United Nations – A U.N. expert on Thursday launched a special investigation into drone warfare and targeted killings, which the United States relies on as a front-line weapon in its global war against al-Qaida.
One of the three countries requesting the investigation was Pakistan, which officially opposes the use of U.S. drones on its territory as an infringement on its sovereignty but is believed to have tacitly approved some strikes in the past. Pakistani officials say the drone strikes kill many innocent civilians, which the U.S. has rejected.
The other two countries requesting the investigation were not named but were identified as two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. That makes it clear the two countries are Russia and China, since the other permanent members are the United States and U.S. allies France and Britain.
The civilian killings and injuries that result from drone strikes on suspected terrorist cells will be part of the focus of the investigation by British lawyer Ben Emmerson, the U.N. rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights.
The U.N. said Emmerson will present his findings to the U.N. General Assembly later this year.
Benghazi threat warning urges foreigners to leave
London – Britain, Germany, Canada and the Netherlands urged their citizens to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Thursday, warning of an imminent threat against Westerners days after a deadly hostage crisis in neighboring Algeria.
European officials told the Associated Press that schools were among the potential targets.
The foreign ministries of the three European countries issued statements describing the threat as specific and imminent but none would elaborate.
The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya’s capital far to the west of Benghazi, said there was “no specific information pointing to specific, imminent threats against U.S. citizens.”
Right wins a slim majority in Israel’s parliament
Jerusalem – A final tally released Thursday of votes from Israel’s parliamentary election broke the tie between rival ideological factions, giving the right-wing bloc 61 seats in the Knesset compared with 59 seats for center-left parties.
But the final figures – a slight change from the preliminary 60-60 dead heat that was reported after Tuesday’s vote – are not expected to alter the course of coalition talks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party is seeking to form a broad-based government with the centrist Yesh Atid Party, which surprised everyone by coming in second.
The new government, likely to be formed in the next month, is expected to adopt more moderate policies than did Netanyahu’s previous right-wing coalition, which focused on confronting Iran’s nuclear program and expanding West Bank settlements.