• Call for responsive governments at Dubai summit amid turmoil

    Updated: Mon, Feb 8, 2016

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders called on governments to be responsive to and inclusive of their citizens at a conference in Dubai on Monday, as the unrest of the Arab Spring reverberates across the Middle East. Those gathered for the World Government Summit offered no immediate solutions to the crises gripping the region, from low global oil prices and global warming to violent extremism. But all acknowledged that keeping government responsive to its citizens remains crucial. "As we've seen in the tumult across the Middle East and North Africa, when governments do not lift up their citizens, it's a recipe for instability and strife," Obama said in a video address shown

  • Saudi police: No injuries in blast in capital

    Updated: Mon, Feb 8, 2016

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Police in Saudi Arabia say an explosion damaged cars in the capital, Riyadh, but did not wound anyone. The state-run Saudi Press Agency said the blast happened Monday morning and that police were alerted to the explosion by a citizen. The brief report offered no details on what caused the blast. It said the explosion shattered the windows of nearby cars. Saudi Arabia currently faces attacks from the Islamic State group, which controls territory in Iraq and Syria. Saudi Arabia is part of a U.S.-led coalition targeting the extremists.

  • Red Cross in Gaza reopens office after violent protests

    Updated: Mon, Feb 8, 2016

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross says it has reopened its Gaza office after closing it the previous day in response to repeated attempts by protesters to storm it. Spokeswoman Suhair Zakkout said Monday all normal activities were resumed after "discussions" with officials from Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules the Gaza Strip. She declined to elaborate. Dozens of Gazans have protested daily at the office in recent weeks in solidarity with a Palestinian hunger striker detained by Israel, demanding that the Red Cross help bring about his release. They tried to enter the building forcefully on Sunday, causing damage. Mohammed al-Qeq, a 33-year old journalist, has been on

  • Syria troops make more gains in Aleppo, near Turkish border

    Updated: Mon, Feb 8, 2016

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian army troops recaptured a new village north of Aleppo Monday, bringing troops and allied militiamen to within a few kilometers of the Turkish border as part of a major Russian-backed offensive in the area, the Syrian government and opposition activists said. State-run news agency SANA said army troops took control of the village of Kfeen in the northern countryside of Aleppo "after wiping out the last group of terrorists there." Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV and the pro-Syrian, Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen station also reported Kfeen's capture and aired live footage from the village. The government offensive around the city of Aleppo has sent tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing toward the border with Turke

  • Qatar acquires stake in Chevron oil project off Morocco

    Updated: Mon, Feb 8, 2016

    DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The Qatari state oil company, Qatar Petroleum, says it has reached a deal with Chevron to acquire 30 percent of its stake in offshore drilling areas in Morocco. Under the terms of the deal announced Monday, Chevron will hold onto a 45-percent interest in the offshore leases, while Morocco will retain a 25 percent stake. Qatar Petroleum says the Moroccan government has approved the deal. The drilling areas are known as Cap Rhir Deep, Cap Cantin Deep and Cap Walidia Deep. They are located 100 to 200 kilometers west and northwest of the city of Agadir. Chevron announced its agreement to explore the offshore areas in 2013. Financial terms were not disclosed.

  • Erdogan: US should choose between Turkey, Kurdish forces

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's president lashed out at the United States a week after President Barack Obama's envoy visited a northern Syrian town that is under the control of Syrian Kurdish forces, which Ankara considers terrorists. In comments published Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Washington should choose between Turkey and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD, as its partner. That came after envoy Brett McGurk's visit to Kobani, where the PYD's military wing, aided by U.S.-led airstrikes, drove back Islamic State militants a year ago. Turkey considers the PYD a terrorist group because of its affiliation with Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

  • Turkey: Reaching limits but will keep taking in refugees

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    KILIS, Turkey (AP) — Turkey has reached the end of its "capacity to absorb" refugees but will continue to take them in, the deputy premier said Sunday, as his country faced mounting pressure to open its border to tens of thousands of Syrians who have fled a government onslaught. The United Arab Emirates meanwhile joined Saudi Arabia in saying that it was open to the idea of sending ground troops to Syria to battle the Islamic State group, raising the possibility of even greater foreign involvement in the five-year-old civil war. Turkish authorities say up to 35,000 Syrians have massed along the border, which remained closed for a third day on Sunday.

  • Hamas kills a local commander for unnamed 'violations'

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, said Sunday that it has killed one of its own commanders over unnamed "moral and behavioral violations." Hamas said in a short Twitter statement that Mahmoud Eshtewi, a local member of the group's military wing, was killed after he confessed. It said the decision to kill Eshtewi, who was detained in January 2015, was taken by its "military and religious judiciary," a previously unheard-of department. Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to the Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. During periods of fighting against Israel, Hamas has killed dozens of Palestinians it accused of spying.

  • Iraq says planned Baghdad wall not change demographics

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    BAGHDAD (AP) — A spokesman for Iraq's prime minister said Sunday that a security wall is being built around Baghdad but that it is "not politically motivated" or aimed at "achieving demographic change." Saad al-Hadithi spoke to The Associated Press after an earlier statement from the prime minister's office seemed to dismiss the idea entirely. "Baghdad is the capital for all Iraqis and it's not possible for a wall or a fence to isolate the city," the earlier statement said. The plan for the wall was originally drafted by the Interior Ministry as an effort to curb near-daily attacks carried out by the Islamic State group and cut down on checkpoints inside the city that snarl traffic. The Interior Ministry's spokesman,

  • Egyptian police kill 4 suspected militants south of Cairo

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's Interior Ministry says it has killed four "terrorist elements" in a gunfight after security forces raided a house south of Cairo where they were making explosives. The ministry said Sunday the four were members of the Ajnad Misr, or Soldiers of Egypt militant group. It says they were making explosives in a rented house in a village south of Cairo. The ministry did not say whether anyone was arrested. It said the four are suspected of killing a soldier, two policemen and a civilian, as well as blowing up an empty police car and a checkpoint that was under construction, and setting fire to police property. Ajnad Misr has claimed responsibility for several attacks since the 2013 military overthrow of

  • Slain Italian student in Egypt suffered 'inhuman' violence

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    ROME (AP) — A second autopsy on the body of an Italian found slain in Egypt reveals that the doctoral student suffered "inhuman, animal-like" violence, Italy's interior minister said Sunday as he pressed Egypt's president to fully cooperate with the criminal investigation. Rome prosecutors have opened a murder investigation into the death of Giulio Regeni, whose battered corpse was found near a highway outside Cairo nine days after he was reported missing in the Egyptian capital. Italy's ambassador, who viewed the body a few hours after Egyptian authorities told Italy about its discovery on Feb.

  • Red Cross in Gaza closes office due to violent protests

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The International Committee of the Red Cross said Sunday it is temporarily closing its Gaza office after protesters repeatedly tried to storm it. Spokeswoman Suhair Zakkout said the office will operate remotely until "local authorities in Gaza provide assurances that our premises, work and staff are respected." Gaza is ruled by Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seized power there in 2007. Dozens of Gazans have protested daily at the office in recent weeks in solidarity with a Palestinian hunger striker detained by Israel, demanding that the Red Cross help bring about his release. They tried to enter the building forcefully on Sunday, smashing garage windows and causing other damage.

  • Jordan: Promised trade perks will help employ Syria refugees

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan's planning minister says his country has been promised easier trade terms by the international community, potentially generating large-scale investment and "hundreds of thousands of job opportunities." Imad Fakhoury told reporters Sunday that creating jobs for Jordanians is a priority, but that the trade commitments could also put 200,000 Syrian refugees to work. Fakhoury spoke after last week's Syria aid conference, where donors pledged more than $10 billion, including aid to 4.6 million refugees and their regional hosts, such as Jordan. Donor countries struggling with a large refugee influx over the past year hope to improve the lives of the displaced and keep them in the region.

  • UAE says it's prepared to send ground forces to Syria

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A top official in the United Arab Emirates said Sunday that his country is prepared to send ground troops to Syria to fight Islamic State militants as part of an international coalition. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash made the comments in the federal capital of Abu Dhabi, days after Saudi Arabia said it is ready to deploy ground forces if leaders of the U.S.-led international coalition fighting the group call for it. Gargash said it has been the Emirates' long-held position that a campaign to defeat the group "has to include ground elements," though his latest comments took on added weight in light of Riyadh's pledge last week.

  • Spanish police arrest 7 on suspicion of jihadi links to IS

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    MADRID (AP) — Spanish police arrested seven suspected members of a jihadi cell linked to the Islamic State group and Jabhat al-Nusra militants during raids Sunday in the eastern provinces of Valencia and Alicante, and in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta. Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said the cell had sent arms, bomb-making materials and electronic equipment to Syria and Iraq in shipments disguised as humanitarian aid. In a statement, police said the cell was well-organized and coordinated by a ringleader who ran a business that enabled him to ship containers with technological supplies, weapons and military equipment from Spanish ports to armed groups in operating in Syria and Iraq.

  • Airstrike hits college in eastern Libyan city, killing 4

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — A Libyan parliamentarian says an airstrike hit a medical technology college in a populated area of the eastern city of Darna, killing four people, including a woman and her son. Hamid Albandag, a member of the internationally recognized parliament, says the early Sunday airstrike hit near a hospital. It was not immediately clear who carried out the strike. Darna is controlled by an alliance of Islamic militant groups which have been defending the town from Islamic State militants. Albandag says the IS group is 6-7 kilometers (4 miles) outside the city. Libya has fallen into chaos since the 2011 toppling of longtime dictator, Moammar Gadhafi. Since 2014, an internationally recognized govern

  • Iraqi Kurds protest against Turkey, 3 police wounded

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Protests against Turkey in Iraq's northern Kurdish region have turned violent, with three police officers wounded. Hundreds of protesters gathered Sunday outside the United Nations compound in the northern city of Irbil calling for an end to Turkish airstrikes against Kurdish militants. Local media reported that three police were wounded. Turkey began launching airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in July 2015 as part of the U.S.-led coalition's fight against the Islamic State group. In Syria it has targeted the IS group, while in Iraq it has taken aim at the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a decades-long insurgency against Ankara.

  • Pope pleas for help for Syrians fleeing war so they survive

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has made a public plea for help for Syrians fleeing civil war so that their survival and dignity are assured. Francis told a crowd in St. Peter's Square on Sunday that "I am following with strong worry the dramatic fate of the civilian population caught up in the violent combat in Syria and forced to abandon everything to flee the horrors of the war." He said he hoped that thanks to the world's "generous solidarity" the necessary aid would be given so these refugees' "'survival and dignity" are guaranteed. The pope also called upon the international community to spare no efforts to revive negotiations to end the war that began in 2011. The latest round of Syrian peace talks recently s

  • Israeli leader calls on world to condemn arson of synagogue

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on the world to condemn a suspected arson attack against a makeshift synagogue in the West Bank where Jewish Torah scrolls were burned. The scrolls were stored inside a tent that was used as a synagogue near a West Bank outpost that overlooked the site where the bodies of three Jewish teenagers were found in June 2014. Their abduction and murder was carried out by Palestinians said by Israel to be members of the militant group Hamas and set off a series of events that ultimately led to that summer's 50-day war in Gaza.

  • Islamic authority rejects new Jerusalem Jewish prayer area

    Updated: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    JERUSALEM (AP) — The Islamic authority that oversees a sensitive Jerusalem holy site says it opposes a new prayer area for non-Orthodox Jews at the adjacent Western Wall. The Waqf's rejection may present an obstacle for Israel which has tried to defuse tensions with more liberal streams of Judaism who have demanded the right to pray at the wall according to their customs. After three years of negotiations, Israel announced the creation of the new prayer area last week. Any changes to the hilltop compound, holy to Jews and Muslims, stoke tensions. The Western Wall is the holiest place where Jews can pray. The director of the mosque compound, Omar Kiswani, said Sunday: "We will never accept it.




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