The world in brief 11 killed in bomb, gun attack in Iraq

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to The Associated Press on Friday at the COP28 U.N. Climate Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
(AP/Joshua A. Bickel)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to The Associated Press on Friday at the COP28 U.N. Climate Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP/Joshua A. Bickel)

11 killed in bomb, gun attack in Iraq

BAGHDAD -- A group armed with explosives and guns killed 11 people in eastern Iraq, security officials said Friday.

The attack took place late Thursday in the area of Muqdadiyah in Diyala province. A roadside bomb exploded and gunmen then opened fire on rescuers and bystanders at the scene, two security officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The victims were all civilians, the officials said.

The gunmen fled and no group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Diyala province has seen periodic attacks by Islamic State cells and sporadic violence related to sectarian tensions between Shiites and Sunnis, as well as fighting between rival militias and their tribal and political allies struggling over influence and lucrative racketeering networks.

The province, which borders both Iran and Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, is a prime conduit for smuggling.

Lieutenant Gen. Qais al-Muhammadawi, deputy commander of the military's joint operations, traveled to Diyala on Friday to attend a funeral for the victims and "determine the circumstances of the incident," a statement said.

Turkey urged to let Sweden join NATO

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says he has told Turkey's president that "the time has come" to let Sweden become a member of the military alliance.

Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO countries that have not yet formally approved Sweden's accession bid.

Stoltenberg told The Associated Press that he urged Turkey to finalize the process as he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday on the sidelines of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

Turkey has delayed ratification for more than a year, accusing Sweden of not taking Turkey's security concerns seriously enough, including its fight against Kurdish militants and other groups that Ankara considers to be security threats.

An apparent breakthrough happened at a NATO summit in July when Erdogan said he would submit accession documents to Parliament, but a debate on the matter in the foreign affairs committee was adjourned last month without a decision.

Stoltenberg couldn't say when he expected the ratification process to be completed.

Dozens trapped by Zambia mine collapse

LUSAKA, Zambia -- More than 30 people are trapped under rubble at an open-pit mine in Zambia after part of a waste pile was thought to have collapsed on them, a government minister said Friday.

Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Jack Mwiimbu said in Parliament that the collapse happened in the city of Chingola, in Zambia's Copperbelt, about 250 miles north of the capital, Lusaka.

Mwiimbu said rescue teams were at the site.

Mines and Minerals Development Minister Paul Kabuswe was also at the scene and said no one had yet been found and it wasn't clear exactly how many people were trapped under the rubble.

Informal artisanal mining is common in Chingola, although the ministers didn't say whether those trapped were informal miners. The southern African nation is among the top 10 biggest copper producers in the world. Cobalt is also mined in Chingola.

Chingola is home to one of the biggest open-pit mines in the world, which is a series of workings that stretch for more than 6 miles. The area is marked by huge waste dumps made up of rock and earth that has been dug out of the mines.

Romania marks unification anniversary

BUCHAREST, Romania -- Tens of thousands of people turned out in Romania's capital on Friday to watch a military parade that included troops from NATO allies to mark the country's national day.

The annual parade at the Arc de Triomphe in Bucharest brought together thousands of marching soldiers as dozens of combat jets and helicopters flew overhead.

Friday's ceremony celebrated the 105th anniversary of Great Union Day of 1918 when modern-day Romania was formed after its unification with the neighboring regions of Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina. After communist rule ended in 1989, Dec. 1 was declared a national holiday to commemorate the ethnic Romanians in Alba Iulia who declared a union of Transylvania with Romania.

In a reception held at Cotroceni Palace after the parade, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis described the day as a holiday "that brings Romanians together, no matter where we are, reconnecting us to the spirit of our national unity."

The U.S. Department of State offered its congratulations Friday, saying Romania's leadership strengthens its allies' collective security.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Romania has played an increasingly prominent role in the alliance -- which it joined in 2004 -- including hosting a NATO meeting of foreign ministers in November 2022. In December, Romania inaugurated an international training hub for F-16 jet pilots from NATO countries and other partners, including war-torn Ukraine.

  photo  Members of a Romanian military unit hold hands before the National Day parade in Bucharest, Romania, on Friday. (AP/Vadim Ghirda)