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Reuters — Lockheed Martin Corp has agreed to buy United Technologies Corp's Sikorsky Aircraft for over $8 billion, two sources said on Sunday, cementing a deal that would confirm Lockheed's dominance in weapons making and giving the Black Hawk helicopter to the maker of the F-35 fighter jet.
The deal will add further heft to Lockheed, which already has annual revenues of around $45 billion and dwarves its nearest competitors, the defense business of Boeing Co and Northrop Grumman Corp.
It will make Lockheed less reliant on the $391 billion F-35 fighter jet business, while expanding its overseas sales by adding Sikorsky's iconic Black Hawk helicopters to a product line that already spans everything from satellites to naval ships.
Joanna Paraszczuk (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) — It is hard for the militant group Islamic State (IS) to break new grounds of cruelty and brutality. But it succeeded on July 16 with a video showing a young child who appears no older than 10 purportedly beheading a Syrian Army officer.
Although IS has released previous footage of its use of children to kill prisoners and hostages, this is the first time that it has documented a child carrying out a beheading.
The video, released on the evening of July 16, shows militants and a child with a man who says he is a Syrian Army officer captured by IS near Palmyra in Homs Province, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which monitors the conflict in Syria.
Angelo Young (International Business Times) — Hundreds of suspected members of the Islamic State group have been arrested in Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, the country’s Interior Ministry announced Saturday. The detainees include people suspected in attacks on Saudi security patrols and the recent bombing of a Shiite mosque.
During the recent sweeps, 431 suspects were arrested, most of them Saudi nationals, “as well as participants holding other nationalities, including Yemeni, Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Algerian, Nigerian, Chadian and unidentified others,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
Officials said at least 37 civilians or members of security forces were killed and 130 of them were injured in these operations, while six suspects were also slain.
C. J. Chivers (The New York Times) — The Islamic State appears to have manufactured rudimentary chemical warfare shells and attacked Kurdish positions in Iraq and Syria with them as many as three times in recent weeks, according to field investigators, Kurdish officials and a Western ordnance disposal technician who examined the incidents and recovered one of the shells.
The development, which the investigators said involved toxic industrial or agricultural chemicals repurposed as weapons, signaled a potential escalation of the group’s capabilities, though it was not entirely without precedent.
Beginning more than a decade ago, Sunni militants in Iraq have occasionally used chlorine or old chemical warfare shells in makeshift bombs against American and Iraqi government forces. And Kurdish forces have claimed that militants affiliated with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, used a chlorine-based chemical in at least one suicide truck bomb in Iraq this year.
Naomi Kilcoyne and Aislinn Laing (The Telegraph) — At least 60 people died in a string of suicide bombings in Nigeria over the past two days, as reports suggested a 10-year-old girl and an elderly woman may have been among those who perpetrated the attacks.
Officials said two or three woman detonated bombs outside an open-air prayer ground and a mosque in Damaturu at around 7.40am on Friday as worshippers, celebrating the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, queued up to be security screened.
At least nine people were killed and another 18 injured, police said. Local volunteers and medics suggested that up to 13 people had died.