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Friday, Jul 25th

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Israel confirms soldier missing as fighting continues

Israeli soldier missingAn Israeli soldier is missing following a deadly battle in the Gaza Strip, a defense official confirmed Tuesday, as Israeli forces continued their air, land and sea offensive against Hamas militants.

On Sunday evening, Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri in Gaza claimed his group had captured an Israeli soldier, a claim Israel initially denied. An announcement on Gaza TV of the soldier's capture set off celebration in the streets of the West Bank.

Several media sites reported that the IDF identified the missing soldier as Sgt. Oron Shaul, 21, from Poria. According to media reports, the IDF said Shaul is likely dead, but his family is holding out hope until definitive evidence is found.

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MH17 plane crash: Ukraine rebels hand over black boxes

Black boxes handed overRebels in eastern Ukraine have handed over two flight-data recorders from the downed MH17 plane to Malaysian experts.

A senior rebel leader signed them over to the Malaysian officials at a meeting in the city of Donetsk. The handover came hours after the UN Security Council voted unanimously to demand immediate international access to the crash site.

The Malaysian Airlines passenger jet crashed last Thursday, killing all 298 people on board.

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UN Security Council Unanimously Approves Resolution For Unhindered Access To MH17 Crash Site

UN Security CouncilThe U.N. Security Council Monday unanimously adopted a resolution drafted by Australia calling for a complete international investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, shot down over contested territory in eastern Ukraine last week.

The resolution called for unhindered access to the MH17 crash site, which is currently under the control of pro-Russian separatists. It called for them to “refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site.”

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Train with plane crash bodies leaves rebel town

train with crash bodieA refrigerated train carrying Malaysia Airlines victims' bodies pulled away Monday from a rebel-held town in eastern Ukraine, one small step forward in easing the agony of their grieving families.

In an emotional inspection hours earlier, Dutch experts had called for a full forensic sweep of the Flight 17 crash site and told the armed separatists controlling the area that the train must be allowed to leave as soon as possible.

Four days after someone shot the Boeing 777 out of the sky, killing 298 people, pressure was growing on Russian President Vladimir Putin to rein in the insurgents and allow a full-scale investigation into the downing of the plane. The U.S., Ukraine and others say Moscow has armed the rebels, a charge Russia denies.

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Gaza crisis: Palestinian death toll climbs past 500 as hospital is hit

gaza hospital hitThe Palestinian death toll in the conflict between Hamas and Israel reached 548 on Monday as officials said four were killed when a Gaza hospital was hit by Israeli fire.

It followed the bloodiest day of the conflict so far on Sunday when at least 120 Palestinians were killed in Shujai'iya, a third of them women and children. Thirteen Israeli soldiers were also killed – two of them US citizens – in the heaviest loss of life for the Israeli military in years.

Staff at the al-Asqa Martyrs hospital were said to be in shock that the building was hit. "People can't believe this is happening – that a medical hospital was shelled without the briefest warning. It was already full with patients," said Fikr Shalltoot, director of programmes at Medical Aid for Palestinians in Gaza city.

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Israelis gather on hillsides to watch and cheer as military drops bombs on Gaza

Issraelis cheer Gaza strikesAs the sun begins to sink over the Mediterranean, groups of Israelis gather each evening on hilltops close to the Gaza border to cheer, whoop and whistle as bombs rain down on people in a warzone hell a few miles away.

Old sofas, garden chairs, battered car seats and upturned crates provide seating for the spectators. On one hilltop, a swing has been attached to the branches of a pine tree, allowing its occupant to sway gently in the breeze. Some bring bottles of beer or soft drinks and snacks.

On Saturday, a group of men huddle around a shisha pipe. Nearly all hold up smartphones to record the explosions or to pose grinning, perhaps with thumbs up, for selfies against a backdrop of black smoke.

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Iran eliminates sensitive stockpile under interim nuclear deal: IAEA

Iran nuclear dealIran has moved to eliminate its most sensitive stockpile of enriched uranium gas under an interim nuclear deal reached with six world powers last year, according to a monthly update by the U.N. nuclear watchdog obtained by Reuters on Sunday.

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed that Iran had met the terms of the six-month agreement, under which it limited its atomic activities in exchange for some easing of sanctions that are crippling its economy.

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