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Obama to send up to 300 'military advisers' to help Iraqi army repel Isis

Obama sends advisersBarack Obama announced on Thursday that a contingent up to 300 "military advisers" will be sent to Iraq to bolster attempts to repel the advance of Islamist insurgents, but stopped short of ordering the air strikes demanded by Baghdad.

They will assist in helping the Iraqi military develop and execute a counter-offensive against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), a mission likely to spread to target selection, a a prerequisite for any future air strikes.

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Black flags fly over Iraqi refinery, as US weighs cooperation with Iran

Iraqi oil refineryAs fighting raged at Iraq's largest oil refinery between extremist insurgents and Iraqi security forces, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed the United States is contemplating sharing information with Iran over the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) armed rebellion, but is not seeking to work "hand-in-hand" with Tehran to address the crisis.

The U.S. and Iran are seen as the two main backers of Iraq's embattled Shia prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and there has been much speculation that the fight against Sunni insurgents, who have seized vast swathes of Iraq's north, could provide a rare opportunity for cooperation between the long-hostile powers.

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Julian Assange to file fresh challenge in effort to escape two-year legal limbo

Julian AssangeLawyers for Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who on Thursday marks his second anniversary holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, are preparing to file a challenge to his detention order in Sweden in a move that could impact the state of legal limbo in which he is trapped.

Jennifer Robinson, Assange’s UK-based lawyer, told reporters that the legal challenge, which is due to be lodged with Swedish courts next Tuesday, was based on “new information gathered in Sweden”. She declined to give any further details until the filing had been made.

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US captures alleged mastermind of Benghazi consulate attack

Benghazi arriestA suspected leader of the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi has been captured by American troops, the Obama administration confirmed Tuesday, hailing the Libyan's arrest as a 'significant milestone' in the case.

Over the weekend, U.S. special operations forces apprehended Ahmed Abu Khattala, believed to be one of the masterminds behind the assault, which killed four Americans. He is in custody on a U.S. ship.

In a statement Tuesday, President Barack Obama said Khattala would face the "full weight of the American justice system."

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UK to re-open Iran embassy says Hague

Iranian embassyForeign Secretary William Hague has said plans to re-open the British Embassy in Tehran are an "important step forward" in relations with Iran.

Mr Hague said the "circumstances were right" following an improvement in bilateral relations in recent months.

Full diplomatic relations with Iran were suspended after attacks on the British embassy in Iran in 2011. The election of a new Iranian president and a deal on Iran's nuclear programme has led to renewed contacts this year.

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At least 44 Sunnis dead in foiled rescue attempt

detainees killed in IraqAt least 44 Sunni detainees have died during a battle between would-be Sunni rescuers and pro-government Shiite militiamen guarding the suspected militants at a police station northeast of the capital, Iraqi police officials said Tuesday.

Police said the detainees died after Sunni militants attacked the station in Diyala province Monday night in an attempt to free them, the Associated Press reports, but there is conflicting information on the cause of death.

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Police: 48 killed in terror attack on Kenya town

Kenya massacreDozens of Somali extremists wielding automatic weapons attacked a small Kenyan coastal town for hours, assaulting the police station, setting two hotels on fire, and spraying bullets into the street. At least 48 people were killed, officials said Monday.

The assault began around 8 p.m. local time on Sunday night as town residents were watching World Cup matches on TV. The attack met little resistance from the country's security apparatus, and lasted until early Monday morning.

Authorities blamed al-Shabab, Somalia's al-Qaida-linked terror group.

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