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Pentagon: American was killed by Islamic State...Thousands of foreigners join fight...Stocks gain



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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says American hostage Kayla Jean Mueller (MYOO'-lur) died at the hands of Islamic State -- and not in a Jordanian airstrike targeting the militant group. Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby was asked today if there was any doubt who killed the aid worker -- and he said there's "no doubt" that it was the militant group. He says U.S. officials still don't know how she died. But he added that officials are certain it was not in one of the airstrikes Jordan launched in retaliation for the killing of one of its pilots. Mueller was taken hostage in August 2013 while leaving a hospital in Syria.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. intelligence officials estimate that foreign fighters are streaming into Syria and Iraq in unprecedented numbers to join the Islamic State or other U.S. foes. The fighters include at least 3,400 from Western nations and a total of 20,000 from 90 countries. Separately, intelligence agencies believe that as many as 150 Americans have tried or succeeded in reaching in the war zone. Some have died there and a small number are still fighting.

WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Barack Obama looks for congressional approval to use the military against Islamic State terrorists, he'll be doing so with a resolution aimed at satisfying Democrats who don't want to see troops on the ground, and Republicans who want to leave that option open. A proposal being circulated among lawmakers today would authorize the Pentagon to fight the terrorists without any "enduring offensive combat" role.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing moderately higher as traders welcome positive earnings news from Coca-Cola and other companies. Energy stocks were the exception. That sector edged lower as the price of crude oil dropped more than 5 percent. The Dow finished 139 points higher today, while the S&P gained 21 points and the Nasdaq rose 61.

NEWTON, Mass. (AP) — Boston-area transit officials say they are prepared to resume rail service on a reduced schedule after a more than 24-hour shutdown. Subways, trolleys and commuter rail will resume tomorrow. They have been idle since last night because of the severe winter weather. But officials are telling commuters to expect fewer cars and less frequent service on most lines.

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The Associated Press

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