BBC News with Jonathan Izard
The Syrian government says Israeli aircraft have bombed a military research centre northwest of the capital Damascus. Syrian state television denied reports that the Israelis had hit a military convoy heading towards the border with Lebanon. There’s been no official confirmation of the attack from Israel. From Beirut, here’s Jim Muir.
The official Syrian account came in a military communiqué carried on the state media. It said that Israeli jets penetrated Syrian airspace in the early hours of the morning, flying fast below radar level from Mount Hermon in the south. It said the jets bombed what it described as a defence research facility at Jamraya northwest of the capital, causing damage and destruction to the centre as well as killing two workers and injuring five others. The Syrian communiqué linked the attack to the current crisis inside the country. It said what it called armed terrorist gangs had tried and failed repeatedly in recent months to attack and capture the same facility.
International donors at a United Nations conference in Kuwait have pledged more than a target of $1.5bn in humanitarian aid for those affected by the Syrian conflict. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was pleased that the goal of the meeting had been met. Meanwhile, the head of Syria’s main opposition alliance, the National Coalition, has said that he’s ready for direct discussions with representatives of the Syrian government under certain conditions. A BBC correspondent says that while significant, this does not necessarily mean the Syrian opposition as a whole is ready for negotiations.
The French military says its troops have secured the town of Kidal in northern Mali. Earlier the French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said a sandstorm had prevented the troops from leaving the airport. Thomas Fessy reports.
Kidal, near the border with Algeria, was home of the Malian Islamist group Ansar Dine, whose leader Iyad Ag Ghaly is believed to be hiding with al-Qaeda fighters in the surrounding mountains. The recapture of this rebel stronghold marks the end of the first phase in this military intervention which consisted of freeing the population from Islamist rule. French-led forces will now have to aim at driving the rebels out of their desert hideout.
The British Prime Minister David Cameron has begun a visit to Algeria promising closer security cooperation with the region in the wake of the hostage crisis that claimed nearly 40 lives—six of them British. Discussions are expected to centre on boosting security at gas plants like the one attacked by militants two weeks ago. Tighter border security and limiting the flow of weapons from Libya are also likely to be discussed. Mr Cameron said his aim was to help Algeria protect itself against the threat from militants linked to al-Qaeda.
"What I want to do is work with the Algerian government and with other governments in the region to make sure that we do everything we can to combat terrorism in a way that is both tough and intelligent and uses everything we have at our disposal, which will make them safer, make us safer, make the world safer.”
World News from the BBC
A former US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords , who narrowly survived a gunshot wound to the head, has appeared before a Senate committee to call for urgent action on gun violence. The Senate hearing is the first since last month’s massacre at a school in Connecticut. Ms Giffords said it was time for politicians to be bold.
"Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something.”
The European Union police agency says one of the largest-ever operations has been carried out against a network suspected of smuggling illegal migrants into Europe. Europol said more than 100 people had been arrested in coordinated raids across 10 countries. From The Hague, Anna Holligan reports.
Detectives described a secret smuggling ring intent on sneaking illegal immigrants across from places including Syria and Iraq and into Europe. The suspects are accused of using dangerous methods to try to avoid detection during the journeys, including hidden compartments inside boats, buses and freight trains. Europol claims the criminal gang was using fake passports and setting up bogus marriages to try to help those who’d been smuggled blend into life inside the EU.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi to open dialogue with all political forces. She was speaking after meeting him in Berlin. Mr Morsi said dialogue with the opposition was possible, but he refused to commit to a national unity government. He cut short his European visit because of continuing protests in Egypt. Two people were killed in the latest incidents.
And in football, Togo are through to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time. They secured their place with a 1:1 draw against Tunisia. Ivory Coast, who had already qualified, drew 2:2 with Algeria in the other Group D game.
1.communiqué n. [法语]公报；公告
The communiqué said military targets had been hit.
2.penetrate vt. 渗透；穿透；洞察
The army penetrated the territory of enemy.
3.hideout n. 隐匿处
A crafty person has more than one hideout.
4.recapture vt. 夺回；拿回；再体验；政府征收再经历
They recaptured the prisoner who escaped last night.
5.raid n. 袭击；突袭；搜捕；抢劫
The air-raid alarm went on drilling away from the gate.
6.sneak v. 偷偷地做；偷偷取
How did you sneak out of the meeting?
7.quarter-final n. 复赛
The very least I'm looking for at Wimbledon is to reach the quarter-finals.
1.The British Prime Minister David Cameron has begun a visit to Algeria promising closer security cooperation with the region in the wake of the hostage crisis that claimed nearly 40 lives—six of them British.
in the wake of 紧紧跟随；随着…而来；作为…的结果；仿效
Social problems cropped up in the wake of natural disasters.
Seagulls followed in the wake of the huge ship.
2.Europol claims the criminal gang was using fake passports and setting up bogus marriages to try to help those who’d been smuggled blend into life inside the EU.
blend into 融入...；与...融合
These animals blend into their surroundings.
The sea and the sky blend into each other.