The number of U.S. military personnel wounded since the invasion of Iraq now stands at 6,916, an increase of almost 1,500 since the transfer of power on June 28, and a nearly twofold increase since mid-April. The number of military dead is now 975, an increase of about 300 since sovereignty was restored. (MSNBC)
Seven truck drivers who were being held hostage by Iraqi militants are released after nearly six weeks in captivity. The three Kenyans, three Indians, and one Egyptian were abducted July 21 and had been threatened with death unless Gulf Link Transport, a Kuwaiti trucking company, stopped doing work in Iraq. All seven drivers are heading back to Kuwait. (Fox News)
Beslan school hostage crisis: Armed men and women continue to hold over 1,300 adults and children hostage in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia. Russian authorities announce that they have, for the moment, ruled out the use of force to end the standoff, while Chechenrebel leader Aslan Maskhadov denies that his forces are responsible. Late in the day, 26 women and children are released by the hostage-takers. (BBC: 1, 2)
The hostage crisis in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia, ends violently as fighting erupts in the early afternoon between the hostage-takers and Russian special forces. Special forces teams storm the school, in attempt to save the remaining hostages, after two explosions are heard and the hostage-takers fire on a medical team attempting to remove dead bodies. Several hundred people die in the ensuing battle; the hostage-takers shoot some hostages are shot in the back as the hostages attempt to flee.
Official reports list 335 confirmed dead, including 156 children, and more than 700 wounded; 176 remain missing. Some of the hostage-takers briefly escape, but eventually all are reported killed or captured by Russian authorities. (BBC: 1, 2, 3, Interfax: 1, 2)
Iraqi officials now say that contrary to earlier reports, Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri, the deputy commander of Iraq's armed forces during the rule of Saddam Hussein, has not been captured. Medical tests now show that the man who had been identified as Izzat Ibrahim is actually one of his relatives. Seventy of Izzat Ibrahim's supporters are now dead and 80 have been captured. Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri is number six on the U.S.'s list of the 55 most wanted Iraqis. (CNN)(Reuters)
The heart bypasssurgery being performed on former United States PresidentBill Clinton is successfully completed. Clinton will spend the night in the intensive care unit of New York-Presbyterian Hospital before being moved to the general care unit tomorrow. Full recovery from the surgery could take a month. (CNN)
Fighting between U.S. forces and Shia insurgents across Baghdad's Sadr City suburb has left at least 34 dead, including one American. The Associated Press reports that this death marks the 1,000th U.S. combat fatality in Iraq. (MSNBC)(BBC)
U.N. officials say a ten-year-old Palestinian girl is in critical condition after being hit by "indiscriminate" gunfire from Israeli forces while sitting in school. Israel alleges that it exchanged fire with militants in the area but says it did not fire at buildings. (UN)(AP)(AFP)(The Scotsman)
US Democrats and Republicans wrangle over Vice PresidentDick Cheney's remarks about Democratic candidate John Kerry and terrorism. Cheney originally said, "It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States." The Kerry campaign interpreted this remark as a claim that, if John Kerry was elected, America would be hit by a devastating terrorist attack. The next day, Cheney told the Cincinnati Enquirer, "I did not say if Kerry is elected, we will be hit by a terrorist attack." Democrats contend that Cheney's original statement reveals that Republicans "have consciously adopted a strategy of using Americans' justifiable fear of a future terrorist attack as a political tool." Democratic VP candidate John Edwards says that Cheney's remark shows that he and Bush "will do anything and say anything to save their jobs". (BBC) (The Daily Misleader)
CBS News announces the discovery of newly uncovered records of United States PresidentGeorge W. Bush's service in the Air National Guard. These documents are known as the Killian memos. The Democratic campaign concludes (1) that the records show then Lieutenant Bush disobeyed orders, and (2) that the Bush campaign lied about having made all such records public. (Nashville Tennessean/AP) Within hours, several bloggers question the authenticity of the memos, which prove to be modern forgeries produced with Microsoft Word rather than historic documents made on a typewriter; nevertheless, the documents heightened awareness of facts related tangentially to the memo, including that President Bush avoided duty in Vietnam at a time in which avoidance of such service was both highly in demand and difficult to obtain.
A federal judge in Lincoln, Nebraska, US, strikes down the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, citing a lack of an exception to protect the health of the mother. This is the third time the controversial law has been declared unconstitutional by a federal judge within the last month. It is almost assured that the government will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. (CNN.com)
Four (or possibly five) Palestinians, including a nine year old boy, a Hamas militant, and two young Palestinian men, are killed as Israeli tanks force their way into the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza while receiving gunfire from scores of gunmen opposed to the invasion. (Reuters)(BBC)
U.S. and Iraqi forces have launched an offensive to drive insurgents out of the northern Iraqi town of Talafar. Hospital sources say at least 17 people have been killed including several women and children. (BBC)
An air strike in Iraq reportedly kills Habib Akdas, a man thought to be the leader of a terrorist cell responsible for the November 2003 bombings of two synagogues, a bank, and an embassy in Istanbul. Akdas was thought to have fled from Turkey to neighboring Iraq after the 2003 bombings to escape authorities. (MSNBC)
A train crash in Sweden kills two and injures 30. The accident happened when a passenger train collided with a lorry on a railway crossing in Kristianstad. (BBC)
2004 Atlantic hurricane season: Twenty-five foot waves and high winds from Hurricane Ivan hit the southern coast of Jamaica early Saturday morning, destroying homes and causing five deaths. There are also reports of looters roaming the streets of Jamaica's capital city, Kingston, some of whom are reportedly robbing emergency workers at gunpoint. As of 17:00 local time (21:00 UTC), Ivan has regained Category Five strength, and is now located about 234 km (134 miles) west of Jamaica and is headed toward the Cayman Islands and western Cuba. Hurricane warnings have been issued for the Cayman Islands, western Cuba, and the Florida Keys. The death toll from Ivan now stands at 50. (Reuters)(ABC)(NOAA/NHC)
At the sixty first Venice Film Festival, British director Mike Leigh is awarded several prizes, including the prestigious Golden Lion (Leone d'Oro) award, for his movie Vera Drake, about a working-class mother arrested for performing illegal abortions in 1950s Britain. The star of the movie, Imelda Staunton, receives the award for best actress. (Reuters)
The government of Saudi Arabia announces that the first nationwide elections in the kingdom's history will occur early next year. This is the biggest step toward reform the Gulf state has ever taken, although the government has been promising to hold elections since October of 2003. The first ballots will be cast on February 10, 2005, for council seats in the Riyadh capital district. It is not known if women will be allowed to vote in the elections. (MSNBC.com)
Hurricane Ivan, still at Category Five strength, continues to travel northward, causing damage throughout the western Caribbean. As of 23:00 local time (0300 UTC September 13), it is located about 285 km (175 miles) southeast of the western tip of Cuba, and it is predicted that the eye of Ivan will pass over that part of the island Monday afternoon or evening. (Reuters)(NOAA/NHC)
A storm surge from Hurricane Ivan travels at least 1 km (0.6 mile) inland on Grand Cayman, the largest of the three islands of the Cayman Islands, forcing residents to seek shelter on their house roofs.
In the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person yet tried in the U.S. in relation to the 9/11 attacks, the court refuses to allow Moussaoui to call Camp X-Ray detainees as witnesses, but does allow him to use written evidence from some of the detainees. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Moussaoui, who admits to being a member of al-Qaeda but denies involvement in the 9/11 plot. (BBC)
At least 45 people are killed and over 100 others are injured when a car bomb explodes in central Baghdad, Iraq. The blast leaves a three-meter (10 ft) crater in the road in a busy shopping area; many of the dead are Iraqi job-seekers who were queuing up outside a nearby police station. (BBC)
The United States lifts its siege of the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar after Turkey threatens to end all cooperation with the U.S. in Iraq if the attacks, which had killed many civilians in the largely Turkmen city, continue. (Xinhua)
As of 13:00 local time (1800 UTC September 14), Hurricane Ivan is located about 650 km (400 mi) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and is moving along a north-northwest path at about 9 mph (14.5 km/h). The hurricane is now projected to make landfall along the Gulf Coast of the United States on Thursday morning. (NOAA/NHC)
As of 23:00 local time (0300 UTC September 14), Ivan is located about 60 km (40 miles) west-northwest of the western tip of Cuba. Forecasters are predicting landfall somewhere between eastern Louisiana and the panhandle of Florida late Wednesday. (NOAA/NHC)
Canada's federal government and its provincial and territorial leaders reach an accord to increase funding for the country's national health care system. In exchange for an increase in federal funding of CAD 18 billion over the next six years, provincial and territorial leaders agree to reforms intended to reduce patient waiting times. (Toronto Star)
Five crew members of an Irish yacht, who had been adrift in a liferaft for seven days after abandoning their ship, are rescued by helicopter off the Cornwall coast of Britain. The crew members ran out of water on Monday and were running low on food when rescued. (BBC)(RTÉ)
As Hurricane Ivan approaches the Gulf Coast of the United States, an estimated 1.9 million people, including 1.2 million residents of metropolitan New Orleans, are advised to evacuate. The situation is particularly dangerous for New Orleans, since a direct or close hit by the hurricane could breach the levees around the city, causing its streets to fill with a mixture of floodwater, raw sewage, gasoline, and chemicals. (CNN)
Afghan President Hamid Karzai survives an assassination attempt when a rocket misses his helicopter, bound for the city of Gardez, by some 300 yards (275 m). The helicopter returned to Kabul. (ABC News)
U.S. air raids in the city of Fallujah, allegedly aimed at militants loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, kill an estimated 60 fighters, according to claims from the U.S. military. A spokesman for Iraq's health ministry says at least two women and 17 children were among the wounded. Meanwhile in central Baghdad, a suicide car bomb leaves at least 13 dead. (The Guardian)
Syria begins a "phased redeployment" of its forces in Lebanon (currently estimated at 20,000 troops), moving about 1,000 troops out of bases south of Beirut; it is not clear whether they will be redeployed in Lebanon or Syria. Earlier this month, UN Security Council Resolution 1559, drafted by the United States and France, called for all foreign troops to leave Lebanon. (CNN.com)
The United States Air Force military drops all espionage charges against the Syrian-American airman after he pleads guilty to four lesser charges. The judge criticizes the prosecution for improperly handling key evidence and for failing to correct the mistranslation of a crucial document. (Reuters)
U.S. air strikes on the Iraqi city of Fallujah destroy several buildings. The U.S. military says no civilians were reported in the area, but a hospital official says at least eight civilians were killed, and television broadcasts show civilian survivors, including an infant, being pulled out of a destroyed building. (BBC)
The U.S. military carries out air strikes on several suspected militant positions in the Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, killing at least five people and wounding 46, according to a local hospital official. The U.S. military disputes that total. (AP)(BBC)
Two separate car bombs kill at least seven Iraqi national guardsmen in Mosul and Fallujah, while mortars are fired at a police academy in Baghdad, with no reported casualties. (AP: 1, 2)
U.S. military planes bomb a building in the insurgent-held city of Fallujah, in what the U.S. describes as a raid against terrorists linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Local doctors say at least three civilians were killed, but the U.S. says only "Zarqawi operatives" died. (BBC)
A Nigerian militant group threatens "all-out war" against foreign companies in the Niger Riverdelta region if they do not leave by October. The European oil company Royal Dutch/Shell has already evacuated 254 non-essential workers from the area. (BBC: 1, 2)
Reports that ransom was paid to secure yesterday's release of two Italian aid workers raise fears that the burgeoning hostage crises will worsen. Gustavo Selva, an Italian lawmaker, states that "The sum ($1 million) is probably correct". To date about 130 foreigners have been taken hostage. About 30 of these have been killed. (Reuters)
Two Israeli children, aged three and five, are killed after a Qassam rocket attack from Palestinian terrorists on the town of Sderot. Hamas claimed the attack was launched in retaliation for the Israeli raid of the Jabaliya refugee camp, which left four Palestinians dead. (BBC)(Haaretz)
Two Palestinianteenagers are killed and power supplies are knocked out after an Israeli raid on the Jabaliya refugee camp. The raid was launched in retaliation for the rocket attacks on the town of Sderot which left two children dead. (BBC)
The asteroid4179 Toutatis passes within 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers, or about four times the distance from Earth to the Moon) of Earth. Toutatis is the largest known asteroid to pass this close to Earth. (Space.com)
The Montréal Expos play their last game at the Olympic Stadium in Montréal against the Florida Marlins in front of over 30,000 fans
Israel launches a major offensive into the Jabaliya refugee camp killing at least 23 gunmen and civilians. Earlier this morning, a column of Israeli tanks moved into the center of the camp, followed by bulldozers. At least three Palestinian civilians have been killed thus far. Homes are being demolished, forcing people to flee. Seventy-two Palestinians are known to have been wounded, some losing limbs. (BBC)(Reuters)
Two Palestinians are killed by Israeli troops returning fire after an Israeli soldier was killed at an observation post in the northern Gaza strip. The troops have been engaged in that part of the northern Gaza Strip since yesterday, September 29. (AP)
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