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IS Threatens to Kill Japan, Jordan Hostages in 24 Hours

The Islamic State jihadist group threatened Tuesday to kill a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian pilot within 24 hours unless Amman frees a jailed female militant.

A video released on jihadist websites shows a picture of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto holding a photograph of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh.

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Analysts: IS Hostage Exchange Demand a Bid to Sow Dissent

The Islamic State group's demand that a jihadi on Jordan's death row be exchanged for a Japanese hostage is an attempt to chip away at the U.S.-led coalition against extremism in the Middle East, analysts say.

The militants, whose brutal rule stretches across swathes of Iraq and Syria, is hoping to sow dissent among Jordan, Japan and the United States by offering to spare the life of journalist Kenji Goto.

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Japan Says Working Towards Freeing Hostage and Jordan Pilot

Japan is working with Jordan to free both a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian pilot being held by Islamist extremists, officials said Tuesday, days after militants executed another hostage.

The self-styled Islamic State group apparently beheaded Japanese contractor Haruna Yukawa last week after a 72-hour deadline for a $200 million ransom passed without payment.

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Egypt Jihadists Say Attacked Pipeline to Retaliate against Jordan

Egyptian jihadists claimed Monday to have bombed a pipeline in the Sinai that carries gas to Jordan, saying it was targeted over Amman's role in the U.S.-led war on the Islamic State group.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, Egypt's deadliest militant group which has pledged allegiance to IS, tweeted unverified pictures of the claimed attack, without saying when it was carried out.

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Japan PM Begins 3-Day Trip to Israel, West Bank

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe flew into Tel Aviv on Sunday at the start of a visit hailed by Israel as an opportunity to boost economic ties.

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Middle East Muslims Protest Prophet Cartoon

Muslims marched Friday in Middle Eastern cities against a new cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed published by French magazine Charlie Hebdo, as Gulf states warned the drawing could fuel hatred.

The largest rally was in Jordan, where around 2,500 protesters took to the streets of the capital Amman amid tightened security, while demonstrations also took place in east Jerusalem and Khartoum. 

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Jordan's Aldaradreh Slams Four in 5-1 Rout of Palestine

Hamza Aldaradreh scored the first hat-trick of the Asian Cup on Friday as Jordan hammered Palestine 5-1 to keep themselves alive in the competition.

Aldaradreh finished with four goals, helping Jordan end a miserable run of 11 games without a win, but their hopes of advancing still hang in the balance with defending champions Japan to come in their final Group D game on Tuesday.

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Plumbly Advises Lebanese to Stay United, Says World Stands by Lebanon

U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly advised the Lebanese at the end of his mission to Beirut to remain united and preserve Lebanon.

Plumbly, who will be succeeded by the head of the U.N. mission to rid Syria of chemical weapons, Sigrid Kaag, told An Nahar newspaper that his last words to the Lebanese are “to remain united and preserve this precious country.”

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Jordan King Slams New Charlie Cover as 'Irresponsible, Reckless'

Jordan's King Abdullah II has characterized as "irresponsible and reckless" this week's latest issue of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, saying its illustration of the Prophet Mohammed is an insult.

On January 7, Islamist gunmen assaulted the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people in what they said was revenge for previous insults to the Muslim prophet.

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U.N.: Two-Thirds of Jordan's Syria Refugees in Poverty

Two-thirds of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian war refugees in Jordan are living in poverty, the head of the U.N. refugee agency warned Wednesday, calling for "massive" international aid.

"The conclusions... are extremely worrying for us all," Antonio Guterres, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), told a news conference in Amman at which he presented a detailed report.

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