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Turkish tanks enter Syria in anti-ISIL operation

Turkish tanks enter SyriaTurkish tank units have entered Syria as part of a military operation backed by Turkish and US-led coalition warplanes to clear the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group from the Syrian border town of Jarablus, according to Turkish state media.

Turkish special forces had crossed the border and entered Jarablus early on Wednesday, officials said.

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At least 73 dead as quake rocks central Italy

Italy earthquakeAt least 73 people were reported killed and dozens more were missing or feared dead Wednesday after a magnitude-6.2 earthquake and a series of aftershocks struck several towns in central Italy, toppling scores of buildings, according to Italy’s civil protection agency.

Hardest hit were towns in the regions of Umbria, Lazio and Marche some 80 to 100 miles northeast of Rome.

Immacolata Postiglione, head of the civil protection agency, gave the breakdown at a briefing Wednesday but stressed the figures were still provisional.

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Philippines police chief: 1,900 killed in anti-drug war

Philippine police kill 1900 in drug warThe Philippines has recorded about 1,900 drug-related killings since President Rodrigo Duterte took office seven weeks ago and launched a war on narcotics, far higher than previously believed, according to police figures.

National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa told a Senate committee on Tuesday that about 750 suspected drug traffickers and users had been killed in police operations since July 1.

Police were also investigating around 1,100 other drug-related killings, Dela Rosa said, adding that there was no declared policy to kill drug users and pushers.

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Russian use of Iranian airbase to fight Islamic State ends

Russians leave Iran basesThe Russian use of an Iranian airbase to launch airstrikes on targets in Syria has ended, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday.

Use of the airbase near Hamedan, Iran, began a week ago, but the mission is complete, spokesman Bharam Ghasemi noted. He said Russia could seek Iranian consent to use the airbase again, but that no Russian troops were stationed within Iran, except for the airbase.

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Iraq hangs 36 people sentenced to death for killing of troops in 2014

Iraq hangs 36Iraq said on Sunday it had hanged 36 militants sentenced to death over the mass killing of hundreds of mainly Shi'ite soldiers at a camp north of Baghdad two years ago.

It is the highest number of militants executed in one day by the Iraqi government since Islamic State fighters took control of parts of northern and western Iraq in 2014.

The executions were carried out at a prison in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya, state television quoted the Justice Ministry as saying.

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Turkey wedding blast blamed on child suicide bomber

Wedding deathsMore than 50 people have been killed and scores more wounded in a suicide attack at a wedding ceremony in Turkey's southeastern province of Gaziantep, near the Syria border.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that "Daesh is the likely perpetrator of the attack", using the Arabic name for ISIL, also known as ISIS.

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Rights groups say Israel behind death threats campaign

Israel tagets rights groupsThe threats have come via emails, phone calls, and once with flowers delivered directly to the front door.

Amid months of sustained intimidation, harassment and threats, Palestinian human rights defenders are coming forward to denounce a campaign that they say aims to "plant fear" into their efforts to hold Israel accountable for human rights violations.

"This is a very organised and advanced campaign," said Shawan Jabarin, director of Al Haq, a prominent Ramallah-based Palestinian human rights organisation.

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