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Iraqis claim firing missiles into Syria

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi militias said Thursday that they have launched dozens of missiles targeting Islamic State militants holed up in a Syrian village across the border.

The state-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces said they fired 50 missiles at targets in Baghouz village, in the last speck of territory held by the extremists.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported shelling from the Iraqi side but had no details on casualties.

Iraq's military has bombed Islamic State posts inside Syria before, but the militias -- many of which are backed by Iran -- rarely engage in cross-border shelling. The militias' social media account claimed to have shelled inside Syria last on Feb. 1.

The Islamic State claims to have downed a Popular Mobilization Forces-operated drone in Baghouz on Wednesday.

Some Popular Mobilization Forces factions are fighting inside Syria.

The Islamic State has lost virtually all of the territory it once held in Syria and Iraq. Hundreds of militants are now confined to a small area where they are surrounded by Syrian fighters backed by U.S.-led airstrikes.

Canadian envoys sue over Cuba stay

TORONTO -- Some Canadian diplomats who became mysteriously ill while posted to Cuba are suing the Canadian government.

Canada has confirmed 14 cases of unexplained health problems since early 2017. Twenty-six workers at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba have also been affected, suffering a range of symptoms and diagnoses, including mild traumatic brain injury, also known as a concussion.

Five Canadian diplomats say in the lawsuit that the government failed to protect them, hid crucial information and downplayed the seriousness of the risks.

The Canadian government acknowledges that nine adults and five children from diplomatic families have developed unusual illnesses in Havana.

The lawsuit said that not only "were the diplomats prevented from considering the true risks of a Havana posting to their own health, but they were also denied the opportunity to protect their children, and must live with the knowledge that they may never fully recover."

Canada announced last week that it is removing up to half of the Canadians at its embassy in Cuba after another diplomat fell mysteriously ill.

Cuba has adamantly denied any involvement.

10 bodies found in Istanbul rubble

ISTANBUL -- Search teams pulled 10 bodies from the rubble of a collapsed eight-story apartment building in Istanbul on Thursday, as rescuers worked around the clock looking for more survivors.

Wednesday's building collapse has put a spotlight on illegal construction and raised alarms over the scope of possible destruction should a large earthquake hit the city.

Thirteen people were pulled out of the debris with injuries, including a 5-year-old girl who was rescued Thursday, 18 hours after the collapse of the building in the mostly residential Kartal district, on the Asian side of the city.

Authorities have not disclosed how many people remain unaccounted for. The building had 14 apartments with 43 people registered as residents.

Officials have said the building's top three floors were built illegally, although the cause of the collapse is still under investigation.

Experts from the Istanbul branch of the chamber of civil engineers who visited the site concluded that the "load-bearing columns had lost the capacity to carry the weight" of the building, the group said in a statement Thursday.

A majority of buildings in Istanbul are "either unlicensed, illegal or were constructed without any engineering services," the group added.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

A Section on 02/08/2019

Print Headline: Iraqis claim firing missiles into Syria Canadian envoys sue over Cuba stay 10 bodies found in Istanbul rubble

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