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News Wrap: Pro-government forces attacked in Syria

In our news wrap Monday, a group monitoring the Syrian war said an overnight missile strike targeted government military bases in Northern Syria. The group said Israel likely carried out the assault that killed 26 pro-government fighters, including many Iranians. Also, deadly attacks also rang out across Afghanistan, from Kabul to Kandahar. In all, nearly 40 people were killed.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news, a Syria war monitoring group said an overnight missile strike targeted government military bases in Northern Syria. The group said that Israel likely carried out the assault that killed 26 pro-government fighters, including many Iranians.

    Social media video showed the purported attack, which hit an arms depot near Hama. Iranian fighters are said to be stationed there, but the Iranian government denied they were hit.

    Deadly attacks also rang out across Afghanistan today, from Kabul to Kandahar. In all, nearly 40 people were killed, including 11 children. Afghan security forces, NATO soldiers and journalists were among the intended targets. But many civilians also lost their lives or were injured.

    William Brangham has our report.

  • William Brangham:

    The first blast came during Kabul's busy morning rush hour, near the headquarters of Afghanistan's intelligence service, NATO, and foreign embassies.

    A suicide bomber arrived on a motorcycle and blew himself up. Then, after journalists rushed to the site of the explosion, another suicide bomber, posing as a reporter, detonated more explosives among the media scrum.

  • Man (through translator):

    I was about 10 meters away from the site of the first explosion, trying to enter the site, when the second blast happened. It was very powerful, and when I was finally at the site, I found many of my fellow reporters lying on the ground, some of them dead already.

  • William Brangham:

    Afghan journalists seemed to be specifically targeted. Shah Marai, chief photographer for Agence France-Presse in Kabul, was among the dead.

    The Islamic State group in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for the attacks. It was the deadliest attack targeting reporters since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001, according to a French media organization. In a separate attack in Khost province on Monday, Ahmad Shah, who an Afghan BBC reporter, was killed.

    In all, 36 media workers have been killed since 2016. Meanwhile, in Kandahar province, children were killed when a suicide bomber targeted a NATO convoy. Soldiers, civilians and policemen were also injured in the attack.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm William Brangham.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    A U.S. service member also died today during a combat operation in Eastern Afghanistan. Another American soldier was injured.

    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May has tapped Sajid Javid, a member of Parliament, to be the new home secretary. That's the position overseeing policing, internal security, immigration and citizenship. He's the son of Pakistani immigrants, and the first ethnic minority politician to hold the job. The previous home secretary, Amber Rudd, resigned late Sunday, after admitting that she misled lawmakers about whether the government had deportation targets.

    Back in this country, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Thomas Homan, announced today that he is retiring. President Trump nominated him to lead the agency permanently in November. But his nomination stalled in the Senate. Homan came under fire last year after saying that undocumented immigrants in the U.S. — quote — "should be afraid" under the Trump administration. He will leave the agency in June.

    A caravan of about 200 asylum seekers from Central America were denied entrance into the U.S. for a second day. U.S. authorities said they didn't have the space to process asylum applications, so they will have to wait on the Mexican border with San Diego. The caravan arrived in Tijuana Sunday seeking refuge.

  • Man (through translator):

    They should have a little more awareness and at least support us in cases that really need support. We are coming from our countries, not because we want to, but because the situation is very bad in our countries.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Border officials said they weren't sure when that San Diego crossing facility would begin accepting new asylum cases.

    Adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, is suing President Trump for defamation. Clifford claims that she had an extramarital affair with Mr. Trump in 2006. The lawsuit filed in a Manhattan court today alleges the president lied when he tweeted earlier this month that her claims of being threatened for discussing the alleged affair was — quote — "a total con job."

    U.S. consumer advocacy groups are warning that a new merger between Sprint and T-Mobile could hurt customers. They fear less competition in the wireless market will likely trigger higher prices. The $26.5 billion announced Sunday still must clear several regulatory hurdles. If approved, it would reduce the U.S. wireless industry to just three major carriers.

    A midnight deadline is looming for President Trump to decide whether to permanently exempt the European Union and five other countries from new U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs. They were imposed last month. But the Trump administration granted them temporary exemptions set to expire by this day's end.

    Meanwhile, stocks closed lower on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 148 points to close at 24163. The Nasdaq fell 53 points, and the S&P 500 slipped nearly 22.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour," one on one with former FBI Director James Comey; a side effect of the opioid crisis, costly heart surgeries; plus, much more.

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