News Wrap: Violence flares in Middle East; Iran violates sanctions

In our news wrap Friday, violence flared in the Middle East today for another day. Also, the United Nations insisted that an Iranian missile test last weekend was a “clear violation” of U.N. sanctions.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    A series of suicide bombings rocked Northern Nigeria today. Four women blew themselves up early this morning as soldiers challenged their entrance to Maiduguri, killing at least 18 people. The blasts occurred just hours after two bombs struck a nearby mosque. At least 30 people died in those explosions. Officials suspect Boko Haram extremists are behind both incidents.

    Nick Schifrin is on assignment for us in Nigeria. I spoke to him earlier today in the capital, Abuja.

    Nick, so you were in the town where the bombings happened. You're in a different city now. What can you tell us about today's violence?

  • NICK SCHIFRIN:

    Yes, Hari, good evening.

    This is really quintessential Boko Haram. They can't get into the center of Maiduguri, nor can they seize any land outside of it. And so what they're doing is strapping people with bombs, more bombs, according to intelligence officials, in the last nine months than the previous six years combined.

    This morning, the attack was actually thwarted by police at the edge of Maiduguri, last night's attack, horrific. Somebody actually got into a mosque and blew himself up. The vast majority of Boko Haram's victims are Muslims.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    What's the U.S. doing to help Nigeria fight or stop Boko Haram?

  • NICK SCHIFRIN:

    The U.S. is hoping in the next few months that it will start retraining Nigerian forces to fight Boko Haram and also really flood the zone with drones.

    There is a brand-new base in Northern Cameroon. Intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, these are the kinds of things that the U.S. is going to give not only Nigeria, but the whole region. There will not be troops on the ground. The U.S. hopes to train more of the local forces and give them the intelligence that they need.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Nick Schifrin joining us from Abuja, Nigeria, tonight, thanks so much.

  • NICK SCHIFRIN:

    Thanks, Hari.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    We will have more on the security situation in Nigeria right after the news summary.

    Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians flared for another day. A Palestinian man wearing a press T-shirt stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier in Hebron, while elsewhere in the West Bank, Palestinians firebombed a Jewish holy site. Violence also broke out in Gaza, where Israeli soldiers shot and killed two Palestinians, all this as both sides pleaded for international help at a special meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

    RIYAD MANSOUR, Palestinian Envoy to the UN (through interpreter): We come to you today asking the council to urgently intervene to end this aggression against our defenseless Palestinian people, and against our shrines, which are subjected to violations by the Israeli military occupation and by Israeli settlers and by extremists.

    DAVID ROET, Israeli Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN: Israel is facing an onslaught of terrorism. Yet, there has been no demand for an emergency session of the Security Council, no call for the Palestinian leadership to stop their incitement, and not even a whisper of condemnation of these acts could be heard from this council.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    There was also word that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week in Germany. The two also spoke today about the conflict during what the State Department called a — quote — "constructive conversation."

    The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations insisted today an Iranian missile test last weekend was a clear violation of U.N. sanctions. Samantha Power issued a statement warning the U.S. will seek Security Council action now that it has determined that the Iranian missile was — quote — "inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon."

    And at a news conference today, President Obama maintained the landmark deal over Iran's nuclear program won't deter the U.S. from pressuring the country over its missile program.

    Syrian troops initiated a fresh offensive against rebel forces today. The new push in the northern province of Aleppo was coordinated in conjunction with Russian airstrikes. It follows a separate operation launched yesterday farther south in the Homs province.

    Meanwhile, the Turkish military shot down an unauthorized drone flying in their airspace near the Syrian border. U.S. officials believe it was of Russian origin, but Moscow insisted all its aircraft were accounted for.

    Hungary is further sealing itself off from the sea of migrants flowing into Europe. The government is officially closing its border with Croatia tonight, a month after doing the same with Serbia. Earlier in the day, more than 1,000 refugees streamed off a train in a Croatian border town, hoping to make it into Hungary before the closure. More than 383,000 migrants have entered Hungary this year.

    Parts of Southern California were digging out from a deluge of mud and debris a day after powerful storms soaked the area. Emergency crews worked around the clock to reopen one of the state's major thoroughfares, Interstate 5, north of Los Angeles, near Fort Tejon State Park. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded in the area yesterday in up to five feet of mud.

    On Wall Street today, stocks closed higher for a third straight week. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 74 points to close at nearly 17216. The Nasdaq rose more than 16 points. And the S&P 500 added nine. For the week, the Dow, Nasdaq, and the S&P 500 all gained around 1 percent.

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