News Roundup and Notes: January 7, 2015

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

PARIS SHOOTING

At least 11 people have been killed and others injured in a shooting incident at the headquarters of French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo in Paris. France 24 has live updates as the situation unfolds.

The magazine’s most recent tweet was a cartoon of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State group’s leader. In 2011, the magazine was fire-bombed after it published a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad. [BBC]

IRAQ and SYRIA

The Pentagon is investigating a number of “credible” allegations of civilian casualties caused by the U.S.-led airstrike campaign against the Islamic State. The announcement is the first acknowledgement from Washington that any formal investigations into allegations had begun. [Wall Street Journal’s Julian E. Barnes]

The U.S. does not know how many Islamic State fighters it has killed. Due to the lack of ground troops, the assessment of strikes comes from real time video on the aircraft, making it “incredibly difficult to determine the effects of airstrikes,” writes Nancy A. Youssef. [The Daily Beast]

A major assault was launched by suspected Islamic State militants in Iraq’s Anbar province against pro-government tribal forces, just one day after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for a “tribal revolution” against the group. [Asharq Al-Awsat’s Hamza Mustafa]

The Islamic State has been pushed into a largely “defensive posture inside Iraq,” and the U.S.-led coalition against the group has made good progress, despite it not yet being “mission accomplished,” said Pentagon spokesperson Rear Adm. John Kirby yesterday. [CNN’s Barbara Starr]

U.S.-led airstrikes continue. The U.S. and partner nations conducted 10 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on Jan. 5. Separately, the U.S. and partner nations carried out a further two strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

A report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons reaffirms the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict but does not specify which side is responsible for their use, Al Jazeera has learned.

Syrians constitute the largest refugee population aside from Palestinians, overtaking Afghans and constituting nearly 1 in 4 of the world’s 13 million refugees. [Reuters’ Stephanie Nebehay]

The funeral of an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps commander killed in Iraq reveals much about “Iran’s past and present operations in Iraq,” and suggests “just how shallow” the renewed U.S. presence deployed in the country really is, reports Reza HaghighatNejad for Iran Wire.

At least 160 children were killed in attacks on schools in Syria during 2014, according to UNICEF. [AP]

ISRAEL and PALESTINE

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that Palestine will join the ICC on April 1, after the Palestinians submitted documents to ratify the Rome Statute last Friday. [AP]

France has warned the Palestinians to avoid escalating the diplomatic battle with Israel after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced he would resubmit a UN Security Council resolution calling for statehood. [Reuters]

A military court in Israel sentenced a Palestinian man to three life sentences yesterday for his part in the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last June. [New York Times’ Jodi Rudoren]

The IDF military advocate general will continue with a criminal investigation into acts committed during last summer’s Gaza war, despite widespread criticism. [Haaretz’s Amos Harel]

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

A car bomb outside a police college in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, killed at least 38 people this morning, according to police sources. There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. [Al Jazeera]

A man claiming to be a senior commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army has surrendered in the Central African Republic and has been taken into custody by U.S. forces. [BBC]

The Pakistani parliament has passed a constitutional amendment allowing military courts to try Islamist militants in a parallel system that will significantly increase the army’s power. [New York Times’ Salman Masood and Saba Imtiaz]  A petition challenging the validity of the constitutional amendment was submitted to Pakistan’s Supreme Court today. [Dawn’s Abdul Shakoor Khan]

The Cuban government has released some of the 53 political prisoners on a United States list, according to State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. [BBC]

Further details about the Sony hack and North Korea’s role are expected to be released by FBI Director James Comey today. Meanwhile, authorities continue to investigate a series of cyber threats against media organizations, according to law enforcement sources. [The Intercept’s Jana Winter]

Drone patrols along the U.S. border have been more expensive and less effective than previously believed, according to a report released by DHS’s Office of Inspector General. [Wall Street Journal’s Jack Nicas]

China hosted a delegation of Afghan Taliban officials last month, in an apparent effort to restart the reconciliation process between the insurgent group and Kabul. [Wall Street Journal’s Nathan Hodge et al]

A female suicide bomber attacked a police station in Istanbul on Tuesday, killing one officer and wounding another. The Turkish far-left group DHKP-C has claimed responsibility for the attack. [Reuters]

North Korea has made “significant” advances in its nuclear weapons program, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry. [New York Times’ Choe Sang-Hun]

Kenya will investigate the death of a “critical” defense witness in the case against Deputy President William Ruto before the International Criminal Court. [Reuters]

A car bomb severely injured a Somali man in the country’s capital of Mogadishu today; the attack has been blamed on Islamist rebel group, al-Shabaab. [Reuters]

Is Moscow funding terrorism in Ukraine? Anna Nemtsova explores the question in light of several recent explosions targeting strategic points in the city of Odessa. [The Daily Beast]

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About the Author(s)

Ruchi Parekh

Former Associate Editor at Just Security Follow her on Twitter (@RParekh88).

Nadia O'Mara

Former Assistant News Editor at Just Security