News Watch

In Iraq, a mostly peaceful march of tens of thousands of people on April 26 was the largest of the protests held in Baghdad in the previous weeks. Calling for an end to corruption and for a vote on new government representatives, the crowd walked from Tahrir Square to the gates of the Green Zone, where they threatened to storm parliament, which was in session. Iraq’s prime minister has been trying to appease protesters by replacing ministers, but parliament has been paralyzed by arguments.

Facing a political crisis, Iraq has had to pull military from the north and west, where...

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The European Union and Turkey agreed to a compromise in late March that will ease Europe’s handling of migrants who have had asylum denied. According to the agreement, denied Syrian asylum seekers in Europe will be returned to Turkey in exchange for an equal number of Syrian refugees living in Turkey who have made “legitimate requests” for asylum in Europe. Also being sent back to Turkey are migrants who have crossed into Europe illegally who have not made an asylum claim, including non-Syrians.

Most of the returning migrants are camped in Greece, the first entry...

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The Caribbean island-nation of St. Lucia confirmed two autochthonous (native, vector-borne transmission) cases of zika virus on April 7, the first cases discovered that were contracted on the island. Zika is now endemic in 34 countries and territories in the Americas and the Caribbean. 

In the greater area, as of press time, only Canada, the US, the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Anguilla, St. Kitts & Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, Belize, Peru, Chile and Argentina had not confirmed any autochthonous cases of zika.

Zika virus is spread by the Aedes...

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As ITN went to press, the State Department had travel warnings on 38 destinations: Afghanistan, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, El Salvador, Eritrea, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Israel/West Bank/Gaza, Kenya, North Korea, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Republic of South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela and Yemen. 

For details, call the State Department at 202/647-5225 or visit www.travel....

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Suicide bombers targeted Belgium’s Brussels Airport (BRU) and the Brussels metro on March 22, killing at least 32 people, including four Americans, and injuring over 300 more. The Islamist militant group Daesh (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks. 

Three men entered the airport with bombs in their baggage. Two of the bombs were detonated, killing the bombers, while the third bomb was abandoned, with the police detonating it later. 

One of the deceased bombers was identified as the suspected manufacturer of the bombs used in the November 2015 Paris...

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A suicide bomber targeted a group of Christians celebrating Easter at a children’s playground in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore, Pakistan, on March 27, killing 76 people and injuring at least 300 others. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Taliban, an Islamist militant and political group, claimed responsibility for the attack. Despite the group’s claim that they specifically were targeting Christians, the majority of the dead were identified as Muslim.

Lahore is the capital of Pakistan’s northwestern Punjab province. Christians make up a minority group in the...

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A suicide car bomber targeted a busy commercial hub in Turkey’s capital city, Ankara, on March 13, killing 37 people.

Turkish security authorities blamed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish separatist political group, for the attack and responded with air and military strikes against Kurdish positions in the southeast of Turkey and in Syria. The PKK has denied any involvement.

The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), a militant Kurdish separatist group that was expelled from the PKK, claimed responsibility for the bombing. The TAK also claimed responsibility...

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A suicide bomber targeted a soccer match in the city of Iskandarya, Iraq, 30 miles south of Baghdad, on March 25, killing at least 25 people and wounding about 60 others. The Islamist militant group Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Daesh effectively controls large tracts of land in Iraq and Syria. However, since December 2015, Daesh has lost around 22% of the land it had captured. On March 24-25, Syrian armed forces retook the ancient city of Palmyra and the nearby modern city of Palmyra, which Daesh had controlled since May 2015.

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