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This is BBC World News Today with me Philippa Thomas.
More clashes on the road to Baghdad between Iraqi government forces
and the militant fighters sweeping south.
As the two sides clash, fears grow that Iraq could split apart.
We'll get the latest live in the next few minutes.
The British Foreign Secretary says he'll re-open Britain's embassy
in the Iranian capital, Tehran, three years after suspending full
A major pipeline in Ukraine carrying gas from Russia to the rest
of Europe has been hit by a blast, though the cause is not yet clear.
We are live in Brazil. I am Ben Brown reporting live from Rio where
the excitement is building because, coming up, it is Brazil against
Mexico. We start with
the unfolding crisis in Iraq. People in the capital, Baghdad,
are stockpiling food and water as militant Islamists forces move
closer. Members of the Sunni Islamist group
ISIS have got as far as Baqubah, that's a city of nearly half
a million people, less than 60 ISIS fighters and other armed groups
are understood to have attacked some of the suburbs overnight
before being pushed back by government forces, forcing many
people to flee their homes. From Baghdad,
Jonathan Beale reports. Iraqi forces are taking
the fight to the Sunni extremists. In Kirkuk,
they were using tanks to target ISIS fighters but even heavy armour can't
hold the violence spreading through We travelled out of Baghdad north
towards the city of the Baqubah, the new front line for the ISIS
jihadists, and just 60km away. This is one of the main routes
into Baghdad, and, behind me, about 30 kilometres in the distance,
is the city of the Baqubah and we are told that ISIS forces have
already entered parts of the city. Of course,
if they take by Baqubah then it is We went as far
as we were told it was safe to go to He told me it was going to be a
bloody fight between Sunni and Shia. And he warned it would soon
be happening in Baghdad, too. Now back home with his family,
he is a policeman injured while Thankful that,
unlike some of his comrades, TRANSLATION: They shot at a convoy
of civilians. One of them shot at the tyres
of a bus and killed everyone in it. The bus was carrying 24 men
and they killed them all. Ibrahim doesn't believe that ISAs
are strong enough to take Baghdad but, today,
another bomb went off in the city Even if ISIS have not yet reached
the city, there are signs that their Let's go live to the BBC's Jim Muir
in Irbil. We are hearing that the Iraqi Prime
Minister is having something of a shake-up of security. That's right.
He has fired some of the top army commanders, including the commander
of the third division. And various others, who are deemed to have
fallen short. When Mosul fell on Tuesday, he said there is a
conspiracy, and these officers, some of the ordinary men we have talked
about here who had deserted or fled, they said that officers
betrayed them, they disappeared before the battle began. So there
was obviously a command failure, and he was holding people to account.
Just on the level of trying to deal with this crisis, I understand both
-- also there is a political meeting in Baghdad involving a Shi'ite Prime
Minister, along with Kurdish and also some Sunni representatives, so
they are probably trying to thrash some way of getting out of this
crisis, try to find some common ground. I know you've been talking
to the Kurdish leader in Iraqi who might feel that the state cannot
hold together. That's right. The Kurds feel that Iraqi is
incompatible, there is no point in return -- there is a point of no
return. The rebels have moved rapidly through Sunni territory.
What the Prime Minister here in Iraqi Kurdistan was suggesting is
that maybe the Kurds should -- the Sunnis should take the same route
the Kurds have taken and have fun autonomous, self ruling region
within Iraq, and the burden would be on the thumb to control and isolate
and eliminate the terrorists, the hardliners of ISIS. He thinks that
is the only formula for a stable future, and that they have to reach
a new coexistence formula. You have been reporting on this crisis since
the ISIS fighters went into Mosul, what are we hearing out of that city
about the way that people have been treated there? Frankly, you get
conflicting accounts, but most people regard it as stable. We
haven't heard a lot of reports of fighting or trouble there. It is
quite difficult because there is a lot of propaganda involved. Some of
the government side are saying that is a reign of terror and so on, but
most people seem to be going about their business. Some of the refugees
that flooded out of their last week have gone back. But I think it will
be awhile before we have a comp offensive picture of life because
people too nervous to go there. It is definitely still a danger zone.
Understood. Thank you for bringing us the latest.
Well, here in the UK, the government has announced that it's re-opening
the British embassy in Iran as part of its response to the upsurge
There've also been calls for Washington to hold formal talks
with Tehran, as they have a mutual interest in stalling
Here's our Political Editor Nick Robinson.
What a difference three years can make. This was the British Embassy
in 2011. A mob ransacked offices, smashed pictures of the Queen and
John to death to England. The building has been closed ever since,
but that is about to change, along with this country's troubled
relationship with Iran. It is right to rebuild that relationship. We
have been doing that anyway, irrespective of what is happening in
a rock. But what is happening in a a rock. But what is happening in
rock has convinced the West to improve relations with Iran. These
are pictures of ISIS, which is now fighting 40 miles from Baghdad. This
is the most serious threat to Britain's security that there is
today. The number of foreign fighters in that area, the number of
foreign fighters including those from the UK who could try to return
to the UK, this is a real threat to our country. And this is the man
that written and the United States had they can do business with. Once
a student in Glasgow, used his Twitter account to show he is a
different sort of Iranian leader, a man who watches his team play in the
World Cup. This morning in America, people are
watching the news and they're having to think the unthinkable. The
history of the rift between the US and Iran dates all the way back to
the Islamic Revolution 35 years ago. And the capture of 52 American
hostages, only freed after 444 days. Even without all that history,
there'd be problems, not least this, Iran's nuclear programme. They say
it is peaceful but others aren't so sure. And doubts have been seen in
the Commons. Is it not necessary to reassure our closest allies in the
Middle East that there are very severe limits for the foreseeable
future as to the kind of relationship we can have with Iran?
Is not going to be the kind of relationship is the West had with
the Soviet Union? On the streets of the Iranians capital, the embassy
stands empty, waiting for diplomats to return. Students aren't
protesting today. This one says good relations with the people and
countries of the world can have a great, positive effect on the
advancement of our country. You know the old saying dash my NME's enemy
is my friend. A cliche because it is proved true. Today, Iran didn't
become a friend of Britain's. She became a little less of an enemy.
Russian media is reporting that a Russian state TV journalist has
been killed in a mortar attack near a village outside
Igor Kornelyuk died in hospital after the attack
near Metalist, while a colleague, sound engineer Anton Voloshin,
And we don't know what happened to the cameraman
This comes as an explosion hit a pipeline carrying Russian natural
gas across Ukraine to Europe in what the Ukrainian interior minister says
What are you seeing there? A further militarisation of this contact --
conflict. It is noticeable how much more military the checkpoints are,
no men with sticks any more, all of these men with guns on both sides.
We came through Ukrainian military checkpoints within anti-aircraft gun
mounted on the checkpoint. Has been fighting here in Donetsk, and also
particularly down in Luhansk. The army are trying to push through and
get stranglehold around the areas held by the rebels and also to seal
off the border between Luhansk and Russia to try to stop this revolt
spreading. They are having some success, at their rock continuing
casualties, including that Russian TV correspondent today. His sound
man is missing and possibly believed dead, and just another couple of
examples of the death toll this conflict is taking. Whilst this is
happening in the east, we're getting reports about this pipeline
explosion, we're not quite clear why. Well, it is not clear why, and
there is one theory from the Ministry of interior that it was an
act of sabotage, or what they call an act of terrorism. There might
have been some explosions just before the gas pipeline exploded
itself, but either way, there was a huge flames shooting into the sky
from the pipeline and it took a couple of hours for them to put it
out. The pipeline is disabled, but there is a parallel spare, and the
gas has been diverted around the damage. And, so, the gas flow into
Europe does continue. There is no gas currently being supplied to
Ukraine from Russia after talks broke down, but the gas flow through
to Europe will continue. You've been going back and forth to Donetsk and
around the region. Are people so scared that they are hiding? Or is
there a sense of people trying to get out, refugees? Well, I think
both. I spent quite a bit of time today with some people who have come
out of Sloviansk. That is where some of the most heavy fighting has been
seen. They have fled. They have described witty bad scenes of
shelling. The food is running out in the shops, the water is running
out, the electricity is running out. They also say that more than half of
the population is still there in the city. They are hunkering down
because although there is regular shelling, it tends to be targeted at
certain points in the city, and some people are feeling it is safer to
stay at home and protect their property rather than risk crossing
the checkpoints and coming out in the city, and some people are
feeling it is safer to stay at home and protect their property rather
than risk crossing the checkpoints and coming out into safer parts of
the country. Also, they are so held in in Sloviansk, they don't know
what is going on in the rest of Ukraine, which is much more peaceful
than the city where they are living. Thank you very much.
Some other stories making the news this hour.
Renewed anti-Muslim violence has flared in southern Sri Lanka
in the worst outbreak of sectarian unrest for years.
Four people have died in the attacks, which have been blamed
A security guard was the latest victim.
And three Muslims died after a Buddhist rally on Sunday.
There are reports in Pakistani that scholars have issued a decree which
says that polio vaccines can be used. They said the vaccine was
effective and didn't contain any harmful ingredients. Seven people
have been killed in clashes between Pakistani police and supporters of a
scholar. Police fired shots and tear gas to disperse protesters. The
scholar is based in Canada but plans to return to Pakistan next week to
lead a crusade against corrupt politicians.
The French President Francois Hollande,
has condemned a savage attack on a Roma teenager in a Paris suburb.
The 16-year-old boy is in a critical condition after he was beaten by a
mob from a local housing estate, who suspected he was behind a burglary.
The President said it was an 'unspeakable
The families of asylum seekers from Iraq and Iran,
who drowned trying to reach Australia, are suing the Australian
50 people died in 2010, when their flimsy boat crashed into
rocks off the remote Australian outpost of Christmas Island.
Australia has called the claim shameful and offensive.
Art experts have found a hidden painting beneath one
of Pablo Picasso's early masterpieces, The Blue Room.
It's long been suspected there was something under the surface
But it wasn't until recently that improved infra-red imagery revealed
a portrait of a bearded, bow-tied man - leaving art-lovers with the
The United States has captured one of the 2012 leaders. The suspect was
apprehended on Sunday and is currently being held outside Libya.
We can find out more from Washington while we can go to David Willis. A
little bit more about the man and how they seized him. Ahmed Abu
Qatada was captured in Libya over the last couple of days and has been
held outside of the country and will be brought here to Washington, DC
where he will face charges that will include murder. The President and
several other key senior parts of the administration have all issued
statements hailing the capture. The irony is he was apprehended not far
from the scene of the attack and the British Consulate in Benghazi. There
is more than a dozen people who were implicated in that attack who are
still at large. The President said all efforts will be made to bring
them all to justice and that it was an important role and thing for the
administration to do. This incident has dogged President Obama's second
term in office. There have been accusations that the administration
was negligent in terms of providing protection for those in the
consulate at the time. Interesting he is not apparently being taken to
Guantanamo Bay. It is part of an effort to try terror suspects on
American soil. A lot of surprise raised about that and they are
saying he will be brought here to Washington, DC where charges were
laid on Sunday against him. Charges include murder. Three charges are
standing against him but it is expected that that charge sheet will
grow. It is of course the World Cup and if you are thinking about
getting to the tournament, there are a number of different ways to go.
But four Englishmen decided to get there, from Argentina, on foot.
They walked 1966 kilometres, significant because it was in 1966
Here's the story of the footsore football fans.
My name is Adam Burns and I'm from Newmarket, Suffolk in England.
We also wanted to help the people of Bahir and the charity
which is very close to our hearts, the J de V Arts Care Trust.
So we set out to walk 1966 kilometres from Mendoza
in Argentina, to Porto Alegre in Brazil.
The last time England won the World Cup was 1966.
It a very iconic number for England fans.
Part of me didn't really know what to expect.
It was my first time in South America.
The reality was that it was really, really gruelling.
We walked three days through a desert in Argentina.
35 degrees heat, no shade, with the biggest mosquitoes I'd ever seen.
And we had to sleep in abandoned train stations, we've been charged
We went over cobbles and sleepers with our golf carts
for about five kilometres and then realised this was ridiculous.
We were walking through a field, a farmer's field, really thick,
Me and Dave tried to lift the fence up and put our golf carts under.
We both got electrocuted and then nearly vomited.
So, when we were walking through a Uruguayan quite town,
what we thought was a stray dog began following us.
It wasn't until three days before we finish the walk that we
found out that, actually, Jefferson wasn't a stray dog.
We got a message from a guy called Nacho, a Uruguayan
guy, whose friend spotted Jefferson in a local newspaper.
We told Nacho our plan to finish the walk in Porto Alegre,
Walt Disney couldn't have written a more perfect end to the story.
It was definitely a journey that's taught me
No doubt those fans will be looking forward to the England game in Sao
But first, it's Brazil that's taking on Mexico in just under an hour's
time and Ben Brown is in Rio as the whole country gears up for their
The atmosphere is fantastic here in Rio de Janeiro. We have those
protests in the run-up to the tournament and we still have
sporadic protests but Brazilians are getting into the spirit of this
tournament and getting behind their team. Their team are playing Mexico
shortly. This is the scene. It is absolutely packed. Lots of the
yellow jerseys of Brazil in there. It will be a great game. We have had
one game that was a 3-goal thriller. So many games have produced three
goals and it was Belgium to, Algeria, one. Algeria went ahead
with a penalty. That was their first goal in a World Cup 28 years.
Belgium, who are the dark horses this team -- this World Cup, they
equalised with a header. Belgium beat Nigeria.
There is something for England fans to look forward to, we think.
You are being optimistic. England lost in the Amazonian raise --
rainforest to Italy. Disappointment for that. A lot of plaudits for
England and a lot of people saying they did really well. Plaudits, but
no points. They are back in Rio de Janeiro and have been training again
today. Tomorrow, they will set off for Sao Paulo. The next game is
against Uruguay and Luis Suarez will be playing if he is fit. England
have got it all to do. They have to win against Uruguay and then against
Costa Rica. A lot of talk about Wayne Rooney. Is he on form? Was he
played out of position against Italy? Many think he is more
effective behind the striker in the number ten position. We will wait
and see but a crucial match for England. There was a lot of talk
about the stadium is not being ready. From what you have seen so
far, has it gone relatively smoothly?
I think it has. There has been a few problems. At one stadium, the pitch
was immaculate but there were pictures emerging of one game there
where people were going in on a wobbly walkway into this should --
stadium. It looked unsafe. Then there was the pitch for Italy
against England. It was burnt out as they used too much fertiliser on it.
It will not be perfect in every stadium and it is a thrilling
tournament so far. Lots of goals. I can hear the music behind you.
Thank you for bringing us up to date. We woke up you you up-to-date
on another of our stories. In Kenya, 12 women were abducted on the latest
attack on the east coast. The Kenyan President has said the attacks of
the work of local political leaders and he is insisting this can't have
been the Somali Islamist group, Al-Shabab. Political networks have
been blamed. Opposition politicians are saying he is not in touch with
reality. In Iraq, the militant defences have reached a city 40
miles from Baghdad. Armed groups are understood to have attacked suburbs
before being driven back. In the lap -- in this last half-hour, the Iraqi
Prime Minister has dismissed several of his senior force commanders.
Thanks for being with us. It was the warmest day of the year
so far in Scotland with temperatures reaching 25 Celsius. We have humid
sunshine across Scotland and Northern Ireland. England and Wales
will turn cloudier. We have the risk