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Saturday, Jul 26th

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Kurds take oil-rich Kirkuk amid advance of ISIL insurgency in Iraq

Kurds take KirkukIraqi Kurds seized control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk on Thursday as Sunni insurgents threatened to advance on Baghdad — two developments that further indicate that that central government has now lost large swathes of a country spiraling deeper into chaos and internecine violence.

Kurds have long dreamed of taking Kirkuk, a city with huge oil reserves just outside their autonomous region, which they regard as their historical capital. The swift move by their highly organized security forces demonstrates how this week's sudden advance by armed group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has redrawn Iraq's map.

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Turkey calls for emergency NATO meeting on security situation in Iraq

Turkey calls for NATO meetingNATO ambassadors held an emergency meeting on Wednesday evening at Turkey's request to discuss the situation in Iraq, where militants took 80 Turkish citizens hostage,a NATO official said.

"Turkey briefed the other allies on the situation in (the Iraqi city of) Mosul and the hostage-taking of Turkish citizens, including the consul general,'' the official said.

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Islamist Insurgents Close In On Iraq's Biggest Oil Refinery Day After Assault On Mosul

Baiji oil refinerySunni insurgents from an al Qaeda splinter group extended their control from the northern city of Mosul on Wednesday to an area further south that includes Iraq's biggest oil refinery in a devastating show of strength against the Shi'ite-led government.

Security sources said militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - Sunni militants waging sectarian war on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian frontier - drove into the town of Baiji late on Tuesday in armed vehicles, torching the court house and police station after freeing prisoners.

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Israel hands presidency from peacemaker to opponent of Palestinian state

Reuven RivlinWith today's presidential vote, Israel is poised to pass the largely ceremonial position from the hands of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and champion of a Palestinian state to those of a politician who supports annexing the West Bank.

Israel’s parliament elected Reuven Rivlin, a legislator from the ruling Likud party, to replace Shimon Peres, who has been a staple on the Israeli political scene since its founding and shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.

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Iraq declares state of emergency after insurgents take Mosul

iraq eergencyIraq’s prime minister has declared a state of emergency after armed fighters believed to be part of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh and freed hundreds of prisoners.

Overnight, hundreds of rebels launched an assault on the provincial capital Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, engaging in combat with troops and police, officials said on Tuesday.

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20 Nigerian Women Kidnapped By Suspected Boko Haram Gunmen

nigerian women kidnappedSuspected Boko Haram gunmen have reportedly kidnapped 20 women from a nomadic settlement in northeast Nigeria near the town of Chibok, where the Islamic militants abducted more than 300 schoolgirls and young women on April 15.

Alhaji Tar, a member of the vigilante groups set up to resist Boko Haram's attacks, said the men arrived at noon Thursday in the Garkin Fulani settlement and forced the women to enter their vehicles at gunpoint. He says they drove away to an unknown location in the remote stretch of Borno state.

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Gunmen Attack Pakistan’s Karachi Airport

Karachi airportGunmen disguised as police guards stormed an airport terminal used for VIPs and cargo in Pakistan's largest city Sunday night, and the fighting ended with more than 20 dead, officials said.

The Chief Minister of Sindh province, Qaim Ali Shah, said the airport has been cleared.

The toll is now 22 killed, including nine airport security personnel, 10 attackers and two airport employees, according Major General Asim Bajwa, a Pakistan military spokesman. He said at least 20 people were wounded.

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