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Turkey downs Syria military jet 'in airspace violation'

Turkey shoots down Syrian jetTurkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says its armed forces have shot down a Syrian military jet which had violated its airspace.

He warned such action by Syria merited a "heavy response". But Syria accused Turkey of "blatant aggression", saying the plane had been over Syrian territory at the time.

The incident reportedly occurred in an area where Syrian rebels and government forces have been fighting for control of a border crossing.  Turkey and Syria - once allies - have more than 500 miles (800km) of common border.


Israeli forces kill four Palestinians in West Bank shootout

Israeli forces kill 4 palestiniansFour Palestinians, including a fugitive member of the military wing of Hamas, have been killed by Israeli forces in a shootout in the town of Jenin in one of the most serious incidents on the West Bank in recent months.

The deaths occurred amid growing tensions in the runup to the April deadline set by the US for a framework agreement to advance already faltering peace talks. The talks are designed to lay the foundations for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Two Israelis were wounded during the raid in the early hours of Saturday morning.


Bombings, shooting kill 16 in Iraq

Bombings in IraqA series of attacks across Iraq killed 16 members of the security forces and civilians on Saturday, officials said.  Separately, a Kurdish officer in the Iraqi president's guard is alleged to have shot dead the head of a local radio station during a quarrel near the leader's east Baghdad residence, police said.

The police said Mohammed Bedwei was shot at a checkpoint by a lieutenant in the mostly Kurdish security detail for Jalal Talabani, an ethnic Kurd.


Nine dead in Kabul hotel attack

Hotel attack kabulFour gunmen were swift as they entered the Serena Hotel, a luxury lodging in Kabul, although it took them a few minutes to find the restaurant that was their target. Afghan officials pieced together the details of the Thursday attack that left nine people dead, including four foreigners and two children who were shot in the head.

The Afghan capital has been hit by several attacks, but authorities appeared stunned that the fighters had managed to get through tight security at the Serena Hotel — considered one of the safest places to stay in Kabul.


Putin formally gets Crimea; Ukraine, EU sign deal

Putin gets CrimeaPresident Vladimir Putin completed his annexation of Crimea on Friday, signing the Black Sea peninsula into Russia just as Ukraine itself sealed a deal pulling the country closer into Europe’s orbit.

Putin said he saw no need to further retaliate against U.S. sanctions, a newly conciliatory tone apparently aiming to contain one of the worst crises in Russia’s relations with the West since the Cold War. His spokesman, however, later kept the Kremlin’s warning open that it could consider various options.


Iraqi forces, images testify to atrocities in new fighting

Iraq atrocities emergeThe video shows a male corpse lying in the dirt, one end of a rope tied around his legs, the other fastened to the back of an armored Humvee.

Men in Iraqi military uniforms mingle by the vehicle. Someone warns there might be a bomb on the body. One hands another his smartphone. Then he stands over the body, smiles, and offers a thumbs-up as his comrade takes a photo. The Humvee starts to move, dragging the dead man behind it into the desert.


US accuses Israeli Defense Minister of 'undermining ties' with Washington

Ya'alonThe Obama administration has accused the Israeli defence minister of insulting its senior officials and undermining the relationship between the US and Israel after he criticised American foreign policy for projecting "weakness" throughout the world.

The attack on Moshe Ya'alon, the most vocal hawk in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet, came after he warned that the US was inviting a terrorist attack on its own soil by failing to fulfil its mission as the world's policeman.


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