World Bulletin / News Desk
President Barack Obama will sign a bill to strengthen U.S.-Israeli military cooperation on Friday on the eve of a visit to Israel by his Republican presidential challenger, Mitt Romney.
The new bill calls for enhanced cooperation with Israel - a major beneficiary of military aid - on missile defense and intelligence, and increased access to advanced weapons.
Congress passed the legislation, the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, with broad support from Obama's Democrats and Republicans last week.
"The bill deepens our security cooperation with Israel by expanding our military assistance and providing Israel with access to additional equipment," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said on Thursday.
Romney hopes his trip to Israel will resonate with Jewish voters at home. He will arrive there fromLondon on Saturday and plans to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had a strained relationship with Obama.
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"It is incomprehensible and unacceptable, it was a mistake," Renzi told Italian radio.
The hold up also threatens to torpedo next week's planned visit to Brussels by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sign the deal.
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No group claims responsibility for the deadly attacks
European Council summit in Brussels covering migration, relations with Russia, and situation in Syria
Armed militants have attacked government buildings in Kirkuk
Hundreds of police officers in France have continued their protests against violence against police