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Afghanistan: Taliban Behead 15 People After Seizing Ajrestan District

Taliban attack on villageHundreds of Taliban fighters have stormed and seized a key district in the Afghani Ghazni province, beheading 15 people suspected of collaborating with authorities, including women.

Islamist insurgents attacked the restive Ajrestan district, in a strategic position southwest of Kabul, in an attempt to advance towards the capital. Following a four-day battle, the militants overrun three villages, setting fire to houses and killing a total of 70 villagers.

Ajrestan, a small town surrounded by about 100 villages in a rural area, may allow the Taliban to launch attacks into nearby provinces in the east of the country. Deputy provincial police chief Asadullah Ensafi said militants beheaded 15 people, including local police officers and their family members.


Iraqi woman activist killed by Islamic State

Samira Salig al-NuaimiMilitants with the Islamic State group publicly killed a rights lawyer in the Iraqi city of Mosul after their self-styled Islamic court ruled that she had abandoned Islam, the U.N. mission in Iraq said Thursday.

Samira Salih al-Nuaimi was seized from her home on Sept. 17 after allegedly posting messages on Facebook that were critical of the militants' destruction of religious sites in Mosul.

According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, al-Nuaimi was tried in a so-called "Sharia court" for apostasy, after which she was tortured for five days before the militants sentenced her to "public execution."


Militants surround Iraqi base in west Iraq; incident exposes army weakness

Iraqi army surroundedA soldier cornered in the camp said food, weapons and ammunition were running short, with forces sent to rescue them struggling to clear a route.

"There are troops behind us but they can't reach us because the whole area is planted with roadside bombs and land mines," said Hussein Thamir, a soldier who spoke to Reuters from inside the Albu Etha camp, about 10 km south of the city of Ramadi.

"There was an army group in front of us whom (Islamic State) destroyed completely six days ago," said Thamir.


Jihadist video claims beheading of French hostage

French tourist beheadedAn Algerian jihadist group linked to Islamic State released a video Wednesday purportedly showing the beheading of a French tourist who was abducted on Sunday, a U.S. terrorist watchdog group says.

French President Francois Hollande confirmed the killing of Hervé Gourdel, condemning it as a "cruel and cowardly" act.

"Our compatriot has been murdered," Hollande told reporters ahead of his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.


Somali pirate: $1.6 million ransom paid for journalist

Somali piratesNegotiators paid a $1.6 million ransom for the release of a German-American journalist who was kidnapped in Somalia and held for two years and eight months, a commander of pirates who held him said Wednesday. Michael Scott Moore was "doing well" and receiving medical care, Germany's Foreign Ministry said.

Moore, 45, was flown to Kenya's capital after being freed in Somalia on Tuesday. A special German Foreign Ministry crisis group and German federal police had worked "very closely" with U.S. authorities to win Moore's freedom after he was kidnapped on Jan. 21, 2012, while researching a book on piracy, foreign ministry spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli told The Associated Press in Berlin.


Israeli forces kill two Palestinians suspected of murdering teenagers

IDF kills suspectsThousands of mourners have attended the funerals of two Palestinian men suspected of the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers three months ago, an event that triggered a sequence of actions leading to the 50-day war in Gaza.

Marwan Qawasmeh, 29, and Amer Abu Aisha, 32, were shot dead in a pre-dawn gunfight on Tuesday with Israeli special forces who had fired a rocket at a house in Hebron where the pair had been hiding. Three other men were arrested.


Afghan President Karzai warns successors to beware of US

KarzaiPresident Hamid Karzai has used his last speech in office to warn the new Afghan government to beware of the US.

In a national address before leaving the presidential palace, Mr Karzai said the peace process had failed because "America did not want peace".

The US ambassador said the remarks dishonoured America's war dead. Mr Karzai has long attacked the US for causing too many civilian casualties.

A national unity government takes power on Monday after a bitterly fought vote.


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