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Iraqi officials worked Saturday to ease soaring tensions after 70 people were gunned down at a Sunni mosque, as attacks in Baghdad and areas to its north killed over 30 more. The attack at the mosque in Diyala province the day before, which most accounts said was the work of Shiite militiamen, threatens to increase anger among Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority with the Shiite-led government at a time when an anti-militant drive depends on their cooperation. The violence came as the US, which is carrying out air strikes in Iraq against Islamic State (IS) jihadists, ramped up its rhetoric over the grisly killing of journalist James Foley by the group and shown in a video posted online. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Foley's beheading "represents a terrorist attack against our country".
The United Nations vowed Saturday to play a "strong role" in helping Liberia and its neighbours fight the deadly outbreak of Ebola in west Africa, which it said could take months to bring it under control. Liberia has been particularly hard hit by the epidemic that has swept relentlessly across the region since March, accounting for almost half of the 1,427 deaths. In recognition of the deteriorating situation, neighbouring Ivory Coast announced on Saturday it had closed its borders with Liberia and Guinea in a bid to protect its citizens. "Ebola in Liberia must be addressed to ensure a stable economy, future and society," said Karin Landgren, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's special representative for the country.