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.
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 Thursday, delivering a likely blow to the organization's morale and highlighting the long reach of Israel's intelligence services. The pre-dawn strike leveled a four-story house in a densely populated neighborhood of the southern town of Rafah, killing six people, including the three senior Hamas commanders.
10 Things to Know for Today Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. OFFICIALS: RESCUE MISSION FAILED
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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 has 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:
5 Ukrainian troops killed; fierce battles reported KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Five troops were killed and two civilians died in the past 24 hours in rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine as government troops pressed to recapture more territory from pro-Russian separatists. Ukrainian troops have made significant advances into rebel-held territory this week in a conflict that has already claimed more than 2,000 lives and forced over 340,000 people to flee their homes. Ukraine celebrates Independence Day on Sunday and reports are rife that the government is aiming to achieve a breakthrough by that date.
Liberia slum calm; American recovers from Ebola MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - Calm returned Thursday to the slum of West Point in Liberia's capital that was sealed off in the government's attempt to halt the spread of Ebola, a day after clashes erupted between residents and security forces enforcing the quarantine. In the United States, an aid worker who was infected in Liberia has recovered and was to be discharged from a hospital. Both Dr. Kent Brantly and another American aid worker who was also infected had received ZMapp, an experimental and unproven treatment for Ebola. Alison Geist, a spokeswoman for Samaritan's Purse, the aid group Brantly worked for, told The Associated Press she did not know the exact time Brantly would be released from the Atlanta hospital but confirmed it would happen Thursday.
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.
European soccer clubs opening US academies MIAMI (AP) - As the U.S. appetite for soccer grows, more American kids are harboring dreams of becoming the next David Beckham or Leo Messi. Their aspirations, realistic or not, have not gone unnoticed by top international teams, which are trying to capitalize financially. European clubs like Barcelona, Liverpool and Arsenal have long sent coaches to work at U.S. summer camps, but now some are opening year-round U.S. academies aimed at finding new talent while also expanding their fan bases and revenue opportunities in the states. Later this month, Barcelona will open FCB Escola Florida, its first permanent U.S academy, in Fort Lauderdale. Argentine Boca Juniors and English Everton are already operating in New York and Connecticut, respectively. Other teams are expected to follow.