• Arab-Israeli political leaders reject Netanyahu's apology

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Arab political leaders in Israel on Tuesday rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's apology for comments he made in last week's national elections that offended members of the Arab community and said his words made him unsuitable to return for a third consecutive term on the job. The spat has touched on longstanding claims of discrimination by Israel's Arab minority, which makes up 20 percent of the Jewish state, and signaled that the rift will not be healed anytime soon. An Arab advocacy center in Israel said the country's national elections brought an "unprecedented level of racist incitement" against the minority community.

  • Canada to conduct airstrikes against IS group in Syria

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    TORONTO (AP) — Canada is expanding its military mission against the Islamic State group to include airstrikes on targets in Syria, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Tuesday. Harper told Parliament that he will not seek "the express consent" of the President Bashar Assad government for the airstrikes, but will work closely with allies who have been carrying out such airstrikes against IS over Syria in recent months. Canada will be the first NATO country, other than the United States, to conduct airstrikes in Syria. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have also done so. Canadian airstrikes have been limited to IS targets in Iraq thus far. Canada also has 69 special forces soldiers training K

  • Egypt fires forensics official over comments on killed woman

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's forensics authority on Tuesday dismissed a doctor who said last weekend that a female protester killed by police in January died because she did not have enough body fat to protect against shotgun pellets. Authority head Mahmoud Ahmed Ali also said in his statement that all doctors and officials at the authority are banned from making comments to the media or providing them with any information about their work. The doctor, then-spokesman Hisham Abdel-Hamid, told a television program last weekend that Shaimaa el-Sabbagh was shot from around 8 meters (26 feet) away and died in what was a rare incident at that distance where shotgun pellets managed to penetrate her heart and lungs because she was "very sk

  • Iraq's top diplomat meets with Syria's Assad in Damascus

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Iraq's foreign minister has held talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad that focused on threats facing both countries, including the Islamic State group. Ibrahim al-Jaafari met with Assad during a one-day trip to Damascus on Tuesday. He says they discussed "Syrian and Iraqi issues, and the common dangers that threaten our security." Al-Jaafari told reporters that he hopes to boost cooperation between Iraq and Syria to defeat those threats. Al-Jaafari also met with his Syrian counterpart, Walid al-Moallem, during his visit. The Islamic State group has seized large segments of both Syria and Iraq. The Syrian government also faces a revolt against President Bashar Assad. Damascus calls all

  • Both Islamic State group, Syria government slow down aid: UN

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A new U.N. report says the delivery of aid to millions inside Syria is becoming even more difficult as the Islamic State group closes down humanitarian efforts and Syria's government puts more obstacles in the way. The U.N. secretary-general's latest monthly report says 700,000 people in areas controlled by the Islamic State group again went without food assistance in February after the World Food Program had to halt deliveries. The areas include parts of Aleppo and the group's de facto capital of Raqqa. At the same time, Ban Ki-moon's report says Syria's government has started asking for lists of beneficiaries before aid can be delivered, and that all communication with government ministries should go

  • Militant attacks in Egypt's Sinai kill 2 troops, policeman

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Suspected Islamic militants killed two Egyptian soldiers and a police conscript in attacks in the restive northeastern Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday, security officials said. In the first attack, a roadside bomb struck a passing armored vehicle, killing the two troops. The vehicle was taking part in a search for Islamic extremists in the village of al-Kharouba, near the border with the Gaza Strip. The bombing also wounded six soldiers who are in serious condition, said the officials. Separately, in the peninsula city of el-Arish, a young conscript was shot to death in a drive-by shooting by suspected militants Tuesday, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized

  • Egypt, Ethiopia hope for long-term Nile River cooperation

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The leaders of Ethiopia and Egypt say they hope ongoing talks over sharing the waters of the Nile River will lead to a final agreement. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi told reporters in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, where he is on an official visit, that Ethiopia and Egypt are "on the right path to cooperation." Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said he will hold direct talks with el-Sissi at least once a year either in Addis Ababa or Cairo. Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on Monday signed an initial agreement on sharing Nile waters as Ethiopia continues to build a contentious new dam. Cairo previously had voiced fears that Ethiopia's $4.

  • UN calls for Libya unity government, presidential council

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    RABAT, Morocco (AP) — The United Nations wants to keep Libya's elected parliament and set up a unity government led by independents, it announced Tuesday in a statement outlining its proposed solution to a conflict that has effectively split the country in half. The internationally recognized government and elected parliament have been confined to the far east since Islamist-allied militias seized the capital Tripoli last year and set up a rival government. The two sides have been negotiating in Morocco for the past three weeks to end months of fighting -- the bloodiest since the 2011 overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. U.N. envoy Bernardino Leon visited both Tobruk and Tripoli, where he presented ideas to expedite the t

  • Nusra Front quietly rises in Syria as Islamic State targeted

    Updated: Tue, Mar 24, 2015

    BEIRUT (AP) — The Nusra Front, Syria's al-Qaida affiliate, is consolidating power in territory stretching from the Turkish border to central and southern Syria, crushing moderate opponents and forcibly converting minorities using tactics akin to its ultraconservative rival, the Islamic State group. But while the Islamic State group gets most of the attention largely because its penchant for gruesome propaganda, the Nusra Front quietly has become one of the key players in the four-year civil war, compromising other rebel groups the West may try to work with while increasingly enforcing its own brutal version of Islamic law.

  • Canada to extend anti-IS mission, strike targets in Syria

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    TORONTO (AP) — Canada's prime minister will announce a one-year extension of its military mission against the Islamic State group and expand it to include air strikes on targets in Syria, a senior government official said Monday. The official confirmed the details and said Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make the announcement in Parliament on Tuesday morning. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. Harper had said he'll provide details about extending and expanding the mission this week. It's due to expire in April. Canada has 69 special forces soldiers training Kurdish peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq.

  • Israel's Netanyahu apologizes to country's Arab minority

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Israel's Arab citizens on Monday for remarks he made during last week's parliament election that offended members of the community. The move appeared to be an attempt to heal rifts and mute criticism at home and in the United States. Netanyahu drew accusations of racism in Israel, especially from its Arab minority, and a White House rebuke when, just a few hours before polling stations were to close across the country, he warned that Arab citizens were voting "in droves." But President Barack Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough, rejected Netanyahu's attempt to distance himself from his comments, telling an Israel advocacy group Monday that the U.S.

  • AP Analysis: Is Israel democratic? Not so clear

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Is Israel a democracy? The answer is not so straightforward, and it increasingly matters given the diplomatic fallout over hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election last week. The displeasure felt in some quarters over his win has placed front and center the world community's unwritten obligation to accept the results of a truly democratic vote. It is a basic tenet of the modern order which has survived the occasional awkward election result — as well as recent decades' emergence of some less-than-pristine democracies around the globe. For Israel, the argument is especially piquant, because its claim to be the only true democracy in the Middle East has been key to its branding and its vitally important c

  • Ex-Guantanamo detainee in Uruguay wants to discuss future

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — A former Guantanamo Bay detainee who led hunger strikes as a prisoner and was resettled in Uruguay along with five other ex-inmates said Monday he had requested a meeting with the foreign minister to talk about the men's future in the South American country. Abu Wa'el Dhiab told The Associated Press that he had requested a meeting with Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa to speak "about everything here." Dhiab, from Syria, declined to confirm a Washington Post report on Saturday that quoted him as saying he planned a hunger strike outside the U.S. embassy to protest the men's current situation and demand that the United States help them financially. "I don't know if I'm going to do a hunger s

  • Morocco: Militants got weapons through Spanish enclave

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    SALE, Morocco (AP) — A militant cell in Morocco linked to the radical Islamic State group obtained its weapons through the Spanish enclave of Melilla, authorities announced on Monday. Morocco's new Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation on Sunday busted a multi-city militant network aimed at kidnapping military and political figures in this North African country. The bureau's director, Abdelkader Khiyam, showed journalists six handguns, ammunition and computers confiscated from the 13 people arrested — most in the southern coastal town of Agadir. There are two Spanish cities on Morocco's northern coast, one of which is Melilla, where the weapons had come from.

  • Egyptian president decrees new law for Suez investment

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's president issued a decree to modify laws governing the development of the Suez Canal on Monday, allowing funds generated from bond sales for the canal's expansion to be used to create new infrastructure and industries and draw foreign investment. Companies and states recently pledged several billions of dollars to build up the area, including installations to store grain and set up logistics hubs in cities along the vital waterway. The canal itself is currently undergoing an expansion to allow two-way traffic that is scheduled to open in August. That project was funded by a bond issue that collected $8.5 billion in just eight days by selling non-tradable certificates with a maturity of five years at 12

  • Kuwait's police break up march of hundreds of protesters

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    KUWAIT CITY (AP) — A human rights activist says Kuwait's riot police used batons against hundreds of protesters who were marching for the release of a key opposition leader. Rights activist Nawaf al-Hendal says the protesters included women and former members of parliament. He says at least a dozen people were arrested in the melee. The protesters are supporters of former opposition lawmaker Musallam al-Barrack, who was sentenced last month to two years in prison for insulting the country's monarch during a rally in 2012. They have been holding weekly protests for the past month in Kuwait City's Irada Square, where protests are permitted.

  • Turkish MP: US, Canadian med students among group in Syria

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    ISTANBUL (AP) — A Turkish opposition lawmaker said Monday that an American and a Canadian are among a group of doctors and medical students believed to have traveled from Turkey into territory in Syria controlled by the Islamic State group. Mehmet Ali Ediboglu said Monday the group consists of 11 people of Sudanese origin, seven British citizens, two Sudanese, one American and one Canadian. He had previously told The Associated Press that the group consisted of nine British medical students and doctors. The lawmaker is helping family members of the group, who are in Turkey trying to find them. They believe the students have gone to Syria to provide medical assistance.

  • Yemen FM: President Hadi calls for Gulf military, UN action

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has asked Gulf countries to intervene militarily against Shiite rebels who have seized the capital and are advancing toward his new base in the south, his foreign minister told Saudi media Monday. Riad Yassin said Hadi has also asked the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone so that the rebels, known as Houthis, cannot use the airports they seized. He accused the rebels of being a proxy of Shiite Iran, charges they deny. Yassin spoke to Saudi-owned Al-Hadath TV on Monday. He made similar comments to the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.

  • Oman ruler returns after months of treatment in Europe

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Oman's ailing 74-year-old leader, who has ruled the country for more than four decades, returned Monday after several months of treatment in Germany. Oman's state TV carried video of Sultan Qaboos bin Said walking down the stairs from his private jet and across a red carpet on the tarmac Monday. A royal court statement said he had returned after eight months of medical treatment abroad. The sultan has no immediate heir and has ruled over the Gulf Arab state since 1970. The video of him arriving in Oman and walking down the stairs appeared aimed at easing concerns about his health and reign, which are seen as integral to the country's stability.

  • Syrian rebels shell city of Aleppo, killing at least 13

    Updated: Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian rebels fired mortar rounds into government-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo during rush hour Monday, killing 13 people and wounding dozens, state-run TV and an activist group said. The violence was the latest in the flare-up in Aleppo, Syria's largest city and once its commercial hub. Last month, Syrian troops and pro-government militias launched an offensive in an attempt to besiege rebel-held parts of the city and since then, intense fighting has been taking place on the city's outskirts. On Monday, state TV aired footage from Aleppo showing the wounded and the dead as they were being brought to a hospital in the city. It said the shelling killed 13 and wounded as many as 30, some of




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