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Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

Israel’s Prisoner X ‘identified as Australian Jew who worked for Mossad’

Israel's Prisoner X 'identified as Australian Jew who worked for Mossad'
A mysterious prisoner who died in Israel after being held in total isolation in a maximum-security jail – dubbed Prisoner X – has been identified by the Australian media as a 34-year-old Australian citizen, Ben Zygier, who moved to Israel from Melbourne. The existence of the prisoner became known in 2010 after a story about him ... Full story

Syria: how jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra is taking over Syria’s revolution

Syria: how jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra is taking over Syria's revolution
Aleppo has been plunged into despair. Riven with war, life in Syria's most populous city has become a dog-eat-dog existence: a battle for survival in a place where the strong devour the weak. Its luxuriant history is lost beneath uncollected litter on its pavements and streets. Feral children play beside buildings shattered by shelling and air ... Full story

At least 90 killed in air strike on rebel held Syrian town

At least 90 killed in air strike on rebel held Syrian town
At least 90 people were said to have been killed while queuing for bread on Sunday in an air raid against a rebel-held Syrian town in what activists said could be one of the deadliest episodes of the country's 21-month civil war. The strike happened while around 1,000 people were waiting at a bakery in the ... Full story

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal kisses Gaza soil on first visit

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal kisses Gaza soil on first visit
Khaled Meshaal, Hamas's exiled leader, kissed the soil of Gaza as he stepped on to the Palestinian land for the first time in 45 years for a "victory rally". Accompanied by his deputy, Mussa Abu Marzuk, and other senior officials, Meshaal drove through the crossing and then got out and kissed the ground before embracing Gaza's ... Full story

Barack Obama warns Bashar al-Assad as Syria ‘readies chemical weapons’

Barack Obama warns Bashar al-Assad as Syria 'readies chemical weapons'
President Barack Obama warned the Assad regime last night not to make the "tragic mistake" of using chemical weapons amid reports that the embattled Syrian government was readying supplies of deadly nerve gas. On a day of turmoil in which a high-ranking regime spokesman defected and the United Nations began withdrawing all non-essential personnel, Mr Obama ... Full story

Israel has ‘opened the gates of hell’: Hamas warning as leader is killed in strike

Israel has 'opened the gates of hell': Hamas warning as leader is killed in strike
Dispatch: As Israel and Gaza teeter on the brink of war, with Hamas warning that an air strike that killed the head of its military wing has "opened the gates of hell", the Telegraph's Phoebe Greenwood reports the horrors in Gaza City. It was shortly before four o’clock when Ghalib al Hatour glanced up from sorting ... Full story

Death of monument to human history in Syria’s war-torn Aleppo

Death of monument to human history in Syria's war-torn Aleppo
The Furies have not been kind to Aleppo's Great Mosque and Souq. In 1,300 years of history, their columns and colonnades have been consumed by fire, destroyed by earthquake, levelled by the Mongols. Little in recent times, though, has matched the senselessness of their current fate. Caught on the front line of war, they stand scorched ... Full story

Israel says Iran has pulled back from the brink of nuclear weapon – for now

Israel says Iran has pulled back from the brink of nuclear weapon - for now
Iran has drawn back from its ambition to build a nuclear weapon but the respite is only temporary and Tehran will still have to be confronted by next summer, Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, said on Tuesday. An immediate crisis was avoided in the summer when Iran quietly chose to use over a third of ... Full story

Syria conflict: Helicopter crashes near Damascus – state TV

Syria conflict: Helicopter crashes near Damascus - state TV
A helicopter has crashed near the Syrian capital, Damascus, Syrian state television has said. The helicopter was said to have crashed close to Douma, a suburb east of Damascus. At the end of August, rebels said they shot down a helicopter on the outskirts of Damascus. The government has increasingly been using helicopters and other aircraft in its ... Full story

US Considers Closing Embassy in Syria

US Considers Closing Embassy in Syria
The United States is warning that it may close its embassy in the Syrian capital due to the worsening security situation. The State Department issued a statement Friday saying that no decision has been made yet, but that a request has been made to Damascus to take concrete steps in the coming days ... Full story

Hamas Says That Its Political Leader Does Not Plan to Seek Re-election

GAZA — The Palestinian militant group Hamas announced Saturday that its political leader, Khaled Meshal, would not seek re-election, opening the door to a possible leadership contest and adding to the uncertainty enveloping Hamas at a time of regional turmoil. Nader Daoud/Associated Press Mr. Meshal, who has led the group’s political bureau since 1996 and is the face ... Full story

Arab League Claims Progress in Syria, but Criticism of Mission Persists

Arab League Claims Progress in Syria, but Criticism of Mission Persists
BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Arab League observer mission charged with helping bring about an end to the violence in Syria claimed several accomplishments on Monday, noting that the government has withdrawn tanks and artillery from cities, and has released nearly 3,500 prisoners. But as the killings have continued, the mission has ... Full story

Israelis, Palestinians to Meet to Salvage Peace Effort

Israelis, Palestinians to Meet to Salvage Peace Effort
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are set to meet in Jordan for talks aimed at restarting the stalled peace process. The meeting Tuesday will be their first in more than a year, since the negotiations fell apart over the issue of Israeli settlement construction. Both sides say they ... Full story

Syrian city ‘under siege’ by army

Residents in the Syrian city of Homs are calling for Western intervention, as activists say the area has come under renewed attack from forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. Residents told Al Jazeera on Saturday that army tanks were shelling the city. Activists in the Bab Amr district said they had been under seige for the last ... Full story

Report: Death toll rises to 217 after massive earthquake in Turkey

Report: Death toll rises to 217 after massive earthquake in Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey (CNN) -- Battling near-freezing temperatures and darkness, rescue workers and residents in eastern Turkey early Monday scoured the wreckage wrought by the country's most-powerful earthquake in more than a decade, hoping to find survivors. They used flashlights, shovels, heavy machinery and their hands to lift the debris, and climbed ... Full story

Tunisians Vote in a Milestone of Arab Change

Tunisians Vote in a Milestone of Arab Change TUNIS — Millions of Tunisians cast votes on Sunday for an assembly to draft a constitution and shape a new government, in a burst of pride and hope that after inspiring uprisings across the Arab world, their small country could now lead the way to democracy. “Tunisians showed the world ... Full story

Palestinian prisoners return to heroes’ welcome

Huge Palestinian crowds in the West Bank and Gaza yesterday celebrated Israel's release of hundreds of prisoners to obtain the return of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, and called for more kidnappings to secure the freedom of yet more detainees. Nearly 200,000 people gathered in the Al-Katiba plaza in central Ramallah, to greet the prisoners who arrived there in the afternoon. The ... Full story

Man accused of spying on Syrian dissidents in US

The United States accused Syrian President Bashar Assad's government of using an American citizen to spy on anti-Syrian protesters in the U.S., further straining relations with Damascus over a brutal crackdown on dissidents that has killed thousands. Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid, 47, of Leesburg, a Syrian-born, naturalized U.S. citizen, is accused of sending audio and video recordings of American protesters to ... Full story

Netanyahu refuses to apologise to Turkey

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that he would not apologise to Turkey over an Israeli raid that killed nine Turks on a ship bound for Gaza, reiterating his position after Turkey acted to downgrade relations with Israel. Turkey on Friday froze all military pacts with Israel, expelled the Israeli ambassador and threatened legal sanctions after a UN report on ... Full story

Syria unrest: Turkey to demand end to Assad’s crackdown

Syria unrest: Turkey to demand end to Assad's crackdown
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is going to Syria to demand an end to a crackdown on protests by President Bashar al-Assad's government. Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier said he was running out of patience over "the savagery" of Syria's security forces towards the protesters. Mr Davutoglu's visit comes as Saudi ... Full story
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