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Tuesday, Oct 21st

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U.S.-led airstrikes hit Syria oil refinery near Turkey

US airstrikes on oil refineryAirstrikes likely carried out by a U.S.-led coalition struck an oil refinery in Syria held by the Islamic State group Sunday, a witness said, shaking buildings and sending flames shooting into the air near the Turkish border.

Explosions lit the sky "for two hours" at the refinery in the northern Syrian town of Tel Abyad around 2:30 a.m. local time (2330 GMT Saturday), local businessman Mehmet Ozer said.

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FBI: 12 Americans in ISIS, Not 100

james ComeyThe U.S. believes there are about a dozen Americans fighting alongside extremist groups in Syria, not more than 100, as has been cited for months.

That's not to say there is no concern about these other 88 or so Americans who officials say have been killed, arrested, traveled or attempted to travel to join the fight. But the U.S. only knows of about 12 who are currently in Syria fighting, FBI Director James Comey said Thursday.

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US-led strikes hit IS-held oil sites in Syria

US atrikes syria oil fieldU.S.-led airstrikes targeted Syrian oil installations held by the militant Islamic State group overnight and early Thursday, killing nearly 20 people as the militants released dozens of detainees in their de facto capital, fearing further raids, activists said.

The latest strikes came on the third day of a U.S.-led air campaign aimed at rolling back the Islamic State group in Syria, and appeared to be aimed at one of the militants' main revenue streams. The U.S. has been conducting air raids against the group in neighboring Iraq for more than a month.

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U.S., Arab allies hit militant strongholds in Syria, Iraq

Air strikes against ISISCombined U.S.-Arab airstrikes hit Islamic State group military strongholds in Syria and Iraq as a simultaneous U.S. strike attacked an al-Qaida cell of hardened veterans with “significant explosives skills” said to be plotting attacks on the U.S. and Western interests, the U.S. military said.

The top American military official, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, said the U.S. and its Arab allies achieved their aim of showing the extremists that their savage attacks will not go unanswered.

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U.S. Marine Killed in Afghan Insider Attack

Afghan armyA MARSOC Marine was killed in Afghanistan this week in an apparent insider attack.

Sgt. Charles C. Strong, 28, of Suffolk, Virginia, was killed Sept. 15, in Herat province, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command confirmed. Strong was a critical skills operator attached to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to a news release, and had served in the Marines since 2003.

A former military police officer with two deployments to Iraq and a previous tour in Afghanistan, Strong joined MARSOC in 2013, officials said.

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Afghan conflict: Three Nato troops killed in Kabul bomb attack

NATo troops killed near KabulAt least three coalition personnel have died after a Taliban suicide car bomber rammed into a foreign military convoy in the Afghan capital Kabul, Nato says.

The blast killed a Polish soldier and two Americans serving with Nato. A fourth member of the Nato force was seriously injured.

At least 16 civilians were also hurt, Afghan government sources say.  The blast took place in heavy traffic on the airport road near the US embassy at about 08:00 local time (03:30 GMT).

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U.S. Inspector: Billions in failed programs wasted in Afghanistan

billions wasted in AfghanistanThe top U.S. official for monitoring aid to Afghanistan painted a grim portrait of the country’s future Friday, saying it is riddled with corruption and graft.

With most Americans’ attention riveted on Iraq and Syria, John F. Sopko, the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan, said the United States’ unprecedented $120 billion reconstruction investment there is at risk.

“The country remains under assault by insurgents and is short of domestic revenue, plagued by corruption, afflicted by criminal elements involved in opium and smuggling, and struggling to execute the basic functions of government,” Sopko said in a speech at Georgetown University.

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