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Iraq

Updated at 4:50 a.m. ET

A Ukraine International Airlines jetliner, reportedly carrying 176 passengers and crew, has crashed near Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport, according to Iran state television, which said all those aboard are dead. Iranian officials said they believe one of the plane's engines caught fire.

President Trump ordered an airstrike on Thursday evening that killed the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, a man he said was "plotting imminent and sinister attacks" against Americans in the region.

Soleimani was the leader of the Quds Force, a covert section of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The White House says he was the mastermind behind attacks on Americans during the past two decades — including two recent attacks.

Updated at 4:27 a.m. ET Friday

U.S. forces assassinated Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike early Friday near the Baghdad International Airport, an escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran that is prompting concerns of further violence in the region.

Updated at 5:20 a.m. ET on Thursday

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump traveled to Iraq to visit U.S. troops on the day after Christmas, an unannounced trip about which the president nonetheless had been hinting for some time.

The Trumps' arrival at Al Asad Air Base followed the president's recent orders to pull back on U.S. troop deployments elsewhere — orders that have come under intense scrutiny.

Jeb Bush is walking back an answer on the Iraq war, in which he had said he would have authorized the invasion — even knowing what we know now.

"I interpreted the question wrong, I guess," he told conservative Sean Hannity on Hannity's radio show Tuesday afternoon. "I was talking about given what people knew then, would you have done it, rather than knowing what we know now. And knowing what we know now, you know, clearly there were mistakes."

Still, Bush did not say the invasion was a "mistake," or that he would not have authorized it.

It’s been a year since American journalist Steven Sotloff was kidnapped by terrorists in Syria. In that time, Sotloff’s family here in Pinecrest has not spoken publicly. But that changed Wednesday with a plea from Sotloff’s mother.

The short but moving video message from Shirley Sotloff is addressed to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He’s the leader of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – or ISIS – which has threatened to kill her son if the United States continues bombing ISIS targets.

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Now that U.S. officials have verified the beheading of U.S. photojournalist James Foley by the terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), attention has turned to another American journalist being held by the group.

USMC

There are a lot of patriotic messages on July 4th. Here are some words of encouragement specifically for those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This comes from a portion of the talk delivered by Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos at the June 18, 2014, Change of Command at MARCENT – the Marine Command at U.S. Central Command based at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, FL.

Gen. James Amos: