Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Digest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Digest

Article excerpt

2 U.S. troops die in apparent Afghan insider attack

A man in an Afghan police uniform shot and killed two American service members Thursday, in what appeared to be the latest in a rash of attacks on international forces this year by their Afghan partners.

The so-called insider attacks have stretched to the breaking point a partnership that U.S. and NATO officials consider a key part their exit plan - preparing the Afghans to take over responsibility for their country's security in just over two years' time. They have also cast major doubts over the program, where Afghans and international troops are supposed to work "shoulder to shoulder."

The service members were on a late-morning patrol in the southern Uruzgan province.

Israeli premier's party merging with ultranationalists - Israel's prime minister says his Likud Party will join forces with the hard- line party of his foreign minister in coming parliamentary elections.

The merger between Likud and the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu will form a broad, hawkish bloc. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the announcement at a news conference Thursday night with Yisrael Beitenu's leader, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The merger immediately makes the new Likud the clear front- runner in the January election. Israeli media speculated that Netanyahu made the deal to head off the threat of an emerging centrist bloc led by the resurgent Labor Party.

Muslims begin annual pilgrimage - Hours before sunrise Thursday, thousands of Muslims from around the world stood in the dark on a rocky desert hill in Saudi Arabia, preparing for prayers on the first day of the annual hajj, a pilgrimage, a central pillar of their faith.

Muslims believe that prayer on Mount Arafat is their best chance to erase past sins and start anew. The four-day hajj features millions packed shoulder to shoulder in prayer and supplication. …

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