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Nazarian, Petroleum Administration Say Offshore Geological Data Wasn't Handed Over to Anyone

Energy and Water Minister Arthur Nazarian and the Lebanese Petroleum Administration stressed Wednesday that any data resulting from geological surveys for the country's offshore gas and oil “has not been handed over to any side,” refuting media reports.

This data “is the property of the Lebanese state, and the ministry and the administration are exerting efforts to maintain it and safeguard it in line with the applicable laws,” Nazarian and the LPA said in a joint statement.

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Egypt's Dar al-Ifta Warns Women against Marrying IS Fighters Online

Egypt's state-sponsored Islamic authority warned women Wednesday against marrying fighters from the Islamic State group online, saying such unions would push them into a "circle of terrorism."

Dar al-Ifta, the body that issues rulings on Islamic sharia law, said it made the warning after noticing several IS calls on social networks for girls to marry its jihadists "through video conferences."

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Egypt Confirms Jail Terms for Police over Activist Death

An Egyptian court upheld Wednesday 10-year jail terms against two policemen convicted of killing an activist whose death rallied protesters in the 2011 revolt that toppled ex-strongman Hosni Mubarak.

In March 2014, a lower court handed the two policemen the jail terms after a retrial for the manslaughter and torture of Khalid Saeed in 2010 at an Internet cafe in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

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Egyptians Race to Expand Suez Canal, Hoping for Trade Surge

Bulldozers push earth and dredgers spit mud round the clock at Egypt's Suez Canal in a race to quickly expand the strategic waterway for two-way traffic, a project trumpeted by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to revive both the country's damaged economy and visions of nationalist glory.

The government's goal of more than doubling annual canal revenues to some $13 billion in less than a decade, however, appears overly ambitious. Although more vessels will be drawn to the canal because there will be almost no wait time, any major increase depends on something unlikely to happen soon, analysts and shippers say — a large jump in European demand fueling greater shipping from Asia.

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Arab Summit to Mull Creation of Joint Force against IS

The Arab League will consider setting up a defense unit to battle the spread of the Islamic State group at its annual summit later this month, an official said Tuesday.

Deputy chief Ahmed Ben Helli told reporters that the March 28-29 meeting in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh will discuss an Egyptian initiative to create a "unified Arab force".

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Egypt Court Formally Delays Parliamentary Election

Egypt's administrative court formally delayed Tuesday this month's parliamentary election, after the electoral commission announced it would not be held on time due to legal obstacles.

The constitutional court ruled Sunday that part of the electoral law was unconstitutional, prompting the electoral commission to begin preparing a new timetable for the vote, which had been due to start on March 21.

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11 Wounded, One Critically, in Bomb Blast near Egypt Court

Eleven people were wounded, one critically, in a bomb explosion outside the Egyptian supreme court in Cairo on Monday, hospital officials said.

A police official and state media had said one man died but later retracted the information.

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3 Israelis Indicted for Smuggling Goods to Gaza's Hamas

Three Israelis were on Monday charged with smuggling goods into the Gaza Strip knowing they would be used by Hamas to bolster its military infrastructure, officials said.

Micha Peretz, Yehoram Alon and another man whose name has not been released were indicted at Beersheba District Court for trade worth millions of dollars with a Palestinian merchant in Gaza, while fully aware he was transferring the materials to Hamas.

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Bomb Blast in Egypt Tourist Town Aswan Kills Two

A bomb blast killed two people Sunday in Aswan, the first such attack in the Egyptian tourist town since a wave of violence following the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, police said.

The explosion, caused by a device placed near a police station in the southern town, also wounded five people including a policeman, according to the same source.

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Egypt Army: 172 Sinai Militants Killed in February

Egypt's army said Sunday at least 172 militants were killed in February in joint police and military operations in the restive Sinai where security forces are battling an Islamist insurgency.

The militants were killed in a series of security operations in the peninsula after a deadly January 29 attack by jihadists left 30 people dead, mostly soldiers.

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