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Pentagon chief in bid to defuse Egypt-Israel tensions

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta was headed to Cairo from Tel Aviv on Tuesday in an effort to defuse tensions between Egypt andIsrael that have mounted since the end of Hosni Mubarak’s rule. Before flying out after a one-day visit to Israel, Panetta said he will seek to encourage both sides to ease friction…

Fall of Syrian regime a ‘matter of time’: US

It is “a matter of time” before the Syrian regime headed by President Bashar al-Assad is ousted from power by a popular uprising, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Monday. Speaking in Tel Aviv after meeting his Israeli counterpart, Panetta said Washington and other foreign capitals had “made clear…

UK troops in Libya to get operational allowance

British military personnel serving in Libya will receive an operational allowance in recognition of the “rigour and risk” they face, Defence Secretary Liam Fox said on Wednesday. UK servicemen and women operating in Libyan airspace and territorial waters will be paid an extra £29.02 a day tax-free, backdated to the…

WikiLeaks’ Assange wraps up appeal case

Lawyers for WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange wrapped up their arguments on Wednesday against his extradition to Sweden to face rape allegations, as they pursued a new “quiet” approach to his defence strategy. Assange has a new legal team which has abandoned the bombastic statements by his previous lawyers warning that…

Panetta makes 9/11 gaffe in Iraq

Newly appointed US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told American troops in Baghdad on Monday that 9/11 was the reason they were in Iraq, before he was quickly corrected by his spokesman. “The reason you guys are here is because of 9/11. The US got attacked and 3,000 human beings got…

U.S. forces ‘still attacking Iraq Shiite insurgents’

US forces are carrying out operations against Shiite insurgents, almost a year after the military announced a formal end to its combat operations in Iraq, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Monday. “We have to unilaterally be able to go after those threats. We’re doing that,” Panetta told reporters,…

Rockets hit Baghdad Green Zone on Panetta visit

Three rockets slammed into Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone on Monday, wounding a woman and her three children, security officials said, as US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta began the second day of a visit. There was no report or indication the missiles had landed anywhere close to the US embassy inside…

Britain calls for fresh probe of Sri Lanka war crimes

COLOMBO — Defence Secretary Liam Fox has urged the Sri Lankan government to investigate war crimes alleged to have been committed during the island’s separatist conflict with Tamil rebels. The British High Commission said Liam Fox had pushed Sri Lanka, a former British colony, to probe the charges of deliberate…

British drone kills four Afghan civilians

LONDON — A British Royal Air Force drone killed four Afghan civilians and injured two more during an attack on a Taliban commander, the Ministry of Defence confirmed Wednesday. The defence department verified a report in Britain’s Guardian newspaper which revealed that four civilians died when a Reaper drone being…

Admiral Mullen to visit China

BEIJING — The top US military officer Admiral Mike Mullen will visit China next month, Beijing said on Wednesday, pledging to help improve sometimes rocky relations with Washington. Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, will visit from July 9-13, Xinhua news agency quoted defence ministry spokesman Yang…

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