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US commandos kill key IS leader in Syria...Pope praises Abbas...Plains could see severe weather today

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BEIRUT (AP) — U.S. officials say a senior Islamic State commander has been killed in the first known U.S. ground operation targeting IS militants in Syria. A U.S. defense official says an Army Delta commando team flew into eastern Syria from Iraq last night. The official says the commandos met stiff resistance and engaged in a firefight that included hand-to-hand combat before returning safely to their base.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's president is criticizing Egypt for sentencing former President Mohammed Morsi to death. He says the country is returning to the "old Egypt" by rolling back democracy. An Egyptian court today sentenced Morsi and 105 others to death over a mass prison break during the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Turkey's government strongly supports Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which is now outlawed in Egypt. Morsi was ousted by the military in July 2013.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (mahk-MOOD' ah-BAHS') an "angel of peace." The compliment came during an exchange of gifts at the end of a papal audience today. Francis gave Abbas a medallion representing the "angel of peace destroying the bad spirit of war." He said it was appropriate since Abbas is also an angel of peace. Abbas is in Rome for tomorrow's canonization Sunday of two 19th-century nuns who will be the first saints from the Palestinian region since the early days of Christianity.

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Forecasters say the Midwest could be in for another round of strong storms today. The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center says severe thunderstorms may develop in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas, and tornadoes are possible. Last weekend tornadoes and other storms caused flooding and at least four deaths.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A blind pole vaulter has won a bronze medal with a third-place finish at the Texas state high school championships. Charlotte Brown cleared 11 feet, 6 inches today to earn the medal in Class 4A, one of the state's largest classifications. She was joined on the medal stand by her service dog Vador. The senior has made the state finals three years in a row. To compete, she counts the seven steps of her left foot on her approach and a beeper tells her when to plant the pole.

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