• Turkish opposition candidate shot in knee while campaigning

    Yesterday

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An official says an opposition party candidate has been hospitalized after being shot in the knee while campaigning for Turkey's general elections on June 7. Tuesday's assault was the third violent attack on parties or politicians contesting the polls in the southern city of Adana. But Gov. Mustafa Buyuk said the attack against Elif Dogan Turkmen — a lawyer running for the main opposition Republican People's Party — was not politically motivated, and appeared to be carried out by her former client. Last week, a candidate from the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, was stabbed while electioneering in Adana.

  • Egypt allows Gazans to return home through border crossing

    Yesterday

    RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Egypt has opened its border with the Gaza Strip to allow stranded Palestinians to return home. Tuesday's opening was the first time the Rafah border crossing has operated since March. The director of the Hamas-controlled side of the crossing, Maher Abu Sabha, says the border is scheduled to close again Wednesday afternoon. The crossing has only been open five days this year to allow movement of Palestinians in both directions. The one-direction opening reflects the deepening hostility between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Egypt. Cairo considers Hamas an extension of the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood movement, which it considers a terrorist group.

  • Report: Iran summons Saudi envoy over Yemen strike

    Yesterday

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency says the Foreign Ministry has summoned Saudi Arabia's envoy over an airstrike near Tehran's embassy in Yemen. It says Iran warned the Saudi charge d'affaires late Monday against any violations of the diplomatic immunity of embassy staff and facilities. Iran supports Shiite rebels in Yemen, known as Houthis, who seized the capital last year. Both Tehran and the Houthis insist it has not armed the rebels, but only provided humanitarian aid. A Saudi-led coalition has been striking the rebels from the air since late March in a campaign aimed at restoring to power Yemen's internationally recognized president, who fled the country earlier that month.

  • Biden reassures Iraqi prime minister of US support

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden reassured Iraq's government on Monday of U.S. support in the fight against the Islamic State group, telephoning Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi with thanks for "the enormous sacrifice and bravery of Iraqi forces" one day after Defense Secretary Ash Carter questioned the Iraqi military commitment. Biden's call followed harsh criticism from Iraqi and Iranian quarters after Carter questioned Iraqi forces' "will to fight" the surging Islamic State group. A White House statement on Monday describing Biden's call said the vice president welcomed an Iraqi decision to mobilize additional troops and "prepare for counterattack operations." Biden also pledged full U.S.

  • Egyptian woman arrested over racy music video

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities have arrested a woman who danced in a racy music video that went viral on the internet and referred her to misdemeanor court for "inciting debauchery." The clip, a low-budget production entitled "Hands Off," or "Sib Eddi" in Egyptian Arabic, contains no nudity but plenty of scantily-clad booty shaking by the woman, Reda el-Fouly, who dances to the voice of a singer called Mena. Ahmed Bakly of the Giza prosecution said in a statement that the clip "disrupted morality." He also ordered the arrest of Wael Elsedeki, who he described as el-Fouly's boyfriend who had left the country for Tunisia after some social media users called the video scandalous, and a third person involved in the video.

  • Thousands flock to mass funeral for Saudi attack victims

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Tens of thousands of mourners poured into the streets of eastern Saudi Arabia on Monday to attend a mass funeral for victims of last week's suicide bombing attack at a Shiite mosque that was claimed by the Islamic State group, attendees said. Chanting religious slogans and carrying banners denouncing sectarianism, the mourners made their way with the victims' bodies along a route to a cemetery in the village of al-Qudeeh, in the oil-rich eastern Qatif region. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Friday's attack and warned of more "black days" to come for Saudi Shiites. Saudi officials have confirmed the group was behind the blast, which officials said killed 21 people.

  • Yemeni politicians say UN peace talks indefinitely postponed

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A United Nations-sponsored Yemeni peace conference that was to start Thursday in Geneva has been indefinitely postponed, officials said, as battles raged across the country. The talks were meant to end weeks of heavy fighting and Saudi-led airstrikes against an Iran-backed rebel group amid a humanitarian crisis that has left millions in the Arab world's poorest country short of food and fuel. Three officials from the Houthi, socialist and unionist parties said late Sunday they were notified the talks had been postponed and that no new date had been set. All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists. A U.N.

  • Sudanese government denies supporting rebels in South Sudan

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — The Sudanese government denied on Monday it was supporting rebels in South Sudan after it accused Khartoum of supplying arms to the insurgents threatening its oil fields. Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadiq told the official SUNA news agency that his country has "no interest in such an intervention." He said instability in South Sudan would send more refugees into Sudan and create of hotspots along its border. South Sudan military officials have alleged that Khartoum provides weapons and ammunition to a defected army leader in its Upper Nile state. Rebels are threatening South Sudan's remaining functional oil fields.

  • Egypt official says Sinai extremists kill soldier in clashes

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    El-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — An Egyptian army official says extremists have killed a conscript and wounded an officer in clashes in the restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula. The fighting on Monday near the town of Sheikh Zuweyid pitted troops against Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, militants who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group last year. The long-restive northern Sinai has seen a spike in attacks targeting security forces since the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which refers to itself as the Sinai Province of the Islamic State, regularly claims large-scale assaults in the Sinai and earlier this month released a video showing attacks on soldiers that killed

  • United Arab Emirates launches national space agency strategy

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The United Arab Emirates on Monday laid out a strategic framework for a newly created space agency that aims to integrate various arms of the Gulf federation's burgeoning space industry. The seven-state federation, perhaps best known for its oil wealth and extravagant attractions like Dubai's palm-shaped islands and the record-breaking Burj Khalifa skyscraper, is fast establishing itself as the Arab world's leader in the space sector. The UAE Space Agency, created last year by presidential decree, aims to regulate and support the industry, which includes existing Earth-orbiting satellite programs and plans for a mission to Mars in 2020.

  • Turkey, US to provide air protection to Syrian rebels

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey and the U.S. have agreed in "principle" to provide air protection to Syrian rebels being trained and equipped to fight Islamic State militants, once they enter Syrian territory for battle, Turkey's foreign minister said. The two countries agreed in February to train and equip up to 15,000 Syrians under the $500 million U.S. program designed to add a credible ground force to an air bombing campaign against the militant group. The program suffered unexplained delays as the U.S. resisted Turkish calls for the force to be also prepared to fight the Syrian regime and the sides tried to reach agreement on who to train. The U.S.

  • Turkey: Kurdish rebels attack military base; no casualties

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's military says suspected Kurdish militants have fired two mortar rounds at a military base in the country's southeast region, prompting the military to fire back in retaliation. A statement posted Monday on the military's website says no one was injured in Sunday's attack on the base in Hakkari province, close to Turkey's borders with Iraq and Iran. The exchange of fire comes despite a peace process between Turkey and the rebel group, PKK, aimed at ending a conflict which has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984. Turkey's president and prime minister are scheduled to inaugurate a new airport in Hakkari on Tuesday.

  • Ex-Israeli Premier Olmert sentenced to 8 months in prison

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced Monday to eight months in prison for unlawfully accepting money from a U.S. supporter, capping the dramatic downfall of a man who only years earlier led the country and hoped to bring about a historic peace agreement with the Palestinians. Olmert was convicted in March in a retrial in Jerusalem District Court. The sentencing comes in addition to a six-year prison sentence he received last year in a separate bribery conviction, ensuring the end of the former premier's political career. Olmert's lawyer, Eyal Rozovsky, said Olmert's legal team was "very disappointed" by the ruling and would appeal to Israel's Supreme Court.

  • Army chiefs plan for proposed joint Arab force in Mideast

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Army chiefs of staff of Arab countries have drafted a protocol for a new joint force to intervene in Middle East hotspots on missions ranging from fighting Islamic militants to Iran-backed groups — despite lingering disagreements on some details, including where to base the force's headquarters. The plan, drafted at a gathering Sunday in Cairo, describes where and how the force would be put into action. Membership is "voluntary," the draft says, and if only three of the members sign up, it's enough to put the plan into action. A decision to intervene would be based on a request from a member state "facing threats." The idea of an Arab joint force has already been tested in the ongoing Saudi-led coalition's ai

  • Explosion at Turkish cement factory kills 3 near Ankara

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish officials say an explosion at a cement factory in a town near Ankara has killed three employees. Mayor Lokman Erturk says two other workers were injured in the explosion and fire late Sunday at the factory in Kazan, 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Ankara, the capital. He said the blast occurred while the workers were trying to fix a faulty boiler. The exact cause is under investigation. Turkey has a poor workplace safety record across a range of industries. A monitoring group says close to 1,900 people died in work-related accidents last year. Two construction workers were killed Friday after being trapped under debris following a landslide at a dam construction site in northwest Turkey

  • Report: Iran raises gas prices by 40 percent in subsidy cut

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will raise gasoline prices by some 40 percent beginning Tuesday, the country's official news agency reported, the latest cut to the Islamic Republic's fuel subsidies that cost it some $32 billion a year. While previous attempts to raise prices have sparked dissent, last year's increase saw no major unrest. The report Monday by IRNA, quoting Davood Arabali, a spokesman for Iran's state oil products distribution company, said the new price per liter for subsidized gasoline would be 10,000 rials (34 cents), up from 7,000 rials (24 cents). That's about a $1.28 gallon, compared to the average U.S. price of $2.66 a gallon. Iranian state television also reported that a current plan allowing for lower

  • Turkish minister defends spending on posh cars as 'peanuts'

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's finance minister has come under criticism for defending government spending of $1.3 billion on luxury cars and other vehicles for officials as "peanuts." Mehmet Simsek made the remark last week as he tried to justify a move by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who promised to provide an armored Mercedes to the country's top Muslim cleric. The cleric had earlier returned such a vehicle, following public uproar over the extravagance. Simsek said the sum was "peanuts" compared to Turkey's budget. Addressing crowds at election rallies ahead of Turkey's June 7 elections, outraged opposition party leaders said Sunday the money could have been spent to improve pensions or to aid Palestinians.

  • Sydney siege inquest: Gunman secretive, defiant narcissist

    Updated: Mon, May 25, 2015

    SYDNEY (AP) — The man who took 18 people hostage at a Sydney cafe last year was educated and erratic, secretive about his own life and public about his many grievances, and a self-obsessed fabulist whose life was spiraling downward in the lead-up to his deadly attack, lawyers told an inquest Monday. The details of Man Monis' life and death are being examined at a coroner's inquest into December's siege at the Lindt Cafe, in which a shotgun-wielding Monis took customers and workers captive and made a series of demands, including that he be delivered a flag of the Islamic State group. The standoff ended when police stormed the cafe. Monis was killed, along with two hostages.

  • Hezbollah vows to expand involvement in Syria's civil war

    Updated: Sun, May 24, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of the militant Hezbollah group said Sunday that the region is facing "unprecedented danger" from extremist groups and vowed his fighters will expand their involvement in Syria's civil war in support of government forces. Sheik Hassan Nasrallah spoke during a ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon, vowing to battle Sunni extremists groups such as the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. He said such factions are an "existential threat" to anyone who does not agree with their ideology. Hezbollah openly joined President Bashar Assad forces in the civil war in 2013 and its fighters have been taking part in a major battle in recent weeks against jihadis in the Qa

  • Official: Syrian army preparing for counterattack on IS

    Updated: Sun, May 24, 2015

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Syrian army is deploying troops in areas near the ancient town of Palmyra in apparent preparation for a counterattack to retake it from the Islamic State group, an official said. Gov. Talal Barazi of the central province of Homs, which includes Palmyra, told The Associated Press Sunday that IS members have "committed mass massacres in the city of Palmyra" since they captured it on Wednesday. He said IS fighters took many civilians, including women, to unknown destinations. Activists in the town have said that IS fighters have hunted down President Bashar Assad's loyalist since taking the town, killing some 280 people.




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