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story.lead_photo.caption Elderly people light candles Monday at the Wall of Heroes outside the House of Terror Museum to pay tribute on Memorial Day of Victims of Communism in Budapest, Hungary.

Mexico takes in 112 Central Americans

MEXICO CITY -- The head of Mexico's immigration agency says that the country has received 112 Central American migrants from the United States -- including 25 minors, marking a policy reversal.

National Immigration Institute Commissioner Tonatiuh Guillen said last month that Mexico wouldn't accept migrants younger than 18 while they await the resolution of their U.S. asylum claims.

The migrants return to Mexico through the El Chaparral crossing in Tijuana. On Monday, Guillen said the 112 people returned through Feb. 21 include 17 families from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The "remain in Mexico" program allows the U.S. to return some Central American migrants who are seeking asylum in that country. Instead of waiting in the U.S. for months or years while the asylum process runs its course, they wait in Mexico.

Strike kills 35 Somali rebels, U.S. says

JOHANNESBURG -- The United States military said Monday that its latest airstrike in Somalia killed 35 fighters with the al-Shabab extremist group not far from the Ethiopian border.

The U.S. military command for the African continent said Sunday's airstrike targeted the al-Qaida-linked fighters as they were traveling in a rural area about 23 miles east of Beledweyne in central Hiran region.

The U.S. has dramatically increased airstrikes against al-Shabab since President Donald Trump took office. The military has carried out 16 such strikes this year, including four on Saturday that eliminated checkpoints used by al-Shabab to collect taxes to fund its violent campaign to establish an Islamic state in the long-chaotic Horn of Africa nation.

The U.S. carried out nearly 50 strikes in Somalia in 2018. A small number of strikes have also targeted fighters pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, who have been warring with al-Shabab in recent months.

Authorities and experts acknowledge that it will take more than airstrikes to defeat al-Shabab, which continues to hold large parts of rural central and southern Somalia and carry out deadly attacks in the capital, Mogadishu.

The U.S. military is just one of several security actors in Somalia, along with a multinational African Union mission and troops from Kenya and Ethiopia.

13 French fighters to face trial in Iraq

PARIS -- All Islamic State extremist group militants who committed crimes against Iraq will be put on trial, including 13 suspected French militants who have been transferred to Iraq from Syria, Iraq's president said Monday.

Iraqi President Barham Saleh said during a two-day visit to France that the French citizens were handed over from Syria, where troops with U.S.-led coalition forces detained them. The 13 will be prosecuted in accordance with Iraqi laws, he said.

"Anyone who is accused of committing crimes against Iraq, against Iraqi installations and against Iraqi personnel, we definitively are seeking them," Saleh said. "And seeking to try them, of course."

At a news conference with Saleh, French President Emmanuel Macron said he would not identify the French citizens, nor would he comment on their cases. He said it's Iraq's sovereign decision to decide whether the accused militants should face the criminal justice system in the Mideast country.

There were no details on the identities of the 13 French Islamic State militants.

The U.S. has called for countries to take back and try their own nationals. France's official position states that French "terrorist" fighters "must be tried wherever they committed their crimes," according to the French foreign affairs ministry.

Iranian negotiator in nuke deal quits

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif resigned without warning late Monday as the nuclear deal he negotiated is on the verge of collapse.

Zarif's resignation, if accepted by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, would leave the cleric without one of his main allies in pushing the Islamic Republic toward further negotiations with the West.

It was unclear why the American-educated Zarif chose to leave his post and what effect it will have on the atomic accord. Iran remains in compliance with the deal after the U.S. withdrawal.

"We'll see if it sticks," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted about Zarif's resignation.

The veteran diplomat first hinted at his resignation with a vague Instagram post in which he offered an "apology" for "all the shortcomings during my service."

On Sunday, Zarif criticized Iranian hard-liners in a speech in Tehran, saying: "We cannot hide behind imperialism's plot and blame them for our own incapability."

"Independence does not mean isolation from the world," he said.

Reaction to Zarif's resignation was swift. A prominent lawmaker pushing for more freedoms in Iran, Mostafa Kavakebian, wrote on Twitter that Rouhani should reject Zarif's resignation as his departure would only "make enemies of Iran's dignity happy."

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

Photo by AP/MATTHIAS SCHRADER
People walk on the frozen Lago di Resia near the former church tower of the village of Graun in South Tyrol in northern Italy, on Monday.

A Section on 02/26/2019

Print Headline: Mexico takes in 112 Central Americans Strike kills 35 Somali rebels, U.S. says U.S. airstrike kills 35 al-Shabab fighters 13 French fighters to face trial in Iraq U.K. to ban Hezbollah political arm

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