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Iraq in Political Limbo after Green Zone Storming

Iraq's political reform process was in limbo Monday after protesters demanding a change of government reacted to weeks of stalling by storming parliament.

Security concerns were also high due to the presence in Baghdad of thousands of Shiite pilgrims, who were targeted for the second time in three days with a suicide bombing that killed at least 14 people.

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France Calls for Urgent Talks to Restore Syria Truce

France called Monday on the International Syria Support Group to hold urgent ministerial-level talks to restore the country's tattered ceasefire, condemning deadly air strikes by the Damascus regime.

Paris urged the 17-nation ISSG to "restore the ceasefire, reaffirm the need to protect civilian populations... and give a chance to negotiations towards a political settlement," said foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal.

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Sudan Says Has 'Sovereign Rights' in Dispute with Egypt

Sudan insisted on Monday it had "sovereign rights" over two border territories whose ownership has been the subject of a long-standing dispute between Cairo and Khartoum.

Sudan has regularly protested at Egypt's administration of Halayeb and Shalatin near the Red Sea, saying they are part of its sovereign territory since shortly after independence in 1956.

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Syrian Conflict 'in many Ways out of Control', Kerry Warns

Syria's civil war is "in many ways out of control" U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Monday, vowing to work hard in the "coming hours" to salvage a tattered truce.

Speaking after talks with U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura, Kerry said he would call his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov later Monday to press for the ceasefire to be restored.

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Gaza Training Blast Kills Palestinian Fighter

The Islamic Jihad militant group said on Monday that one of its fighters was killed and two wounded in an explosion during a training session in the northern Gaza Strip.

The armed wing of the Palestinian militant movement, the Al-Quds Brigades, said in a statement that 32-year-old Mazen Loulou was killed "while carrying out his combat duties".

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Baghdad Car Bomb against Shiite Pilgrims Kills 14

A car bomb targeting Shiite pilgrims killed at least 14 people in southern Baghdad on Monday, security and medical sources said.

An Iraqi security command said a suicide bomber detonated the explosives-rigged vehicle, while other officials said it was a car bomb.

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Report: Deadly Drone, Artillery Strikes Launched against IS from Turkey

Turkish artillery have launched deadly strikes on Islamic State (IS) positions in Syria, while drones that took off from an air base in southern Turkey also pounded the jihadists, state media said Tuesday.

The strikes were in response to repeated rocket fire by IS jihadists inside Syria on the Turkish border region of Kilis that has killed 18 people inside Turkey since the start of the year.

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Killing of 5 Egyptians Deepens Mystery over Italian's Death

It was a brutal killing that became an international incident: An Italian graduate student disappeared from the streets of the Egyptian capital in January, his body discovered days later dumped by a roadside, tortured to death.

The death of Guilio Regeni quickly poisoned ties between Egypt and Italy, where suspicions were high that Egyptian police — who have long been accused of using torture and secret detentions — snatched the 28-year-old and killed him. Egyptian officials — as high up as the president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in a national address — have denied any police role, but in the months since the slayings, the Italian government has hiked the pressure for answers.

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Iraq Forces Recapture IS-Held Town

Iraqi Kurdish and Turkmen Shiite forces have recaptured the town of Bashir from the Islamic State jihadist group, officials said on Sunday.

Pressure for an operation to retake the town had grown in March after IS launched a chemical attack from Bashir on the nearby town of Taza that killed at least three children.

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Protesters in Green Zone, Iraq PM Calls for Punishment of Rioters

Thousands of protesters were inside Baghdad's Green Zone on Sunday after breaking into the fortified area and storming parliament, as Iraq's premier called for rioters to be pursued and punished.

Demonstrators pulled down or scaled slabs of heavy concrete blast wall to enter the fortified area where Iraq's main government institutions are located, the culmination of weeks of political turmoil and inaction by parliament.

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