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    Showing posts with label europe. Show all posts

    Europe and US increase humanitarian aid as support grows for new Iraqi PM

     Pope calls on Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary general, to consider the tears and the heartfelt cries of despair of religious minorities and end the humanitarian tragedy

    David Cameron has broken off his holiday to lead the government's response to the Iraq crisis as Europe and the US stepped up their humanitarian support to the persecuted religious minorities stranded in northern Iraq.

    Mr Cameron is chairing a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee this afternoon after returning earlier than expected from his holiday in Portugal.

     In an interview with Sky News, Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary, said: "Why bring MPs back? The argument appears to be that when events stir the public conscience and the men in khaki are on high alert, Westminster simply must express itself.

    "Even if no one offers anything workable to be done, there are plenty of things to be said."

    European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is ready to call a special foreign ministers' meeting as early as this week and is talking to EU governments about it, a spokesman said.
    Meanwhile Justine Greening, International Development Secretary, said there had been "five successful air drops" to the region since Tuesday night.
    Thousands more poured across a bridge into Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region on Wednesday after trekking into Syria to escape, most with nothing but the clothes they wore.

    Some women carried exhausted children, weeping as they arrived to the relative safety of Iraqi Kurdistan.

    But there are still large numbers on the mountain, said 45-year-old Mahmud Bakr.

    "Many of them are elderly; they cannot walk this distance," Bakr told AFP.

    "My father Khalaf is 70 years old - he cannot make this journey. But up there, there is very little food and no medicine," he said.

    UN minority rights expert Rita Izsak has warned they face "a mass atrocity and potential genocide within days or hours".

    In a letter to Ban Ki-moon, the Pope issued a heartfelt plea to the UN secretary-general to help the stranded refugees.

    Pope Francis said: "I write to you, Mr Secretary-General, and place before you the tears, the suffering and the heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and other religious minorities of the beloved land of Iraq.

    Police arrest suspect in Belgian Jewish Museum shooting

    Police have arrested a man in Marseille, France, who is suspected of killing three people last week in the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium, Belgian federal magistrate Wenke Roggen said Sunday.

    The suspect is identified as 29-year-old Frenchman Mehdi Nemmouche, who recently spent a year in Syria and is a radicalized Islamist, the chief prosecutor of Paris said at a news conference Sunday.

    Francois Molins said Nemmouche, who has a criminal history that included a five-year prison stint, was detained with a bag that contained several weapons.

    Nemmouche has been silent during his detention, Molins said. The prosecutor said that authorities suspect Nemmouche was influenced by Islamist teachings while in prison and left for Syria three months after being released in September 2012.
    Belgium's Jewish community security fears

    French officials lost contact with Nemmouche when he left the country, Molins said.

    The suspect's bag also contained clothes similar to the ones worn during the attack and a GoPro video camera. There was also a Nikon digital camera that contained a hidden folder with a 40-second recording related to the shooting.

    Nemmouche was arrested at a train station just after he returned to France, the prosecutor said.

    Two of the people who died in the attack were Israelis, a couple in their 50's from Tel Aviv,, Israel's Foreign Ministry has said. The third victim was a French woman.

    A fourth person, a Belgian national who works at the museum, was shot and injured.

    Images from the museum in Brussels showed the gunman behind last week's deadly attack approaching the building, opening fire, and walking away.

    He used an AK-47 assault rifle to carry out the shooting, police have said.

    Photographs and video released by Belgian police showed the man wearing a cap and blue shirt, carrying two bags over his shoulder. The images do not show his face clearly.

    The shooter left on foot after the attack and headed toward a different part of downtown Brussels before he disappeared, according to police.

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