Outrage: Extremists take ancient statues, damage Iraqi site
BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State extremists trucked away statues as they damaged the irreplaceable remains of an ancient Assyrian capital, a local resident and a top UN official told The Associated Press Friday.
Top Qaeda leader, commanders reported killed in Syria
The military chief and several top commanders of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front have been reported killed in northwestern Syria, where the jihadist militia has made major gains in recent months. The UN Security Council, meanwhile, adopted a US-drafted resolution condemning the use of chlorine in Syria and threatening measures if chemicals are used in attacks again. Syrian state media, a monitoring group and a local activist all reported that Nusra's Abu Hammam al-Shami had been killed, but provided contradictory information on the circumstances. Official Nusra sources did not announce the death of the jihadist, a Syrian believed to have fought with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
EU borders chief fears a million migrants headed from Libya
The head of the EU's borders agency fears as many as a million migrants could try to reach Europe this year from Libya alone. "Sources tell us there are between 500,000 and one million migrants ready to leave Libya," Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri said in an interview with Italy's Ansa news agency that was published Friday. Nearly triple the number of migrants entered the European Union in 2014 compared to the previous year, mainly due to refugees fleeing war in Syria. An increasingly violent and chaotic situation in Libya, a key jumping off point for migrants, has also helped prompt the huge hike in the number of asylum seekers trying to reach Europe.
U.N. chief worried by planned Palestinian security cut with Israel
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern on Friday at a decision by Palestinian leaders in the West Bank to halt security coordination with Israel and called for the international community to push for a Middle East peace deal. The Palestinian Central Council, whose votes are usually binding on the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, said on Thursday it made the decision because Israel had breached bilateral agreements, including withholding tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinians. An end to the agreement on security coordination, which dates from the Oslo peace accords of the mid-1990s, could have an immediate impact on stability in West Bank cities such as Hebron, Nablus and Jenin, where anti-Israel unrest is common.