Created: Sun, 27 Jul 2014 01:16:23 EST
Updated: Sun, 27 Jul 2014 01:16:23 EST
UPDATE: Fighting intensifies near MH17 crash site
DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian armed forces mounted a major onslaught against pro-Russian separatist fighters Sunday in an attempt to gain control over the area where a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed earlier this month.
Ukraine's National Security Council said that government troops have encircled Horlivka, a key rebel stronghold, and that there had been fighting in other cities in the east. Horlivka lies around 20 miles north of the main rebel-held city of Donetsk.
Reports of the intensifying unrest prompted a postponement of a trip to the site by a team of Dutch and Australian police officers that had planned to start searching for evidence and the remaining bodies.
NEW: US: Russia has fired rockets into Ukraine
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials are sharing satellite images they say show Russia has been firing rockets more than 7 miles into eastern Ukraine.
The State Department on Sunday released images it said shows blast marks from where rockets were launched and craters where they landed.
The department says the images come from the U.S. Director of National Intelligence.
The four-page memo is said to shows strikes between July 21 and July 26. Officials say one image shows rockets have been fired more than 11 kilometers, or 7 miles, into Ukraine from Russian soil.
UPDATE: Hostilities resume, Palestinian death toll lowered
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel and Hamas launched new attacks Sunday in the raging Gaza war, despite each side offering different truces to temporarily halt nearly three weeks of fighting.
After initially rejecting an Israeli offer Saturday for a 24-hour truce, Hamas on Sunday agreed to hold fire ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. But as Israel's Cabinet met to discuss the offer and the ongoing war, rockets rained down on southern Israel and Israeli strikes could be heard in Gaza.
Each side blamed the other for scuttling the efforts.
Hamas said it resumed firing "due to the lack of commitment" by Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Hamas showed it could not be trusted after it violated other cease-fire efforts.
Gaza health officials now say the 20-day war has killed more than 1,030 Palestinians, mainly civilians. That figure is 30 fewer than officials gave earlier.
Israel has lost 43 soldiers, while two Israeli civilians and a Thai worker in Israel were killed by rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza.
Air Algerie jet's black boxes to be sent to France
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A French embassy spokesman says black boxes from the Air Algerie plane that crashed last week in northern Mali will be transferred to France for analysis.
Didier Nourrisson said Sunday the black boxes would be transferred from northern Mali to the capital, Bamako, and then delivered to Paris by French gendarmes.
The plane took off from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and was heading to Algiers, Algeria when it crashed early Thursday in northern Mali near the border with Burkina Faso.
French authorities say extreme bad weather was the likely cause but aren't ruling out other possibilities, including terrorism. French President Francois Hollande said Saturday that data from the black boxes must be analyzed as quickly as possible.
The crash killed 118 people, nearly half of whom were French.
38 killed as Libyan forces battle militias in east
CAIRO (AP) — Health officials in Libya say heavy clashes between army troops loyal to a renegade general and Islamist-led militias have killed 38 people — including civilians — in the country's restive east.'
A security official said Sunday that the fighting involved forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Hifter and militias in the eastern city of Benghazi. The clashes started Saturday and continued through early Sunday morning.
The official said commando forces regained control of four military camps captured by Islamist militias in the past few days. Health officials say rockets fired during the fighting hit civilian homes, causing casualties and wounding dozens of people.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
The fighting comes a day after the State Department closed the U.S. embassy in the Libyan capital and evacuated its personnel, citing the danger from intensifying battles between rival militias.
Syrian state media reports that car bomb kills 7
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian state-run media says a car bomb has exploded in the central city of Homs, killing at least seven people.
State news agency SANA said the vehicle exploded Sunday in the Arman neighborhood, home to mostly minority Christians and Alawites, the sect of the President Bashar Assad. It says two rockets also were fired at the site after the bombing.
The neighborhood has been repeatedly hit by car bombs.
Syria's conflict, which began as a 2011 uprising, has turned into a chaotic war with sectarian overtones. Mostly Sunni Muslim rebels fight against forces loyal to Assad. Extremist militant groups also fight other rebels and government forces. Car bombs have hit opposition and government-controlled areas of Syria.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the bombing and death toll.
Boko Haram kidnaps top official's wife in Cameroon
YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) — A government spokesman says Boko Haram fighters kidnapped the wife of Cameroon's vice prime minister in an attack that also resulted in multiple deaths.
Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said the attack occurred early Sunday morning in the town of Kolofata, in the Far North Region. He said the fighters targeted the home of Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali as well as a local traditional chief.
He could not provide the exact numbers of people killed and kidnapped because he was still gathering information about the attack. But he confirmed that Ali's wife was among those kidnapped.
Cameroon's government has become increasingly involved in regional efforts to combat Boko Haram, despite warnings from the armed group to stay out of its fight with the Nigerian military or risk further attacks.
Official: Ebola kills senior doctor in Liberia
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — A health official says a senior doctor working at Liberia's largest hospital has died of Ebola.
Tolbert Nyenswah, an assistant health minister, said Dr. Samuel Brisbane died Saturday at an Ebola treatment center on the outskirts of the capital, Monrovia.
He is the first Liberian doctor to die in an outbreak the World Health Organization says has killed 129 people in the country.
The WHO says the outbreak, the largest ever recorded, has also killed 319 people in Guinea and 224 in Sierra Leone.
Health workers are at serious risk of contracting the disease, which spreads through contact with bodily fluids.
Sierra Leone's top Ebola doctor fell ill with the disease last week, and the aid group Samaritan's Purse said Saturday that an American doctor in Liberia was also sick.
American doctor in Africa gets treatment for Ebola
BOONE, N.C. (AP) — A spokeswoman for an aid organization says an American doctor is receiving intensive medical treatment in West Africa after he was infected with the deadly Ebola virus.
Melissa Strickland is a spokeswoman for North Carolina-based Samaritan's Purse. She said Sunday that Dr. Kent Brantly was in stable condition, talking with his doctors and working on his computer while receiving care.
She cautions that Brantly is not out of the woods. She says patients have a better chance of survival if they receive treatment immediately after being infected, which Brantly did.
The highly contagious virus is one of the most deadly diseases in the world.
Brantly has been working with Samaritan's Purse in Liberia since October 2013 as part of the group's post-residency program for doctors. He is 33 years old.
DC GUN LAWS
Judge strikes down DC ban on handguns outside home
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that the District of Columbia's ban on carrying handguns outside the home is unconstitutional.
In a 19-page ruling made public Saturday, U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin concluded that the Second Amendment gives people the right to carry a gun outside their home for self-defense.
The lawsuit challenging the city's ban was filed in 2009 by three District of Columbia residents, a New Hampshire resident and the Washington state-based Second Amendment Foundation.
The group's lawyer, Alan Gura, said he was pleased with the decision. The city says it's studying the ruling and considering its options.
CEDAR POINT RIDE-INJURIES
NEW: Cable on Ohio amusement park ride snaps, hurting 2
SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio amusement park ride that swings riders up to 125 feet in the air has been closed indefinitely after a cable snapped, injuring two visitors.
Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards says a cable on the Skyhawk ride disconnected at about 10 p.m. Saturday. One guest went to a hospital for evaluation, while the other was treated at the scene.
It wasn't clear whether the two guests had been riding Skyhawk when they were injured or whether they were on the ground. Skyhawk has two giant arms that swing riders at speeds of up to 60 mph.
Edwards says Skyhawk will remain closed until an investigation into the cause of the accident is completed.
Cedar Point in Sandusky is the flagship park of Cedar Fair Entertainment Co.
NEW: 'Lucy' tops 'Hercules' with $44M at box office
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Luc Besson's "Lucy" proved mind can overpower muscle, topping a remake of "Hercules" by director Brett Ratner at the box office on the weekend.
According to studio estimates Sunday, the Universal Pictures-released movie starring Scarlett Johansson as an accidental psychokinetic took in $44 million in North American movie theaters over the weekend.
"Hercules," starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and produced by Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, brought down an estimated $29 million.
Universal's president of domestic distribution, Nikki Rocco, says audiences came out for the unique story and to see Johansson in a leading action role.