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Qaida in Yemen Says France Top Enemy

The ideological leader of Yemen-based Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said Friday that France had surpassed the United States as the top enemy of Islam.

With the "weakening" of the United States in recent years, France has replaced America in the "war on Islam," Ibrahim al-Rubaish said in an audio message published by AQAP's media arm on YouTube.

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Report: Ex-Gaza Strongman Granted Serbian Citizenship

Exiled Palestinian strongman Mohammed Dahlan, a rival of President Mahmoud Abbas, has been granted Serbian citizenship, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) reported Friday.

"Dahlan, his wife and four children, a nephew and five key political supporters were all granted citizenship between February 2013 and June 2014," BIRN said.

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At Least 6 Migrants Drown Off Morocco Coast

At least six would-be migrants drowned when their boat capsized near Melilla, the Spanish enclave in Morocco, authorities said Friday.

Another 10 people were rescued from the water after the boat overturned off the Moroccan town of Nador, five kilometers (three miles) from Melilla. 

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Two U.S. Citizens Shot at in Saudi, One Wounded

Two U.S. citizens came under gunfire Friday in Saudi Arabia, and one of them was wounded but "in stable condition," police said.

It was not immediately known who shot at them.

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Saudi Blogger Badawi Becomes Free Speech Icon

Saudi Arabian blogger Raef Badawi, who could face another round of flogging on Friday for "insulting Islam," is a fighter for free speech whose health is worsening, his wife says.

His sentence of 1,000 lashes has drawn worldwide outrage and been dismissed as "cruel and inhuman" by U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

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Saudi Postpones Flogging of Blogger for Third Week

Saudi Arabia postponed Friday the flogging of a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam for a third week in a row, his wife said.

Raef Badawi "was not flogged" on Friday, his wife Ensaf Haidar told AFP, adding that the reason was unclear.

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Syria 'Adulteress' Survives Jihadist Stoning

A Syrian woman stoned by the jihadist Islamic State group for alleged adultery and left for dead has miraculously walked away from the brutal punishment, a monitor said Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the jihadist group sentenced the woman to be "stoned for adultery" in the town of Raqa, the IS stronghold in northern Syria.

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New Sinai Clashes Kill Two Children

Egypt's army clashed with jihadists in Sinai Friday, leaving two children dead as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi flew home to deal with a wave of militant attacks that killed at least 30 people.

Health officials said a six-month-old baby was hit in the head by a bullet during the clashes and a six-year-old was killed in a rocket blast in the peninsula.

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Abbas to Stockholm after Israel Shuns Swedish Visit

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Stockholm next month after Sweden became the first major state of the European Union to recognize Palestine, the Swedish government announced Friday.

"The visit of president Abbas, by invitation from the prime minister, is confirmed for February 10," foreign ministry spokeswoman Ulla Jacobson told Agence France-Presse. "He will also meet the foreign minister, the king and the archbishop."

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Kobane Residents Flow into Turkey's Largest Refugee Camp

With their town liberated but largely destroyed by battles that drove Islamic State jihadists out, thousands of Syrian residents of Kobane are settling into Turkey's newest refugee camp for an indefinite stay.  

Opened on Sunday just several kilometres from the Syrian border, the new compound near the town of Suruc is the largest refugee camp yet in Turkey, and has begun taking in some of the estimated 200,000 people who fled Kobane after it came under IS attack in September.

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