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Thursday morning news: February 8, 2024

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WORLD Radio - Thursday morning news: February 8, 2024

News of the day, including U.S. forces kill the head of an Iran-backed militia in Iraq and the border bill falls short in the Senate


A burned vehicle targeted by a U.S. drone strike in east Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday Associated Press/Photo by Hadi Mizban

U.S. airstrike in Iraq » A U.S. drone strike in Baghdad Wednesday took out several members of the Iran-backed militia blamed for the deaths of three US soldiers last month.

SOUND: [Iraq aftermath]

Video footage showed a car engulfed in flames on a city street. Inside were three members of the Kataib Hezbollah militia.

Jonathan Schanzer with Foundation for Defense of Democracies is a former U.S. government terrorism analyst. He told WORLD, the strike was appropriate, and if anything overdue.

SCHANZER: This kind of response will over time, when there are enough of them, deter the Islamic republic from attacking the United States or our allies directly or by proxy.

One of those killed was reportedly identified by a local official as Wissam Mohammed “Abu Bakr” al-Saadi, the commander of the terrorist group’s Syrian operations.

Blinken - Israel » Meantime, in Tel Aviv …

BLINKEN: Good evening.

U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken addressed reporters after Israel soundly rejected a new cease-fire plan.

Negotiators from the US, Qatar and Egypt brought a proposal to Hamas. And Blinken then took the terror group’s response to Israel.

The arrangement would have ultimately allowed Hamas to remain in command of the Gaza Strip, which Israel says is out of the question.

BLINKEN: While there are some clear non-starters in Hamas’ response, we do think it creates space for agreement to be reached. 

He said negotiators will work “relentlessly until they get there.”

Blinken also rebuked Israel over civilian deaths in Gaza amid the war.

BLINKEN: Israelis were dehumanized in the most horrific way on October 7th. The hostages have been dehumanized every day since. But that cannot be a license to dehumanize others.

The secretary spoke of the suffering of innocent people in Gaza.

Israel insists it’s doing all it can to minimize civilian casualties noting that Hamas uses civilians as human shields.

Melei in Israel » Blinken was not the only world leader to visit Israel on Wednesday.

NETANYAHU: Welcome to Jerusalem. Welcome, friend.

MILEI: Gracis – Much gracias.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heard there greeting Argentina’s president, Javier Melei.

His visit comes as Argentina, in a highly symbolic gesture … is relocating its Israeli Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:

NETANYAHU: We are delighted with your decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Argentina joins a short list of countries with diplomatic offices in Jerusalem, including the United States.

Border bill falls short in Senate » The Senate’s border bill may not be dead on arrival in the House after all but only because it will most likely never arrive in the House.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer brought the bill to the floor, but

AUDIO: On this vote, the yeas are 49. The nays are 50. The motion is not agreed to.

60 “yes” votes were needed to avoid a filibuster.

Most GOP lawmakers say the bill would not fix the border crisis and might even make it worse.

Democrats accused Republicans of bowing to Donald Trump saying he doesn’t want the problem fixed yet, because it’s a winning political issue for him.

Ukraine funding » The bill’s failure leaves support for Ukraine in limbo as the bill included Ukraine funding.

KIRBY: Battlefield commanders are making some really tough decisions right now.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby made an urgent appeal on Wednesday.

KIRBY: We know that in some units, they are marshaling their ammunition very, very closely because they’re beginning to get worried about running out.

GOP lawmakers had insisted on tackling the border crisis before —or at the same time as— funding more aid to Kyiv. But some now appear open to the idea of a standalone bill to support both Ukraine and Israel.

Pakistan bombings » Families are mourning in Pakistan after a pair of bombings that killed at least 28 people ahead of today’s parliamentary election. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN: ISIS militants claimed responsibility for the deadly bombings in southwestern Pakistan.

The attacks targeted two political offices in the province of Balochistan.

HAMIDULLAH: [Speaking Urdu]

Local leader of the Islam party Molvi Hamidullah says his party will continue its election campaign despite the attack.

Thousands of police and security officers have been deployed across the country to safeguard polling locations.

For WORLD, I'm Kristen Flavin.

I'm Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: How Iran’s proxy groups work. Plus, homeschoolers building robots.

This is The World and Everything in It.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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