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  • A look at the missing in Middle East's conflicts

    Updated: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese families have long sought to know the fates of the missing from the country's civil war and post-war years, and now the civil war in Syria is adding yet another generation to the long rolls of missing from the Middle East's conflicts. Here is a look at the numbers from several countries in the region. LEBANON There has been no serious state-led effort in Lebanon to register the numbers of dead, injured, missing in the country's 1975-90 civil war and the three-decade Syrian domination of the country that followed. The International Center for Transitional Justice estimated in a recent report that at the end of the war in 1990 more than 17,000 were presumed to be missing.

  • UAE: Paramedic dies from MERS, others infected

    Updated: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A paramedic in the United Arab Emirates has died after contracting Middle East respiratory syndrome and five others have tested positive for the virus, the Gulf nation's interior ministry said Friday. The death came as Jordanian health officials reported a new case of the disease, which is related to SARS, and three days after authorities in neighboring Saudi Arabia reported that 11 people, including health-care workers, had contracted the disease in the western city of Jiddah. All six paramedics who contracted the virus in the UAE are Filipino nationals working for the Interior Ministry in the oasis city of Al Ain, according to a report by state news agency WAM quoting the ministry. It di

  • Kuwait orders secret probe into coup allegations

    Updated: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    KUWAIT CITY (AP) — The Kuwaiti prosecutor's office has ordered a secret probe into a videotape that contains allegations that a number of people conspired to overthrow the government and called for a media blackout of the investigation. The official Kuwait News Agency reported that Public Prosecutor Dherar al-Asousi ordered that news broadcasts about the investigation be banned. It says the tape condemns "some persons of plotting to topple the ruling system and contesting rights and jurisdictions" of the country's ruling emir, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah. He says Thursday's order was taken in order to preserve the public interest, and that his office will make details of the investigation public as soon as it is fin

  • Egypt military: Prominent militant killed in Sinai

    Updated: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's military said its forces on Friday killed a prominent Islamic militant in the Sinai Peninsula, part of a campaign against extremist groups that have carried out a string of attacks, bombings and assassinations on police and soldiers extending to the capital. Col. Ahmed Ali, a military spokesman, identified the slain militant as Nour Hamdeen, calling him "one of the most prominent, dangerous extremists." Security officials said Hamdeen belonged to Ansar Beit al-Muqdis, Arabic for Champions of Jerusalem, the al-Qaida-inspired group that has claimed responsibility for the biggest attacks of recent months. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.

  • Israeli peace activist Ron Pundak dies at 59

    Updated: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Ron Pundak, an Israeli academic and peace activist who was instrumental in initiating peace talks with the Palestinians in the 1990s, died Friday. He was 59. Israeli media reported that Pundak died after a long illness. Pundak helped initiate backdoor communications between Israel and the Palestinians that paved the way for interim peace accords between the two sides. The agreements — known as the Oslo Accords, after the secret talks in Norway that preceded them — created the Palestinian Authority and set up autonomous zones for the Palestinians. The landmark talks ultimately failed to yield a final peace agreement.

  • Iraq's deputy PM escapes assassination attempt

    Updated: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's deputy prime minister escaped an assassination attempt in which militants dressed as soldiers opened fire on his convoy west of Baghdad on Friday, according to an Iraqi lawmaker and a statement from the deputy premier's office. No one claimed responsibility for the attack — the latest violence as the country heads toward crucial parliamentary elections on April 30. But Islamic militants have in the past frequently targeted officials in their effort to undermine confidence in the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

  • Video shows suicide bomber who killed 16 in Egypt

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — An al-Qaida inspired group in Egypt posted a video online Thursday showing a suicide bomber attacking a security headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, an assault that killed 16 people in December. The video by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or the Champions of Jerusalem, also said the suicide bomber previously was injured in Islamist demonstrations against the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi by Egypt's military. The comment marks the first time a suicide bomber in the widening campaign of militant attacks striking Egypt has been directly linked to demonstrating Morsi supporters. The 16-minute video named the bomber as Imam Mahfouz or Abu Mariam.

  • Report: Syria rebel infighting kills 51 fighters

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    BEIRUT (AP) — Fierce infighting between rival Islamic rebel groups in eastern Syria killed more than 50 fighters Thursday, an opposition group said, while government shelling left at least four teenagers dead in a town in the country's west. The rebel infighting took place around the town of Bukamal in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province near the Iraqi border between rebels from the al-Qaida breakaway group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and fighters of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and other Islamic groups. The two sides have fought each other for months other over territory they previously captured together from President Bashar Assad's forces. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said

  • Official: Israel to withhold Palestinian tax fees

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The Israeli government will stop transferring tax money to the Palestinians in retaliation for their recent drive for further United Nations recognition, an Israeli official said Thursday, putting at risk hundreds of millions of dollars needed to run their government. The move marks Israel's toughest sanction yet since U.S.-brokered peace talks have faltered. The Palestinians owe Israeli companies hundreds of millions of dollars for electricity, power and other services. The Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity as he wasn't authorized to speak publicly, said Israel would deduct the Palestinian debt against its monthly transfer of tax money that it collects for the Palestinians.

  • Cash-strapped Hamas turns to e-bullets

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — In a long hallway that looks more like a videogame arcade than a military base, Hamas security forces are holding target practice using assault rifles fitted with lasers — all without firing a bullet. For the cash-strapped Hamas government, the system is a much-needed money saver that eliminates the need to train with live ammunition, which is in short supply in Gaza. Hamas also says the quiet, indoor facility is less likely to attract the attention of the Israeli military than the open-air firing ranges that are frequently targeted in airstrikes.

  • Animal videos shown at Egypt's Al-Jazeera trial

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian prosecutors presented their first evidence Thursday to back up charges that three journalists from the Al-Jazeera satellite news network and their co-defendants participated in terrorism, playing to the court an assortment of videos found in their possession. They included news clips about an animal hospital with donkeys and horses, and another about Christian life in Egypt. Defense lawyers — and even the judge — dismissed the videos as irrelevant, while defendants shouted from the dock that the trial was "a complete joke" and "an embarrassment to Egypt.

  • Report: Iranians protest burying American scholar

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian news agency says dozens of people have protested against the expected burial of an American scholar in the country's historic city of Isfahan. The semi-official Fars news agency reported Thursday that Richard Frye, who founded Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, had wished to be buried next to the Zayandeh River in Isfahan, some 340 kilometers (210 miles) south of the capital, Tehran. It says former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad approved Frye's request in September 2007. Despite that, Fars says dozens protested Thursday against Frye's expected burial. Fars quoted Mohammad Taghi Rahbar, a lawmaker and local Friday prayer leader, as saying Iran should not allow "Western garbag

  • AP Interview: Arab League chief backs peace talks

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    CAIRO (AP) — The head of the Arab League said Thursday he is confident that Israel and the Palestinians soon will resolve a crisis over the release of long-held Palestinian prisoners and extend their U.S.-brokered peace negotiations beyond an April deadline. Nabil Elaraby told The Associated Press that the April 29 deadline would be extended and rejected the idea that the talks have failed to make progress. "I believe that negotiations are going to be resumed for several months and we hope that this will be the end of it," Elaraby said at the Nile-side Cairo headquarters of the Arab League. Elaraby, a longtime Egyptian diplomat, did not elaborate, but he did say that he "had contact" with U.S. Secretary of State John

  • Over 150 migrants rescued off Libyan coast

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Authorities in Libya say that more than 150 sub-Saharan African migrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast. Deputy head of naval operations in Tripoli, Mohamed al-Baty, said Thursday that a Libyan gang led one group of migrants to think the lights of a Libyan oil field were the lights of Europe. Al-Baty says those aboard were Nigerian, Ghanaian, and Senegalese and are currently detained in Libyan. Also Thursday, a naval spokesman said the Libyan coast guard detained 108 migrants, among them 35 women, from a boat near the coastal city of Tajoura. Many sub-Saharan African migrants leave Libyan shores by boat every year bound for Europe in hopes of a better life.

  • Officials say car bombs in Iraq's capital kill 16

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Two car bombs exploded in Shiite neighborhoods of Iraq's capital Thursday night, killing at least 16 people as violence roars on before a crucial election later this month, authorities said. The first blast struck Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Sadr City in a commercial area, killing at least 11 people and wounding 21, police said. The second explosion hit a commercial street in Baghdad's southeastern al-Ameen district, killing at least five people and wounding 13, police said. Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures from the attacks. All official spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to speak to journalists.

  • Ultra-Orthodox Jews clash with Israeli police

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police say hundreds of ultra-Orthodox protesters have clashed with police in a demonstration against military conscription. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says protesters in Jerusalem hurled stones and bottles at police and set trash bins on fire. He said police on horseback pushed them back and five were arrested. Thursday's protest was meant as a show of support for an ultra-Orthodox man who refused to appear at a recruitment center. Israel recently passed a contentious law aiming to gradually increase ultra-Orthodox enlistment. A system of military exemptions for ultra-Orthodox men has bred resentment among Israel's secular majority, whose sons serve three years.

  • Iraq scrambles to fight polio surge amid conflict

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Across parts of Iraq, medical teams in white coats and gloves again roam the streets giving children polio vaccines and marking the walls of their homes, fighting a resurgent virus once more taking advantage of the country's turmoil. The World Health Organization declared Iraq polio free in 1990, just before Saddam Hussein launched his invasion of Kuwait. The virus returned and health officials' efforts saw the last case reported in 2000 — until a 6-month-old boy contracted it in March in a north Baghdad neighborhood.

  • Sudan expels UN official for 'interfering'

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Sudan's state news agency says authorities have asked a United Nations official to leave the country, saying that she interfered in Sudan's internal affairs. SUNA on Wednesday quoted Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abu Bakr el-Seddiq as confirming the expulsion of Pamela DeLargy, head of the U.N. Population Fund office in Sudan. The Sudanese government told the UN representative in Sudan this step will not affect their cooperation and that it is not targeting the Population Fund itself. El-Seddiq added that Sudan would welcome an alternative to DeLargy who he said had "violated the regulations." He did not give any other details. In 2012, a U.N. human rights officer was forced to leave th

  • In Libya, politicians in fear of powerful militias

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — In a humiliating video, Libya's top politician — the head of parliament — is seen begging with a militia commander, trying to explain to him why he was caught with two women in his residence and insisting nothing scandalous was going on. "In God's name," Nouri Abu Sahmein tells the militiaman, Haitham al-Tajouri. "I'm hiding nothing from you, Haitham." Visibly afraid, Abu Sahmein tells him the women claimed to have "sensitive information" at a time he has received tips about a cell plotting to assassinate him. "I want to close this all up, but I want to understand. I am not a fool," the militia commander replies, speaking from off camera.

  • Israel launches new spy satellite

    Updated: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's Defense Ministry said on Thursday that it has successfully launched a new observation satellite into orbit, one which is expected to be used to observe Iran and hostile militant groups in the Middle East. According to the announcement, the Israeli-made "Ofek 10" satellite was launched late Wednesday in cooperation with state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries. The satellite has already begun transmitting data and visual material. It is expected to be operational within months. Israel is expected to use the satellite to keep tabs on Iran and the region. It believes Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon — a charge Iran denies — and accuses it of arming militants across the region.