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SYRIA: Rebels free abducted Kurds

A rebel group with links to al-Qaida was reported Sunday to have released hundreds of kidnapped Kurdish civilians after clashes with Kurdish militiamen that reflected the increasingly open hostility among armed factions in rebel-held parts of Syria. The release of the abducted Kurds followed battles in the northern town of Tal Abyad, along the Turkish border. The civilians were freed in exchange for the release of a rebel leader identified only as Abu Musab, reported the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.


IRAQ: Ramadan attacks continue

Bombings and shootings killed 13 people on Sunday, as the death toll from a coordinated wave of late-night car bombings and other attacks the day before jumped past 70, authorities said. The explosions were the latest in a relentless surge in bloodshed that has rocked Iraq since the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan on July 10.

EGYPT: Authorities attacked in Sinai

Coordinated day and nighttime attacks Sunday by emboldened militants in the northern Sinai Peninsula targeted different areas in el-Arish and in a border town, killing a civilian and four security officers, officials said. The pace of attacks on the police and military in northern Sinai has intensified since the July 3 ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. For militants in Sinai, restoring Morsi is not the priority, however. They have said their goal is to drive out the military and the authority of the central government in order to create an "Islamic Emirate."


NEW ZEALAND: 6.9 quake shakes capital

Wellington, the capital, was rattled Sunday by a magnitude 6.9 earthquake that broke water mains, smashed windows and downed power lines. Police said there had been minor structural damage that had left parts of the city without power. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck 6 miles underground, under the Cook Strait, 35 miles southwest of Wellington.

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