing sanctions on Turkey over its assault on Syria. The House approved a similar measure last month.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Amna Nawaz.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    A second day of Israeli airstrikes blasted Gaza today, killing 26 people. Palestinians said most were Islamic Jihad fighters, backed by Iran, but at least three were minors. The air assault left buildings in ruins, in the heaviest fighting in months.

    Meanwhile, the militants fired hundreds of rockets into Israel. They caused no casualties, but drew a warning from the Israelis.

  • Naftali Bennett:

    These terrorists are not only out to kill Israelis. In fact, they're killing their own people in Gaza. At the cost of every rocket they shoot, they could have built another Gazan classroom.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The fighting started on Tuesday, when an Israeli strike killed a top Islamic Jihad commander. The militant group said today that it would accept a truce, if Israel stops targeting — targeted killings and eases the blockade of Gaza.

    Meanwhile, protests in Lebanon resumed full force today. It came after the country's president warned of more delays in forming a new government, and after a soldier killed a man during overnight protests.

    Today, demonstrators set tires on fire to block major roads and highways. They vowed to stay until a new government takes over and attacks corruption and economic distress.

    In Hong Kong, protesters put up barricades, disrupted transit and faced off with police for a third straight day. Demonstrators using umbrellas as shields clogged the main business district, where police in riot gear made arrests. At night, police patrolled in armored cars.

    Officials in Afghanistan have postponed releasing results from September's presidential election for a second time. The election commission cited unspecified technical issues. The tally had been due tomorrow, but incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and challenger Abdullah Abdullah are locked in a dispute over a planned recount.

    Most of Venice, Italy, was underwater today, inundated by the worst flooding since 1966. Water levels in the famed City of Canals reached more than six feet above average sea level, and historic Saint Mark's Basilica suffered serious damage.

    Business owners accused the city of ill-conceived efforts to build offshore barriers.

  • Vinvenzo Salvaggio (through translator):

    Resources have been invested for completely useless structures. These structures have made things worse, because, with the enlargement and the cleaning of the port entrances, it brings more water to the lagoon.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The city's mayor blamed intense winds and rising sea levels caused by climate change. He said the damage could run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Wildfires in Eastern Australia have forced hundreds of people to evacuate, some for the second time in a week. The danger increased today in Queensland state, fueled by drought conditions. And fires kept burning in New South Wales, where more than 200 homes have been destroyed since Friday.

    Back in this country, Southern California Edison agreed to pay $360 million to local governments for previous wildfire damages. Two major fires were sparked by the utility's equipment in the last two years. They led to 23 deaths and destroyed more 1,600 homes and other buildings. The settlement doesn't cover private lawsuits.

    The Democratic presidential field for 2020 is back up to 18 candidates. It was widely reported today that Deval Patrick will enter the race. He was the first black governor of Massachusetts, serving two terms. Patrick had initially said that he wouldn't run for president.

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 92 points to reach a new record close, 27783. The Nasdaq lost three points, and the S&P 500 added two, also closing at a new record.

    And a Japanese spacecraft is on its way back to Earth with precious cargo, the first soil samples from an asteroid. The unmanned Hayabusa2 left its orbit around the space rock today. It will need a full year to travel back across 180 million miles to Earth. The samples could shed new light on the origins of the solar system.

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