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NightWatch 20140813

NightWatch

For the Night of 13 August 2014

Iraq: Kurdish fighters supported by US air strikes reportedly opened a corridor for Yazidis to escape from Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq. A small team of US Marines and special operations soldiers reported the situation is more manageable and that a US rescue operation is much less likely. The Defense Department declared the siege over.

Comment: What happened to the 40,000 besieged Yazidis has not been reported.

Al-Maliki has refused to resign as prime minister until an Iraqi federal court rules on his petition. In his weekly televised address, Maliki on Wednesday said the appointment of Haider al-Abadi to replace him as prime minister was a "violation" of the constitution and "had no value".

"I confirm that the government will continue and there will not be a replacement for it without a decision from the federal court," Maliki said.

Comment: Reports of a change of government seem to be premature. Maliki gave no indication when to expect the court to rule.

Israel-Gaza Strip: Israel and the Palestinians agreed on Wednesday to extend the ceasefire by five days, a Palestinian official said in Cairo.

The Palestinians fired rockets in an apparent gesture to show that their agreement should not be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Israeli forces to "respond" to two instances of rocket fire in violation of the truce on Wednesday. The rockets caused no damage or casualties, and one was shot down by Israel's Iron Dome missile interceptor.

Comment: The conditions and terms of the ceasefire extension have not been reported.

End of NightWatch for 13 August.

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