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ISIS extremists murder Iraqi police officer

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An Iraqi police officer was murdered about two weeks after the ISIS extremist group kidnapped him, officials said Wednesday.

A low-level ISIS insurgency continues to disrupt efforts to restore stability to Iraq, which ISIS scarred by years of warfare and unrest.

The militant group had released photos purporting to show the decapitated body of Colonel Yasser al-Jourani, whom they had seized while he was hunting with friends in Iraq's Hamrin region earlier this month.

One of his hunting companions was found shot dead, while a second who had been tortured later died of his wounds, a security source told AFP.

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The spokesman of Iraq's armed forces chief said Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi had ordered that security efforts against ISIS forces be boosted.

“We will pursue the terrorists to achieve justice and vengeance for our martyrs,” the army chief's spokesman said.

Over the past few days security forces announced a large-scale operation in the mountainous Hamrin region.

Iraqi military operations and airstrikes killed “five Daesh agents”, an Arabic acronym for ISIS, leading to the discovery of several “terrorist caches” containing bombs and weapons, a statement from Iraq's security forces read.

“Two bodies of two kidnapped people were found,” it added, without naming the victims.

ISIS overran large swathes of northern and western Iraq in a lighting offensive in 2014 before eventually succumbing to counter-attacks by government forces backed by a US-led coalition in 2017.

Today, ISIS maintains a largely clandestine presence in Iraq and Syria and conducts a sustained insurgency on both sides of the border, according to a United Nations report published early this year.

Across the two countries, ISIS is believed to retain about 10,000 active fighters, according to the report.

The last major attack claimed by ISIS in Iraq targeted a market in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in July and killed about 30 people.

Read more:

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US considering moving troops from Western Europe to Eastern Europe: NATO diplomat

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The United States is considering transferring some troops stationed in Western Europe to Eastern Europe in the coming weeks, a NATO diplomat told Reuters, amid escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

“This has to do with American troops that are already in Europe,” the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirming a New York Times report that said US President Joe Biden was considering sending US troops to the Baltics and Eastern European allies.

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NATO said on Monday it was putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets, in what Russia denounced as an escalation of tensions over Ukraine.

The diplomat said the potential troop movements would be gradual and that any filling of NATO gaps on its eastern flank could take place in the coming weeks.

Read more: From Kyiv, top US diplomat warns Russia against Ukraine aggression

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Several wounded in shooting in German city; gunman dead

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A lone gunman wounded several people at a lecture theater in the southwestern German city of Heidelberg on Monday, police said.

Police said in a brief statement that the perpetrator was dead, but didn’t give details of how that happened. They had earlier asked people on Twitter to avoid the Neuenheimer Feld area of Heidelberg, where the city’s university campus is located.

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Police didn’t specify how many people were wounded, or how seriously, and there was no information on their identities or that of the suspected shooter. The university’s press office declined to give any details on the shooting and referred all inquiries to police.

German news agency dpa cited unidentified security sources as saying that the gunman killed himself.

Police said the weapon used in the shooting was a long-barreled firearm.

Heidelberg is located south of Frankfurt and has about 160,000 inhabitants. Its university is one of Germany’s best-known.

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Aramco CEO says oil demand nearing pre-pandemic levels: Report

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Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Al Nasser said that the demand for oil is nearing pre-pandemic levels, Asharq Business reported in a tweet on Monday.

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EIG-led investors in Aramco oil pipelines hire banks for dual-tranche bonds

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