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AP Top News at 5:45 a.m. EDT

Foley's death isn't changing views in Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) - For all its horror, the beheading of an American journalist in Syria appears unlikely to change lawmakers' minds about military intervention against Islamic State extremists. It's equally unclear whether the Obama administration will be asking them to back a new U.S. approach. President Barack Obama said the United States wouldn't scale back its military posture in Iraq in response to James Foley's killing. But he offered no specifics Wednesday about what new steps he might take to protect additional captives and other Americans, and ward off what he described as the al-Qaida offshoot's genocidal ambitions.


Beheading spurs new attacks on Islamic militants
WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States launched a new barrage of airstrikes Wednesday against the Islamic State extremist group that beheaded American journalist James Foley and that has seized a swath of territory across Iraq and Syria. President Barack Obama vowed relentless pursuit of the terrorists and the White House revealed that the U.S. had launched a secret rescue mission inside Syria earlier this summer that failed to rescue Foley and other Americans still being held hostage. In brief but forceful remarks, Obama said the U.S. would "do what we must to protect our people," but he stopped short of promising to follow the Islamic State in its safe haven within Syria, where officials said Foley had been killed. Later, though, the administration revealed that several dozen special operations troops had been on the ground in Syria briefly in an effort to rescue the hostages, but did not find them.


US special ops tried but failed to find hostages
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama sent special operations troops to Syria this summer on a secret mission to rescue American hostages, including journalist James Foley, held by Islamic State extremists, but they did not find them, officials say. The rescue mission was authorized after intelligence agencies believed they had identified the location inside Syria where the hostages were being held, administration officials said Wednesday. But the several dozen special operations forces dropped by aircraft into Syria did not find them at that location and engaged in a firefight with Islamic State militants before departing, killing several militants. No Americans died but one sustained a minor injury when an aircraft was hit.


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Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed three senior commanders of the Hamas military wing on Thursday, the group said, in what is likely to be a major blow to the organization's morale and a significant achievement for Israel's intelligence agency. The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior military commanders, identified by Hamas as Mohammed Abu Shamaleh, Raed Attar and Mohammed Barhoum.


Some see Qatar's hand in collapse of Gaza talks
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - The explosions rocking the Gaza Strip may seem far removed from the flashy cars and skyscrapers of ultra-rich Qatar, but efforts to end fighting between Hamas and Israel could hinge on how the tiny Gulf Arab state wields its influence over a Palestinian militant group with few friends left. Qatar has been home to Hamas chief-in-exile Khaled Mashaal since 2012 and has carved out a role as a key financial patron for Gaza, buying influence while shoring up an economy overseen by Hamas.


Holder offers reassurance to people of Ferguson
ST. LOUIS (AP) - To reassure the people of Ferguson, Attorney General Eric Holder reached into his own past, recalling the times he had been stopped by police officers who seemed to target him because of his race. On a visit to the St. Louis suburb that had endured more than a week of unrest, Holder sought to build confidence in the investigation into the death of the black 18-year-old who was shot by a white officer. The trip also underscored the priority to the Obama administration of civil rights in general and the Michael Brown case in particular.


Many police killings, but only Ferguson explodes
There was little violence after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer last July. Peace prevailed when at least four other unarmed black males were killed by police in recent months, from New York to Los Angeles. Then Michael Brown was gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri. And waves of rioting have convulsed the St. Louis suburb for more than 10 days.


As US airstrikes in Iraq grow, details stay thin
WASHINGTON (AP) - America has returned to war, of a sort, in Iraq with airstrikes that have intensified in recent days against Islamic State militants. But details about the execution of this limited campaign, which so far includes no reported U.S. ground combat, are thin. Some questions and answers about the mission, which began Aug. 8:


Obama weighs broader move on legal immigration
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is considering key changes in the nation's immigration system requested by tech, industry and powerful interest groups, in a move that could blunt Republicans' election-year criticism of the president's go-it-alone approach to immigration. Administration officials and advocates said the steps would go beyond the expected relief from deportations for some immigrants in the U.S. illegally that Obama signaled he'd adopt after immigration efforts in Congress collapsed. Following a bevy of recent White House meetings, top officials have compiled specific recommendations from business groups and other advocates whose support could undercut GOP claims that Obama is exceeding his authority to help people who have already violated immigration laws.


Noodles: Friend or foe? S. Koreans defend diet
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Kim Min-koo has an easy reply to new American research that hits South Korea where it hurts - in the noodles. Drunk and hungry just after dawn, he rips the lid off a bowl of his beloved fast food, wobbling on his feet but still defiant over a report that links instant noodles to health hazards. "There's no way any study is going to stop me from eating this," says Kim, his red face beaded with sweat as he adds hot water to his noodles in a Seoul convenience store. His mouth waters, wooden chopsticks poised above the softening strands, his glasses fogged by steam. At last, he spears a slippery heap, lets forth a mighty, noodle-cooling blast of air and starts slurping.