IRAQ
Protesters take down Bahraini Embassy flag

Protesters stormed the Bahraini Embassy compound in Baghdad on Thursday night, removing the flag from above the building and replacing it with a Palestinian banner in protest over a conference held in the gulf nation to promote peace between Arabs and Israelis.

No one was hurt in the standoff, which lasted more than an hour, and later in the night Iraqi security forces were in control of the area.

An Iraqi security official said the protesters forced their way in by breaking through the main gate but stayed in the garden without storming the offices inside the compound. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said that security forces opened fire in the air to disperse the protesters and that reinforcements were sent to the western neighborhood of Mansour, where the embassy is.

More than an hour later, the nearly 200 protesters, waving Iraqi and Palestinian flags, dispersed.

Bahrain’s diplomats were evacuated earlier from the compound after the mission received threats, the official said.

The two-day workshop in Bahrain that ended Wednesday was to promote the Trump administration’s $50 billion economic support plan for the Palestinians ahead of a Middle East peace plan.

Several Arab countries boycotted the Bahrain conference, including Lebanon and Iraq. The Palestinian Authority boycotted, as well.

— Associated Press

GERMANY
Merkel seen shaking at public ceremony

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was seen shaking in public for the second time in 10 days on Thursday, hours before she was set to depart for Japan to join world leaders at the Group of 20 summit.

But government officials said there was no reason for concern. “The chancellor is doing well; all of her appointments will be kept as planned,” a government spokeswoman told The Washington Post on Thursday.

Merkel, 64, has been chancellor for nearly 14 years. She has no history of serious medical conditions, according to the Reuters news agency.

The trembling occurred during the departure ceremony for her justice minister, Katarina Barley, in a room inside the Bellevue Palace home of the German president. Merkel was handed a glass of water but did not drink it.

In 2017, Merkel was seen shaking on a visit to Mexico City. Concerns reemerged last week when she met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Berlin. At a ceremony in the scorching heat, Merkel visibly trembled. The ceremony continued, and Merkel suggested she had been dehydrated.

— Rick Noack, Luisa Beck

2 wounded in shooting near French mosque: An unidentified gunman shot and wounded an imam and one other person in front of a mosque in the western French city of Brest, then killed himself, police said. The motive for the attack is unclear. France's interior minister ordered security tightened at places of worship around the country. The shooter fired at two people and then fled in a car, according to a national police spokesman. The shooting took place in front of the Mosquée Sunna de Brest. Police found the attacker's car in a nearby neighborhood — and nearby lay the attacker, who had shot himself in the head, the spokesman said. The wounded people were hospitalized but "are doing okay," the police spokesman said.

Russia frees whales: Russia released back into the wild two killer whales and six beluga whales — the first group of almost 100 whales whose capture in the Far East last year caused an international outcry. The mammals, caught last summer to be sold to marine parks or aquariums in China, were released in their natural habitat in the Sea of Okhotsk, a Russian oceanography research institute said in a statement. The plight of the captive whales, which were held in cramped conditions, prompted celebrities such as actor Leonardo DiCaprio to petition for their release.

Palestinian killed in clash with Israeli police: Palestinian health officials said a 20-year-old Palestinian man was killed in a clash with Israeli police in East Jerusalem. Israeli police say they were operating in the Palestinian neighborhood of Issawiya late Thursday when the man fired fireworks toward the force. Responding to what they called a "life-threatening situation," police say they shot the suspect. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the man as Mohammed Obeid.

— From news services