Latest Middle East News

FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2020, file photo Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, top U.S. commander for the Middle East, watches flight operations on board the USS Harry S. Truman in the North Arabian Sea. Six months after a deadly American airstrike in Baghdad enraged Iraqis and fueled demands to send all U.S. troops home, McKenzie is talking optimistically about keeping a smaller, but enduring military presence in Iraq. (AP Photo/Lolita Baldor, File)

US general sees smaller but enduring troop presence in Iraq

Jul. 8, 2020 12:11 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Six months after a deadly American airstrike in Baghdad enraged Iraqis and fueled demands to send all U.S. troops home, the top U.S. general for the Middle East is talking optimistically about keeping a smaller, but enduring military presence there. Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, the...

FILE - San Francisco Police Auxiliary Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) volunteer David Flynn offers face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus at Dolores Park in San Francisco, Sunday, May 24, 2020. California is creating roving

The Latest: New Zealand to charge patient who went shopping

Jul. 7, 2020 10:21 PM EDT

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand authorities say they will press charges against a coronavirus patient who escaped quarantine in Auckland and went shopping at a supermarket. Air Commodore Darryn Webb, the head of managed isolation and quarantine, said the 32-year-old man escaped through a fence at...

In this photo released by the Turkish humanitarian group IHH on Monday, April 6, 2020, aid workers of the group demonstrate to Syrian children how to properly wash hands, at a camp for internally displaced persons in northern Syria. The Islamic humanitarian foundation tutored children and adults on preventative measures to avoid infection by the new coronavirus and also distributed aid and personal hygiene supplies.  (IHH via AP)

Russia and China veto cross-border aid to Syria's northwest

Jul. 7, 2020 7:33 PM EDT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia and China vetoed a U.N. resolution Tuesday that would maintain two border crossing points from Turkey to deliver humanitarian aid to Syria’s mainly rebel-held northwest for a year, which the United Nations says is crucial to save millions of lives. Russia, Syria's close...

Ivan Safronov, an adviser to the director of Russia's state space corporation, stands behind bars in a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Safronov, a former journalist who worked as an adviser to the director of the Russian state space corporation, pleaded innocent to the treason charges against him. Ivan Safronov, a former journalist who served as an adviser to Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin, was detained in Moscow by agents of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the main KGB successor agency. (Sofia Sandurskaya, Moscow News Agency photo via AP)

Russian space official, ex-journalist, charged with treason

Jul. 7, 2020 4:32 PM EDT

MOSCOW (AP) — A former journalist who worked as an adviser to the director of Russia's state space corporation was arrested and jailed Tuesday on charges of passing military secrets to Czech intelligence, accusations that many of his colleagues dismissed as absurd. Ivan Safronov, who had written about...

Mourners carry the flag-draped coffin of Hisham al-Hashimi during his funeral, in the Zeyouneh area of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, July, 7, 2020. Al-Hashimi, an Iraqi analyst who was a leading expert on the Islamic State and other armed groups, was shot dead in Baghdad on Monday. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Outspoken Iraqis fear rogue groups after analyst killed

Jul. 7, 2020 3:47 PM EDT

BAGHDAD (AP) — The killing of a prominent security analyst who had received threats from Iran-backed militias has struck fear in the hearts of outspoken Iraqis concerned that they, too, could be targeted by armed groups. The death of Hisham al-Hashimi also highlighted the limits of Prime Minister Mustafa...

FILE - In this April 9, 2019, file photo, Afghans watch a civilian vehicle burnt after being shot by U.S. forces following an attack near the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, Afghanistan. Three American service members and a U.S. contractor were killed when their convoy hit a roadside bomb on Monday near the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, the U.S. forces said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Intelligence alleging that Afghan militants might have accepted Russian bounties for killing American troops didn’t scuttle the U.S.-Taliban agreement or President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw thousands more troops from the war. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

US general skeptical that bounties led to troops' deaths

Jul. 7, 2020 3:06 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. general for the Middle East said Tuesday that the intelligence suggesting that Russia may have paid Taliban militants to kill American troops in Afghanistan was worrisome, but he is not convinced that any bounties resulted in U.S. military deaths. Gen. Frank McKenzie, the...

FILE - In this March 7, 2020 file photo, workers disinfect the ground around the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, over fears of the new coronavirus, the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Guidelines were announced Monday, July 6, 2020 as Saudi Arabia gets ready for the 1,000 or so pilgrims that will be allowed to perform the hajj pilgrimage in Mecca later this month. The experience will be unlike any before which usually draws some 2.5 million people. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

New at Saudi hajj: Bottled holy water, sterilized pebbles

Jul. 7, 2020 1:40 PM EDT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia has issued guidelines for about 1,000 pilgrims who will be allowed to perform the hajj pilgrimage in Mecca later this month, an experience that will be unlike any before because of the coronavirus pandemic. The pilgrims will only be able to drink holy water...

UN-backed experts point to new war crimes in Syria conflict

Jul. 7, 2020 12:10 PM EDT

GENEVA (AP) — Investigators commissioned by the U.N.’s top human rights body say Syrian government forces and their Russian allies bombarded civilian sites in Idlib province indiscriminately, while rebels tortured and executed civilians in recent months, acts amounting to war crimes on both sides. ...

An Israeli flag flies over a Jewish owned house in a Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Israeli leaders paint Jerusalem as a model of coexistence, the

Jerusalem offers a grim model for a post-annexation future

Jul. 7, 2020 10:49 AM EDT

JERUSALEM (AP) — It's hard to say what exactly will change in the West Bank if Israel follows through on its plans to annex parts of the occupied territory, but east Jerusalem, which was annexed more than a half-century ago, may provide some answers. Israeli leaders paint Jerusalem as a model of...

The capital city of Beirut remains in darkness during a power outage, Monday, July 6, 2020. The government in highly indebted Lebanon is in talks with the International Monetary Fund to secure financial assistance. But the talks have been bogged down by political divisions. Poverty and unemployment have been rising, only to be compounded by the economic restrictions imposed in effort to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Lebanon's rising power cuts add to gloom of economic crisis

Jul. 7, 2020 10:36 AM EDT

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese are buying candles in bulk, turning to traditional kerosene lamps and throwing away rotten food because of prolonged power cuts that plunged the country into darkness this week, adding to the gloom of a deepening economic crisis. The country's electricity company and the powerful...