Syrian troops pushed Islamic State group jihadists back from the ancient city of Palmyra on Sunday, easing fears over the world heritage site, after fighting that left hundreds dead. The toll comprised 123 soldiers and loyalist militiamen, 115 IS fighters as well as 57 civilians, dozens of whom were executed by the jihadists, the Observatory said, quoting sources on the ground. On Saturday the jihadists pressed their offensive and seized the northern part of the modern town of Palmyra, known as Tadmur in Arabic, but were driven out by regime forces. Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the jihadists were still just a kilometre (less than a mile) away from the UNESCO-listed heritage site and its adjacent museum housing thousands of priceless artefacts.
At least 32 Islamic State members, including four of its leaders, were killed in air strikes and a U.S. special forces raid that targeted the group in eastern Syria, a group monitoring the Syrian war said on Sunday. U.S. officials said the raid killed a senior Islamic State leader identified as a Tunisian who helped to manage its black-market sales of oil and gas to raise funds. British-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights gathers its information from sources in the region. The operation in the eastern Deir al-Zor province marked a departure from Washington's strategy of relying primarily on air strikes to target militants in the area.
U.S. special operations forces killed a senior Islamic State leader, who helped direct the group's oil, gas and financial operations, during a raid in eastern Syria, the Pentagon and White House said on Saturday. The White House said President Barack Obama ordered the raid that killed the man identified as Abu Sayyaf. U.S. officials said his wife, Umm Sayyaf, was captured in the raid and was being held in Iraq. White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement that U.S. personnel based out of Iraq conducted the operation in al-Amr in eastern Syria.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton reported Friday that they earned more than $30 million combined in speaking fees and book royalties since January 2014, putting them firmly within the upper echelon of American earners as the former secretary of state seeks the White House again.
By Jarrett Renshaw PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia and a separate commuter train in the vicinity may have been hit by projectiles of some kind shortly before the wreck, a U.S. transportation safety official said on Friday, after investigators interviewed members of the Amtrak crew. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was called in to examine a remnant of a shattered windshield with a circular damage pattern from the Amtrak locomotive, Sumwalt said. The revelation that Amtrak train No. 188 might have been struck by an object added an unexpected twist to a crash probe that initially focused on why the train had accelerated to over 100 miles per hour (160 km per hour) in the minute before it barreled into a curved track segment where the authorized speed limit was just 50 mph (80 kph). The unexplained speed has renewed calls for the installation of "positive train control" technology, which can automatically slow or stop a train to prevent an accident.