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Berlin, Madrid Urge U.S., Russia to Cooperate to End Syria Conflict

Germany and Spain on Friday urged Washington and Moscow to work together to help unlock a political solution to the Syrian war, after Russian air strikes there raised tensions.

"The current priority is to seek agreement between the United States and Russia," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Madrid.

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Israelis Worried but Defiant amid Wave of Stabbings

Israelis are deeply unnerved in the midst of a spate of stabbings that have brought back memories of previous Palestinian uprisings, but say they are ready to "confront" any attacker.

Those who witnessed the 1987 and 2000 intifadas especially are reverting to making mental lists of places to avoid and basic safety habits.

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Hamas Gaza Chief Calls Unrest a New 'Intifada'

Hamas's chief in Gaza on Friday called violence that has hit the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem in recent days an "intifada" and urged further unrest.

"We are calling for the strengthening and increasing of the intifada... It is the only path that will lead to liberation," Ismail Haniyeh said during a sermon for weekly Muslim prayers at a mosque in Gaza City.

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Pope Deplores 'Escalation of Violence' in Mideast, Urges Action

Pope Francis on Friday deplored the "escalation of violence affecting innocent civilians" in the Middle East, from Syria to Iraq, Jerusalem and the West Bank, and urged the international community to act.

Addressing a global Church summit on the family at the Vatican, Francis said he was praying for those caught up in conflicts across the region which "bring destruction and multiply people's suffering".

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Tunisian Mediators Win Nobel Peace Prize

Tunisian civil society groups won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for helping to create the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring, at a time when the country is under threat from jihadist violence.

The Nobel panel said the award to the National Dialogue Quartet was intended as an "encouragement to the Tunisian people" and as an inspiration for others, particularly in the turbulent Middle East.

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Iran Declines to Confirm Hit by Russia Missiles

Iran on Friday declined to confirm a claim by a U.S. official that Russian missiles targeting rebels in Syria crashed in its territory this week.

"We don't confirm" this information, foreign ministry spokeswoman Afkham Marzieh said when asked about the claim.

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Wave of Stabbings Shake Israel and West Bank

A fresh wave of stabbings shook Israel and the West Bank on Friday, including a suspected revenge attack by a Jewish suspect that wounded two Palestinians and two Arab Israelis.

Attacks also continued against Israelis and Jews, with a Palestinian stabbing a policeman near a West Bank settlement before being shot dead by the victim, who was lightly wounded.

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IS Jihadists Advance on Syria's Aleppo

The Islamic State group advanced to the closest it has been to the Syrian city of Aleppo at dawn on Friday, after hours of ferocious fighting, a monitor reported.

"Dozens of combatants were killed on both sides," said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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India Protests to Saudi after Maid's Hand Chopped Off

India said Friday it had lodged a protest with authorities in Riyadh after a maid from Tamil Nadu allegedly had her hand chopped off by her Saudi employer for complaining about her work conditions.

India's foreign minister deplored a "brutal" attack on 55-year-old Kasthuri Munirathinam, who is being treated at a hospital in Riyadh, and which comes weeks after a Saudi diplomat based in New Delhi was accused of rape.

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France Strikes IS in Syria, Criticizes Russia

France said Friday it had carried out a second wave of strikes overnight on Islamic State targets in Syria and accused Russia of failing to target the group.

"Two Rafale jets dropped bombs on an IS training camp. The objectives were accomplished," Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Europe 1 radio, adding that more attacks would follow.

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