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story.lead_photo.caption Flowers are placed next to the portraits of slain journalists Alexander Rastorguyev, Kirill Radchenko and Orkhan Dzhemal on Wednesday at the Russian journalists union building in Moscow.

MOSCOW -- Three Russian journalists were investigating Russian military contractors and mining industries in Central African Republic when they were killed there, their editor said Wednesday.

The reporters were ambushed and killed outside the town of Sibut late Monday, according to local and Russian officials. Central African Republic officials said the three were kidnapped by about 10 men wearing turbans and speaking Arabic, but have yet to give further details.

Exiled Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky said Wednesday on Facebook that the journalists were collaborating with his investigative media project on a story titled "Russian Mercenaries."

Andrei Konyakhin, the chief editor of Khodorkovsky's Investigations Management Center, said the reporters were trying to shed light on a private Russian security company operating in Central African Republic as well as on Russia's interests in diamond, gold and uranium mining there.

He said the men -- Kirill Radchenko, Alexander Rastorguyev and Orkhan Dzhemal -- arrived in Central African Republic on tourist visas to work undercover and were planning to stay there for two weeks.

4 Ebola cases found in northeast Congo

KINSHASA, Congo -- At least four new cases of the Ebola virus have emerged in Congo's northeast, just a week after an outbreak in the northwest was declared over, the country's Health Ministry said Wednesday.

There was no indication the two outbreaks, separated by more than 1,553 miles, are related, Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said in a statement.

The World Health Organization said it had begun moving workers and supplies into the area. "We will fight this one as we did the last," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter.

Ebola, first identified in 1976 in Congo, jumps to humans from animals including bats and monkeys. It spreads through contact with bodily fluids of those infected, including the dead.

The North Kivu health division on Saturday notified the Health Ministry of 26 cases of hemorrhagic fever, including 20 deaths in North Kivu province, the ministry said. Four of six samples sent for analysis to the National Institute of Biological Research in Kinshasa, the capital, were positive for Ebola, the ministry said.

The new cases are in Mangina in the eastern Mabalako health zone, about 18 miles west of Beni, a city of more than 230,000 people. Travel into and out of the village has been blocked.

U.S. flier says wind, hail hit Mexico jet

DURANGO, Mexico -- A U.S. passenger aboard a flight that crashed on takeoff in northern Mexico said Wednesday that a strong burst of wind and hail hit the Aeromexico jetliner, apparently knocking it back to the ground, where there were only moments to evacuate before it burned.

Alberto Herrera, a 35-year-old Web page engineer from Chicago, described the terrifying moments when the plane briefly became airborne before smacking belly-down onto a field beyond the edge of the runway.

"You start gaining speed and as soon as you start taking off all of the sudden the plane starts struggling and it's getting hit with hail," said Herrera, who was visiting the city of Durango for the baptism of his cousin's baby.

The fire around the wings eliminated the possibility of using wing exits, so Herrera said he moved toward a back exit and started helping other people leave the craft. Many walked to the end of the runway to wait for emergency vehicles.

Durango state Gov. Jose Aispuro said all 99 passengers and four crew members made it off the plane, but the pilot was severely injured.

Aispuro said it was too soon to speculate on the cause of the crash.

Russian notes frontier deal with Israel

BEIRUT -- Russian President Vladimir Putin's envoy to Syria said Wednesday that an agreement with Israel that includes Russian guarantees ensures that Iran-backed fighters will remain more than 50 miles away from Syria's frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Day laborers work Wednesday at a brick factory on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan.

Alexander Lavrentyev told the Russian Interfax news agency that the agreement was reached in order not to "irritate" Israel. He didn't elaborate on when the agreement was forged or for how long.

Russia-backed Syrian forces regained full control of the frontier on Monday after a six-week offensive that expelled Syrian armed opposition and an affiliate of the Islamic State group that had been deployed along the frontier with Golan.

"The agreement is still in effect. Iranian forces have actually been withdrawn from [the southern de-escalation zone in Syria] in order not to irritate the Israeli administration, which has increased the number of attacks on Iranian sites in this territory," Lavrentyev said.

Israel has escalated its attacks against targets inside Syria suspected of being linked to Iran, insisting that it won't allow Iran to establish a permanent military presence near the frontier.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

A Section on 08/02/2018

Print Headline: 4 Ebola cases found in northeast Congo U.S. flier says wind, hail hit Mexico jet Russian notes frontier deal with Israel 3 Russian journalists killed in Africa

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