In our news wrap Friday, more than a dozen Islamic militant groups, including al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria, launched an assault on government positions in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Also, Aetna announced it’s buying rival health insurance company Humana for $37 billion. If approved, Aetna will become the second largest health insurer in the U.S.
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The heaviest fighting in months raged in the Northern Syrian city of Aleppo today, as government forces tried to repel a coordinated attack by rebels.
More than a dozen Islamic militant groups, including al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria, launched the assault on government positions overnight. President Bashar al-Assad's troops called in airstrikes that killed at least 35 rebel fighters.
Elsewhere, Islamic State-affiliated fighters in Egypt claimed they fired three rockets into Southern Israel. Israeli officials acknowledged that rocket remnants were found, but didn't confirm their origins. No injuries were reported.
Aetna announced today that it's buying rival health insurer Humana for $37 billion. If approved, the deal would make Aetna the second largest health insurance company in the U.S., behind UnitedHealth. That would give it more power to negotiate prices under President Obama's health care overhaul. It would also mean that Aetna would own a larger chunk of the rapidly growing Medicare business.
Residents in Maryville, Tennessee, were allowed home today, a day-and-a-half after a freight train with toxic chemicals derailed and caught fire. Some 5,000 people had been evacuated. The train burned throughout the day yesterday. It was carrying material used to make plastic that's dangerous if inhaled. Authorities are examining the train's black box for clues as to what caused the accident.
People around Britain today honored the victims of the deadly terror attack at a Tunisian beach; 30 of the 38 killed by an Islamic extremist in last week's rampage were British. Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister David Cameron both participated in moments of silence in the U.K., while the British ambassador to Tunisia laid a wreath at the site of the attack.
HAMISH COWELL, British Ambassador to Tunisia: I think we all live under the threat of terrorism now. And I think that the lone wolf syndrome, we have seen it elsewhere, not just in Tunisia. But, of course, that's why we are here working with the Tunisians to try to make sure that we have the best security possible. And I know there's a great commitment from the Tunisians to ensure that they have that security in place.
The gunman in the Tunisia rampage was ultimately killed by police. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
A Russian Soyuz rocket bound for the International Space Station successfully lifted off from Kazakstan today. The unpiloted spacecraft is ferrying food, water, oxygen, and other supplies to the orbiting laboratory. The launch follows three unsuccessful resupply missions, including the SpaceX rocket that exploded shortly after liftoff Sunday.