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Oxfam Warns Food, Water Running Perilously Low in Gaza

Thousands of Palestinians have fled their homes but have nowhere safe to shelter from Israeli airstrikes, charity Oxfam said on Wednesday, warning supplies of water and food are dangerously low.

Over 120,000 people are displaced but are prevented from escaping violence because borders with Israel and Egypt are shut, Oxfam said.

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Iraq Defense Minister Heads to Moscow with Wish List

Iraq's defense minister flew to Moscow on Wednesday to ask his counterpart for military equipment, as his forces struggle to hold off a jihadist-led Sunni militant offensive, a spokesman said.

"Defense Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi left Baghdad for Moscow," Staff Lieutenant General Mohammed al-Askari told Agence France Presse.

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Canadian Charged with Joining Islamist Fighters in Syria

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced terrorism charges Wednesday against a 25-year-old Canadian for allegedly traveling to Syria to fight alongside Islamist fighters.

The charges against Hasibullah Yusufzai, 25, are the first ever laid against a Canadian under a new law passed last year that criminalized travel abroad for the purpose of terrorist activities.

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U.S. Still Mulling Iraq Request for Militant Drone Strikes

Washington is still weighing Iraq's request to launch air strikes against Islamic militants, but is working to boost the Iraqi army as it battles the extremists, a top U.S. diplomat said Wednesday.

After spending billions of dollars on building up and training the Iraq military, the United States was shocked when the Iraqi army melted away in face of a sweeping offensive in June by the jihadist Islamic State (IS) and allied Sunni groups.

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U.N. Urged to Take Stand against Iraq IS 'Atrocities'

Accusing the Islamic State in Iraq of murder, hostage-takings and kidnappings, the U.N. envoy in Iraq on Wednesday called on the Security Council to firmly demand an end to atrocities.

Nickolay Mladenov told the 15-member Council that it was time to take a stand to end to the violence, enforce sanctions to isolate the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIL, and bring perpetrators of war crimes to justice.

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U.S. Renews Ban on Flights to Israel

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday renewed its ban on American flights to Tel Aviv for another 24 hours, citing the "potentially hazardous situation" in Israel and Gaza.

It first imposed the ban on Tuesday, then renewed it at 1615 GMT with a Notice to Airmen, or NOTAM, that it said would be updated "within 24 hours."

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U.N. Rights Council Launches Probe into Israel's Gaza Offensive

The U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday launched a probe into the Gaza offensive, backing calls by the Palestinians to hold Israel to account despite fierce opposition from the Jewish state.

The decision came after a marathon seven-hour emergency session of the top U.N. human rights body, where the Israelis and the Palestinians traded accusations over war crimes.

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Gunmen Kill Woman ex-Candidate for Iraq Parliament

Gunmen killed a female former candidate for Iraq's parliament and wounded a women's rights activist on Wednesday, in attacks that underscore deteriorating conditions for Iraqi women.

Insurgents from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group killed Sanaa al-Juburi and wounded Khawla al-Juburi in Sharqat, some 300 kilometers (180 miles) northwest of Baghdad, tribal and military sources said.

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Hamas Says World Suspension of Israel Flights a 'Great Victory'

Hamas said Wednesday that the suspension of international flights to and from Israel over security concerns about Gaza rocket fire was a "great victory."

"The success of Hamas in closing Israeli airspace is a great victory for the resistance, and is the crown of Israel's failure," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.

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Sisi Defends Egypt Peace Efforts for Gaza

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday defended Egypt's role in trying to broker a Gaza truce between Israel and Hamas, which accuses him of proposing a ceasefire favorable to Israel.

Unlike his Islamist predecessor Mohammed Morsi whom he toppled and detained last year, ex-army chief Sisi has sought to isolate the militant Palestinian movement in the neighboring Gaza Strip.

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