JERUSALEM (AP) — The U.N. chief and the U.S. secretary of state made a new attempt Friday to nail down a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas, as Israel's 18-day military operation in the Gaza Strip fueled new unrest in the West Bank, where five Palestinians were killed during protests.
Also Friday, Israel's military announced that an Israeli soldier whom Hamas had claimed to have captured in Gaza earlier this week was in fact killed in battle that day. The capture of an Israeli soldier could have been a game changer in Israel-Hamas fighting and the international efforts to end it.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met twice Friday in Cairo with U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to try to bring a week-long pause in the Israel-Hamas fighting, beginning as soon as this weekend.
Kerry delayed his anticipated departure from Cairo for several hours to talk again by phone to Qatari officials who are serving as a go-between with Hamas, which the U.S. considers terrorist organization and cannot negotiate with directly.
Over the last week, in his travels from Cairo to Ramallah to Israel, Kerry has made clear that he wanted to secure at least a temporary pause in the violence before he returned to Washington. But U.S. efforts have been frustrated by deeply-ingrained hostilities between Israel and Palestinian officials, and by mistrust among Mideast nations who have taken sides in the conflict even as they agree to push for a cease-fire.
The West Bank has become increasingly restive over Israel's Gaza operation, in which more than 800 Palestinians were killed and more than 5,200 wounded since July 8, according to Palestinian health officials.
In the West Bank, protests against the Gaza operation operation erupted Friday in the northern village of Hawara, near the city of Nablus, and the southern village of Beit Omar, near the city of Hebron.
Palestinian hospital officials said three Palestinians were killed in Beit Omar and two in Hawara.
The mayor of Hawara, Mouin Idmeidi, said he and hundreds of others from the village participated in a protest after emerging from a local mosque following Friday noon prayers.
Hawara is located along a main north-south thoroughfare that is also used by Israeli motorists. Idmeidi said an Israeli motorist slowed down as he passed the march and fired at the group.
The mayor said four people were wounded and that one of them, a 19-year-old, died at Rafidiyeh Hospital in Nablus of his injuries.
After the shooting, clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli troops who opened fire, killing a 22-year-old from Hawara, the mayor said.
Rafidiyeh hospital confirmed the deaths.
In Beit Omar, clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinian stone-throwers. Hebron hospital officials said three Palestinians were killed.
The Israeli military said it was looking into the reports.
On Thursday, thousands of Palestinians clashes with Israeli forces at a West Bank checkpoint and in east Jerusalem, the largest protests in those areas in several years.
Associated Press writer Lara Jakes in Cairo and Mohammed Daraghmeh in the West Bank contributed to this report.
PARIS (AP) — French soldiers recovered a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, officials said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason for the catastrophe that killed all 118 people onboard is bad weather.
More than 200 troops are guarding the site before French accident and criminal investigators arrive Saturday in the area, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.
The debris field is in a concentrated area in the Gossi region of Mali near the border with Burkina Faso "in a zone of savannah and sand with very difficult access, especially in this rainy season," Fabius said at a news conference in Paris with the defense and transport ministers.
French government officials, including the President Francois Hollande and Fabius, increased the death toll to 118, and raising the number of French killed to 54 from 51. Air Algerie and private Spanish airline Swiftair, which was operating Flight 5017, said Thursday there were 116 people onboard.
"We think the plane went down due to weather conditions, but no hypothesis can be excluded as long as we don't have the results of an investigation," Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told RTL radio hours before the news conference with three other government ministers.
The pilots of the MD-83, which was traveling from Burkina Faso to Algeria, had sent a final message to ask Niger air control to change its route because of heavy rain, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo said Thursday.
One of two black boxes has been found and was sent to Gao, a troubled city in northern Mali where remains will be sent for identification before being repatriated, Fabius said at Friday's news conference. The Gossi region where the accident occurred, near the Burkina Faso border, is 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Gao.
A French contingent of troops is based in Gao, a government-controlled town. The vast deserts and mountains of northern Mali fell under control of ethnic Tuareg separatists and then al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists after a military coup in 2012.
French forces intervened in January 2013 to rout Islamist extremists controlling the region. A French soldier was killed earlier this month near the town of Gao, where French troops remain.
The intervention scattered the extremists, but the Tuaregs have pushed back against the authority of the Bamako-based government. Meanwhile, the threat from Islamic militants hasn't disappeared, and France is giving its troops a new and larger anti-terrorist mission across the region.
French television showed images of the wreckage site taken by a soldier from Burkina Faso. The brief footage showed a desolate area with scattered debris that was unrecognizable. There were bits of twisted metal but no identifiable parts such as the fuselage or tail, or victims' bodies. Scrubby vegetation could be seen scattered in the background.
A French Reaper drone based in Niger spotted the wreckage after getting alerts from Burkina Faso and Malian soldiers, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters.
Burkina Faso soldiers were reportedly the first to reach the site. The country's prime minister, Luc Adolphe Tiao, reviewed videos of the wreckage site and said identifying the victims will be challenging.
"It will be difficult to reconstitute the bodies of the victims," Tiao said at a news conference. "The human remains are so scattered."
Nearly half of the victims were from France and the disaster has hit the country hard.
"I share the pain of families living through this terrible ordeal," Hollande said.
Many of the passengers were scheduled to head on to Europe after the plane was due to arrive in the Algerian capital from Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou.
Hollande has said that France will spare no efforts to uncover why the plane went down — the third major plane disaster around the world within a week. A Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down last week over war-torn eastern Ukraine. The U.S. has blamed it on separatists firing a surface-to-air missile. On Wednesday, a Taiwanese plane crashed during a storm, killing 48 people.
"There are hypotheses, notably weather-related, but we don't rule out anything because we want to know what happened," Hollande said. "What we know is that the debris is concentrated in a limited space, but it is too soon to draw conclusions."
Cazeneuve also said on RTL radio: "Terrorist groups are in the zone. ... We know these groups are hostile to Western interests."
The plane, owned by Swiftair and leased by Algeria's flagship carrier, disappeared from radar screens less than an hour after it took off early Thursday from Ouagadougou for Algiers.
The MD-83 had passed its annual air navigation certificate renewal inspection in January without any problems, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said Friday. The European Aviation Safety Agency also carried out a "ramp inspection" — or unannounced spot check — of the plane in June without incident.
Santamaria also said a ramp inspection was done on the plane in Marseille, France, on July 22 — two days before the plane went down.
Ramp inspections "are limited to on-the-spot assessments and cannot substitute for proper regulatory oversight," the EASA website says. "Ramp inspections serve as pointers, but they cannot guarantee the airworthiness of a particular aircraft."
AP journalists Ciaran Giles in Madrid, Spain, and Brahima Ouedraogo in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, contributed to this report.
DALLAS, Ga. (AP) — Plans to create what would be metro Atlanta's second commercial airport have prompted concerns ranging from noise at a National Park to potential harm to rare fish in nearby streams.
The concerns are outlined as part of an environmental assessment for Silver Comet Field northwest of Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained dozens of comments submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration through an open records request.
The National Park Service wrote of its concern about potential sound at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, the site of key battles in the American Civil War.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asked for the assessment to address impacts to the Cherokee darter fish.
Other letters came from residents, who wrote about new opportunities the airport would bring, along with concerns about pollution.
DARBY, Pa. (AP) — A man who authorities say fatally shot a caseworker at a hospital complex near Philadelphia and was then shot by his psychiatrist remains listed in critical condition.
District Attorney Jack Whelan said Richard Plotts would be arraigned on a murder charge if he survived the night following Thursday's shooting.
Prosecutors did not return calls Friday morning on the status of the case.
Authorities are trying to determine more about the relationship between Dr. Lee Silverman and Plotts, including whether the doctor had reason to fear him and why he had a gun.
The shooting occurred at a wellness center at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby. Silverman suffered a minor wound.
The hospital said its policy bars anyone but on-duty law enforcement officers from bringing a weapon on to its campus.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
Authorities are trying to determine why a man identified as a patient fatally shot a caseworker at a hospital complex in a Philadelphia suburb and whether a psychiatrist who pulled out his own gun and wounded the patient had concerns about him.
The psychiatrist, Dr. Lee Silverman, was grazed in the temple during the gunfight in his office Thursday afternoon with patient Richard Plotts, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said.
"We do believe that there were some issues between the doctor and the patient, but whether or not he actually feared him is unclear," Whelan said.
The prosecutor identified the caseworker killed at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital as Theresa Hunt, 53, of Philadelphia. Hunt had accompanied Plotts to an appointment with Silverman at a psychiatric crisis center adjacent to the hospital in Darby, just southwest of Philadelphia, authorities said.
"When the caseworker was shot, (Silverman) crouched down behind the desk to avoid him being shot," Whelan said. "He was able to reach for his weapon, and realizing it was a life or death situation, was able to engage the defendant in the exchange of gunfire."
A struggle ensued and spilled out into the hallway, Whelan said. Another doctor and a caseworker jumped in to help Silverman and secure Plotts' weapon, he said.
The motive for the shooting remained unclear. Whelan said Plotts, of Upper Darby, might have had issues with the doctor over his treatment plan. It is not known, however, if that is why Silverman was armed, apparently against hospital policy.
Whelan said Plotts, 49, was underwent surgery Thursday night at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Silverman was treated and released. Telephone calls to the doctor's home went unanswered.
A spokeswoman for the Mercy Health System said the hospital has a policy barring anyone except on-duty law enforcement officers from carrying weapons on its campus.
But Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux said that "without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives."
"Without that firearm, this guy (the patient) could have went out in the hallway and just walked down the offices until he ran out of ammunition," the chief said.
Plotts does not have a listed home phone number. Court records in Delaware County show a man of the same name and age with a lengthy criminal record, but Whelan was unsure if it was the same person.
Two guns were recovered from the scene, Whelan said.
Staff members had heard loud arguing inside Silverman's office during the appointment. They opened the door and noticed the patient had a gun pointed at the doctor, so they quietly closed the door and dialed 911, Whelan said. Gunshots were heard a short time later, just before 2:30 p.m.
Plotts, severely wounded from several shots, emerged from the office, and another doctor and a caseworker helped wrestle him to the floor of the hallway and grabbed his weapon, Whelan said.
"They acted vigilantly. They acted bravely," he said.
The exchange of gunfire occurred on the third floor of the Wellness Center at Mercy Fitzgerald, a 204-bed community teaching hospital. Authorities said there are no surveillance cameras in the doctor's office or the waiting area outside. They also said the center had no metal detectors.
Patients waiting in the first-floor lobby reported a tense scene when police arrived and ordered everyone out. Most of the patients were elderly.
"I dozed off, and I heard the cop shouting, 'Come on, come on, get out!'" said Millicent Russell, of Lansdowne, who was waiting for a 3 p.m. appointment. "There were people with walkers and canes and stuff. All these cops were outside running here and there with these guns."
ATLANTA (AP) — A former state lawmaker says a New York City event billed as a fundraiser for Georgia's Democratic Party was unethical and illegal.
The event invited participants to join former President Jimmy Carter; his grandson Jason Carter and celebrities such as R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe. The younger Carter, a Democrat, is challenging Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican.
In a July 17 ethics complaint, former state Sen. John Douglas said the March 23 fundraiser violated rules prohibiting Jason Carter from raising money while serving in the Georgia legislature. Douglas maintains the event was held purely to benefit the Carter candidacy, not the state Democratic party.
Carter campaign manager Matt McGrath said the complaint is without merit. He said the event took place after the legislative session concluded, and that it was legal.
FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake was attending a ceremony for a judicial colleague when he received an urgent — and unusual — request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't seem to be working.
"He has been gasping, snorting, and unable to breathe and not dying," lawyer Robin C. Konrad told the judge over the phone Wednesday, according to a transcript. "And we're asking — our motion asks for you to issue an emergency stay and order the Department of Corrections to start lifesaving techniques."
The judge asked his law clerk to quickly locate a phone number for an attorney for the state so he could find out what was happening. They conferenced in Jeffrey A. Zick, who was getting updates from the scene from Arizona's corrections chief.
What followed provided a window in to the nearly two-hour execution of 55-year-old Joseph Rudolph Wood as the defense lawyer pleaded to stop it and the Arizona attorney assured the judge everything was fine. In the middle of the arguments, Zick informed them that Wood had died.
The execution brought new attention to the death penalty debate in the U.S. as opponents said it was proof that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. State officials and family members of Wood's two murder victims said there was nothing wrong with the execution.
Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan read a statement Thursday outside his office in which he dismissed the notion that the execution was botched, calling it an "erroneous conclusion" and "pure conjecture." He did not take questions from reporters.
He said IV lines in the inmate's arms were "perfectly placed" and insisted that Wood felt no pain. He also said the Arizona attorney general's office will not seek any new death warrants while his office completes a review of execution practices ordered by Gov. Jan Brewer.
Wood's lawyer Dale Baich called it a "horrifically botched execution" that should have taken 10 minutes.
Wood gasped more than 600 times over an hour and a half. During the gasps, his jaw dropped and his chest expanded and contracted.
An Ohio inmate gasped in similar fashion for nearly 30 minutes in January. An Oklahoma inmate died of a heart attack in April, minutes after prison officials halted his execution because the drugs weren't being administered properly.
States have scrambled in recent years to find alternative drugs because of a shortage rooted in European opposition to capital punishment. Arizona uses a combination of midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a painkiller.
Anesthesiology experts say they're not surprised that the combination of drugs took so long to kill Wood.
"This doesn't actually sound like a botched execution. This actually sounds like a typical scenario if you used that drug combination," said Karen Sibert, an anesthesiologist and associate professor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Sibert was speaking on behalf of the California Society of Anesthesiologists.
Sibert said midazolam would not completely render Wood incapacitated. If he'd felt pain or been conscious, he would have been able to open his eyes and move, she said.
Sibert says that medical patients who are under general anesthesia are typically connected to a bispectral index, a technology that measures a person's level of consciousness and sends the information through a monitor. But for those who are only sedated, monitoring heart rate and blood pressure can suffice to determine whether there is brain activity.
"It's fair to say that those are drugs that would not expeditiously achieve (death)," said Daniel Nyhan, a professor and interim director of the anesthesiology department at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The execution prompted a series of phone calls involving Ryan, Brewer's office, lawyers and judges as the inmate gasped for more than 90 minutes.
Nearly two hours after he'd been sedated, Wood finally stopped taking those gasps that almost had a pattern to them. Every five seconds. Then every six seconds. Now seven.
While the gasps were occurring, Judge Wake was trying to determine if Wood was suffering pain.
"I am told that Mr. Wood is effectively brain dead and that this is the type of reaction that one gets if they were taken off of life support. The brain stem is working but there's no brain activity," Zick said, according to the transcript.
The judge then asked, "Do you have the leads connected to determine his brain state?"
The lawyer said he didn't think so.
"Well if there are not monitors connected with him, if it's just a visual observation, that is very concerning as not being adequate," the judge said.
Moments later, Zick said he received a note indicating the snoring had stopped and Wood's heart rate was slowing considerably. The judge asked him to call Ryan and find out the latest, and Zick left the call at 3:43 p.m.
"And again, I do need to make a decision within a few minutes as to whether to suspend the execution," the judge said.
Zick got back on the line about four minutes later.
"The director indicated that in consultation with the IV team leader, who is a medical doctor, Mr. Wood is apparently comatose; that he cannot change course at this point," he said.
The judge then weighed the pain question and whether it was too late to do anything. Then Zick interrupted.
"I just learned that the IV team leader has confirmed Mr. Wood's death," he said.
As they wrapped up, the judge offered a glimpse that the issue isn't going away.
"So there will be time to deal whatever consequence these events have for other plaintiffs," he said.