French start major sweep
French soldiers in Mali have begun a major anti-insurgent sweep across the country with Malian forces and U.N. peacekeepers, the Defense Ministry said Thursday, calling it the largest operation to counteract a revival of Islamist militant activity since France intervened early this year. Col. Gilles Jaron, a French military spokesman, said the operation, named Hydra, had long been planned and was intended to thwart “a resurgence of terrorist movements.” The large number of French troops actively fighting the insurgents in Mali has raised questions about whether France, the former colonial power, would be able to reduce the number of soldiers there from 3,000 to 1,200 by the end of the year as planned.
TV cameraman shot dead
Bombings and shootings across Iraq, including the killing of a television cameraman, left 10 people dead Thursday as a wave of violent attacks striking the country raged on, officials said. The deadliest attack happened Thursday night when gunmen in a speeding car opened fire on a small fast food restaurant in Baghdad’s western neighborhood of Amariyah, killing four people and wounding seven, authorities said. An hour later, police said a bomb exploded near a cafe in the town of Madain, 14 miles south of Baghdad. The blast killed two people and wounded seven, they said. In the northern city of Mosul, police said gunmen killed a cameraman working for local TV channel al-Moussilyah, as he was walking near his house.
New settlement planned
A senior Israeli official said Thursday that his country will announce new plans for West Bank settlement construction in the coming months, a day after Israel’s leader held lengthy talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Rome for seven hours with Kerry to discuss Iran’s nuclear program and also recently restarted peace talks. The Palestinians consider settlements a major obstacle to establishing a state that includes the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war.
Compiled from wire reports.