April 2nd, 2013
09:26 PM ET

Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza

Israel conducted two airstrikes inside Gaza on Tuesday night, security sources in Gaza told CNN. Israel Defense Forces confirmed the strikes, saying they were launched in retaliation for rocket attacks.

The Gaza sources told CNN this was the first Israeli airstrike there since a truce that ended eight days of fighting between the Israelis and Hamas last November.

Medical sources said there were no initial reports of casualties.

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Filed under: Gaza • Israel • Middle East • World
Lebanon's government resigns
Lebanese Prime Minister Nijab Mikati resigned Friday after failing to quell disputes within his cabinet.
March 22nd, 2013
03:54 PM ET

Lebanon's government resigns

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced the resignation of his government Friday amid what his spokesman said were disputes among his cabinet over preparations for parliamentary elections and the future of a top Lebanon security official.

Mikati, who led a coalition government for the last two years, made the announcement live on Lebanese TV.

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Filed under: Lebanon • Middle East • World
March 18th, 2013
10:26 PM ET

Syrian opposition group selects leader

The main Syrian opposition umbrella group, meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, has chosen a U.S.-educated Kurdish businessman to head its provisional government, an opposition activist who attended the vote said Monday.

Ghassan Hitto, an information technology executive who went to college in Indiana and lived for many years in Dallas, was elected Monday to lead a government whose specific role may be spelled out at a planned news conference Tuesday.

Hitto was born in Damascus and is a member of the board of the Syrian American Council, the council said in a news release after the vote.

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Filed under: Middle East • Syria • Texas
Prince Charles: Arabic hard to learn
March 14th, 2013
07:39 AM ET

Prince Charles: Arabic hard to learn

Prince Charles is learning Arabic but said he's having a difficult time of it.

At a networking event Thursday in Qatar for alumni of UK universities, he complimented guests on their impeccable English.

Qatar's energy minister inquired if Charles spoke any Arabic.

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Filed under: Jordan • Middle East • Prince Charles • Qatar • United Kingdom • World • World Update
March 1st, 2013
05:05 PM ET

Car bombs kill 5 in Iraq

Five people were killed and 34 were wounded when two car bombs exploded Friday at a livestock market in Diwaniya, about 140 kilometers south of Baghdad, Iraq, police and health officials said.

Diwaniya is a predominantly Shiite city.

On Thursday, a car bomb exploded at a livestock market in al-Aziziya, about 80 kilometers north of Kut, killing two people and wounding 19 others.

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February 28th, 2013
02:57 PM ET

Floating restaurant sinks in Baghdad, 5 die

At least five people died Thursday when a floating restaurant sank in the Tigris River in central Baghdad, police said.

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Filed under: Iraq • Middle East
Iraq's president rushed to hospital
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is shown on January 23, 2010, in Baghdad. A lawmaker says he is in intensive care.
December 18th, 2012
06:53 AM ET

Iraq's president rushed to hospital

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has suffered a stroke and was rushed to a hospital in Baghdad on Monday night, Iraqi officials said.

Talabani was in intensive care after the stroke, said Kurdish Lawmaker Mahmoud Othman, who said he was headed to the hospital to visit the ailing leader.

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Filed under: Iraq • Middle East • World
November 19th, 2012
08:33 AM ET

Hamas issues cease-fire conditions, Egyptian general says

Pressure is mounting for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian violence that has left dozens dead and hundreds wounded, with the U.N chief flying to the region to appeal for a cease-fire.

Meanwhile, the head of Egyptian intelligence has given an Israeli delegation a letter for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu containing Hamas conditions for a cease-fire, a general in Egyptian intelligence told CNN. There was no immediate confirmation from Israel.

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Head of Hamas military wing killed
Hamas military wing leader Ahmed Ja'abari is seen on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing into Gaza on October 18, 2011.
November 14th, 2012
09:43 AM ET

Head of Hamas military wing killed

Ahmed al-Ja'abari, head of Hamas' military wing, was killed Wednesday in Gaza by an Israeli "surgical" strike, the Israeli military announced.

A spokesman for the Hamas-run government in Gaza confirmed that al-Ja'abari was killed in an Israeli strike.  "Israel is announcing the war in Gaza and Israel will carry the responsibility for killing Ahmed Jabri," Tahar Eanono said in a written message.

Militants in Gaza have been firing dozens of rockets into southern Israel, and Israel has struck back.

The Israeli military tweeted earlier today:

See our full coverage of today's events here.

Work begun to exhume Arafat's body
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat salutes during a meeting with supporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah in September 2004.
November 13th, 2012
07:21 AM ET

Work begun to exhume Arafat's body

Editor's Note: Work began Tuesday to exhume the body of Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat amid an investigation of his 2004 death.

[Update 8:48 a.m.] The process of removing the marble tombstone on Arafat's grave to allow for exhumation of the body is under way, a Palestinian source said.  The glass surrounding the mausoleum has been removed.

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Truce in Syria?
Civilians carry belongings Thursday in Aleppo along a street filled with debris after fighting between Syrian troops and rebels.
October 26th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Truce in Syria?

Editor's note: Hours after the beginning of a truce to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, reports of new violence began to emerge in Syria’s civil war. Read the full story.

Here are the latest developments.

[Updated at 1:20 p.m.] More than 70 people have been killed across Syria on Friday, the first day of the Eid truce, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said. Opposition activists said a car bombing rocked a Damascus neighborhood, with death toll estimates ranging from 10 to more than 20.

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Israeli airstrike kills 2 in Gaza
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, left, greets the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Tuesday in Gaza.
October 23rd, 2012
07:11 PM ET

Israeli airstrike kills 2 in Gaza

An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed two militants from Al-Qassam group, the military wing of Hamas, and wounded two other militants, medical and security sources in Gaza told CNN late Tuesday.

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Syrian civil war in photos
October 22nd, 2012
05:02 PM ET

More than 100 killed in Syrian violence today

At least 180 people were found dead in Syria on Monday, victims of the ongoing civil war, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists.

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White House denies nuclear report
Iran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
October 20th, 2012
07:46 PM ET

White House denies nuclear report

The White House denied a report Saturday that said the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks over Iran’s nuclear program.

Such talks, as reported by The New York Times, would be a first.

“It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” White House National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.

“The President has made clear that he will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and we will do what we must to achieve that. It has always been our goal for sanctions to pressure Iran to come in line with its obligations. The onus is on the Iranians to do so, otherwise they will continue to face crippling sanctions and increased pressure."

Citing an anonymous senior official within the Obama administration, The New York Times reported earlier Saturday that Iranian officials insisted the talks not start until after the presidential vote.

Secret discussions between U.S. and Iranian officials date almost to the start of Obama’s term, the newspaper said.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and to fill energy shortages, but Western leaders believe Tehran is an aspiring armed nuclear power. U.N. inspectors have also expressed doubts about the program's aims.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Iran • Middle East • World
September 18th, 2012
02:31 PM ET

Egypt charges Coptic Christians linked to infamous video

Egyptian authorities have charged seven Coptic Christians living in the United States and a Florida pastor of insulting Islam and inciting sectarian strife for their alleged links to an online video that has enraged much of the Muslim world.

Egypt's public prosecutor announced the charges Tuesday, the latest development in the deadly backlash against the low-budget, amateurish 14-minute movie trailer produced privately in the United States and posted on YouTube. The clip from "The Innocence of Muslims" mocks the Muslim Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and killer.

"Innocence of Muslims" was an obscure Internet video until September 11, when rioters, seizing on it, breached the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. Protesters also attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

The charges - largely symbolic because the accused all live abroad - name alleged filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who is identified by Egyptian officials as Elia Bassili.

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Filed under: Egypt • Middle East • Protest
July 4th, 2012
07:46 AM ET

Arafat belongings test high for radioactivity, scientist says

Scientific tests have found unusually high levels of the radioactive substance polonium-210 in some of the personal effects of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, one of the scientists involved in the study said Wednesday.

The results do not mean that Arafat suffered radiation poisoning, François Bochud told CNN.

Some details in Arafat's medical records are not consistent with polonium poisoning, he explained.

"We have evidence there is too much polonium, but we also have hints from the medical records that this may not be the case. The only way to resolve this anomaly would be by testing the body," said Bochud, director of Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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Filed under: Middle East • Palestinians
June 11th, 2012
10:05 AM ET

Annan 'gravely concerned' about rising violence in Syria, Homs shelling

U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan is "gravely concerned" about reports that fighting between Syrian government and opposition forces has escalated, his spokesman said Monday.

"He is particularly worried about the recent shelling in Homs as well as reports of the use of mortars, helicopters and tanks in the town of Al-Haffa, Lattakia. There are indications that a large number of civilians are trapped in these towns," spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said in a statement.

The statement called for the protection of civilians and demanded that U.N. observers be immediately allowed to enter Al-Haffa.

An online video purporting to show live images of Homs on Monday showed more than a dozen large explosions in one hour.

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Filed under: Middle East • Syria
April 30th, 2012
02:53 PM ET

Egyptian military source: No Cabinet shuffle pending

(CNN) - Egypt's ruling military council does not plan to reshuffle the nation's civilian government, a military source told CNN Monday, contradicting a leading lawmaker's assertion that a Cabinet overhaul was imminent.

Saad al-Katatni, the speaker of Egypt's lower house of parliament, said Sunday that the council would announce changes to the Egyptian government in a matter of days.

But a senior military source for Egypt's military council contradicted that claim Monday.

"No reshuffle is planned within the Cabinet," said the source, who asked not to be identified. "Al-Katatni can say whatever he wants."

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March 20th, 2012
04:09 AM ET

Bahrain king to receive report on changes after crackdown

King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain is expected Tuesday to receive a report on the implementation of recommended changes to the Middle Eastern state's laws and security forces in the aftermath of unrest last spring.

In November, Bahrain's Independent Commission of Inquiry issued a report that was highly critical of the authorities' reaction to the protests, which began in February 2011 - spurred by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

The demonstrations failed to gain the traction of other Arab Spring uprisings following a crackdown by the authorities in the island state - backed by troops from nearby Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The independent commission, set up by the king, concluded that the police had used excessive force and torture in their response to the protests.

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Bahrain • Middle East
January 16th, 2012
02:45 AM ET

Blast kills at least 5 in Iraq

A car bomb exploded in eastern Mosul on Monday, killing at least five people and wounding 10, police said.

Officers discovered another parked car rigged with explosives in the same area, said Mosul police Lt. Col. Hilal al-Ahmedi.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Al Qaeda in Iraq, which no longer holds swathes of territory in the country, is strongest in the city of Mosul, 260 miles north of Baghdad and one of Iraq's many sectarian fault lines.

Despite a decrease in overall violence in Iraq, it still touches Iraqis on a near-daily basis

Ordinary Iraqis say the violence is largely sectarian, with the once-dominant Sunni Muslims believing Shiites are responsible, and the majority Shiites saying it is the work of Sunni insurgents.

Each group believes it is being targeted by the other.

Monday's attack took place in the al-Ghadeer area, home to families from the Shiite Shabak ethnic group who were displaced from other areas of Mosul in the last few years.

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