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Westlake Legal Group > Lucas Tomlinson

Navy Secretary threatened to resign over Trump’s request, but not top SEAL commander: officials

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer threatened to resign if the Navy was not allowed to go through with an administrative review board next month to determine if Eddie Gallagher could remain a SEAL, multiple Navy officials confirmed to Fox News.

Earlier Saturday, The New York Times reported that along with Spencer, Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Commander Rear Adm. Collin Green also threatened to resign if the Navy carries out the request of President Trump to restore Gallagher’s rank to chief petty officer after he was demoted last summer. Gallagher was found not guilty of murdering an Islamic State (ISIS) fighter during a 2017 deployment to Iraq but was convicted of posing for a photo with the dead corpse.

However, officials say that The Times was inaccurate in reporting that Green threatened to resign over the Gallagher disagreement. Only Spencer — not Green — made such a threat, they said.

Westlake Legal Group Green-Spencer-US-NAVY-REUTERS Navy Secretary threatened to resign over Trump's request, but not top SEAL commander: officials Morgan Phillips Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/us fnc article 8a59ca8c-d0d6-5e8f-8460-5aae4c7b828c

Collin Green, Richard Spencer 

Gallagher was found not guilty of murdering an ISIS militant during the same deployment to Iraq. His case and trial made international headlines and caught the attention of President Trump, who tweeted on Wednesday in support of Gallagher.

“The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin,” Trump said.

TRUMP DECLARES NAVY WILL NOT TAKE AWAY EDDIE GALLAGHER’S SEAL TRIDENT, AS ATTORNEY BLASTS ADMIRAL

“This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!” he added. The Trident pin signifies membership of the elite SEAL force.

Spencer, a political appointee and civilian, has threatened to resign because he wants to see the process play out formally inside the Pentagon, according to officials.

“A tweet is not a written order,” one official said about the president telling the SEALs over Twitter this week not to remove Gallagher from the SEAL teams and take his Trident pin away.

However, Spencer denied threatening to resign at a defense conference in Halifax, Canada, according to reporters present.

“I’m still here, I did not threaten to resign, we’re here to talk about external threats and Eddie Gallagher is not one of them,” Spencer said during a panel on the Arctic.

TRUMP GRANTS CLEMENCY TO 2 ARMY OFFICERS ACCUSED OF WAR CRIMES, RESTORES RANK TO NAVY SEAL EDDIE GALLAGHER

There is concern at the Pentagon that the president is micromanaging the military justice system, according to multiple officials who asked not to be identified, this following the president’s recent pardons issued to two Army officers, as well as ordering Gallagher’s rank be restored.

Officials say the president should not be deciding who can or cannot be a Navy SEAL.

On Nov. 15, Trump granted clemency to Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, six years after he was found guilty of murder for ordering his soldiers to open fire and kill three men in Afghanistan. His supporters say they killed Taliban fighters. However, nine members of his unit testified against him, saying the men were innocent.

Trump also granted clemency to Maj. Matt Golsteyn, a former Green Beret, and said the murder charges will be dropped against him. Golsteyn was charged in the 2010 premeditated murder of a suspected Taliban bomb maker. His trial was expected to begin next month.

On Thursday, Gallagher’s laywer Tim Parlatore appeared on “Fox & Friends” and called out Green, whom he said is exhibiting cowardice and hubris in holding a board review of Gallagher.

“If Admiral Green really wants to do this, he shouldn’t try and put people in the middle to put the blame on them,” Parlatore said. “He shouldn’t be a coward like that. He should stand up and do it himself.”

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“There’s been some who say that he shouldn’t have his rank restored but all of them cite reasons that show that they haven’t paid any attention to the case whatsoever,” Parlatore added. “His rank was taken away for something that… — nobody else in the history of the SEAL teams or the military has ever had general court-martial conviction for a photo like this.”

Fox News’ Nick Givas and Melissa Leon contributed to this report. c

Westlake Legal Group Green-Spencer-US-NAVY-REUTERS Navy Secretary threatened to resign over Trump's request, but not top SEAL commander: officials Morgan Phillips Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/us fnc article 8a59ca8c-d0d6-5e8f-8460-5aae4c7b828c   Westlake Legal Group Green-Spencer-US-NAVY-REUTERS Navy Secretary threatened to resign over Trump's request, but not top SEAL commander: officials Morgan Phillips Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/us fnc article 8a59ca8c-d0d6-5e8f-8460-5aae4c7b828c

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ISIS leader’s death marks latest defeat of once-powerful group

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098236068001_6098237048001-vs ISIS leader's death marks latest defeat of once-powerful group Ronn Blitzer Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox news fnc/politics fnc article 744fe0bc-3ae3-5f45-a987-1bf106ba0c44

U.S. sources have confirmed that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead, apparently using a suicide vest to kill himself during a U.S. raid on a compound in northwest Syria, marking the latest successful operation against the once-powerful group that at one point controlled portions of Iraq and Syria.

But who was the man whose death triggered worldwide headlines and a giant blow to ISIS?

Al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim ibn Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai, took over ISIS in 2010 after previous leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was killed.

ISIS LEADER AL-BAGHDADI CONFIRMED DEAD AFTER APPARENT SUICIDE DURING U.S. OPERATION: SOURCES

Born to a lower-middle class family in Samarra in the Sunni Triangle north of Baghdad in 1971, al-Baghdadi was part of a religiously conservative family, but was believed to have been radicalized decades later.

Earlier in his life, he earned a PhD in Islamic jurisprudence from what was then known as Saddam University, later renamed Islamic University of Baghdad after the U.S. ousted Saddam Hussein. According to Fawaz A. Gerges’ book “A History of ISIS,” the “consensus among people who knew Baghdadi” is that the “turning point in his radicalization” was when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003.

Al-Baghdadi was captured by U.S. forces in February 2004. He was released that December along with other militants who were believed to be “low level” threats. After he was released, he reportedly told an American prison guard that he “will find you … anytime and anywhere…here or New York.”

In 2006, al-Baghdadi joined ISIS, which at the time was led by founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The group’s military leaders were mostly former generals who served under Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime.

At its height, ISIS controlled a swath of Iraqi and Syrian territory roughly the size of Ohio. The self-declared caliphate was defeated in Iraq in 2017, and fell in Syria when it lost its territory in March 2019.

A shadowy leader, al-Baghdadi was the world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million price on his head.

Al-Baghdadi was known to release audio messages encouraging ISIS and its supporters. A recording released just last month called on members of the extremist group to free detainees and women held in jails and camps by any means necessary. It was al-Baghdadi’s first known public statement in roughly five months.

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In a 30-minute recording released by the group’s media wing, the ISIS leader asked: “How can a Muslim enjoy life?” when Muslim women are held in camps he called “prisons of humiliation run by Crusaders and their Shiite followers.”

Despite recent battlefield defeats, sleeper cells have continued to launch attacks in both Iraq and Syria. For years, terror attacks around the globe were inspired by ISIS and its ideology. In his September message, al-Baghdadi encouraged his followers to keep the movement alive, telling “soldiers and supporters of the Caliphate everywhere” to avoid deviation and asking Allah to grant ISIS victory.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098236068001_6098237048001-vs ISIS leader's death marks latest defeat of once-powerful group Ronn Blitzer Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox news fnc/politics fnc article 744fe0bc-3ae3-5f45-a987-1bf106ba0c44   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098236068001_6098237048001-vs ISIS leader's death marks latest defeat of once-powerful group Ronn Blitzer Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox news fnc/politics fnc article 744fe0bc-3ae3-5f45-a987-1bf106ba0c44

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ISIS leader al-Baghdadi confirmed dead after apparent suicide during U.S. operation: sources

Westlake Legal Group 5800ffa3-BaghdadiTHUMB ISIS leader al-Baghdadi confirmed dead after apparent suicide during U.S. operation: sources Ronn Blitzer Lucas Tomlinson Jennifer Griffin fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6a64d688-7379-52fd-8012-5f832390fb75

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead, sources have confirmed to Fox News.

Al-Baghdadi, who took over ISIS after his predecessor Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was killed in 2010, detonated a suicide vest, killing himself when U.S. Special Operations forces entered a compound in northern Syria where he was located, according to a U.S. defense official. No U.S. Special Operations forces were hurt or killed in the raid.

“U.S. forces did a terrific job,” a U.S. military source told Fox News.“This just shows it may take time but terrorists will not find a sanctuary.” The same source told Fox News that biometric tests confirmed that it was indeed Baghdadi.

The compound was located near the Turkish border in northwest Syria’s Idlib Province, a known terrorist stronghold that has served as a home to groups linked to al-Qaeda. Al-Baghdadi had long been suspected to be hiding in the Idlib Province.

Mazloum Adbi, General Commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, touted a “historical operation” in a tweet Sunday morning, crediting “joint intelligence work with the United States of America.”

Regarding Mazloum’s claim of Kurdish assistance in the operation, a U.S. military source simply told Fox News, “the Kurds have always been good partners.”

Westlake Legal Group 5800ffa3-BaghdadiTHUMB ISIS leader al-Baghdadi confirmed dead after apparent suicide during U.S. operation: sources Ronn Blitzer Lucas Tomlinson Jennifer Griffin fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6a64d688-7379-52fd-8012-5f832390fb75   Westlake Legal Group 5800ffa3-BaghdadiTHUMB ISIS leader al-Baghdadi confirmed dead after apparent suicide during U.S. operation: sources Ronn Blitzer Lucas Tomlinson Jennifer Griffin fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6a64d688-7379-52fd-8012-5f832390fb75

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All US armored vehicles evacuating northeast Syria have arrived in Iraq, defense official says

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096573104001_6096578600001-vs All US armored vehicles evacuating northeast Syria have arrived in Iraq, defense official says Lucas Tomlinson Frank Miles fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox news fnc/world fnc article a1d7e256-4a42-5113-bad5-fe5500da7c3d

All roughly 100 U.S. armored vehicles evacuating northeast Syria in a convoy have arrived in Iraq, a U.S. defense official tells Fox News.

Earlier today in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said some U.S. troops will stay behind, and “remain in the towns that are located near the oil fields” in northeast Syria to protect them from ISIS, Syrian regime or Iranian forces.

Esper said the plan to guard the oil still needed President Trump’s approval.

A few hundred other U.S. troops will remain in southern Syria at a garrison near the border with Jordan, the president said last week in a statement.

“Our forces will remain in the towns that are located near the oil fields. The purpose of those forces, a purpose of those forces working with SDF, is to deny access to those oil fields by ISIS and others who may benefit from revenues that can be earned. I’ve made no decision with regard to various options. Those are things we would have to be presented to the president in due course,” Esper said earlier in the day.

US TROOPS LEAVING SYRIA FOR IRAQ IN ‘WEEKS NOT DAYS’, ESPER SAYS

The U.S. military convoy left over the weekend for the Iraqi border. They were met by Kurdish protesters in some cases pelting the trucks with rocks and tomatoes – anger over what they call a betrayal by Trump to leave them to be slaughtered by Turkish forces and mercenaries. Despite Trump saying he wanted to bring the forces home, Esper says the bulk of the roughly 700 U.S. troops in northeast Syria would be going to Western Iraq, not returning home to the U.S. Hundreds of other U.S. troops will remain in southern Syria.

Sunday, the top Kurdish general of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the main U.S. ally against ISIS in Syria told our colleague Jennifer Griffin in a phone interview from Syria that Turkey has violated the ceasefire negotiated by Vice President Mike Pence and Turkey’s president last week. More than 500 Kurdish civilians have been killed, and more than 400,000 displaced.

Gen. Mazloum Abdi said Turkey had tricked the U.S. by pulling back its troops from the border and having Kurdish forces destroy their bases before pulling back, as well. The joint U.S.-Turkish patrols near the border earlier this month gave valuable intelligence to Turkey to spy on Kurdish positions ahead of the invasion, Mazloum said.

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The oil fields have been the scene of fierce fighting. In February 2018 U.S. Special Operations soldiers and Kurdish forces came under attack, by a group of Russian mercenaries. U.S. apache gunships, fighter jets and bombers were called in to kill hundreds of the Russian and pro-Assad forces.

Trump hinted over the weekend about the plan by tweeting that US troops had “secured the Oil.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096573104001_6096578600001-vs All US armored vehicles evacuating northeast Syria have arrived in Iraq, defense official says Lucas Tomlinson Frank Miles fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox news fnc/world fnc article a1d7e256-4a42-5113-bad5-fe5500da7c3d   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096573104001_6096578600001-vs All US armored vehicles evacuating northeast Syria have arrived in Iraq, defense official says Lucas Tomlinson Frank Miles fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox news fnc/world fnc article a1d7e256-4a42-5113-bad5-fe5500da7c3d

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Air Force test-launches intercontinental ballistic missile in California

The U.S. Air Force said Wednesday it had launched an unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The missile lifted off at 1:13 a.m. from the base northwest of Los Angeles and sent a test reentry vehicle on a 4,200-mile flight over the Pacific Ocean to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

3 SAILORS ASSIGNED TO USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH COMMIT SUICIDE IN SAME WEEK

Westlake Legal Group VANDENBERG-AP2 Air Force test-launches intercontinental ballistic missile in California Lucas Tomlinson Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/military/air-force fox news fnc/us fnc article 20178f34-ff54-5930-b6e4-372b1daf0c36

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test launch early Wednesday at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (Michael Peterson/U.S. Air Force via AP)

The launch was conducted by a team of airmen from the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

“The flight test program demonstrates one part of the operational capability of the ICBM weapon system,” Col. Omar Colbert, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, said in a statement. “The Minuteman III is nearly 50 years old, and continued test launches are essential in ensuring its reliability until the mid-2030s when the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent is fully in place. Most importantly, this visible message of national security serves to assure our partners and dissuade potential aggressors.”

The Air Force said its missile launch was planned six months to a year in advance, calling the timing with North Korea’s launch a coincidence. The launches were about 12 hours apart.

The Air Force also keeps 400 nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles on alert at bases in North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Dozens of Air Force B-2 and B-52 bombers are also capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

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Westlake Legal Group VANDENBERG-AP Air Force test-launches intercontinental ballistic missile in California Lucas Tomlinson Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/military/air-force fox news fnc/us fnc article 20178f34-ff54-5930-b6e4-372b1daf0c36

This image shows an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile test launch early Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (Michael Peterson/U.S. Air Force via AP)

South Korea’s military said that North Korea fired a ballistic missile from the sea on Wednesday, suggesting that Pyongyang may have tested an underwater-launched missile for the first time in three years ahead of a planned resumption of nuclear talks with the United States this weekend.

South Korean military radars detected the North Korean missile flying about 280 miles at a maximum altitude of 565 miles after liftoff from a site about 10.5 miles off the North’s eastern coastal town of Wonsan, Defense Minister Jeong kyeong-doo told lawmakers.

Westlake Legal Group VANDENBERG-AP Air Force test-launches intercontinental ballistic missile in California Lucas Tomlinson Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/military/air-force fox news fnc/us fnc article 20178f34-ff54-5930-b6e4-372b1daf0c36   Westlake Legal Group VANDENBERG-AP Air Force test-launches intercontinental ballistic missile in California Lucas Tomlinson Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/military/air-force fox news fnc/us fnc article 20178f34-ff54-5930-b6e4-372b1daf0c36

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US OKs Javelin antitank missile sale to Ukraine, officials say

The Trump administration has agreed to sell Ukraine 150 Javelin antitank missiles and two additional missile launchers, two U.S. officials confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday.

Lethal arms sales to Ukraine have come under intense scrutiny, now that President Trump has been accused of taking part in an alleged quid pro quo scheme using military aid as leverage to get officials there to investigate Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, his son Hunter and their business dealings in Ukraine.

Westlake Legal Group Anti-tank-Missile-1 US OKs Javelin antitank missile sale to Ukraine, officials say Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc dc0c7176-92ee-51e2-ad8f-4b551c8136eb article

U.S. Army Soldiers fire a Javelin Antitank Missile system during a large-scale platoon live-fire exercise at Fort Campbell, Ky., July 29, 2016. (U.S. Army)

Trump has vigorously denied the claims and pushed back against the accusations, which have sparked an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats after a whistleblower complaint accused Trump of “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”

During the July 25 phone call, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told President Trump, “We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps. [Specifically] we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense [sic] purposes,” according to a rough transcript of the call released by the White House.

President Trump replied, “I would like you to do us a favor though…,” leading some to speculate that the U.S. president was referring to some kind of “favor for a favor” in exchange for information on Biden, the onetime vice president.

Trump has repeatedly defended his call with Zelensky as “perfect” and calls the latest Democratic probe “another witch hunt.” House Democrats have subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and State Department officials, as well as Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as part of their impeachment probe.

CLINTON CALLS FOR CAUTION ON IMPEACHMENT, TELLS DEMOCRATS NOT TO ‘JUMP TO ANY CONCLUSIONS’

Officially, the Pentagon was not ready to confirm the Javelin sale to Ukraine on Tuesday. The two officials who spoke to Fox News declined to be identified.

Westlake Legal Group javelin720jpg US OKs Javelin antitank missile sale to Ukraine, officials say Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc dc0c7176-92ee-51e2-ad8f-4b551c8136eb article

A U.S. soldier fires a Javelin antitank missile in Afghanistan in this 2015 photo. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

“It would be premature to discuss security assistance until it has been formally notified to Congress. I would refer you to the State Department,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Carla Gleason said in a statement.

ONLY 11 PERCENT OF NETWORK NEWS COVERAGE OF UKRAINE CONTROVERSY REFERENCED BIDENS, RIGHT-LEANING WATCHDOG CLAIMS

Javelin antitank missiles were not part of the $250 million Pentagon aid package the White House held up in July, along with roughly $150 million from the State Department for a total of $400 million for Ukraine.

Trump has cited corruption in Ukraine as one of the reasons his administration withheld the aid, which was released Sept. 11. To date, $225 million has been allocated, according to defense officials.

The Trump administration first sold 210 Javelin antitank missiles to Ukraine last year for $47 million. Bloomberg first reported the $39 million missile sale on Tuesday.

Westlake Legal Group Anti-tank-Missile-2 US OKs Javelin antitank missile sale to Ukraine, officials say Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc dc0c7176-92ee-51e2-ad8f-4b551c8136eb article

A U.S. soldier fires a Javelin anti-tank missile near Al Asad Air Base (AAAB), Iraq, Sept. 26, 2018. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Leland White)

At the United Nations last week, Trump defended his record of providing assistance to Ukrainian forces who have been engaged in fierce ground combat with Russian and Russian-backed forces, including armored units, in eastern Ukraine for the past five years.

“I gave you antitank busters that — frankly, President Obama was sending you pillows and sheets, and I gave you anti-tank busters. And a lot of people didn’t want to do that. But I did it,” Trump told reporters in New York.

Russian troops also annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

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Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group javelin720jpg US OKs Javelin antitank missile sale to Ukraine, officials say Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc dc0c7176-92ee-51e2-ad8f-4b551c8136eb article   Westlake Legal Group javelin720jpg US OKs Javelin antitank missile sale to Ukraine, officials say Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc dc0c7176-92ee-51e2-ad8f-4b551c8136eb article

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Airstrike kills 17 ISIS terrorists in Libya: US military

Westlake Legal Group Mideast-Libya_Hers5 Airstrike kills 17 ISIS terrorists in Libya: US military Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article a05476c6-aaa2-54ae-aef4-064abda173b2

The U.S. military says it killed 17 Islamic State (ISIS) fighters in an airstrike on Thursday outside Murzuq, in southwest Libya.

This was the first American airstrike in Libya since Nov. 29, 2018, according to U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).

“This ongoing campaign against ISIS-Libya demonstrates that U.S. Africa Command persistently targets terrorist networks that seek to harm innocent Libyans,” said Navy Rear Adm. Heidi Berg, AFRICOM director of intelligence. “We continue to pursue ISIS-Libya and other terrorists in the region, denying them safe haven to coordinate and plan operations in Libya.”

No civilians were injured or killed in the airstrike, AFRICOM said.

The U.S. conducted almost 500 airstrikes against ISIS in 2016 in the coastal city of Surt.

ISIS LEADER CALLS FOR ‘CALIPHATE SOLDIERS’ TO FREE DETAINEES FROM CAMPS, CONTINUE ATTACKS

Earlier this month, the American military bombed an “ISIS-infested” island in northern Iraq.

American jets dropped more than 80,000 pounds of laser-guided bombs there, on Qanus Island. F-15 and F-35 jets dropped GBU-31 munitions, officials told Fox News.

The campaign was meant to destroy an area being used by ISIS for operations in the region, officials had said.

MISSOURI MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ROLE IN PLOTTING ISIS ATTACK

New U.S. Air Force strike data shows jets have doubled the number of airstrikes targeting ISIS in the past month. American jets have dropped 28 percent more bombs on the Taliban and an ISIS affiliate in August than they did in the previous month.

In August, 800 bombs were dropped against targets in Afghanistan – the most since November 2018.

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Westlake Legal Group Mideast-Libya_Hers5 Airstrike kills 17 ISIS terrorists in Libya: US military Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article a05476c6-aaa2-54ae-aef4-064abda173b2   Westlake Legal Group Mideast-Libya_Hers5 Airstrike kills 17 ISIS terrorists in Libya: US military Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/world-regions/africa fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article a05476c6-aaa2-54ae-aef4-064abda173b2

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Pentagon certified Ukraine had taken ‘substantial actions’ to clean up corruption, green lighting $250M in military aid in May

Westlake Legal Group trump-zelensky Pentagon certified Ukraine had taken 'substantial actions' to clean up corruption, green lighting $250M in military aid in May Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson Jennifer Griffin fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/alliances fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc e03c5e91-b992-586f-86e6-56892bbaa613 article

President Trump has cited corruption in Ukraine as one of the reasons his administration withheld $250 million in military aid beginning in July, ahead of a controversial July 25 phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart.

But Fox News has confirmed that the Pentagon’s undersecretary for policy, John Rood, sent a letter to Capitol Hill lawmakers in May certifying “the government of Ukraine has taken substantial actions to make defense institutional reforms for the purposes of decreasing corruption [and] increasing accountability,” as first reported by NPR.

The $250 million in military aid was released on Sept. 11, a day after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., made a formal request to transmit a whistleblower complaint concerning the president’s Ukraine call to the committee. To date, $225 million has been allocated, according to defense officials.

Trump has repeatedly said his July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “perfect.” Trump has also denied withholding the aid to motivate Ukrainian officials to investigate potential 2020 election rival Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and their business activity in Ukraine.

UKRAINE PRESIDENT, IN MEETING WITH TRUMP, SAYS ‘NOBODY PUSHED ME’ TO PROBE BIDEN

Zelensky said Wednesday that Trump had not pressured him during their phone call over the summer.

“Nobody pushed me,” he said at a bilateral meeting with Trump at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. “We had a great phone call. It was normal.”

The transcript of the call was released Thursday. It shows the president sought an investigation from Ukraine into the Biden family, though it does not show Trump explicitly leveraging U.S. aid as had initially been suggested.

Trump returned to Joint Base Andrews on Thursday and called the allegations, which have spurred a House impeachment inquiry, “another witch hunt.”

He tweeted earlier about the call, saying it was a “very nice, no pressure call.”

“Here we go again. It’s Adam Schiff and his crew making up stories,” Trump told reporters, noting: “It’s a terrible thing for our country.”

“It was an absolutely perfect phone call to the new president of Ukraine,” he added.

WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT ON UKRAINE CALL RELEASED, ALLEGES TRUMP SOLICITED FOREIGN ‘INTERFERENCE’ IN ELECTION

On June 18, the Defense Department announced $250 million in aid to Ukraine. On July 25, Trump had the now-controversial call with Zelensky.

A month later, on Aug. 26, the whistleblower complaint was forwarded to Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.

Schiff subpoenaed Maguire on Sept. 13, claiming the acting director was unlawfully withholding a whistleblower complaint from Congress, possibly to protect the president or top administration officials. Maguire testified publicly before the committee on Thursday.

UKRAINE FOREIGN MINISTER DEFENDS TRUMP’S CALL WITH ZELENSKY: ‘I THINK THERE WAS NO PRESSURE’

Defense Secretary Mark Esper tweeted on Sept. 18 that he had a “productive call” with Ukraine’s defense minister.

“I am optimistic about his vision for MoD [the Ministry of Defense] and commitment to defense and anti-corruption reforms. I expressed unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Esper said.

On Wednesday, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked the Pentagon Office of the Inspector General to investigate the Defense Department’s potential role in withholding $250 million in military aid to Ukraine.

“I’m calling on the DoD OIG to investigate the withholding of Ukraine military aid appropriated by Congress, allegedly at the direction of the White House.

“The delay raises questions about whether DoD officials were involved in any scheme to target a political opponent,” he tweeted.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group trump-zelensky Pentagon certified Ukraine had taken 'substantial actions' to clean up corruption, green lighting $250M in military aid in May Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson Jennifer Griffin fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/alliances fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc e03c5e91-b992-586f-86e6-56892bbaa613 article   Westlake Legal Group trump-zelensky Pentagon certified Ukraine had taken 'substantial actions' to clean up corruption, green lighting $250M in military aid in May Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson Jennifer Griffin fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/alliances fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc e03c5e91-b992-586f-86e6-56892bbaa613 article

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‘Almost impossible mission’: The 8,000-mile non-stop flight to save a US soldier’s life

Westlake Legal Group c5942644-US-troops-Afghanistan 'Almost impossible mission': The 8,000-mile non-stop flight to save a US soldier's life Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military/air-force fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 608aa2d8-bb0c-58c2-8e04-04d3b20fa25d

The Taliban have stepped up attacks across Afghanistan after President Trump scrapped high-level peace talks between Afghan and Taliban leaders at Camp David earlier this month.

This week alone, three major suicide attacks killed dozens of people, including 26 at a campaign rally for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The Taliban claimed responsibility for all the attacks.

In all, 17 U.S. troops have been killed and more than 100 wounded, some of them severely.  One of them — a special operations soldier — lost his right arm and leg last month after a grenade exploded during close-quarters combat.

Three military aircraft, 18 medical personnel, 24,000 gallons of fuel and 26 gallons of blood were spent to save the life of this critically wounded soldier, whom Fox News agreed not to identify at the request of the U.S. military.

Officials credit a recent decision to have assault forces carry blood on the battlefield, as well as and lifesaving surgery at Bagram Airbase.

More than 100 troops stood in line outside the base hospital to donate blood to help their wounded brother-in-arms. Then the Air Force sprang into action to bring him home.

A C-17 flight crew based at Dover Air Force Base flew from Germany to Afghanistan on short notice, then made the 8,000-mile non-stop journey to Texas.

RETIRED SEAL MCRAVEN SAYS US WILL BE IN AFGHANISTAN FOR ‘VERY LONG TIME’

“The crew members that were on board, we kind of know what was at stake should anything fall out of line,” said Maj.  Dan Kudlacz, the aircraft commander for the mission dubbed REACH 797. “I know I didn’t really get great sleep the night prior just because I knew what was at stake.”

The mission required two night time mid-air refuelings, one over Europe and the other over Maine. For Kudlacz, it was the first time this type of mission had been attempted in his career.

“To do it with air medical evacuation patients on board was definitely something that I have never heard of,” he said.

“There was quite a bit of critical urgency to this,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Andrew Hathaway, the C-17 loadmaster.  “You could hear in their voice the stress of the pilots when they were calculating the fuel.”

C-17 crew chief Staff Sgt. Terrance Williamson said there was no question the flight was a high priority.

“We knew like we had to get this done,” he told Fox News. “We could make this almost impossible mission happen.”

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Nineteen hours after taking off from Afghanistan, the C-17 landed in San Antonio to transport the soldier to Brooke Army Medical Center.  The Air Force flight crew had completed their mission without breaking the sacred oath among U.S. forces in combat.

“You can expect that we, being the United States military, are going to do everything that we can in our power and we are going to spare no expense to bring you home,” Kudlacz said.

The soldier was still in critical condition Friday night.

Fox News’s Ben Florance and Mary Beth Hughes contributed to this report

Westlake Legal Group US-troops-Afghanistan 'Almost impossible mission': The 8,000-mile non-stop flight to save a US soldier's life Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military/air-force fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 608aa2d8-bb0c-58c2-8e04-04d3b20fa25d   Westlake Legal Group US-troops-Afghanistan 'Almost impossible mission': The 8,000-mile non-stop flight to save a US soldier's life Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military/air-force fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 608aa2d8-bb0c-58c2-8e04-04d3b20fa25d

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Pentagon announces more US troops — but ‘not thousands’ more — will deploy to Mideast

The U.S. will deploy more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran’s increasingly aggressive behavior in the region, top military officials said Friday night.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced more U.S. troops will deploy, but they’ll be “defensive” in nature. He did not offer specific numbers or say precisely when they’d go, but he did say there would be air and missile defense units.

When asked how many troops were going overseas, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said “not thousands,” and added there had been “no decision on specific units.”

Esper said this was a first step toward addressing Iran’s increasingly violent acts in the region — including the recent drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities — and he called on other nations to step up and condemn the attacks.

Westlake Legal Group Saudi-Refiner-AP Pentagon announces more US troops -- but 'not thousands' more -- will deploy to Mideast Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/energy fox-news/tech/topics/pentagon fox news fnc/us fnc ff8b3373-81c6-5f15-ba3a-807412525f81 article

This Saturday, Sept. 14 satellite image from Planet Labs Inc. shows thick black smoke rising from Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq oil processing facility in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia. (Planet Labs Inc via AP)

The world’s largest oil processing plant and a major oil field in Saudi Arabia were hit by a massive drone attack on Saturday. Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack, but the U.S. and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran directly. Iran denied involvement in the attack.

“It is clear […] that the weapons used were Iranian-produced and were not launched from Yemen,” Esper said Friday. He and Dunford gave an unscheduled press conference after meeting with President Trump earlier in the day.

All signs indicate “Iran was responsible for the attack,” Esper said.

“The U.S. does not seek conflict with Iran,” he noted. “That said, we have many other military options available if necessary.”

IRAN WARNS OF ‘ALL-OUT WAR’ IF US RETALIATES IN WAKE OF SAUDI OIL FACILITY BOMBINGS 

Officials said the U.S. urges Iran to immediately cease its aggressive and destabilizing activities in the region.

The Kingdom has “full U.S. commitment” to help defend Saudi Arabia and its oil infrastructure, they noted.

Dunford said a “moderate” amount of troops would deploy. Defense officials told Fox News on Thursday that the Trump administration was weighing the option to send more troops to the Middle East.

“We have a robust presence in the Gulf already,” Esper said. “We feel quite confident in terms of our own defense posture and the ability to do anything else as necessary.”

There are 70,000 service members stationed in the region.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned on Thursday that there could be an “all-out war” that would cause “a lot of casualties” if Tehran is attacked in retaliation for the bombings of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.

“I am making a very serious statement that we don’t want to engage in a military confrontation,” Zarif told CNN. “But we won’t blink to defend our territory.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had tweeted a day before that the “Iranian regime’s threatening behavior will not be tolerated,” calling the bombings an “act of war.”

POMPEO ACCUSES IRAN OF ‘UNPRECEDENTED ATTACK’ AFTER DRONES HIT SAUDI OIL FACILITIES 

Trump said earlier this week it was “looking like” Iran was responsible for the attack but stopped short of directly accusing Tehran.

The Saudis on Wednesday displayed what they said were Iranian weapons collected after the attack and showed video footage of what was said to be a drone coming in from the north. However, Yemen – where Houthi rebels are – is south of the country.

A Saudi military official said 18 drones and seven cruise missiles were launched, with three missiles failing to hit their targets. The missiles were said to have a range of 435 miles, which weapons experts told The Associated Press could not have been fired from Yemen.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson, Edmund DeMarche, Sam Dorman, Greg Norman and Morgan Phillips contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press. 

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