AP Top News at 11:22 a.m. EDT

Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside, Palestinian officials said, as Israel pressed forward with its 17-day war against the territory's Hamas rulers. Pools of blood stained the school courtyard in the northern town of Beit Hanoun, amid scattered books and belongings. There was a large scorch mark in the courtyard marking the place where one of the tank shells hit. Dozens of people, including children were wheeled into a nearby hospital as sirens wailed.


Official: Air Algerie flight 'probably crashed'
ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) - An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali, officials said. France's foreign minister said no wreckage had been found, but that the plane "probably crashed." Air navigation services lost track of the MD-83 about 50 minutes after takeoff from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, at 0155 GMT (9:55 p.m. EDT Wednesday), the official Algerian news agency APS said.


Arizona execution takes nearly 2 hours
PHOENIX (AP) - A condemned murderer took nearly two hours to die and gasped for about 90 minutes during an execution in Arizona that quickly rekindled the national debate on capital punishment in the U.S. The execution of 55-year-old Joseph Rudolph Wood took so long that his lawyers had time to file an emergency appeal while it was ongoing. The Arizona Supreme Court also called an impromptu hearing on the matter and learned of his death during the discussions.


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Planes with Malaysia Airlines bodies leave Ukraine
KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) - Two military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster departed for the Netherlands Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash scene which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels. All 298 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 - most of them Dutch citizens - were killed when the plane was shot down on July 17. U.S. officials say the Boeing 777 was probably shot down by a missile, most likely by accident.


Ukraine accused of targeting civilians in east
DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) - War literally came to Alexander Litvinenko's living room, when a missile punched a gaping hole into the wall of his ninth-floor apartment. The 53-year-old college philosophy teacher had just stepped into his study to check the news online, barely escaping death. Others in the residential neighborhood in northwest Donetsk were less fortunate. Five civilians were killed and 12 injured in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels on Monday, according to the mayor's office. Residents in the rebel-held city are blaming Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has promised to stamp out the uprising in the eastern part of the country.


Porch shooter: I didn't know gun was loaded
DETROIT (AP) - A suburban Detroit man who killed an unarmed woman on his porch immediately suggested to police it was an accident and that he didn't know his shotgun was loaded, according to recorded remarks played in court Thursday. Theodore Wafer, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, met officers outside his Dearborn Heights home after they responded to his 911 call around 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 2.


Pope meets Christian sentenced to death for faith
ROME (AP) - Pope Francis met privately Thursday with a Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence, blessing the woman as she cradled her infant born just weeks ago in prison. The Vatican characterized the visit with Meriam Ibrahim, 27, her husband and their two small children as "very affectionate."


Iraq elects Kurdish politician as president
BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraqi lawmakers elected a veteran Kurdish politician as the nation's new president on Thursday, hours after an attack on a prison convoy killed dozens of people, brutally underscoring the challenges faced by the country's leaders as they struggle to form a new government. The 76-year-old Fouad Massoum, one of the founders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party led by Iraq's previous President Jalal Talabani, accepted the mostly ceremonial position after winning two-thirds of the votes in parliament, noting the "huge security, political and economic tasks" facing the next government.


Wyoming cave with fossil secrets to be excavated
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - For the first time in three decades, scientists are about to revisit one of North America's most remarkable troves of ancient fossils: the bones of tens of thousands of animals piled at least 30 feet deep at the bottom of a sinkhole-type cave. Natural Trap Cave in north-central Wyoming is 85 feet deep and almost impossible to see until you're standing right next to it. Over tens of thousands of years, many, many animals - including now-extinct mammoths, short-faced bears, American lions and American cheetahs - shared the misfortune of not noticing the 15-foot-wide opening until they were plunging to their deaths.


Fans start lining up as Comic-Con floor opens
Comic-Con is all about bringing fans close to the artists and properties they love - after navigating crowds and waiting in line. The lineups began as soon as the San Diego Convention Center opened its doors. Fans with four-day passes to the sold-out pop-culture spectacular gained early admission to the showroom floor Wednesday night, where they were the first to see a 10-foot-tall Transformer, a Lego Spider-Man and a life-sized, road-ready Hot Wheels car inspired by Darth Vader.

 

 

 



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