Friday, July 30, 2010

FP morning brief 7/30

Militants plant al Qaeda flag after deadly attack in Baghdad

Top news: In a brazen challenge to Iraqi authorities, militants killed 23 members of the country's security forces in coordinated attacks on Thursday, then planted an al Qaeda flag in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad.

In the worst incident, gunmen attacked a police checkpoint in the Azamiyah neighborhood, then set it on fire, burning the bodies inside and planting the flag of al Qaeda in Iraq. Minutes later, three roadside bombs detonated nearby. Thursday also saw attacks elsewhere in Baghdad as well as in Fallujah and Mosul.

It was the boldest move by Iraq's Sunni militants since the commando-style raid on the Central Bank in June, which killed 26. Militants seem to be increasingly targeting Iraqi security forces as the United States plans to remove all but 50,000 American troops by the end of August.

Milestone: With at least 63 killed, July is the deadliest month yet for U.S. troops in the nine-year war in Afghanistan.

Middle East
  • The leaders of Saudi Arabia and Syria are heading to Lebanon in an effort to prevent a crisis over the expected indictments for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
  • The Arab league has endorsed direct Palestinian talks with Israel.
  • Rockets from Gaza hit the Israeli city of Ashkelon.
-By Joshua Keating


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