Coalition air strikes in Syria and Iraq

WASHINGTON: US-led forces conducted 14 air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria and nine in Iraq on Friday, the task force conducting the operation said. The strikes in Syria included six around Hasaka, the northern city where militants briefly seized a residential area before being pushed back by the Syrian army, the Combined Joint Task force said on Saturday. In Syria, coalition forces also carried out four strikes near Aleppo, three near Kobani and one near Tal Abyad, destroying fighting positions, vehicles, tactical units and staging areas belonging to the militants, it said in a statement. The air strikes in Iraq targeted militants and their holdings near Falluja, Makhmur, Mosul and Sinjar, it said.

Car bomb kills five

BENGHAZI: At least five people were killed and 15 wounded in a car bomb attack in the eastern Libyan city of Derna, national news agency LANA reported. The news agency added that it was a suicide attack. “Fifteen people were also wounded... among them women and children,” LANA reported, quoting local and medical sources in Derna. The attack came after clashes between local militiamen controlling the city and Islamic State group fighters. Libya descended into chaos after a revolt unseated longtime secular dictator Moamer Gadhafi in 2011. It now has rival governments and parliaments, as well as powerful militias battling for influence and a share of its oil wealth. The recognised government is based in the east of the country while the rival administration is in the capital Tripoli, which was overrun last year by a militia alliance, including Islamists.

Emergency in Tunisia

TUNIS: Tunisia President Beji Caid Essebsi declared a state of emergency on Saturday following an Islamic militant gun attack on a Sousse beach hotel, where 38 foreign tourists, mostly Britons, were killed, TAP news agency said, citing the president’s office. A state of emergency temporarily gives the government more flexibility and the army and police more authority, and restricts the right of public assembly. Tunisia last had a state of emergency during the 2011 uprising against autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

Militant Killed

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry said on Saturday that a wanted militant, a supporter of Islamic State, was killed in an exchange of fire when he refused to surrender to police. Youssef al-Ghamdi, was surrounded by police in his home in Taif and an exchange of fire took place when he refused to give himself up, the ministry’s Twitter account said.

Clerics arrested

ISLAMABAD: Police in Pakistan say officers have arrested two Muslim clerics for inciting a mob to attack a Christian couple on blasphemy charges. Local police officer Farooq Ahmed said Saturday that the couple was beaten up and paraded around Makki, a village in Punjab province, on June 29. Ahmed said the intervention of police probably saved the couple’s lives. The incident apparently stemmed from the impoverished couple’s use of an advertising banner as a form of household upholstery. The banner bore a phrase from the Quran and a Muslim visitor to the home told neighbours she saw the couple sitting on the Quranic verses. Two local clerics then called for the couple to be punished.