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Tuesday, Feb 20th

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Thousands of vets fell victim to a bait-and-switch...by the VA? Lawmakers want a fix

Vets caught in bait and switch

Lawmakers summoned the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs' loan program, John Bell, to Capitol Hill this week and asked him to explain how the VA is going to fix a debacle that's left many vets in danger of losing their homes.

His answer: They don't know yet.

"We are looking for a solution to be able to help 40,000 borrowers stave off foreclosure," Bell told them.

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin rushed to hospital again Sunday

Lloyd AustinDefense Secretary Lloyd Austin was rushed to the hospital Sunday for symptoms of an "emergent" bladder issue, less than a month after his previous secret stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center sparked controversy.

Austin, 70, was taken back to Walter Reed by his security detail at 2:20 p.m. Sunday, according to Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary. Just before 5 p.m., he transferred his authority to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks.

He remained at the hospital Sunday evening, Ryder said.

Unlike his previous hospitalization that began Jan. 1, Austin notified the White House, Congress and Pentagon officials, Ryder said in a statement.

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Missing Marines found dead in helicopter crash; maps show accident site near San Diego

Marines found dead after helicopter crashSearchers have found the bodies of five Marines who were aboard a U.S. Marine helicopter when it crashed in a mountainous region east of San Diego, authorities said Thursday.

It's not known where the bodies were discovered. Recovery efforts have begun and an investigation into the crash is underway.

The Marines were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. Their names will not be released until 24 hours after their families are notified.

The CH-53E Super Stallion, a heavy-lift helicopter, was flying from Nevada to California when contact was lost at about 11:30 p.m. local time Tuesday, Marine Corps officials said.

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Defense & National Security — US targets senior Iranian-backed militia official in Iraq

Military atack IraqThe U.S. said Wednesday it killed a senior commander in Iraq with the Iranian-backed militia group Kata’ib Hezbollah who was involved in planning attacks on American troops.

The commander was killed during a strike that took place around 9:30 p.m. local time, according to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

“The United States will continue to take necessary action to protect our people,” CENTCOM said in a statement. “We will not hesitate to hold responsible all those who threaten our forces’ safety.”

CENTCOM said there were no civilian casualties or collateral damage from the strike.

The strike hit a car in a busy section of eastern Baghdad, killing the commander and two other Kataib Hezbollah officials, according to The Associated Press.

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Search underway for 5 US Marines after missing military helicopter found in California

Marines missing A search-and-rescue operation is underway for five Marines after a United States military helicopter carrying them to Southern California was found Wednesday.

The helicopter departed from Nevada and was slated to land in California, USMC 1st Lt. Kevin Uebelhardt told USA TODAY. After it was reported overdue, teams in several states began a search and the aircraft was located by civil authorities in Pine Valley, California, just after 9 a.m.

"The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing is managing search and rescue efforts through the Wing Operations Command Center and using ground and aviation assets to locate the aircrew in coordination with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and multiple federal, state and local agencies," the agency said in a statement.

The five missing marines are assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Uebelhardt said.

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US and UK hit 30 Houthi targets to further weaken Iran-backed groups

F/A-18 fighters hit Houthi targetsSaturday in another wave of assaults meant to further disable Iran-backed groups that have attacked US and international interests in response to the Israel-Hamas war.

Ships and fighter jets on Saturday launched strikes against the Houthis. It followed an air assault in Iraq and Syria on Friday targeting other Iran-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in retaliation for the drone strike that killed three US troops – William Jerome Rivers, Kennedy Ladon Sanders and Breonna Alexsondria Moffett – in Jordan last weekend.

The US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, said the military action “sends a clear message to the Houthis that they will continue to bear further consequences if they do not end their illegal attacks on international shipping and naval vessels.”

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U.S. identifies the 3 service members who were killed in drone strike in Jordan

US identifies three soldiers killed in Iraqi drone attack

The Pentagon on Monday released the identities of the three American service members killed Sunday by a drone strike in northeastern Jordan.

The three were identified as Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Ga.; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Ga.; and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Ga.

The three were all reservists assigned to the 718th Engineer Company in Fort Moore, Ga.

Meanwhile, the number of those wounded in the attack rose to more than 40, the Pentagon announced on Monday.

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