Middle East Updates / Bombings Kill 45 in Baghdad, Outskirts

Some 20,000 Kurds protest against IS in Germany; Germany trying to convince Turkey, Iran to join fight against IS; Kurdish leader threatens Turkish peace deal collapse.


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Thousand of Kurds protest against Islamic State in Germany


Egyptian and foreigners visit the Hanging Church in Cairo

See Friday's Middle East Updates

London Mayor Boris Johnson speaks at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham

9:28 P.M. At least 45 people were killed in bombings in Baghdad and its rural outskirts on Saturday as the government continued to defend the capital against jihadists who four months ago seized major cities in northern Iraq.

A Syrian boy in Bucharest, protesting the Assad regime.

Islamic State (IS) fighters, who took control of large sections of Iraq this year, regularly target Shi'ite districts in Baghdad and are penetrating surrounding farmland where Iraqi security forces and Shi'ite militias try to push them back.

In west Baghdad, 34 people were killed by three car bombs in Shi'ite neighbourhoods on Saturday evening, police and medical officials said.

A suicide bomber blew up his vehicle up at a traffic roundabout in Kadhimiya, killing 11 people, three of them police officers, officials said. Another 27 were wounded.

In the Shaoula neighborhood, two bombs were detonated on the same street just 30 minutes apart. In the first attack, a bomb in a parked car exploded outside an ice cream shop, killing eight and wounding 18 people. In the second blast, 600 meters down the same shop-lined street, a militant detonated his car, killing 15 people and wounding 44 others, police and medical officials said. (Reuters)

7:25 P.M. The U.S. military conducted six air strikes against Islamic State militants near the besieged Syrian city of Kobani on Friday and Saturday, U.S. Central Command said.

The U.S. and Dutch militaries also carried out three air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq near Tal Afar and Hit on Friday and Saturday, Central Command said in a statement.

Additionally, U.S. forces "conducted multiple airdrops to help resupply Iraqi security forces at the request of the Government of Iraq," it said, adding the supplies of food, water and ammunition were dropped around Baiji. (Reuters) 

7:14 P.M. After 16 years, Egypt has completed the restoration of a famous Cairo landmark — the St. Virgin Mary's Coptic Church, also known as the Hanging Church. The restoration project cost $5.4 million. (AP)

7:07 P.M. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Libya's capital Tripoli on Saturday for talks with the warring factions fighting for control of the country, in the highest-level visit of a foreign visitor for three months.

The secretary-general "will urge (the) Libyan parties to push forward with political dialogue to restore stability to (the) country," the United Nations said in a tweet. (Reuters)  

6:47 P.M. A senior Kurdish militant has threatened Turkey with a new Kurdish revolt if it sticks with its current policy of non-intervention in the battle for the Syrian town of Kobani.

"We have warned Turkey. If they continue on this path, then the guerrillas will re-launch our defensive war to protect our people," Cemil Bayik, a founding member of the PKK who is also its most senior figure not in prison, told the German network ARD in Arbil in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region. (Reuters) Read full story

6:10 P.M. Germany is trying to convince Turkey and Iran to join the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told a German newspaper.

In an interview with Berlin's Tagesspiegel daily, Steinmeier said longstanding animosities in the Middle East needed to be set aside to ensure a united front against IS and he vowed to raise this with Saudi Arabia's leadership when he visits the country on Sunday.

"We are trying to convince the Arab countries, Turkey and Iran that it is necessary to work together against IS," he told the newspaper. (Reuters) 

5:32 P.M. More than 20,000 Kurdish immigrants have protested in Germany against the Islamic State group.

Police said the demonstration Saturday in the western German city of Duesseldorf was peaceful with people marching through the city's downtown area and waving large Kurdish flags.

The protesters are seeking to draw attention to the Islamic State group's onslaught against the Kurdish town of Kobani in northern Syria. (AP)

3:40 P.M.  The governor of Iraq's Salahuddin province says a journalist from a local television network has been killed by the Islamic State group.

Governor Raed Ibrahim says Raad al-Azzawi, who was a cameraman for Iraq's Salahuddin Television, was killed by militants on Friday in the city of Tikrit. Ibrahim said he wasn't able to provide any further details.

The Islamic State group, which holds large swaths of land stretching across the Iraq-Syria border, has beheaded a number of journalists in Syria, saying the killings are in retaliation to U.S.-led coalition air strikes in Iraq and Syria.

Reporters Without Borders said last month that the militants had threatened to execute al-Azzawi, a father of three, for refusing to join the Sunni militant group.

The media watchdog said al-Azzawi was abducted on Sept. 7. (AP)

11:20 A.M. London Mayor Boris Johnson says Britain's counter-terrorism forces are monitoring "thousands" of potential extremists in the metropolitan area.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper on Saturday quoted Johnson as saying the security forces in the London area are involved in "thousands of operations" every day. He said the number of people being watched is in the low thousands.

Five young men arrested earlier this week for questioning about a possible terrorist plot are still being held and a number of residences have been searched.

Government sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said the men arrested this week include one who recently returned from Syria and police are probing possible ties to the Islamic State group operating there. (AP)

10:46 A.M. A senior Iranian negotiator says nuclear talks with world powers could be extended again if no deal is reached by the November 24 deadline.

The negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, was quoted by the semiofficial Fars news agency late on Friday as saying that an extension is under consideration and that it's "possible."

Araghchi says that if existing differences between Tehran and the six world powers — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — are not resolved in the upcoming round of talks next week in Vienna, a deal by the November deadline would not be possible.

The talks were already extended once earlier this year. They reportedly remain stuck over the size and output of Iran's uranium enrichment program, a possible pathway to nuclear arms. (AP)

3:36 A.M. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday that the U.S. wants to know how far Turkey is willing to go in helping train and equip moderate opposition fighters trying to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, including whether it will conduct training on its own land.

Turkey has agreed to support efforts to train and equip the Syrian opposition, but the U.S. doesn't yet know whether Ankara is willing to do the training inside Turkey itself. Saudi Arabia, for instance, has agreed to host training facilities for Syrian rebels on its territory. U.S. officials are still discussing the details with Turkish officials.

"The specifics that go with train and equip — locations, contributions, trainers — will be part of that conversation," Hagel said in Colombia, his first stop on a six-day trip to South and Central America. "Part of those discussions will include how far Turkey is willing to go. Certainly one of those questions will be, will they be willing to provide training locations."

Hagel said a joint team from U.S. Central Command and U.S. European Command will travel to Turkey next week to meet with officials there and discuss the different ways Turkey can contribute to the effort to degrade the Islamic State group militants. (AP)