World Digest: Aug. 3, 2013

August 3, 2013
SYRIA
Airstrike kills 9 near border with Lebanon

Syrian warplanes struck targets near the border with Lebanon on Saturday, killing at least nine people in the latest attack along the volatile boundary, the Lebanese state-run news agency and security officials said.

The planes targeted the rebel-held Syrian town of Yabrud, just across from Lebanese villages housing Syrians who fled a government offensive in June, a Lebanese security official said. Both sides in the Syrian civil war have allies and supply lines in Lebanon.

The official said the victims included six members of the same family.

Also Saturday, members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra group captured an arms depot north of Damascus, seizing weapons and ammunition from the regime, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Syria’s main opposition coalition, meanwhile, urged the release of a Catholic priest who disappeared Monday while visiting a rebel-held city dominated by Islamist groups in the country’s northeast. The Western-backed Syrian Opposition Coalition said it was “deeply concerned” over the disappearance of Paolo Dall’Oglio, an Italian Jesuit priest and a well-known figure in Syria.

— Associated Press

IRAQ
Attacks nationwide leave 19 people dead

Bombings and shootings across Iraq on Saturday killed 19 people, including several who died in an ambush targeting the convoy of a top military commander, authorities said.

Violence has been on the rise in Iraq this year, but the number of attacks against civilians and security forces has spiked during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began early last month.

The deadliest attack was the ambush on the motorcade of Lt. Gen. Abdul-Amir al-Zaidi about 60 miles north of Baghdad. Gunmen killed six of Zaidi’s bodyguards and wounded four others, police said. Zaidi, who commands some government forces in Diyala and Salahuddin provinces, was not hurt.

Gunmen also broke into the house of a former fighter in the anti-al-Qaeda militia known as Sahwa, or the Awakening, killing the man’s wife and two daughters, near the city of Baqubah. In another attack near Baqubah, gunmen shot and killed two Sahwa fighters as they were working on their farm.

— Associated Press

Independent panel to probe disputed Cambodian election: The two rival parties claiming victory in Cambodia’s general election reached an agreement with the state National Election Committee to investigate polling irregularities, a move that could help end the country’s political deadlock. However, in the latest example of how both parties have maneuvered for advantage since the July 28 election, the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party said it was not ready to attend a planned Sunday session to organize the investigating committee.

In Mali, third-place presidential aspirant backs front-runner: The third-place finisher in Mali’s presidential election threw his support behind the front-runner, an unexpected endorsement that could substantially improve the leading candidate’s chances in the Aug. 11 runoff. Dramane Dembélé, the candidate of the country’s largest political party, had been expected to support the second-place finisher, Soumaïla Cissé, but said he would instead back Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Algerians hold public lunch during Ramadan: About 300 people in a restive northern region of Algeria participated in a public lunch during Ramadan to protest what they say is persecution of people who refuse to observe the religious fast. The event in Tizi Ouzou, about 60 miles from Algiers, was highly unusual for North Africa, where fasting during the Muslim holy month is effectively required.

New Zealand botulism scare triggers global recall: New Zealand authorities have triggered a recall of up to 1,000 tons of dairy products — including infant formula, sports drinks and protein drinks — in seven countries after dairy giant Fonterra announced that tests had revealed a type of bacteria that could cause botulism. Countries affected besides New Zealand include China, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

— From news services

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