Gaza militants fired several rockets towards Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on Saturday, the army said, with no reports of injuries, as Israel continued to bomb the coastal enclave. Three of the four Tel Aviv rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system, and the Jerusalem-bound rockets fell short, hitting two West Bank cities. "Three rockets intercepted above the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Another rocket hit an open area near Rishon LeTzion," the army said in a statement, after sirens and explosions were heard in Israel's commercial capital.
Iran's foreign minister has called for an "immediate end" to Israel's bombing of Gaza and criticized the United States for not restraining its most important Middle Eastern ally. Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a taped interview with US broadcaster NBC to air Sunday, urged Washington to use the United Nations to stop the Israeli strikes. "Almost a hundred people have been killed, over 500 have been wounded in Gaza and the United States is not taking any action," Zarif said. "We know that all the weapons that are used by Israel in order to attack civilians in Gaza have been provided by the United States and we don't see any move by the United States to condemn that, to use the Security Council in order to put an end to it," he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting Argentina Saturday on a tour aimed at tapping Latin American natural resources and increasing Moscow's regional influence amid a post-Cold War low in East-West relations. Putin said ahead of his visit he was keen to offer increased Russian investment and trade in exchange for oil and minerals, and analysts say he likely has his eye on Argentina's massive Vaca Muerta shale oil field, potentially one of the largest finds in history. Argentine President Cristina Kirchner for her part could desperately use Russian investment at a time when her government is fighting to stay solvent, locked out of capital markets since defaulting on its debt in 2001. A US court has ordered Argentina to pay the "holdout" funds more than $1.3 billion by the end of the month, but the country is trying to negotiate a reprieve.
Chancellor Angela Merkel lamented on Saturday the breakdown in trust between Germany and the United States amid a spying row that saw the CIA chief in Berlin expelled from the country. "Here we obviously have different points of view and we need to talk to one another," Merkel said, adding that she had "naturally hoped for a change" in Washington's behaviour. The US on Friday hinted at displeasure with Germany over its handling of the spying row after the CIA station chief in Berlin was thrown out of the country. White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who previously declined to go into detail about the row because it touched on intelligence matters, offered a window into US thinking.
Rockets fired from Gaza hit in and near two cities in the southern West Bank Saturday, the army said on day five of an Israeli offensive against the coastal territory. "Rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel and hit the Judea region," an army statement said, using Israel's term for the southern West Bank. Militants in the Gaza Strip have fired several rockets at Jerusalem and Israel's commercial capital Tel Aviv since Monday, many of which have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.
Brasília (AFP) - Ukraine's leader has accepted an invitation to attend Sunday's World Cup final, with Russian President Vladimir Putin also among the spectators, amid a crisis between their countries, Brazilian officials said. "The president of Ukraine (Petro Poroshenko) confirmed Friday that he will go to the final," a Brazilian presidency spokesman told AFP on Saturday. A foreign ministry spokesman said the Ukrainian and Russian heads of state would attend a lunch hosted by President Dilma Rousseff with other foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, before the Germany-Argentina game at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium.
Nigerian police warned on Saturday of a new wave terrorist attacks on the capital Abuja, where more than 100 people have been killed in bombings since April. Officers claimed they had "credible intelligence reports" of suicide attacks being planned on the city's transport system, with terrorists also plotting to detonate improvised explosive devices concealed in luggage, bags and cans. The Islamist Boko Haram sect claimed responsibility for killing 75 people in the bombing of the main bus station at Nyanya, on the outskirt of Abuja, on April 14. A car bomb at the same spot two weeks later killed 19 and left 80 others injured, while 21 people were killed on June 25 at a crowded Abuja shopping centre in other attacks blamed on the sect.
Panicked refugees flooded highways and packed trains heading out of the main remaining rebel strongholds in eastern Ukraine on Saturday fearing an attack by government forces who lost 30 servicemen to defiant militants. Ukraine's new Western-backed leader vowed to step up the push east and take revenge on the militias responsible, which could shatter all hopes of a truce. "The rebels will pay for the life of every one of our servicemen with tens and hundreds of their own," President Petro Poroshenko told an emergency security meeting. The militant talk convinced many in the million-strong eastern industrial hub of Donetsk -- where gunmen who have been abandoning surrounding cities since last weekend have been retreating -- that their city was about to be bombed.
The former president of war-torn Central African Republic Michel Djotodia, who led the rebel Seleka militia that swept him to power last year, was renamed head of the movement on Saturday. "As well as the continuation of Djotodia, the former second- and third-in-command, Nourredine Adam and Mohammed Moussa Dhaffane, were reappointed during the general assembly," a source close to Seleka told AFP. The ex-president of the landlocked former French colony is subject to United States and United Nations sanctions as is Seleka's second-in-command Adam, and former president Francois Bozize.
Iran's chief negotiator in nuclear talks in Vienna warned Saturday that Tehran is ready to walk away if "excessive" Western demands cause a failure, eight days before a deadline for a deal. Abbas Araqchi said however that he hoped that the attendance from Sunday of foreign ministers including US Secretary of State John Kerry would help overcome "deep differences" that remain. "If we see that the excessive demands (of Western powers) persisting and that a deal is impossible, this is not a drama, we will continue with our nuclear programme," Araqchi said. "The presence of ministers will have a positive influence," he told Iran state television from the Austrian capital.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he will discuss an international push for a ceasefire in Gaza with US Secretary of State John Kerry and his German and French counterparts during talks in Vienna on Sunday. Hague said in a statement on Saturday that the discussions on ending the hostilities between Israel and Gaza would take place on the sidelines of talks on Iran's nuclear programme in the Austrian capital. "It is clear that we need urgent, concerted international action to secure a ceasefire, as was the case in 2012" during the last round of conflict between Israel and militants in the Palestinian coastal enclave, Hague said.
The corruption scandal surrounding former French president Nicolas Sarkozy deepened further on Saturday with fresh leaks of telephone conversations purporting to show he offered to get a judge a plum job in return for favours. Sarkozy, who was charged two weeks ago with corruption and influence peddling in a case related to his campaign to win the presidency in 2007, claims he is the victim of a "grotesque" set-up. In intercepted mobile phone calls with his longtime lawyer -- who also faces charges -- Sarkozy is alleged to have said, "I will help him (the judge)... I will get him set up," adding, "Call him today and tell him I will sort it out. The conversations are alleged to have taken place in February this year on a mobile phone the 59-year-old politician bought using a false name.