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Explosion Hits Israeli-Owned Ship in Mideast amid Tension

An explosion struck an Israeli-owned cargo ship sailing out of the Middle East on Friday, an unexplained blast renewing concerns about ship security in the region amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

The crew and vessel were safe, according to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which is run by the British navy. The explosion in the Gulf of Oman forced the vessel to head to the nearest port.

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Israel Charges Arab Citizen with Spying for Hamas

Israel's Shin Bet security agency said Friday it has arrested an Israeli Arab with family ties to Gaza for allegedly passing missile defence information to the Palestinian territory's Hamas rulers.

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U.S. to Release Report Blaming Saudi Prince in Khashoggi Murder

The US director of national intelligence is expected to release a damning report Friday that blames Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the brutal murder and dismemberment of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.

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U.S. Strikes Iran-backed Militias in Syria in Biden First

The US military has struck Iran-backed militias in eastern Syria, killing at least 22 fighters according to a war monitor, in what the Pentagon said was a message from the new administration after recent rocket attacks targeting US troops in Iraq.

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Bahrain Crown Prince Calls Israel PM on Iran Nuclear Talks

Bahrain's crown prince spoke with the Israeli prime minister on Thursday about the return to nuclear talks with Iran, Bahrain's state-run news agency reported, as the U.S. administration tries to revive the tattered 2015 nuclear accord.

Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, also the country's prime minister, stressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "the importance of the participation of regional countries in any negotiations on the Iranian nuclear file" to support "security and stability in the region," according to the official Bahrain News Agency.

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Israeli DM Moves to Halt Plan to Share Virus Vaccines

Israel's defense minister on Thursday called for an immediate halt in plans to ship surplus coronavirus vaccines to a group of allied nations, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of acting without oversight or transparency.

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Syria Govt. Says It Has Covid Vaccine from 'Friendly Country'

Syria's health minister on Thursday said his government procured coronavirus vaccines from a friendly country which he declined to name, adding that frontline health workers would be the first to be inoculated starting next week.

It was not clear why Hassan Ghabbash declined to name the country that provided the vaccines. He spoke at a press conference where only reporters from local media outlets were invited.

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Secretive Israeli Nuclear Facility Undergoes Major Project

A secretive Israeli nuclear facility at the center of the nation's undeclared atomic weapons program is undergoing what appears to be its biggest construction project in decades, satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press show.

A dig about the size of a soccer field and likely several stories deep now sits just meters (yards) from the aging reactor at the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center near the city of Dimona. The facility is already home to decades-old underground laboratories that reprocess the reactor's spent rods to obtain weapons-grade plutonium for Israel's nuclear bomb program.

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Saudi Crown Prince Has Surgery for Appendicitis

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler, has had successful surgery for appendicitis, state media reported late Wednesday. 

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Jordan Reimposes Friday Curfew as Virus Surges

Jordan has reimposed an all-day curfew on Fridays to stem the spread of coronavirus as cases rise, officials said Wednesday.

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