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Rockets hit Iran dissident camp in Iraq: officials

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BAQUBA, Iraq — Multiple rockets over the past 24 hours hit a camp in Iraq housing Iranian exiles, officials and the group based there said on Wednesday, after Iraq and the UN signed a pact to resettle residents.

The latest strikes, the third in four days, occurred at about 8:15 pm (1715 GMT) on Wednesday, according to an official at the Iraqi security command centre in Diyala provincial capital Baquba.

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“Four mortars fell on Camp Ashraf at around 8:15 pm from unknown sources,” the official said. It was not immediately clear if they caused casualties.

On Tuesday evening, at least one rocket hit the camp, the official and a spokesman for the camp said.

An ambulance was sent to the camp, home to 3,400 members of the People’s Mujahedeen, after that attack but returned carrying no victims.

Shahriar Kia, a spokesman for the camp, said in an emailed statement that multiple rockets hit the camp at 8:00 pm on Tuesday, and confirmed there had been no casualties.

He blamed groups loyal to Iran of being behind the strike and a previous rocket attack on the evening of December 25.

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On Sunday, Iraq and the UN signed a pact under which Baghdad will resettle members of the People’s Mujahedeen and provide security for them while the UN determines their refugee status.

The agreement was signed by UN special envoy Martin Kobler and Iraqi National Security Adviser Falah al-Fayadh.

It did not give the location to which the residents would be moved or provide a timeline, but Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said the camp will now close in April, rather than at the end of this year.

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said US embassy officials would visit the new site “regularly and frequently” in support of the UN plan.

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein allowed the rebel People’s Mujahedeen to set up the camp during the war with Iran in the 1980s.

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When Saddam was overthrown in the US-led invasion of 2003, the camp came under US military protection, but American forces handed over security responsibilities for the site to the Baghdad authorities in January 2009.

The camp has been back in the spotlight since a controversial April raid by Iraqi security forces left at least 34 people dead and scores injured.


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2020 Election

Panicked Republicans ‘working frantically behind the scenes’ — but Trump just keeps attacking GOP Gov Brian Kemp

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Republicans are worried that President Donald Trump will pour gasoline on the intraparty inferno burning in Georgia.

Trump is officially traveling to the Peach State for a rally in support of the two Republican senators in January runoff elections that will decide control of the U.S. Senate.

Republicans worry Trump will continue to attack Republican Gov. Brian Kemp as he has on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1335268230206722048

"Trump is to headline a campaign rally for Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the state Saturday night — his first major political event since before the Nov. 3 election. GOP officials are working frantically behind the scenes to try to keep the president on script at the rally, worried that he will use the forum to attack Kemp and other state GOP officials who have resisted his pressure, according to a person familiar with the discussions," The Washington Post reported Saturday.

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2020 Election

Trump ‘facing a rapid decline’ as he wallows in ‘rage and denial’ over election loss: report

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President Donald Trump's mental health since losing the 2020 presidential election was the focus of a new analysis by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker that was published online Saturday.

"Over the past week, President Trump posted or reposted more than 130 messages on Twitter lashing out at the results of an election he lost. He mentioned the coronavirus pandemic now reaching its darkest hours four times — and even then just to assert that he was right about the outbreak and the experts were wrong," Baker reported under the headline, "Trump’s Final Days of Rage and Denial."

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Will we ever know how much money Trump and his family squeezed out of his presidency?

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Four years ago, a victorious Donald Trump insisted that he had only lost the popular vote due to widespread fraud while raising tens of millions of dollars for his inauguration. Now, as his baseless, often goofy lawsuits get laughed out of courtroom after courtroom, a defeated Trump and his allies are raising tens of millions of dollars from his easily-enraged MAGA base to "stop the steal." And the lion's share of the $207 million Trump has raised since the election hasn't been spent on his legal campaign, but will instead fund his new political slush fund, among other things.

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