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World news briefs — compiled July 21

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SYRIA

Mortar fire slams market

Government troops fired mortar rounds that slammed into a main market in a town in northern Syria on Sunday, killing at least 20 civilians, activist groups said. The mortar shells struck the town of Ariha, which is held mostly by opposition fighters, a few hours ahead of iftar, the meal that breaks the dawn-to-dusk fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Also Sunday, state media said government forces killed nearly 50 rebels in an ambush near Damascus.

IRAQ

Scattered attacks kill 13

Bombings and shootings in Iraq killed 13 people on Sunday, as the death toll from a coordinated wave of late-night car bombings and other attacks the day before climbed to 71, authorities said. The explosions were the latest in a relentless surge in bloodshed that has rocked Iraq since the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan on July 10. They follow months of surging violence across the country that is raising fears of a return to the widespread sectarian killing that pushed the country to the brink of civil war after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

EGYPT

Violence spills into city

Coordinated day and nighttime attacks Sunday by emboldened militants in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula targeted different areas in the main city of el-Arish and a border town, killing one civilian and four security officers, officials said. The pace of attacks on the police and military in northern Sinai has intensified since the July 3 ouster of President Mohammed Morsi from power, but assaults have largely been confined to desolate desert areas.

MEXICO

7 injured in pipeline blast

A pipeline explosion Sunday that injured seven people and sent flames and smoke shooting hundreds of feet into the air in central Mexico was caused by illegal tapping, Mexico’s state-owned oil company said. The pre-dawn explosion in a farm field injured four police officers and three firefighters among those called to the scene by a report of an oil leak, officials said.

Compiled from wire reports.


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