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Photographs by AP

Civil defense workers extinguish a burning car after an explosion Sunday in Idlib, Syria, in this photo provided by the Syrian civil defense group known as the White Helmets.

Syria says shells hit Russian Embassy

BEIRUT — Shells hit the Syrian capital of Damascus on Sunday, wounding seven people as well as striking the Russian Embassy and a nearby area, causing material damage, state media said.

Syrian Arab News Agency said two shells were fired at the Russian Embassy, one hitting the compound while the other fell nearby. The news agency said the shelling of other parts of the city wounded seven people.

Syrian rebels in the suburbs of the capital have previously struck the Russian Embassy. The shelling occurred as government forces have been pounding rebel-held areas near Damascus for days.

Russia is a strong supporter of President Bashar Assad and has been involved in Syria’s civil war since September 2015.

Gunmen kidnap 4 Philippine workers

JOLO, Philippines — Suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen abducted four workers in a school in a southern Philippine province hours before President Rodrigo Duterte visited troops waging an offensive against the militants, officials said Sunday.

About 20 militants barged into a grade school compound in Sulu province’s Patikul town shortly after midnight Saturday and seized six painters and carpenters, one of whom managed to escape and alerted the police. Army troops later rescued another worker.

Duterte pinned medals on wounded troops during a brief visit late Saturday to Sulu, a predominantly Muslim province about 590 miles south of Manila. The president has ordered government forces to destroy the ransom-seeking militants, who still hold about 25 foreign and Filipino hostages in Sulu’s jungles.

Meanwhile, 14 inmates, including suspected Abu Sayyaf fighters and drug dealers, escaped early Sunday from a jail in a new building that also houses the police headquarters in a government compound in Sulu’s main town of Jolo.

Three of those who escaped were gunned down by police and another was shot and captured. Army troops were helping police track down the rest with the use of military drones and sniffer dogs, a police statement said.

22 people die in Chinese dormitory fire

BEIJING — At least 22 people died in a blaze that gutted a two-story workers’ dormitory in eastern China on Sunday, and investigators said they suspect the fire was the work of an arsonist.

Police officers arrested a suspect in Yushan Town, Jiangsu province, Chinese Central Television news reported. But the report gave no motive for the fire, which broke out about 4:30 a.m. in a house serving as a dormitory for about 29 restaurant workers.

Videos shared on news websites showed residents yelling in panic while firefighters stood outside the building in Jiangsu, and a dense ribbon of smoke rising into the sky. Six people managed to escape, including three who were injured and sent to the hospital. One resident was missing.

Safety investigators discovered “traces of burned gasoline at the scene, and the doors had all been locked from the outside,” the State Administration of Work Safety wrote online.

The police used surveillance video to identify and arrest a suspect, identified by only one name, Jiang, said the reports, which gave no other details.

Teen charged in London acid attacks

LONDON — British police have charged a teenager in a spate of London acid attacks.

The Metropolitan Police force said late Saturday that a 16-year-old boy faces 15 charges, including grievous bodily harm. The boy, who can’t be named because of his age, was arrested after five moped riders were sprayed with a corrosive substance during a 90-minute period last week.

One man was left with life-changing injuries, police said. At least two of those attacked were drivers for food-delivery services Deliveroo and UberEATS.

A 15-year-old boy who was also arrested has been released on bond.

The number of reported attacks with corrosive liquids in London rose from 261 in 2015 to 454 in 2016, police said.

The British government said it is considering increasing sentences for acid attacks to a maximum of life in prison.

A Section on 07/17/2017

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