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Turkey says Erdogan, Israel’s Herzog to speak after Jerusalem violence

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold a call with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday, after Israeli interventions on Palestinian worshippers at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque last week, Turkey’s foreign minister said.

On Friday, at least 152 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli riot police inside the al-Aqsa mosque compound, the latest outbreak in an upsurge of violence that has raised fears of a slide back to wider conflict.

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“We have already made our statements and we are continuing our contacts in response to the unacceptable attacks by Israeli security forces in the West Bank and al-Aqsa,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara.

“Our President will have a phone call with Israeli President Isaac Herzog as well,” he added.

The call comes after Erdogan on Sunday told his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas that he condemned Israeli “intervention on worshippers” at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque and threats to its “status or spirit.”

It also comes amid recent efforts by Turkey and Israel to repair their long-strained ties.

Regional rivals Turkey and Israel expelled ambassadors in 2018 and have often traded barbs over the Palestinian conflict, Turkish support of the Hamas militant group, which runs Gaza, and other issues.

Turkey, which supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has said it believes a rapprochement with Israel will also help find a solution to the issue, but that it would not abandon commitments to Palestinians for better ties with Israel.

Earlier this month, Erdogan had told his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog, whom he also met in Ankara last month, that Ankara expected Israeli authorities to be sensitive over al-Aqsa during Ramadan and stressed the importance of allowing Palestinians to enter Israel.

While it has criticized the clashes in Jerusalem, Turkey’s reaction to the violence has been much calmer than in the past, when it had launched various initiatives at the UN and other platforms to condemn Israel and support Palestinians.

Last month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he would visit Israel and Palestine with Energy Minister Fatih Donmez in May and discuss the re-appointment of ambassadors with his Israeli counterpart during the visit.

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Turkey's Erdogan condemns Israeli ‘intervention’ at Al-Aqsa mosque

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US: Bodies of two of three missing kids found in Minnesota lake

The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.

Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been released.

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The chain of events began Friday morning when the father was found dead at a mobile home park in the town of Maplewood, near Minneapolis. Police determined that the woman had left with the children, and a search began.

Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake around 4 p.m. Friday. The shoes of the children were found on the shore.

A search of the lake found one child’s body Friday evening. A second body was found overnight. Searchers from several organizations were busy Saturday looking for the third, as well as the mother.

Authorities believe all three children were under the age of 5.

“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at a news conference on Friday. He called the deaths a “likely triple homicide.”

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Several dozen Romanian and Bulgarian firefighters took up their posts in Greece on Saturday, the first members of a European force being deployed to the country to provide backup in case of major wildfires during the summer.

More than 200 firefighters and equipment from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland will be on standby during the hottest months of July and August in Greece, where a spate of wildfires caused devastation last summer.

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A group of 28 Romanian firefighters with eight vehicles, and 16 firefighters from Bulgaria with four vehicles, were the first to arrive for the two-month mission, financed and coordinated under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

“We thank you very much for coming to help us during a difficult summer for our country, and for proving that European solidarity is not just theoretical, it’s real,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Saturday as he welcomed the members of the Romanian mission in Athens.

“When things get tough, you will be side by side with our Greek firefighters so we can save lives and property.”

The Bulgarian firefighters have been stationed in Larissa, in central Greece.

Last summer’s wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heatwave in 30 years.

Following sharp criticism of its response to the fires, the Greek government set up a new civil protection ministry and promised to boost firefighting capacities.

In Greece’s worst wildfire disaster, 102 people were killed when a blaze tore through the seaside town of Mati and nearby areas close to Athens during the summer of 2018.

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One killed, six injured in shootout between migrant groups in Serbia

One migrant was killed and at least six others, including a teenage girl, were injured Saturday in a shootout between migrant groups in Serbia near the Hungarian border, the state-run RTS television reported.

The 16-year-old girl sustained life threatening injuries in the incident that occurred in a forest in the outskirts of Subotica, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Belgrade, where the injured were hospitalized, RTS reported.

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Police, who made no immediate comment, blocked access to the forest where the incident took place, only around a kilometer from the Hungarian border.

Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin rushed to the scene.

The injured, aged between 20 and 30, have no documents, Subotica mayor Stevan Bakic told local media.

It is not known what triggered the incident, he added.

Local media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member Hungary.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by migrants heading towards Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Although the route is nowhere as busy as it was during Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, tens of thousands of illegal migrants still cross the region annually.

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