Iran arrest

WASHINGTON – Iranian authorities this week arrested the elderly father of an American jailed in Iran since October, the man’s family said. Siamak Namazi, a dual US-Iranian citizen, was detained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in October while in Iran visiting family. Officials have yet to announce charges against him.

‘Plot’ claim

TEHRAN – Iran’s top leader warned voters the West was plotting to influence elections pitting centrists close to President Hassan Rouhani against conservative hardliners in a contest that could shape the Islamic Republic for years to come. In remarks reflecting an abiding mistrust of Rouhani’s rapprochement with the West, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he was confident Iranians would vote in favor of keeping Iran’s anti-Western stance in the first elections since last year’s nuclear accord with world powers.

Militants kill 17

TRIPOLI – Islamic State militants briefly entered the centre of the western Libyan city of Sabratha, beheading 11 members of local security forces and killing another six in overnight clashes before retreating, local authorities said. Islamist militants have taken advantage of political chaos and a lack of central authority to establish a presence in Libya, with fighters loyal to Islamic State seizing control in Sirte.

Secret war

PARIS – French special forces and intelligence commandos are engaged in covert operations against Islamic State militants in Libya in conjunction with the United States and Britain, the French newspaper Le Monde reported. It said President Francois Hollande authorised “unofficial military action” by an elite armed forces unit and the covert action service of the DGSE intelligence agency in the conflict-ridden North African state.

US warning

WASHINGTON – Libya will become a failed state if the country’s factions cannot unite, US Secretary of State John Kerry said. “We have been working really hard for the last months, particularly, to bring together a government in Tripoli,” Kerry told US lawmakers. “If they cannot get themselves together, yes it will be a failed state.”

PKK targeted

DIYARBAKIR – Turkish military helicopters killed 12 Kurdish militants in strikes near the southeastern border with Syria, security sources said. The Cobra attack helicopters hit a group of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters in a mountainous area near the Idil district of Sirnak province.

Gift of rifles

KABUL – Afghan officials took delivery of 10,000 automatic rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition as a gift from Russia, another sign of deepening involvement by Moscow in the war-torn country.

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