Originally published August 13, 2017 at 02:59a.m., updated August 13, 2017 at 02:59a.m.
U.S. fighter jet crash-lands in Bahrain
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- A U.S. F-18 fighter jet suffering an engine problem crash-landed Saturday at Bahrain International Airport and its pilot ejected from the aircraft after it ran off the runway, authorities said. The pilot escaped unharmed.
The crash disrupted flights to and from the island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia that's home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. Images on social media showed the gray fighter jet's nose tipped into the air but largely intact after what the Navy described as an "uncontrollable" landing.
The F-18 took off from the USS Nimitz, an aircraft carrier now in the Persian Gulf, said Cmdr. Bill Urban, a fleet spokesman. While in flight, the plane's engine malfunctioned, forcing the pilot to divert, Urban said.
The pilot initially tried to land at Sheikh Isa Air Base in Bahrain, but instead ended up at the island's commercial airport, Urban said.
"Due to the malfunction, the aircraft could not be stopped on the runway and the pilot ejected from the aircraft as it departed the runway," the commander said in a statement.
Naval officials began an investigation into the crash and were trying to help the airport resume operations, Urban said. Bahrain's Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry called the crash landing a "minor incident" in a statement and said flights resumed at the airport several hours later.
Bahrain hosts 8,000 U.S. troops, mostly sailors attached to a sprawling base called the Naval Support Activity. Officials at that facility oversee some 20 U.S. and coalition naval vessels in the Gulf providing security and others running anti-piracy patrols.
Bahrain is also home to an under-construction British naval base.
13 Afghans die when shells hit house
KABUL, Afghanistan -- An Afghan official says at least 13 civilians, including women and children, have been killed after their house was hit by mortar shells during a battle in northern Faryab province.
Gen. Dilawer Shah Dilawer, Faryab provincial police chief, said Saturday that three other civilians were wounded after two mortar rounds hit the house Friday evening.
Dilawer says it isn't clear who targeted the house in Dawlat Abad district -- the Taliban or Afghan National Security Forces. He said a delegation has been sent to the area to find out more about the attack.
There was no immediate comment from the Taliban.
Faryab province has witnessed an increase in violence in recent months and both sides have been accused of targeting civilians.
Motorcycle bomber kills 15 Pakistanis
QUETTA, Pakistan -- A suicide bomber on a motorcycle targeted a military truck Saturday with a bomb killing eight soldiers and seven civilians in the southwestern city of Quetta, an official and the military said.
Kabeer Khan, an explosives expert who examined the site, said after collecting forensic evidence that it was a suicide attack and that the attacker was carrying about 55 pounds of "incendiary explosives" on a motorcycle that he rammed into the military truck.
A military statement said the bomb also wounded 25 people, including 15 civilians. It said the explosives sparked fires in nearby vehicles. It added that all the victims were taken to a military hospital.
Pakistani army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa condemned the attack. He said in a statement that it was an attempt to mar the independence day festivities.
"Our resolve won't succumb to any challenge," Bajwa said.
Sarfraz Bugti, the home minister for Baluchistan, said the blast took place near a private hospital. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Baluchistan borders Iran and Afghanistan and has been the scene of a low-level insurgency by Baloch separatists groups who want a greater share of the province's mineral and gas resources. Militant groups operating in the province have previously claimed responsibility for attacking security forces.
Review blasphemy law, Pakistan urged
ISLAMABAD -- A court is recommending that Parliament review Pakistan's blasphemy law and make changes that will prevent people from being falsely accused of the crime, which is punishable by death.
Islamabad High Court Judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqi said in his Friday ruling that some people drag their rivals into blasphemy cases by leveling false accusations, endangering the life of both the accused and his family members.
The ruling notes that some critics are demanding the law be abolished but Siddiqi argues that it's better to stop the law's exploitation rather than getting rid of it.
The ruling recommends Parliament amend the law to require the same punishment -- the death penalty -- for those who falsely allege blasphemy as for those who actually commit blasphemy.
A Section on 08/13/2017
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