- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

Gaza militants unleash heavy rocket fire on Israel as troops rush to border

JERUSALEM (AP) - Militants in the Gaza Strip unleashed dozens of rockets on southern Israel late Monday, setting off air raid sirens and forcing hundreds of thousands of Israelis to stay indoors as the military rushed more forces to the border and warned that even heavier fighting looked likely.

The latest violence came as Israel pressed forward with its investigation of six Jewish youths suspected of abducting and killing a Palestinian teenager, and Israeli leaders sought to calm an emotional debate over whether the country’s politically charged atmosphere led to the gruesome crime. An Israeli official said three of the youths had confessed to the attack.

Tensions have been high since three Israeli teenagers kidnapped June 12 in the West Bank were later found dead, followed by last week’s slaying of the Palestinian youth in what many suspect was a revenge attack. Throughout the unrest, Gaza militants have launched more than 200 rockets and mortars into Israel, including close to 100 on Monday alone.

Israel has responded with dozens of airstrikes, but has not been able to halt the attacks. Eight Palestinian militants were killed in fighting Monday, the highest death toll yet.

Dozens of rockets were fired Monday, including 40 launched in a single hour after nightfall, setting off air raid sirens up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Gaza, the military said.

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Pope Francis begs forgiveness of sex abuse victims, vows bishops will be held accountable

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis begged forgiveness Monday in his first meeting with Catholics sexually abused by members of the clergy and went further than any of his predecessors by vowing to hold bishops accountable for their handling of pedophile priests.

Abuse victims and their advocates have long demanded that higher-ups be made to answer for the decades-long cover-ups of rape and molestation of youngsters in a scandal that has rocked the church and dismayed its worldwide flock of 1.2 billion.

The pope celebrated a private Mass with six victims - two each from Ireland, Britain and Germany - at his Vatican residence, and spent the rest of the morning listening to their accounts, one on one.

“Before God and his people, I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you. And I humbly ask forgiveness,” Francis said.

“I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves,” the pope said. “This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused, and it endangered other minors who were at risk.”

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3 Ukraine bridges blown up to block key roads into the eastern rebel-held city of Donetsk

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