Military clears troops in 2014 Gaza war cases

The Israeli military on Wednesday cleared its forces of wrongdoing in three deadly incidents that occurred during the 2014 war in the Gaza Strip, including an airstrike that killed 15 members of one family.

Israel’s investigative process is at the heart of a Palestinian case to press for war-crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The Palestinians say Israel has a poor record of prosecuting wrongdoing in its ranks.

The Israeli military said Wednesday that it had closed a total of seven probes without filing charges after a special team collected testimony from Gaza residents and Israeli officers.

The deadliest incident involved an airstrike in the southern Gaza town of Rafah on Aug. 1, 2014, that killed 15 members of the Zoroub family.

The army said the building was used by the Islamist militant group Hamas, which runs Gaza, as a command-and-control center. It said the airstrike was in line with international law, which can allow attacks on homes used for military purposes.

The Israeli military says it looked into about 360 complaints linked to the 50-day war. It has found enough evidence to launch about 31 criminal investigations. At least 13 of them have been closed, with indictments in three cases of alleged looting by troops.

— Associated Press

Search for Nazi train deemed unsuccessful

Explorers’ great hopes for finding a legendary Nazi “gold train” in Poland appeared dashed Wednesday when, after digging extensively, they admitted that they have found “no train, no tunnel” at the site.

The legend has sparked a gold rush, drawing in explorers and treasure hunters from across Europe to Poland’s southwestern town of Walbrzych, and prompting local authorities to dream about a great inflow of tourists and money.

The local legend says that in 1945 Nazi Germans hid a train laden with gold and valuables in a secret tunnel nearby as they were fleeing the advancing Soviet army at the end of World War II.

Last week, two explorers — Andreas Richter, a German, and Piotr Koper, a Pole — moved in with heavy equipment and dug deep at a site near rail tracks in Walbrzych, after residents said they had knowledge of the train’s existence.

Richter and Koper said last year that tests they conducted using earth-penetrating radar confirmed a train was at the site.

But a spokesman for the explorers, Andrzej Gaik, said Wednesday that they found “no train, no tunnel” there.

— Associated Press

Bangladesh arrests a top suspect in publisher’s killing: Bangladeshi police have arrested a leading suspect in last year’s killing of a publisher as part of a crackdown on radicals blamed for attacks on foreigners, liberals and minorities, an official said. Moinul Islam Shamim was arrested just outside the capital, Dhaka, said the head of the police counterterrorism unit. Shamim is a key organizer of the banned Ansarullah Bangla Team, a group that is blamed for attacks on atheist bloggers and online activists. He is suspected of killing publisher Arefin Deepan on Oct. 31 in his office.

Saudi police thwart attacks in east: Saudi Arabia’s security forces said they thwarted two attacks in predominantly Shiite Eastern Province. In one, police became suspicious of a Pakistani man who turned out to be carrying a bomb inside a sports bag. Police said the man planned to attack a mosque. The Interior Ministry said he died after being shot by police. In the second case, during a routine search at a checkpoint in the city of Dammam, police found two men in possession of a firearm and a suicide vest containing more than 15 pounds of explosives. The ministry said the two were recruited by the Islamic State militant group to carry out a suicide attack.

Two women lynched, set on fire in Congo: Two Hutu women were dragged out of a minibus, lynched and their bodies set on fire by a crowd in eastern Congo, the local mayor said, as ethnic tensions in the region surge in the wake of massacres of civilians. The crowd in the town of Butembo, which is dominated by the Nande ethnic group, said the two women were militants, Mayor Sikuli Uvasaka Makala told local radio. Ethnic rivalries, invasions by Rwanda and Uganda, and competition for land and minerals among eastern Congo’s rebel groups have stoked conflict for two decades.

— From news services