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By Isabel Coles KABERLI Iraq (Reuters) - A new map is being drawn across the plains of northern Iraq as Sunni militants of the Islamic State purge the rural landscape of religious and ethnic minorities that have co-existed for hundreds of years. More than half a million people have been displaced across Iraq since June, when the north's biggest city, Mosul, fell to Sunni insurgents who have harried Shi'ite Turkmen and Shabaks, Yezidis and Christians. Now the Islamic State's cleansing campaign has rid farmland and villages in the surrounding Nineveh province and beyond of longtime minority inhabitants, leaving the country's north segregated along clear sectarian and ethnic lines.
An Air Algerie plane missing since early Thursday over Mali with 116 passengers and crew, including 50 French nationals, on board probably crashed, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said. "Despite intensive searches, no trace of the plane has been found as we speak," he said in Paris. The searches are focusing at this stage on a vast strip of Malian territory around the region of Gao," in the north of the west African nation, he said. Flight AH5017, which originated in Ouagadougou and was bound for Algiers, went missing in the early morning amid reports of heavy storms, company sources and officials said.