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BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran has vowed to retaliate after a U.S. airstrike in Iraq killed the mastermind of its interventions across the Middle East. Tensions between the two countries have soared. Reflecting concerns about retaliation, the United States said Friday that it was sending nearly 3,000 additional troops to the Middle East. Nearly 24 hours after the attack, Iraqi officials and Iranian-backed militias in Iraq reported another deadly airstrike. An Iraqi government official reported a strike on two vehicles north of Baghdad. Another security official who witnessed the aftermath said five people were killed. The Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces confirmed the strike, saying its medics were targeted. An American official denied the U.S. was behind the reported attack.
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran’s U.N. ambassador is urging the U.N. Security Council to condemn what Tehran calls “a criminal act” of “state terrorism” by the United States that led to “the horrific assassination” of the country’s top military commander. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi says Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani played “a significant role” in helping some countries “in combatting and defeating the most dangerous terrorist groups,” including the Islamic State. In letters sent Friday to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council president, Ravanchi says the U.S. airstrike targeting Soleimani “clearly invalidates the claim of the United States that it is fighting terrorism."
SYDNEY (AP) — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called up about 3,000 reservists as the threat of wildfires has escalated in at least three states. He says 23 deaths have been confirmed so far this summer, including two on Saturday, and “we are facing another extremely difficult next 24 hours.” Morrison also confirmed his scheduled visits to India and Japan later this month have been postponed. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian says her state was facing "another terrible day" and called on people in areas threatened by the fires to leave while they can. Officials are warning the fires could move “frighteningly quick.” Embers carried by the wind have the potential to spark new fires or enlarge existing blazes.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Tens of thousands of Indonesians are crammed in emergency shelters waiting for floodwaters to recede in and around the capital, Jakarta, as the death toll from massive New Year's flooding reached 47. Monsoon rains and rising rivers submerged 12 cities and districts in greater Jakarta and caused landslides in the city's outskirts that buried a dozen people. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman says at least 47 people had drowned or been electrocuted since rivers broke their banks Wednesday after extreme torrential rains throughout New Year's Eve. Three elderly people died of hypothermia. It was the worst flooding since 2007, when 80 people died.
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong authorities have activated a newly created “serious response" level as fears spread about a mysterious infectious disease that may have been brought back by visitors to a mainland Chinese city. The government launched a new response plan Saturday for infectious diseases of unknown cause. It had earlier stepped up temperature checks at border crossings. At least 44 people have been infected in the city of Wuhan, and five possible cases have been reported in Hong Kong. The outbreak has revived memories of the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic, which killed more than 700 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and elsewhere.
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