Middle East Updates / Multiple Bombings Rock Baghdad

Roadside bomb wounds three soldiers in Lebanon; U.S. strikes Khorsan targets in Syria for third time; Britain PM Cameron: 'We must root out extremism from our schools, universities and prisons.'

Reuters/US Navy/Handout

Click here for Thursday's updates

Latest updates: 

9:38 P.M. Sources: Algerian president hospitalized in France

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been admitted to a hospital in France, two sources with knowledge of the matter said Friday.

The ailing 77-year-old leader was admitted to the Clinique d'Alembert in Grenoble on Thursday, the two French officials told The Associated Press. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Neither official could say why Bouteflika was hospitalized.

He has been hospitalized in France several times, most recently in January for what his office called a routine checkup. Last year Bouteflika was hospitalized for four months in Paris after suffering a stroke. Algeria's presidency on Friday declined to comment on Bouteflika's health or his whereabouts.

9:25 P.M. Iraq: Bomb blast kills 15 in northern Baghdad

Iraqi hospital and police officials say a car bomb has gone off in a busy market area in northern Baghdad, killing 15 people and injuring 34.

The death toll from the nighttime blast in the Gorayaat area took to 34 the total number of people killed in bomb blasts on Friday. It was the largest of four bombings in and around the city on Friday, mostly targeting Shiite areas.

The total number of injured now stands at more than 80, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, which bore the hallmarks of Sunni militants.

7:05 P.M. Roadside bomb wounds three soldiers in Lebanon

A roadside bomb exploded near an army patrol in eastern Lebanon on Friday, wounding three soldiers, the military said. The attack took place near the town of Arsal along the Syrian border, the Lebanese army said in a statement.

A second patrol came to investigate the blast and exchanged fire with gunmen, who escaped into the mountains running along the frontier, the statement said. The army later said that two bombs were found near the scene of the blast, each weighting 15 kilograms (33 pounds). It said military experts detonated one of them and are working to dismantle the second. (AP)

6:38 P.M. Three bombings kill 19 in and around Baghdad

Iraqi police and hospital officials say three separate bombings in and around Baghdad have killed at least 19 people and wounded nearly 50. The officials say the deadliest of Friday's attacks was a car bomb that targeted a street packed with stores and street vendors in a majority Shiite area near the Sunni enclave of Azamiyah, killing 11 and injuring 24. The dead included a traffic policeman. (AP)

4:36 P.M. UN: ISIS commanders liable for war crimes on "massive scale"

Islamic State commanders are liable for war crimes on a "massive scale" in northeast Syria where they spread terror by beheading, stoning and shooting civilians and captured fighters, UN investigators said on Friday.

The experts told world powers to make sure the commanders guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity were held accountable by the International Criminal Court.

The latest report by the independent UN investigators is based on interviews with more than 300 men, women and children who fled or still live in Islamic State's northeastern stronghold, including Aleppo.

"In carrying out mass killings of captured fighters and civilians following military assaults, ISIS members have perpetrated egregious violations of binding international humanitarian law and the war crime of murder on a massive scale," said the report. (Reuters) Read the full article

2:20 P.M. Iraqi forces drive ISIS from refinery town of Beiji

Iraqi government forces on Friday drove Islamic State militants out from their remaining strongholds inside the oil refinery town of Beiji, two security official said, in a key victory over the terror group that has captured much of northern and western Iraq in a stunning summer offensive.

The Iraqi troops, backed by allied Sunni militiamen, also lifted the Islamic State group's siege of the oil refinery, Iraq's largest, and hoisted Iraq's red, white and black flags atop the sprawling complex hosting the facility.

Reached by telephone in Beiji, the officials said the army used loudspeakers to warn the small number of residents still holed up in the town to stay indoors while bomb squads detonated booby-trapped houses and remaining bombs planted on the roads. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

State Iraqi television also reported the "liberation of Beiji," quoting the top army commander there, Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi.  (AP)

12:00 P.M. Islamic State group says it'll mint its own coins

The Islamic State group says its leader has ordered that the organization start minting gold, silver and copper coins for its own currency — the Islamic dinar.

A website affiliated with the militant group said late on Thursday that its leader, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, has instructed his followers to start minting the coins to "change the tyrannical monetary system" modelled on Western economies that "enslaved Muslims." (AP) Read the full article

6:08 A.M. U.S. strikes Khorsan targets in Syria for third time

American jets bombed Khorasan targets in Syria in third such attack on the group the U.S. says is planning imminent attacks on Western countries, AFP reported.

"We can confirm that US aircraft struck a target in Syria earlier today associated with a network of veteran Al-Qaeda operatives, sometimes called the 'Khorasan group,' who are plotting external attacks against the United States and our allies," a U.S. military spokesman was quoted as saying. (Haaretz) 

5:11 A.M. U.K.'s Cameron calls for extremism to be rooted out

British Prime Minister David Cameron used a rare address to the Australian Parliament on Friday to call for extremist preachers to be banned and for extremism to be rooted out of schools, universities and prisons.

Cameron told the Parliament the root cause of extremism was not poverty, social isolation from the mainstream or foreign policy. "The root cause of the challenge we face is the extremist narrative. So we must confront this extremism in all its forms," Cameron said.

"We must ban extremist preachers from our country. We must root out extremism from our schools, universities and prisons," he said.

Removing extremist material from the Internet posed a pressing challenge, he said. The British government was pushing Internet providers to strengthen filters, improve reporting mechanisms and become more proactive in taking down such material. (Reuters)