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Obama Urges 'Unconditional' Release of Israeli Soldier Held in Gaza

U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that an Israeli soldier apparently captured in Gaza must be “unconditionally released,” while stressing that “more must be done to protect civilians” in the Palestinian enclave.

Obama also urged Hamas to show they were serious about wanting a ceasefire.

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Israeli Soldier's Capture: Echoes of Gilad Shalit

Friday's disappearance of an Israeli soldier, apparently captured in Gaza, has echoes of the June 2006 seizure of conscript Gilad Shalit who was held by Palestinian militants for five years.

On June 25, 2006, the then 19-year-old Shalit was captured after militants tunneled under Gaza's border and attacked an army post, killing two soldiers and seriously wounding a third.

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Islamic State Withdraws from Deir Ezzor Villages

The jihadist Islamic State has withdrawn from several villages dominated by a Sunni tribe in eastern Deir Ezzor province after clashes, a monitoring group said Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the extremist group had withdrawn from Abu Hamam, Kashkiyeh and Ghranij, three villages dominated by the Sunni Shaitat tribe in oil-rich Deir Ezzor.

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Despite the Carnage, Gaza People Say War Must Go On

After bombardment gutted his home in central Gaza, Nidal al-Khaldi says he has nothing left to lose and will support the "resistance" against Israel even if it means more vicious fighting.

"This war will continue!" he declares, standing by the ruins of his house in al-Bureij district during a temporary lull in fighting Friday between Israel and Gaza's militants.

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Tunisia Urges Its Citizens to Leave Libya 'Soonest'

Tunisia on Friday urged its estimated 50,000 to 60,000 nationals in neighboring Libya to leave "as soon as possible" because of violence that has raged there since mid-July.

"The ministry of foreign affairs urges Tunisians who find themselves in Libyan territory to return home as soon as possible," a ministry statement said.

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Tunisia Cop Hurt as Libyans Fire to Stop Crowd from Storming Border

Libyan border guards fired warning shots Friday to keep back a crowd of people trying to enter Tunisia as they fled the conflict in Libya, a Tunisian army officer said.

A Tunisian official was wounded by a stray bullet at the Ras Jdir crossing, where the incident took place and which was shut after the clashes.

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6 Dead, Hundreds Hurt as Quake Stirs Panic in Algiers

Six people were killed and hundreds injured as panic gripped areas of the Algerian capital when an earthquake of 5.6 magnitude struck offshore early Friday, an emergency official said.

The crisis team member, revising an earlier casualty toll, said that four people had died after jumping off their balconies and two others of cardiac arrest.

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Two Palestinians Killed by Israeli Forces in West Bank

Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians during separate clashes in the northern and central West Bank on Friday, security and medical sources told Agence France-Presse.

Palestinian security sources said Tamer Smour, 22, was hit by a live bullet in the chest in the city of Tulkarem in the northern West Bank.

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Philippines Admits Massive Libya Evacuation Plan a 'Challenge'

A Philippine plan to evacuate all 13,000 of its workers in strife-torn Libya is a "challenge", with many reluctant to leave despite the dangers, the Filipino foreign ministry said Friday.

The ministry announced a "mandatory" evacuation of all 13,000 of its nationals living in Libya last month after the beheading of a Filipino construction worker abducted by unknown suspects.

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U.S. Blames Hamas for 'Barbaric' Truce Breakdown, Ban Urges 'Unconditional' Release of Soldier

The United States placed the blame for Friday's rapid breakdown in the latest Gaza ceasefire squarely at the door of Hamas, accusing the Palestinian militants of launching a "barbaric" attack.

In recent days Washington had begun to express concern about the rising Palestinian civilian death toll in Israel's assault on Gaza, while still strongly backing its right to defend itself.

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