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At Least 27 Killed in Nepal Avalanche

At Least 27 Killed in Nepal Avalanche

boggy22/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KATHMANDU, Nepal) -- Search teams have found the bodies of at least 27 climbers and guides who were killed in a Tuesday avalanche that is the deadliest in the area in over a century.According to the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal, at least 70 people may still be missing. BBC News reports that approximately 220 people have been rescued since the avalanche.Citizens from Canada and Israel are believed to be among those killed, along with 11 Nepali guides.

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Venezuela Elected to UN Security Council

Venezuela Elected to UN Security Council

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday elected Venezuela as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council next year.U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power reacted to the move, saying in a statement, "Venezuela’s conduct at the UN has run counter to the spirit of the UN Charter and its violations of human rights at home are at odds with the Charter’s letter.""The United States will continue to call upon the government of Venezuela to respect the fundamental freedoms and universal human rights of its people," Power added.She said the "Security Council must meet its responsibilities by uniting to meet common threats," and all its members "have an obligation to meet the expectations of those who have entrusted them with these critical responsibilities."Also voted onto the U.N. Security Council for 2015-2016 were Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand and Spain.

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Europe Cracks Down on Irregular Migrants

Europe Cracks Down on Irregular Migrants

iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- A European-wide operation to stop and possibly deport people without proper documents is being denounced by human rights groups as a "hunt."For the next two weeks, police will be on the lookout for irregular migrants at bus depots, border crossings and train stations. The Italian-led and Europe-wide operation is being called "Mos Maiorum," or "ancestral tradition."Experts estimate that anywhere up to 450,000 people without proper documents are in the European Union, having fled war-torn countries like Syria and Eritrea.Some migrants are avoiding the checks with an app where users share information of where the checkpoints are.

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Hurricane Gonzalo Strengthens as It Heads Toward Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo Strengthens as It Heads Toward Bermuda

NASA/NOAA GOES Project(HAMILTON, Bermuda) -- Hurricane Gonzalo is strengthening and heading straight for the island of Bermuda. If it makes landfall, the hurricane could be the strongest one to strike the island in more than a decade.Gonzalo is currently a Category 4 hurricane with winds reaching 140 miles per hour, the first storm to reach such strength in three years in the Atlantic Basin.Island residents are still recovering from Tropical Storm Fay, which struck over the weekend. That storm knocked down trees and damaged homes, leaving thousands without power.Even if it switches paths, Bermuda should still be ready for some severe weather.On its current path, it could hit Bermuda late Friday morning. Then the storm is expected to head toward Newfoundland in Canada, where it could land as a strong tropical storm, with winds of 80 miles per hour.The storm surge and huge waves could cause catastrophic flooding on the 20 square mile island.

A hurricane warning is in effect.

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US Carries Out 14 More Airstrikes Against ISIS in Kobani

US Carries Out 14 More Airstrikes Against ISIS in Kobani

Hemera/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The U.S. military continues its campaign to cut down the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters in Kobani, conducting strikes against 14 more targets in Iraq and Syria, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said Thursday.All 14 strikes took place near Kobani. According to CENTCOM, the strikes "successfully" struck 19 ISIS structures, including two command posts, three fighting positions, three sniper positions, one staging location and an ISIS heavy machine gun.U.S. bomber and fighter aircraft were deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations to conduct the strikes, which took place over Wednesday and Thursday. All the aircraft managed to exit the areas safely.CENTCOM said Thursday, "Indications are that airstrikes have continued to slow [ISIS] advances, but that the security situation on the ground in Kobani remains tenuous."Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Afghan Security Captures Haqqani Founder’s Son

Afghan Security Captures Haqqani Founder’s Son

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Security forces in Afghanistan have captured the son of the leader of the Haqqani network -- the group blamed for attacks on U.S. targets across Afghanistan as well as for kidnappings and murders.Anas Haqqani, the organization's second in command and son of the network's founder Jalaluddin Haqqani, was arrested late Tuesday says the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan intelligence agency.Though the network is militarily the most capable of the Afghan Taliban factions and operates independently, it remains loyal to Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

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Is Egypt at War with Islamic Militants in Libya?

Is Egypt at War with Islamic Militants in Libya?

iStock/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- There were reports Wednesday of Egyptian military jets bombing Islamic militant targets in the Libyan city of Benghazi, although government officials in Cairo publicly denied such military action was taking place.However, if it turns out to be true, it would signal Egypt's determination to root out terrorists in the region who might eventually threaten its own security.Contrary to government denials, at least two Egyptian officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the air campaign could last three-to-six months.Much of Libya has been essentially lawless since the execution of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi three years ago. The central government in Tripoli is considered ineffectual as hundreds of armed militias have popped up all over the country.However, former Libyan General Khalifa Haftar has vowed to rid the country of Islamist radicals, which includes a new bid to retake Benghazi from the militants, apparently with Egyptian help.Haftar launched an operation in Benghazi last summer but was unable to send the Islamists packing.

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USAID Announces Additional $142 Million in Aid to Combat Ebola in West Africa

USAID Announces Additional $142 Million in Aid to Combat Ebola in West Africa

Pawel Gaul/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MONROVIA, Liberia) -- The U.S. Agency for International Development on Wednesday announced an additional $142 million in humanitarian aid to help combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.In a press release, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah noted that "stopping Ebola in West Africa will require a significant international effort, and the United States urges our global partners to provide additional assistance to help bring the outbreak under control." Shah met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf prior to the announcement as part of a week-long trip that will include stops in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Senegal.The latest funding brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance to combat Ebola to over $258 million.The newest funding will go to support construction of Ebola treatment units, training for health care workers and safe burial teams, the establishment and staffing of community care centers and logistical support for international partners providing aid in West Africa.

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UN Envoy Condemns Bombing that Killed Member of Iraqi Parliament

UN Envoy Condemns Bombing that Killed Member of Iraqi Parliament

Marcio Silva/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- Special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, condemned a Tuesday suicide bombing in Baghdad that killed more than 20 people, including a member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives.According to a press release, 21 people were killed in the attack and 60 more were injured. Among those killed were Ahmed Al-Khafaji, a member of the Iraqi Parliament. "Those who use terror, violence and fear against the people of Iraq will fail," Mladenov said."Iraq and the world are united and will defeat those who seek to destroy the Iraqi state and will restoring (sic) security, prosperity and democracy to this country," the U.N. special representative said in his press release.Violence has peaked in recent months, with over 1,000 Iraqi civilians killed in the month of September.

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Astronauts Successfully Complete Spacewalk to Replace Failed Voltage Regulator on Space Station

Astronauts Successfully Complete Spacewalk to Replace Failed Voltage Regulator on Space Station

3DSculptor/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman and Butch Wilmore completed a spacewalk during which they replaced the voltage regulator of the International Space Station with just about a minute to spare on Wednesday morning.The mission was complicated by the fact that it had to be completed while the space station was in darkness. The solar arrays generate electricity when in sunlight, which would have given the astronauts an electrical shock. The space station orbits Earth every 90 minutes -- spending 45 minutes in sunlight and 45 minutes in darkness. Had the pair been unable to complete the task, they would have been forced to back away and wait until the station was in darkness again.The part that was being replaced had failed in May.

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Fidel Castro Responds to “New York Times” Editorial on Cuban Embargo

Fidel Castro Responds to “New York Times” Editorial on Cuban Embargo

Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo/Getty Images(HAVANA) -- Cuban leader Fidel Castro responded to a New York Times editorial from this past weekend that called on the U.S. to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.Castro, in a column in Cuba's state-run newspaper Granma, noted "the most important parts" of the Times article by quoting them. He notes the "recognition" Cuba receives in the Times article, which referred to the island nation as "one of the most educated societies in the hemisphere."Castro also notes that the United Nations will hold a vote "in a few days" to determine whether the embargo on Cuba is a sound policy. The vote takes place each year, with the U.S. one of few nations still voting in favor of the embargo. Last year, only Israel voted with the United States. Castro's column quoted a large part of the Times editorial, which included criticism of the Cuban government. In a separate article on Castro's reply, the Times notes that Cuba "has one of the lowest Internet penetration rates in the world, which keeps critical views of the government from circulating widely."The Cuban leader said that the lifting of the embargo would represent "the greatest benefit for U.S. policy," noting a possible difference to be made in terms of climate change, commercial competition, and arms control, even mentioning the international effort to stop the spread of Ebola.

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Five Reasons Why an Iran Nuclear Deal Is So Elusive

Five Reasons Why an Iran Nuclear Deal Is So Elusive

US State Dept(VIENNA) -- Secretary of State John Kerry joined his European Union and Iranian counterparts in Vienna Wednesday for talks on Iran’s nuclear program, with just over a month to go before the negotiations expire.Kerry demurred Tuesday when he was asked whether the parties involved in the talks would be willing to extend them past the Nov. 24 deadline, saying a deal before then wasn’t totally out of reach, but “we have some tough issues to resolve.”Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamed Zarif and U.S. top negotiator Wendy Sherman continued talking, but a senior State Department official told reporters in Vienna Wednesday night the main issue was "sort of everything."The core challenge behind most of the individual issues is what the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) thinks Iran needs for its stated goal of a strictly peaceful and research-driven nuclear program. Iran’s leaders continue to insist that they have an inherent right to enrichment and that restrictions curtail that fundamental right.But here’s some of the specific issues that the international community and Iran have not been able to agree on yet:1. How much power does Iran need for a peaceful nuclear program? The Iranians currently have about 10,000 “first-generation” (the least powerful kind) of centrifuges used to enrich uranium. The lower the generation, the longer it takes to enrich an amount of uranium needed to make a bomb (known as “breakout capacity”). The P5+1 want Iran to cut its total, permanent number of centrifuges in half, asserting that if Iran’s nuclear program is truly peaceful, it doesn’t need that many centrifuges.2. And how do we measure Iran’s power? Iran is now developing more sophisticated “generations” of centrifuges which will be able to enrich uranium more efficiently -- meaning it would take fewer centrifuges to make uranium weapons-grade. The way to work around that is for a final deal on centrifuges to be measured by the total power of the centrifuges (represented in “separative work units, SWU’s”) rather than the actual number of centrifuges it has. That’s super in-the-weeds, but hasn’t been agreed upon yet.3. Why do they need Arak? The unfinished Arak heavy-water reactor in Iran is a major sticking point. Its design means it’s well suited to produce plutonium, which can also be turned into bombs. The P5+1 wants to get rid of Arak altogether, but Iran has proposed to change the design of Arak so that it produces less plutonium. Less plutonium means less breakout capacity for a bomb.4. No secrets: The P5+1 is also concerned about Iran’s “sneak-out” capabilities, meaning its ability to build an enrichment plant in secret to covertly make bomb material. To combat this, they want the International Atomic Energy Agency to have broader authority to conduct surveillance within Iran, and their ability to inspect, with no notice, all facilities both declared to the international community and whatever secret facilities the IAEA comes across.5. Sanctions: Iran and the P5+1 need to agree on a way to phase out current international sanctions as part of a final agreement. That is extremely complicated and depends on passage of a U.N. Security Council Resolution on Iran’s nuclear program and political involvement by the EU and U.S. Congress to revise legislation that unwind the sanctions, per the Arms Control Association.

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‘Operational Details’ of Turkish Commitment to Anti-ISIS Fight Still Under Discussion

‘Operational Details’ of Turkish Commitment to Anti-ISIS Fight Still Under Discussion

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It remains undecided just how much Turkey will commit to helping the U.S.-led coalition fighting back against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Gen. John Allen, the leader of the anti-ISIS campaign, said Wednesday.Allen said that a Department of Defense planning team was continuing to work through "operational details." Speculation in recent days has focused in part on whether or not Turkey will allow the U.S. to use its airbase in Incirlik to launch military operations against ISIS."The conversation with respect to how those kinds of details will ultimately be resolved is under way right now," Allen said on Wednesday. Allen also discussed the continuing airstrikes in the Syrian town of Kobani, saying that the reason so many U.S. airstrikes have been focused there is with "humanitarian purposes" in mind, and with the hope that they can "buy some white space" for Kurdish forces to reorganize.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said on Wednesday that the increased number of airstrikes was simply due to there being "more [ISIS] in and around Kobani."

"They have continued to flow fighters to Kobani, meaning there are more targets in and around Kobani." Essentially, Kirby noted, "the more they want it, the more resources they apply to it, the more targets we have to hit."

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US Continues Attack on ISIS, Launches 18 Airstrikes Near Kobani

US Continues Attack on ISIS, Launches 18 Airstrikes Near Kobani

iStock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The U.S. military continued its attack on Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in Iraq and Syria, launching 23 airstikes on Tuesday and Wednesday, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said.Eighteen of the strikes were in Syria, all near Kobani. According to CENTCOM, the airstrikes "destroyed multiple ISIL fighting positions and successfully struck 16 ISIL occupied buildings."Bomber and fighter aircraft were used in these strikes and all managed to exit the areas safely.The five strikes in Iraq destroyed an armed vehicle and guard shack near Haditha Dam, and an ISIS building, Humvee and machine gun near Bayji.The aircraft used in these attacks also exited the areas safely.In related news, the U.S. military operation against ISIS in Iraq and Syria was officially given a name on Wednesday: "Operation Inherent Resolve."In a statement, CENTCOM said the name applies to all actions taken against ISIS since the military began its airstrikes on Aug. 8."According to CENTCOM officials, the name INHERENT RESOLVE is intended to reflect the unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the U.S. and partner nations in the region and around the globe to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community," CENTCOM said in the statement."It also symbolizes the willingness and dedication of coalition members to work closely with our friends in the region and apply all available dimensions of national power necessary -- diplomatic, informational, military, economic -- to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL," the statement continued.

ISIL is an alternative name for the Islamic extremist group.

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World’s Highest Observation Deck Opens in Dubai

World’s Highest Observation Deck Opens in Dubai

iStock Editorial(DUBAI, United Arab Emirates) -- The highest observation deck in the world opens Wednesday in Dubai, giving visitors an amazing view of the Middle Eastern city.But the impressive sight will cost you: Prices start at $109 for people who book in advance.The new deck, on the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, is 1,821 feet tall. Burj Khalifa, itself, stretches 2,717 feet into the sky.By comparison, the Empire State Building's top deck is on the 102nd floor, about 1,200 feet above ground.A video taken from the Dubai deck shows a sweeping view of the city's skyscrapers, streets and the sea in the distance.The building's old observation deck was on the 124th floor, and drew nearly 1.9 million visitors last year.

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American Civilians Take Up Arms in Syria, But with Whom?

American Civilians Take Up Arms in Syria, But with Whom?

American Jordan Matson, seen here in his Facebook profile picture, says he's fighting with Kurdish forces against ISIS. Jordan Matson/Facebook(WASHINGTON) -- With the reported death over the weekend of another American member of the terror group ISIS and new reports of U.S. citizens taking up arms with Kurdish forces, it seems that the allegiances of the 100-plus Americans who security officials believe have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq are as diverse and complex as the conflict itself.Far from a two-sided affair, numerous groups are vying for power and territory in Syria and Iraq, including the countries’ respective governments, an official al Qaeda affiliate, a powerful al Qaeda splinter group, “moderate” opposition forces, Kurdish forces and a myriad of militias everywhere in between.As for the Americans joining up -- who are doing so in far smaller numbers than some European governments believe their own citizens are -- former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matthew Olsen said in July, “There’s no real pattern to the people who have gone from the United States to Syria. Some are ethnic Syrians, many are not. They come from all different parts of the country.”Olsen said then that because of the difficulties in getting good intelligence in war-torn Syria, the U.S. is “really limited” in its ability to understand what all the Americans are doing once they get there.Timothy Barrett, a spokesperson at the NCTC, told ABC News last week the agency didn’t have a breakdown of the American membership in each group, but said that it’s “fair to assess that Americans have gone to Syria and Iraq for a variety of reasons and linked up with a variety of groups.”What remains then are snapshots of individuals, seen through online videos, social media and news reports, that show that aside from official militaries, Americans appear to have popped up aligned with just about everyone since the conflict began in earnest in 2011. Below is a look at some of the most high-profile cases.The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)Last week the FBI launched a new online campaign in which it asked the public to help identify Americans who had become, or planned to become, members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a brutal Sunni organization designated by the U.S. as a terrorist group.The group, once an al Qaeda affiliate before a very public falling out, has dominated headlines the past month both for its rapid takeover of territory in Iraq and Syria and for the monstrous tactics it has used in the campaign. The group has also purportedly beheaded four Western hostages -- two American journalists and two British aid workers -- on camera.Taking advantage of the violent opposition to the Assad regime in Syria, ISIS now dominates swaths of Iraq and Syria and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has declared an Islamic caliphate, naming himself the leader of all Muslims. Such a declaration hasn’t sat well with al Qaeda and the two -- supposedly on the same side in opposing Assad in Syria -- have faced off in bloody battles of their own.According to the FBI, there are about a dozen Americans fighting alongside ISIS in Syria, possibly including a masked man with a “North American” accent who recently appeared in an ISIS propaganda video.Over the weekend a purported American member of ISIS, whose real name hasn’t been revealed, was said by jihadists online to have been killed in fighting. The man had been seen in a video online earlier this year saying he had lived in the U.S. for more than a decade. He initially joined up with a group affiliated with the al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (see below) but defected after an argument over weapons, he said.In August the White House confirmed the death of Chicago-born rapper Douglas McAuthur McCain, who another Syrian opposition group said had been killed fighting for ISIS.Other Americans have been accused of trying, and failing, to join ISIS.For example, in July 19-year-old suburban Denver woman Shannon Conley was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. Conley was arrested at Denver International Airport in April, where federal officials say she had planned to board a flight on the first leg of her journey to the Middle East after falling in love with a jihadi online. In September, she pleaded guilty to aiding ISIS.NBC News reported another American, 44-year-old Don Morgan, got as far as Lebanon in an effort to join ISIS before eventually returning to the U.S.Earlier this month a 19-year-old man from Illinois, Mohammed Hamzah Khan, was arrested at Chicago O’Hare airport for allegedly planning to join ISIS in Syria.Jabhat al-Nusra, Al Qaeda in SyriaOne of the most powerful jihadi opposition groups in Syria is Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda’s official affiliate there and rival to ISIS. Other al Qaeda branches have recruited Americans before, but as the conflict in Syria grew, so did the influx of foreign fighters to al-Nusra, including Americans.One, Florida native Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, became the first American believed to have killed himself in a suicide operation in the Syrian conflict in May. Before his death Abu-Salha, 22, recorded emotional videos explaining his motivations.“I lived in America. I know how it is,” he says in one. “You have all the fancy amusement parks, and the restaurants and the food and all this crap and the cars. And you think you’re happy? You’re not happy. I was never happy. I was always sad and depressed. Life sucked.”In other portions of the video Abu-Salha tears up his passport and then threatens non-believers.“You think you’re safe where you are in America or Britain…You think you are safe, but you’re not,” he says. “We are coming for you, mark my words.”Abu-Salha’s case was made all the more troubling by revelations that after he had been in Syria, he managed to return to the U.S. for a few weeks before heading back to the battlefields.Earlier this month, another self-identified American jihadist in al-Nusra told CBS News he barely escaped being struck by American missiles in Syria. The fighter, who goes by the name Ibn Zubayr, said he’s been fighting with the al Qaeda group for the past two years.“I don’t hate America. That’s my home. That’s where I grew up. I don’t have to need to hate America itself. But the government and their policies as far as the Muslim lands, that’s another story,” he said.Kurdish People’s Protection UnitThe latest group that seems to have attracted American recruits are Kurdish militias battling ISIS in northern Iraq.Wisconsin native Jordan Matson, 28, said recently that he wanted to fight against ISIS and settled on joining up with the YPG (Kurdish People’s Protection Unit) because it wasn’t listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S., unlike some others in Syria.“They [the YPG] asked me a few questions to make sure I wasn’t pro-ISIS and then they told me I could come,” Matson told USA Today. “I just flew by the seat of my pants.”USA Today spoke to Matson, reportedly a U.S. Army veteran, as he recovered from a shrapnel wound at a hospital in northern Syria. A Facebook page that appears to belong to Matson shows him in camouflage, a headscarf and armed with an AK-47.Matson told the newspaper he knew of at least one other American fighter who joined the Kurdish group.Earlier this month a video appeared online featuring a man who called himself Brian Wilson from Ohio. Wilson, flanked by Kurdish fighters, told an interviewer that he came to Syria to help the YPG “in any way we can.”He said he hadn’t seen any fighting yet, but said he was one of a “few Americans” who came to help in the fight against ISIS.NBC News reported that one of Wilson’s relatives said he had served for the U.S. in Desert Storm.Other Opposition GroupsFBI Director James Comey recently said that while around 100 Americans are thought to have gone to Syria at one point to fight, only around a dozen are believed to be currently fighting with terrorist groups there. That leaves plenty of room for those who have returned from the fight to the U.S., those who have been killed or, presumably, a number who have joined other opposition groups -- including more moderate forces.Perhaps the first high-profile story of an American joining the conflict in Syria was that of Eric Harroun, a former U.S. soldier who told Foreign Policy he joined up with a faction of the more moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA) to fight Syrian government forces.Harroun voluntarily met with the FBI in Turkey during a break in his fighting, but was arrested in March 2013 upon his return to the U.S. initially accused of fighting with Jabhat al-Nusra. Harroun told FP he accidentally fell in with al-Nusra after being separated from his FSA unit during a battle and never was part of them. He ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charges of conspiracy to transfer arms and was sentenced to time served.“He’s not any terrorist, not any more than I am,” Harroun’s father, Darryl, told ABC News in September 2013.Harroun died in his Arizona home in April. His sister posted a comment on Facebook saying he succumbed to an “accidental overdose.”Back in 2012 the New York Times profiled 25-year-old Obaida Hitto, a Texan of Syrian descent who left his safe home to join the FSA. When he took off for a battlefield halfway around the world, Hitto -- whose father would later at one time reportedly lead a Syrian opposition government -- left a note to his mother: “You’ve made me what I am. But now I need to go and do what I need to do.”Hezbollah, Pro-Assad Lebanese Militant Group Backed by IranIn one of the more curious cases to emerge from the Syrian conflict, in March two former Los Angeles gang members appeared in videos online claiming to be fighting with not with opposition groups, but with militias aligned with Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group, in defense of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.In the videos the two, who call themselves Creeper and Wino, say they’re “in Syria, gangbangin.'”Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief for Counterterrorism Mike Downing told ABC News in March that though the men, an Armenian and a Latino, have lived in L.A., they are not American citizens.As opposed to those who join extremist rebel forces, security sources told ABC News at the time it was rare for U.S. persons to be found fighting on the side of Assad in the Syrian civil war.But at least one other American tried, according to U.S. government prosecutors. In March 22-year-old Mohammad Hamdan, a permanent U.S. resident from Michigan, was arrested and faced charges relating to his attempt to fly to Lebanon to sneak into Syria to fight on behalf of Hezbollah.Hamdan allegedly told an undercover FBI agent the group, designated by the U.S. as a terror organization, was going to pay him $500 a month for his services. Hamdan has pleaded not guilty.

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Reeva Steenkamp’s Parents Won’t Testify Against Oscar Pistorius

Reeva Steenkamp’s Parents Won’t Testify Against Oscar Pistorius

Jemal Countess/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- The parents of Reeva Steenkamp said Wednesday they will remain "neutral" and not testify against Oscar Pistorius in the penalty phase of Pistorius' trial for the culpable homicide of their daughter.The statement came a day after revelations in court that Pistorius had been making monthly payments to Barry and June Steenkamp since shortly after the Valentine's Day 2013 shooting of their daughter.Her parents were struggling financially at the time, and Pistorius, through his lawyers, offered to give the family monthly payments of about $530 for rent and living expenses, payments that continued from March 2013 until September 2014, according to the statement.In the statement released Wednesday, the Steenkamps' lawyers stated, "We have advised the parents to remain neutral in regard to sentence in the sense that they should not be seen to attempt to influence the sentence in any way."After the payments were revealed Tuesday, the lawyers for Steenkamp's parents said they were dropping their civil suit claims against Pistorius and would repay the roughly $10,000 he had given them.The statement Wednesday elaborated on the parents' plans.“It was always the intention of the parents that the amounts…would be set-off against any civil claim that they were going to institute,” the statement read. “However, once they had decided not to proceed with the civil claim, which decision was only taken during the past few weeks, it follows that the money will be repaid.”Pistorius' chief defense lawyer, Barry Roux, later read the statement in court.Pistorius, 27, was found guilty last month of culpable homicide, the rough equivalent of manslaughter, in the 2013 shooting. The champion sprinter known as the Blade Runner could be sentenced to as much as 15 years in prison. He could also avoid prison and receive a fine and suspended sentence. House arrest is also an option, and that has been suggested by a social worker and a probation officer called by Pistorius' defense.The prosecution began presenting its case Wednesday. Closing arguments will follow before Judge Thokozile Masipa renders a sentence.

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Gonzalo Strengthens to Major Hurricane, Takes Aim at Bermuda

Gonzalo Strengthens to Major Hurricane, Takes Aim at Bermuda

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Gonzalo is a major hurricane Wednesday morning with winds of 125 mph, and it's strengthening on an expected path to hit Bermuda Friday.If Gonzalo becomes a Category 4 hurricane, with winds of 140 mph, it would be the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean since Oct. 2, 2011, when Hurricane Ophelia's winds reached 140 mph.The current forecast would take Gonzalo over Bermuda Friday midday as possibly a major hurricane with winds around 115 mph. A hurricane watch has been posted for Bermuda.On Monday, Gonzalo passed over the islands of the Lesser Antilles, with Antigua Island recording sustained winds of sustained winds of 67 mph, gusting to 88 mph; Barbuda recording sustained winds of 60 mph, gusting to 70 mph; and St. Martin recording sustained winds of 63 mph, gusting to 75 mph Monday evening. A personal weather station on St. Barthelemy recorded sustained winds of 82 mph, gusting to 108 mph.The storm intensified most of the day Tuesday and stayed over open water.Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Ana was headed toward Hawaii with sustained winds of 70 mph. It was forecast to become a hurricane later this morning and head for the Hawaiian Islands just in time for the weekend.If Ana makes landfall on the big island of Hawaii as a hurricane, it would be the first time a hurricane ever made landfall in Hawaii.In August, Iselle made landfall on the big island as a tropical storm, and if Ana were to do the same, it would be the first time in recorded history that two tropical storms made landfall in Hawaii in a single season.

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New Charges Brought Against Chief Benghazi Suspect

New Charges Brought Against Chief Benghazi Suspect

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The top suspect in the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, two years ago is now facing 17 additional charges, many of which carry the death penalty.U.S. investigators believe that Ahmed Abu Khattala organized the siege on Sept. 11, 2012 that led to the murders of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the compound.Although he has already pleaded not guilty to providing material support and resources to terrorists, the new charges brought by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. are more serious in that they allege Khattala is responsible for the intentional murders of U.S. personnel on a federal facility.The indictment also claims Khattala launched the deadly assault after learning that the U.S. operated intelligence facilities in Benghazi.Since the siege, Khattala had openly bragged about his involvement, but it wasn't until last June that he was taken into custody by Special Forces in Libya.

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State Department Offering $45 Million in Rewards for Information on Terrorist Leaders

State Department Offering $45 Million in Rewards for Information on Terrorist LeadersHisham Ibrahim/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. State Department announced rewards totaling up to $45 million for information leading to the capture of eight key leaders of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a known terr...

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