Briefly World: French troops begin withdrawal from Timbuktu

French troops begin withdrawal from Timbuktu

TIMBUKTU: French troops began to withdraw from Timbuktu Thursday after securing the city. French military spokesman Col. Thierry Burkhard Thursday said the operation to secure Gao was still under way, nearly two weeks after French and Malian troops moved into the area.

Japan says Russia violated air space

TOKYO: Two Russian fighter jets briefly entered Japan's air space near disputed islands and northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday, prompting Japan to scramble combat fighters and lodge a protest, Japan's Foreign Ministry said. Russia, currently holding military manoeuvres around disputed Kurile islands, denied any such intrusion took place.

64 killed in Damascus fighting: NGO

Beirut: Rebel belts around Damascus were rocked by fighting and heavy shelling for a second straight day Thursday as the army pressed a major offensive that a watchdog said killed 64 people in 24 hours. Among those killed were five civilians, three of them women, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Key Soviet document missing: Official

MINSK: Former Belarusian leader Stanislav Shushkevich said a historic 1991 document that proclaimed the USSR's death is missing from the archives. Shushkevich discovered the document was gone while working on his memoirs. He said he believes it was stolen, possibly by an ex-Belarusian official, with intention of selling it to a collector.

Iran airs images allegedly extracted from US drone

TEHran: Iran's state TV broadcast footage allegedly extracted from the advanced CIA spy drone captured in 2011. The video aired late Wednesday shows an aerial view of an airport and a city, said to be a US drone base and Kandahar in Afghanistan. It also showed images purported to be the Sentinel landing at a base in eastern Iran but it was unclear if that footage meant to depict the moment of the drone's seizure.

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