2 u.s. troops die as toll nears two-year high
Two U.S. soldiers were killed Sunday in Iraq, the military command said. The June total of so-called hostile-related deaths of U.S. soldiers is now 11, the most since May 2009, when 12 were killed, according to icasualties.org, an online database that tracks the casualties of foreign forces in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In a statement, the U.S. military said the two soldiers were killed "conducting operations" in the north. That terminology is usually meant to indicate the deaths were caused by enemy attack. In the deadliest single-day death toll since 2009, five soldiers were killed June 5 when a rocket struck Victory Base Complex, the military's base near Baghdad airport. A sixth later died of his wounds.
Palestinians favor U.N. recognition
The West Bank Palestinian leadership on Sunday formally decided to press ahead with efforts in September to win U.N. recognition of a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, in what could be a blow to efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The leadership said in a statement that the goal was to bring a state of Palestine into the family of nations of the world. Israel has denounced the Palestinian U.N. initiative. In another development Sunday, Israel started dismantling a section of its West Bank separation barrier near the town of Bilin, scene of weekly demonstrations against the barrier by Palestinian villagers as well as Israeli and international activists. Israel built the barrier to keep Palestinian suicide bombers out.
Crews make gains on three wildfires
One of three major wildfires burning in Arizona was declared fully contained Sunday, a second was nearly out, and a third was growing only in a rugged area with only a handful of residents. Authorities said the Horseshoe Two wildfire near Portal in southeastern Arizona was completely surrounded after burning more than 348 square miles. The Monument fire, which burned nearly 47 square miles and destroyed 57 homes, was 85 percent contained. The 841-square-mile Wallow fire was officially 77 percent contained.