March 15th, 2013
08:17 AM ET

Source: U.S.-trained rebels return to Syria

The first Syrian rebels trained by U.S. military and intelligence officers in Jordan returned to Syria on Thursday, a senior rebel spokesman told CNN.

About 300 rebel fighters received specialized training in Jordan in the use of various weapons, including anti-tank, anti-aircraft and other types of advanced systems, the spokesman said.

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Filed under: Syria
March 13th, 2013
02:15 AM ET

Death toll from SARS-like virus rises to 9

There has been another confirmed case of a mysterious new SARS-like virus.

The Saudi health ministry informed the World Health Organization that a 39-year-old man was hospitalized with the novel coronavirus on February 28 and died two days later.

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Filed under: Health • Saudi Arabia • Science
February 26th, 2013
02:05 PM ET

19 killed in hot air balloon crash in Egypt

[Updated at 2:05 p.m. ET] The death toll has climbed to 19, officials say.

[Updated at 6:57 a.m. ET] The death toll in Tuesday's hot air balloon explosion in Egypt - the world's deadliest hot air balloon accident in at least 20 years - has risen to 18, according to the state-run MENA news agency.

Twenty-one people, many of them tourists, were in the balloon when it dropped about 300 meters (almost 1,000 feet) in the city of Luxor, the Egyptian interior ministry said.

[Posted at 1:57 a.m. ET] Fourteen tourists on a hot air balloon ride in southern Egypt were killed Tuesday when the balloon exploded and plummeted to the ground, authorities said.

It was the deadliest hot air balloon accident in the world in at least 20 years.

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Filed under: Egypt
February 21st, 2013
05:56 AM ET

Car bomb targets Syrian ruling party's HQ

[Updated at 6:22 a.m. ET] A car bomb near the Syrian ruling party's headquarters killed 31 people on Thursday, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

[Posted at 5:56 a.m. ET] A car bomb targeting the headquarters of Syria's ruling party killed eight people in central Damascus on Thursday, according to state media and opposition activists.

The explosion burned 17 cars and damaged 40 more, Syrian state TV said.

Eight body bags were brought for charred remains of passengers who were in a taxi, according to state television.

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Syria • War • World • World Update
Report: Protesters storm political offices after opposition leader assassinated in Tunis
Tunisians gather around an ambulance carrying opposition leader Chokri Belaid, who officials said was assasinated outside his home.
February 6th, 2013
07:13 AM ET

Report: Protesters storm political offices after opposition leader assassinated in Tunis

[Updated at 7:07 a.m. ET] Protesters stormed several offices of Tunisia's ruling political party Wednesday after a prominent opposition leader was assassinated outside his home in Tunis, Tunisian Interior Minister Ali Al-Areed told Tunisia State TV.

"I call everyone in Tunisia and our intellectual elite not to allow the chaos to takeover and we urge the security forces to track down these perpetrators and bring them to justice," he said.

The protests took place in offices of the party al Nahda across the country, he said.

[Posted at 5:13 a.m. ET] A Tunisian opposition figure was shot dead Wednesday morning outside his home in Tunis, Tunisian State TV reported.

Chokri Belaid, was a leader of the Popular Front coalition.

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Filed under: Tunisia
December 27th, 2012
07:54 AM ET

U.N. envoy: Transitional government plan could end Syrian war in a 'few months'

In his latest diplomatic push to end the Syrian civil war, U.N. peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said the conflict could be over in a "few months" - provided that warring parties agree to a plan with a transitional government.

Brahimi is in Damascus this week meeting with President Bashar al-Assad and other officials.

"I discussed with all the parties the need to have a transitional government that will hold broad powers," Brahimi said in a statement aired on Syrian state-run TV.

He pushed for the implementation of the Geneva communique, a plan laid by world leaders in June that calls for a transitional government, an end to violence and lasting democracy.

"The Geneva communique had all that is needed for a road map to end the crisis in Syria within few months," Brahimi said Thursday.

The plan united countries that had been at odds on how to handle the Syrian crisis. Russia and China joined France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Turkey in agreeing on the plan.

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Filed under: Syria
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
December 7th, 2012
02:39 PM ET

Rebels set their sights on Syria's capital

Emboldened rebels fighting to hasten the fall of Syria's regime set their sights on the capital, Damascus, as diplomats went into high gear amid concerns over chemical weapons.

"Our country will be free, we have no one but God," protesters rallying against President Bashar al-Assad chanted on Friday outside the capital in Douma. "The glad tidings are coming."

The war for control of Damascus is being waged in its suburbs, where rebel forces say the casualty count has increased in recent days. And so has talk of a turning point in Syria's 21-month civil war.

November 5th, 2012
05:07 AM ET

Homemade bombs kill 2, injure 1 in Bahrain

Bahrain police say five homemade bombs exploded Monday in the capital, Manama, killing two people and seriously injuring a third.

The head of the Capital Governorate Police is warning residents to "not touch strange objects."  An investigation is underway, the police official says.

Bahrain says ban on protests is response to rising violence

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November 5th, 2012
04:25 AM ET

Syrian opposition: 21 die in Monday violence

The opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria report 21 deaths Monday from violence across the country in and around the cities of Damascus, Raqqa, Homs and Aleppo.  The dead include a woman and a child, according to the LCC.

More than 30,000 people have been killed since the Syrian conflict erupted in March 2011, the opposition says. Another 234 were reported dead Sunday, including 100 in Damascus and its suburbs alone, says the LCC, a network of opposition activists.

These figures cannot be independently confirmed by CNN.

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Filed under: World
October 29th, 2012
08:59 AM ET

Envoy to Syria: Neither side shows signs of backing down

Reeling from his doomed cease-fire plan that disintegrated in hours, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met Monday with Russia's foreign minister on what to do about the Syrian civil war.

It was Brahimi's first meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, a position he inherited after other world diplomats also failed to stop more than a year of relentless bloodshed. Brahimi said neither side of the crisis is showing signs of backing down.

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Filed under: Syria • War
October 29th, 2012
08:44 AM ET

Sunni extremists: We set off bombs in Iraq, more to come

A Sunni extremist group with links to al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for bombs that exploded in Iraq over the weekend.

A wave of attacks shook Iraqis as they were celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid.


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Filed under: Iraq • Terrorism
October 22nd, 2012
04:02 AM ET

Beirut still simmers after weekend clashes

[Updated 6:02 a.m.] At least three people are killed Monday, including two in Tripoli and one in the city of Sidon, according to NNA, the official Lebanese news agency.

Meanwhile, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States will provide assistance in the investigation a car bombing Friday that killed several people, including Lebanon's intelligence chief, Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan.

[Updated 4:22 a.m.]  The youth wing of the March 14 coalition has called for a rally in Beirut's Martyrs’ Square in Beirut. It said the rally will be peaceful.  The March 14 movement is an anti-Syrian regime coalition that emerged after the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.


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Filed under: Lebanon • World