Islamic State in control of half of Iraqi oil refinery

IRBIL, Iraq — The Islamic State took control of half of Iraq's largest oil refinery and cut supply lines to the 150 or so government troops who are holed up inside, witnesses reported Saturday.

The surprise Islamic State advance came despite U.S.-led aerial bombardment of Islamic State positions in the central Iraqi city of Baiji, which includes the refinery.

Also Saturday, a Yazidi lawmaker in Iraq said the Islamic State fatally shot at least 25 captive Yazidis at a prison camp near the town of Tal Afar, some 90 miles east of the Syrian border. Legislator Mahma Khalil said he believes that some 1,400 other Yazidis are still held in that camp.

— World-Herald wire services

Suspected chemical attacks by Syrian regime injure 40

BEIRUT — Suspected chlorine gas attacks by Syrian government helicopters injured some 40 people and killed a child in the country's northwest, activists said Saturday, a day after an international chemical weapons watchdog said it was ready to investigate a series of newly claimed attacks.

Videos shared by activist groups showed medics and residents rushing children to a local hospital as they coughed, some gasping for air, in Saraqeb, a town in Idlib province. A video from Nareb, another town in the province where a coalition of insurgent groups has made gains in recent days against troops loyal to President Bashar Assad, showed a medic receiving oxygen himself after rescuing people from another attack.— AP

Pakistani military says strikes kill 44 suspected militants

ISLAMABAD — Airstrikes killed 44 suspected militants in the tribal region near the Afghan border, Pakistan's military said.

A statement Saturday said 28 suspected militants were killed when jets struck hideouts in the Tirah Valley of the Khyber tribal region. It said separate strikes in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan killed 16 suspected militants, most of them foreigners.— AP

1,400 migrants saved by Italy, France in sea off Libya

ROME — Ships from Italy and France rescued more than 1,400 migrants Saturday after smugglers' boats ran into trouble in the Mediterranean Sea near Libya.

Italian officials said 1,200 migrants were being taken to Italian ports after several different rescue operations by its coast guard and navy. In a French operation, another 217 migrants in three rubber dinghies were rescued by a marine patrol boat and two suspected smugglers were detained in the seas north of Libya.— AP

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