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Syria Jihadists Behead Ismaili Man for 'Apostasy'

The jihadist Islamic State group on Tuesday said it beheaded a member of the minority Ismaili community, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, accusing him of "apostasy".

"Yesterday (Monday) the Islamic police in Homs province carried out the punishment for apostasy against on an Ismaili apostate... The punishment was carried out before a group of Muslims," IS said in a statement distributed on jihadist forums.

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Morocco Urged to Speed Up Reforms Ahead of Rights Meet

A global advocacy group on Tuesday urged Morocco to speed up reform and remove "barriers to exercising freedoms" on the eve of an international human rights summit in the kingdom.

This week's forum in Marrakech "should be an opportunity for the Moroccan authorities to move from words to deeds" on rights reform, the head of the International Federation for Human Rights, Karim Lehidji, said in a statement.

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IS Stones 2 'Gay Men' to Death in Syria

The Islamic State group stoned two men to death in Syria Tuesday after claiming they were gay, a monitor said, in the jihadist organisation's first executions for alleged homosexuality.

"The IS today stoned to death a man that it said was gay," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that the victim was around 20 years old.

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Palestinians Slam Israel Approval of 'Jewish State' Law

The Palestinian leadership on Tuesday slammed the Israeli government's approval of a law determining the country's status as the national Jewish homeland, saying it "killed" Middle East peace prospects.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation's executive committee expressed in a statement its "strong condemnation and rejection of this law".

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UAE Jails Man After Social Media Reports on Father in Prison

An Emirati court Tuesday sentenced a local man to three years in jail after he posted social media reports on the imprisonment of his father, convicted along with dozens of other Islamists.

A state security court convicted the defendant for "creating a page on a social network under his own name to spread false information and ideas, and to mock and damage the reputation and status of state institutions," said the official news agency WAM.

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UAE Casts Global Net with Anti-Islamist 'Terror List'

When the United Arab Emirates released a blacklist of "terrorist groups" this month, many prominent Western charities were shocked to find themselves cited alongside al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.

There was little surprise to see the Muslim Brotherhood topping the list, given the Gulf state's relentless efforts against the regional Islamist group.

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Saudi Beheads 8th Pakistani since Mid-October

A Pakistani on Tuesday became the eighth person from his country to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia for drug trafficking since mid-October.

Seyfour al-Rahman Golajan is the latest of 73 people, foreigners and Saudis, to be executed in the kingdom this year, according to an Agence France Presse tally.

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Gaza Gets Second Postwar Delivery of Building Materials

Twenty-eight trucks of cement entered the battered Gaza Strip Tuesday in only the second delivery of building materials for the private sector since a 50-day summer war, officials said.

Raed Fatuh, the Palestinian Authority official in charge of the entry of goods into Gaza from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing, confirmed 28 trucks, each carrying 40 tonnes of cement, had crossed into the enclave.

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Anti-Islamist Leads Tunisia Presidential Race

The head of Tunisia's anti-Islamist Nidaa Tounes party, Beji Caid Essebsi, was on Tuesday leading the country's first presidential election since a 2011 revolution that sparked the Arab Spring uprisings.

But with no outright winner from Sunday's poll, in which Essebsi took a lead of six percentage points over incumbent Moncef Marzouki, a runoff will be held in December.

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France Pushing for Syria 'Safe Zones'

Paris is pushing for "safe zones" to be set up in Syria where citizens would be out of reach of regime forces and Islamic State jihadists, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday.

Fabius said the country was working alongside U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura who has proposed a "freeze" in fighting in Syria's second city of Aleppo.

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