Middle East Stories


Apr 20 2014 Airstrikes Kill Al-Qaida Militants In Yemen

ADEN - A number of suspected al-Qaida militants were killed when an air strike hit their training camps in a remote mountainous region of southern Yemen on Sunday, the defense ministry said, the second attack of its kind in two days.
On Saturday an air strike killed 10 suspected al-Qaida militants and three civilians in central Yemen, […]


Apr 17 2014 Saudi Arabia Replaces Prince Bandar As Intelligence Chief

CAIRO - Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, has stepped down from his post. His resignation came at “his own request,” according to Saudi state media.  The 65 year old prince is being replaced by his deputy, General Youssef al Idrissi.
Bandar had been spearheading Saudi efforts to unseat Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in […]


Apr 14 2014 Deadly Virus Plagues Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON  - Saudi Arabia says a deadly virus is rippling through the kingdom as additional cases were reported over the weekend in the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
Confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, have been seen at two major hospitals in the port city of Jeddah.
Saudi health authorities are embarking on a […]


Apr 12 2014 Poison Gas Attack Injures Several In Syria

DAMASCUS - The Syrian government, rebel forces and a rights group say poison gas has injured several people in a central village. The government and rebels are blaming each other for the incident.
The Syrian National Coalition and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday that government air raids resulted in dozens of injuries and […]


Apr 9 2014 Syrian Forces Recapture Border Town

BEIRUT - Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad recaptured the rebel-held Syrian border town of Rankous on Wednesday, military sources and state television said, consolidating their control over a former rebel supply line from neighboring Lebanon.
The capture of Rankous was the latest stage of an offensive by the army and Hezbollah fighters to seal off […]


Apr 2 2014 Death Toll In Syrian Civil War Exceeds 150,000

BEIRUT - At least 150,000 people have been killed in Syria’s three-year-old civil war, a third of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.
The UK-based Observatory, which monitors violence in Syria through a network of activists and medical or security sources, said that real toll was likely to be significantly higher […]


Apr 2 2014 Kerry Cancels Meeting With Abbas

BRUSSELS - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he is resuming a bid to win more United Nations recognition, breaking an agreement that already is threatened by Israel’s refusal to release more Palestinian prisoners. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has cancelled plans to meet with Abbas on Wednesday.
President Abbas says Palestinians are immediately restarting efforts […]


Mar 28 2014 Obama Visits Saudi Arabia

JERUSALEM - President Barack Obama arrives in Saudi Arabia Friday at the end of a weeklong trip to Europe. High on the agenda are Syria, the turmoil in the region and the faltering Middle East peace talks.
President Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia comes amid growing strains in relations with the United States and rifts among […]


Mar 27 2014 Arabs Continue To Reject Israel Despite Reality

KUWAIT CITY - Arab leaders say they will continue to regard Israel as an illegitimate state and have put all blame for troubled peace efforts on the Israelis as the 25th Arab League Summit in Kuwait City concluded Wednesday.
This year’s meeting was marked by deepening divisions among member countries, but a united stance on the Israeli-Palestinian […]


Mar 27 2014 Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi Makes Bid For Egyptian President

CAIRO - Egyptian Defense Minister and army commander Abdel Fattah al-Sissi announced in a televised address Wednesday night that he was resigning his defense posts to run for president in an election expected to take place next month. The announcement ended weeks of speculation that he was planning to run.
Field Marshal Sissi said he was […]


Mar 24 2014 Arab League To Hold Summit In Kuwait

DUBAI - Foreign ministers from across the Arab world have finalized an agenda for the 25th Arab League Summit, which begins Tuesday in Kuwait.
Organizers say the summit comes at a critical time in the region and collaboration among member states is needed to move forward.
One of the most pressing issues is Syria’s civil war, which […]


Mar 24 2014 Egypt Issues Death Sentences To 529 Morsi Supporters

CAIRO - In what is being called the biggest capital punishment verdict by Egypt’s judiciary, 529 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi have been sentenced to death.
The condemned were convicted of killing a policeman, attacking others and destroying property.
The sentencing, believed to be the biggest mass death sentencing in history, came after just two court […]


Mar 24 2014 Turkey Shoots Down Syrian Warplane

ISTANBUL - Turkey has shot down a Syrian warplane during pitched fighting between Syrian rebels and government troops near the border.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the Syrian plane violated Turkish airspace.  Syrian state TV says the plane was pursuing rebels in Syrian territory.
A Syrian military source said the pilot was able to eject.  […]


Mar 21 2014 Syrian War Spills Into Northern Lebanon

CAIRO - Syrian warplanes bombed areas along Lebanon’s northern border Thursday amid bitter fighting between rebels and government forces in a historic border town.  Scores of civilians and fighters were reported to be fleeing into Lebanon.
Ambulances ferried victims of the fighting to hospitals in northern Lebanon. Rebel fighters and civilians forded a border river to […]


Mar 19 2014 US Suspends Syrian Embassy Consulates

WASHINGTON - The United States has told the Syrian government to immediately suspend operations at its embassy in Washington and two honorary consulates.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that Syrian diplomats who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents must leave the country.
“Following the announcement that the Syrian embassy suspended its provision of consular […]


Mar 4 2014 Egyptian Court Bans Hamas

CAIRO - An Egyptian court on Tuesday banned all activities of Hamas in Egypt, a judge said, in another sign that security forces plan to squeeze the Palestinian militant group that runs the neighboring Gaza Strip.
Hamas is an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has been declared a terrorist group by Egypt’s army-backed government and […]


Feb 26 2014 Egypt Names Ibrahim Mahlab As Prime Minister

CAIRO - Egypt’s president has named outgoing housing minister Ibrahim Mahlab as the country’s new prime minister. Mahlab addressed the nation Tuesday and said he hopes to have a new government in place within the “next three or four days.”
Mahlab, who was also an official in deposed President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, gave a […]


Feb 26 2014 Hezbollah Threatens Retaliation Against Israeli Airstrike

BEIRUT - The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah says Israel carried out an airstrike Monday on its positions near the Syrian border, and vowed to retaliate against what it called a “blatant” attack.
Hezbollah said in a statement Wednesday the airstrike near the eastern village of Janta caused no casualties, and that the group will choose a […]


Feb 25 2014 Egyptian Government Resigns

CAIRO - Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi handed in his government’s resignation Monday, amid increasing economic pressures, including a series of labor strikes. Beblawi had been expected to reorganize his Cabinet in the lead-up to presidential elections this spring, but the resignation took many observers by surprise.
Hazem el-Beblawi  announced the government resignation on Egypt’s […]


Feb 19 2014 Beirut Bombings Claimed By Sunni Militants

BEIRUT - Lebanese security officials said a twin suicide bombing hit the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of the capital on Wednesday during the morning rush hour, killing at least four people and wounding 70.
Wednesday morning’s blasts, which took place near an Iranian cultural center and the Kuwaiti embassy in a stronghold of the Shi’ite militant group […]


Feb 17 2014 Free Syrian Army Appoints Abdul Ilah Al Bashir As New Commander

DAMASCUS - The rebel Free Syrian Army has appointed a new commander, after months of losing ground to both government forces and Islamist fighters.
The Western-backed, moderate forces cited the ineffectiveness of Salim Idris, and said he has been replaced by Abdul-Ilah al-Bashir.
The office of Syrian National Coalition President Ahmad Jarba praised the move in a […]


Feb 16 2014 Kurds Protest All Across Turkey

DIYARBA KIR - Thousands of Kurds demonstrated in towns across south east Turkey on Saturday, some clashing violently with riot police as they called for the release of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan on the 15th anniversary of his capture.
Ocalan, leader of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), is viewed by nationalist Turks as responsible […]


Feb 16 2014 Lebanon Forms New Government

CAIRO - Lebanon has announced a new Cabinet that includes a wide range of political groups, breaking months of bitter infighting, mostly over Syria’s civil war.
Prime Minister Tamam Salam announced his 24-member national unity government on Saturday.
Parliament had designated the Sunni lawmaker as prime minister in April last year, but rivalries between the Shi’ite Hezbollah-dominated […]


Feb 15 2014 Syria Peace Talks Falling Apart

GENEVA - U.N.-brokered peace talks resume Saturday between Syria’s government and opposition delegations, with both sides far apart on any possible agreement.
U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi meets with the two warring sides in Geneva in a last-ditch effort to rescue the deadlocked peace talks amid fears that they could collapse altogether.
Syria’s main opposition group said Friday […]


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