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Netanyahu Seeks to Ease Fears over Changes in His Govt.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought on Sunday to ease concerns over the expected entrance of a hardline nationalist party into his coalition, saying his government would still seek peace with the Palestinians.

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Report: Netanyahu Offers Centrist Party Chief Foreign, Finance Posts

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Israel's newest political star, the post of foreign minister or finance minister in a new government, a newspaper reported on Friday.

Yesh Atid, a centrist party formed only nine months ago, stunned the political establishment by winning 19 seats in Tuesday's election, taking second place to Netanyahu's Likud-Beitenu list which suffered which a major blow, securing only 31 of the 120 seats in parliament.

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U.S. Official 'Cautiously Optimistic' on EU Sanctions against Hizbullah

A U.S. State Department official has expressed a cautious optimism at prospects for a European designation of Hizbullah as a terrorist organization.

“We've been engaging with our partners in Europe, and we are cautiously optimistic about the prospects for an EU designation of the group,” the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, Daniel Benjamin, said in an address at the Brookings Institution on Tuesday.

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Netanyahu Heads to Germany Next Week for Talks with Merkel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Germany next week for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel notably about the situation in the Middle East, Berlin said on Friday.

The visit to Berlin by Netanyahu on Wednesday and Thursday is part of a further round of German-Israeli government consultations, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

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U.S. Says Iran, Hizbullah 'Stepped up Level of Terrorist Plotting'

Iran is the "pre-eminent" state sponsor of terrorism and together with Hizbullah are pursuing increasingly destabilizing activities around the world since the 1990s, the U.S. State Department's counterterrorism coordinator, Daniel Benjamin, said Tuesday.

“Iran is and remains the preeminent state sponsor of terrorism in the world … and also, together with Hizbullah, as they pursue destabilizing activities around the globe, we are firmly committed to working with partners and allies to counter and disrupt Iranian activities,” Benjamin told journalists after a briefing on the annual "Country Reports on Terrorism."

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U.S. Counterterror Official: There Have Been Sympathetic Groups to al-Qaida in Lebanon for Years

A top U.S. counterterrorism official has admitted that there are “sympathetic groups to al-Qaida in Lebanon” but refused to comment on allegations made by the Lebanese defense minister about the operations of militants in the eastern border town of Arsal.

“We’ve seen the reports, and I don’t have any further comment on them,” said Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the Department of State, in a special briefing on Wednesday.

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Hizbullah Hits Back at Feltman, Says He is Israeli Agent

Hizbullah blasted Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman for a testimony in which he said Hizbullah is the most technically-capable terrorist group in the world.

Feltman "plays the role of an Israeli official in America," Hizbullah said in a statement.

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