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  • Bombings kill at least 16 people in northern Iraq

    Updated: Sun, Apr 13, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Bombings targeting security forces in northern Iraq killed at least 16 people Sunday, authorities said, as the country prepares for a crucial election later this month. In the deadliest attack, an explosives-laden parked car exploded as a joint Iraqi army and police patrol passed through a busy commercial area in Mosul, killing five civilians and five security personnel, a police officer said. He said the blast wounded 12. A medical official confirmed the figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information. Mosul is located about 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad.

  • Report: Iran's border guards start limited drill

    Updated: Sun, Apr 13, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian state television is reporting that a four-day, limited drill for border guards has begun in five provinces near the Islamic Republic's border with Iraq. The report quoted border guard chief Hossein Zolfaghari as saying that the drill began Sunday. Zolfaghari said the drill is designed to enhance the level of preparedness on the country's border and that more than 4,000 border guards will take part. Zolfaghari also said this maneuver includes drones, bulletproof cars and balloons. Iran fought an eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, though relations have warmed recently. Iran's borders have been a route for weapons smuggling.

  • Iraqi officials say car bombing in country's north kills at least 10 people, wounds 12

    Updated: Sun, Apr 13, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi officials say car bombing in country's north kills at least 10 people, wounds 12.

  • Mideast's busiest air hub plans runway overhaul

    Updated: Sun, Apr 13, 2014

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Officials say Dubai airport, the Mideast's busiest, will undergo a major runway overhaul starting next month that will see more than a dozen airlines shift flights to another airport in the city. Dubai Airports said Sunday that two runways at Dubai International Airport will be closed at alternate times during the project, which includes resurfacing one of the runways, lighting upgrades and construction of extra taxiways. The work begins May 1 and runs through July 20. Fourteen airlines that currently fly out of the airport, including budget carrier FlyDubai, will temporarily move at least some flights to the alternate Dubai World Central airport during the project. Dubai's main carrier Em

  • Iran calls off plan to send warships to Atlantic

    Updated: Sun, Apr 13, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's semi-official Fars news agency is reporting that the country has temporarily called off a plan to dispatch warships to the Atlantic Ocean. The Sunday report quoted Iran's navy chief Admiral Habibollah Sayyari as saying such changes of naval plans are routine, "considering the situation in the region." Sayyari did not say why Iran changed the plan but said that "when piracy increases in the Gulf of Aden some changes will be applied in the assignments." He said another fleet would be sent to the Atlantic Ocean in the future, but did not elaborate. Iran in January said it had launched two warships on a three-month voyage to the Atlantic to demonstrate the country's ability to project powe

  • Suspected al-Qaida militants kill 3 Yemen soldiers

    Updated: Sun, Apr 13, 2014

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's Interior Ministry says suspected al-Qaida militants have ambushed troops from the country's special forces, killing two soldiers and wounding five others. The ministry's information center said the troops were ambushed Saturday after returning to their base in the Bayda province, south of the capital, Sanaa. The wounded were taken to a hospital there. In another attack, a security official said two suspected al-Qaida militants on a motorcycle shot a security man in Sanaa, killing him instantly and taking his weapon before fleeing the scene. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

  • Poison gas claims complicate Syrian civil war

    Updated: Sat, Apr 12, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — Both sides in Syria's bloody civil war said Saturday that a rural village fell victim to a poison gas attack, an assault that reportedly injured scores of people amid an ongoing international effort to rid the country of chemical weapons. What exactly happened Friday in Kfar Zeita, a rebel-held village in Hama province some 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Damascus, remains unclear and likely won't be known for some time. It took United Nations weapons inspectors months to say it was likely some chemical weapons attacks happened last year, including an August attack that killed hundreds and nearly sparked Western airstrikes against President Bashar Assad's forces.

  • Lawyer: Ex-Marine gets 10-year sentence in Iran

    Updated: Sat, Apr 12, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian appeals court has overturned a death sentence of a former U.S. Marine convicted of working for the CIA, instead sentencing him to 10 years in prison, his lawyer said Saturday. Amir Hekmati, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen born in Arizona, was arrested in August 2011, then tried, convicted and sentenced to death for spying. Iranian prosecutors said Hekmati received special training and served at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before heading to Iran as a spy. Hekmati's family and the U.S. government repeatedly has denied the 31 year old is a spy, instead saying he traveled to Iran to visit his grandmother. Iran's Supreme Court annulled the death sentence after Hekmati appealed, or

  • Islamist gets 1 year for contempt of Egypt court

    Updated: Sat, Apr 12, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — A court in Egypt has sentenced an ultraconservative Islamist who is an ally of ousted President Mohammed Morsi to one year in prison for insulting the judiciary during his trial. Saturday's verdict is the second one-year sentence Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail has received on similar charges. Judge Mohammed Sherine Fahmy gave him one in January for contempt of the court. Abu-Ismail, a former presidential hopeful, is being tried for allegedly concealing the fact his mother was a U.S. citizen in order to qualify for the 2012 presidential election. The law bars anyone whose parents hold any other nationality from running. On Saturday, Abu-Ismail mocked the trial, saying his court-appointed lawyer was biased. Fahmy e

  • Kuwait opposition figure promises new protests

    Updated: Sat, Apr 12, 2014

    KUWAIT CITY (AP) — A Kuwaiti opposition group led by a former lawmaker convicted of making comments considered insulting to the ruling emir says it plans to launch a series of street protests to press for reform in the Gulf state. Former lawmaker Musallam al-Barrack announced the plans at a gathering Saturday. He says his reform agenda includes allowing people to run for the position of prime minister. Currently, prime ministers are appointed by the emir and are from the ruling family. Al-Barrack is known in Kuwait for an October 2012 speech where he suggested that the emir was trying to turn the country into an "autocracy.

  • Iraq: Official disputes assassination allegation

    Updated: Sat, Apr 12, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — The head of the military command in Iraq's Anbar province on Saturday disputed claims by supporters of the country's deputy prime minister that he faced an assassination attempt a day earlier while traveling west of Baghdad. Shots were fired Friday as Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq's convoy was on the outskirts of the greater Baghdad area, near the border with the restive, Sunni-dominated Anbar province. The circumstances of what happened are in dispute. A Sunni lawmaker accompanying al-Mutlaq, Talal al-Zobaie, said after the shooting that a group of armed men in army uniforms opened fire at their convoy, triggering a firefight. Sam Patten, a U.S.

  • Hezbollah develops new tactics in Syrian civil war

    Updated: Sat, Apr 12, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — The commandos infiltrated Syrian rebel-held territory near the Lebanese border, watching rebel fighters come and go from a two-story villa before slipping inside to plant a powerful bomb. The next morning, they detonated it as three rebel explosive experts and four assistants met inside, turning the villa to rubble in seconds. The operation late last month in Syria's western Qalamoun region was carried out by fighters from Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group, several Lebanese officials close to the militants have told The Associated Press. The Shiite group has sent hundreds of its fighters into Syria to shore up President Bashar Assad's overstretched troops, helping them gain ground around the capital, Damascus, and

  • Attempted Libya jailbreak leaves 2 prisoners dead

    Updated: Sat, Apr 12, 2014

    TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libya's justice minister says that an attempted jailbreak at a prison outside Tripoli left two prisoners dead. Salah al-Marghani said Saturday that the prisoners tried to overpower their guards and burn the main building late Friday. One of those killed was a non-Libyan, he said, without specifying the nationality. Al-Marghani also said that a day earlier, 10 prisoners escaped when a group of gunmen attacked a vehicle transporting them from the Ayn Zara prison to a Tripoli court. Libya has experienced a security vacuum since the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, including a series of prison breaks. In the absence of a strong police and military, the government relies on militi

  • Bahrain bomb blast wounds policeman

    Updated: Sat, Apr 12, 2014

    MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Bahrain's interior ministry says a homemade bomb has exploded just outside the capital, Manama, wounding a policeman. The ministry says the blast happened Friday in the village of Daih. The same area was the scene of a bomb attack in March that killed three policemen. An investigation into the blast is ongoing. Bahrain is an island nation in the Persian Gulf that is home to the U.S. navy's Fifth Fleet. It has faced three years of unrest following an uprising led by its Shiite Muslim community demanding greater rights from the Sunni monarchy. Anti-government elements increasingly have been using homemade bombs against security forces.

  • Syria war deepens fears for Lebanon's missing

    Updated: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — For 22 years, Mary Mansourati has been waiting for her son, Dani, to come home. His shirts are ironed and hanging in his closet. His trousers, neatly folded, are stacked on the shelves next to his bed in the family's Beirut apartment. Dani was 30 when he was detained by Syrian intelligence and has not been heard from since. He is among an estimated 17,000 Lebanese still missing from Lebanon's civil war or the years of Syrian domination that followed. The war in Syria has added new urgency to the plight of their families. Hundreds of Lebanese were detained by the Syrians, and their relatives are convinced they are still alive. Now they fear they will be lost in Syria's labyrinth of overcrowded jails and detenti

  • Palestinians condemn Israeli sanctions as 'piracy'

    Updated: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — The Palestinian negotiator in Mideast peace talks is calling Israel's decision to stop tax money transfers "piracy." Saeb Erekat said Friday that "the Israeli decision to withhold these funds is piracy. ... It cannot be maintained." He also said talks persist, though "gaps remain big." Erekat spoke a day after an Israeli official said Israel would stop the tax money transfers in retaliation for the Palestinians pushing to sign up for more recognition from international agencies and treaties. That comes after Israel failed to release Palestinian prisoners as promised and moved forward with more settlements in land Palestinians want for their future capital. Israel collects about $100 million a month in

  • Syria death toll from rebel infighting rises to 68

    Updated: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — The death toll from infighting between rival Islamic rebel groups in an eastern Syrian town has risen 68 killed, with some shot after being captured alive, activists said Friday. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said battles raged Friday for a second day in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province near the Iraqi border. It said the fighting concentrated in the village of Haseen after members of the al-Qaida breakaway group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were forced out of the nearby town of Bukamal.

  • Protests in Libya's capital cause fuel crisis

    Updated: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — The Libyan government has blamed a fuel crisis in the country's capital on protests that have blocked the roads to the main western oil terminal, leaving gas stations without new supplies. On Friday, protesters used piles of sand to block all roads to the Zawiya port, demanding early parliamentary and presidential elections, and increased security in the country's restive east. The government condemned the protesters' actions as "unacceptable" and said that oil tankers were in Zawiya port ready to be unloaded. Zawiya port is the main source of refined gasoline for Tripoli and western Libya. The oil-rich country must export crude oil and import gasoline from abroad.

  • Social challenges as Saudis draw throne's future

    Updated: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — While Saudi Arabia's royals work out the succession of the throne behind closed doors, a few voices are raising the most sensitive matter of all in the kingdom, questioning the ruling Al Saud family's claim to absolute power and its unchecked rights to the country's oil wealth. At least 10 Saudis in the past weeks have posted video statements on YouTube sharply criticizing the royal family and demanding change. At least three of those who appeared in videos have since been arrested, along with seven others connected to the videos, security officials told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.

  • African migrants in Israel hold Passover meal

    Updated: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    HOLOT DETENTION FACILITY, Israel (AP) — Hundreds of African migrants gathered in Israel's Negev desert Friday to eat matzo and recall the Passover story, mere steps away from a detention facility where they are being held. The symbolic Passover seder, a festive meal to be held by Jews around the world Monday night, was organized to draw attention to the plight of Israel's migrants, who themselves fled persecution and conflict, yet face detention under the country's infiltrators law. Israel has struggled with how to deal with the African migrants, who number around 50,000 and the government views as illegal economic migrants.