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France Announces Big Coalition Air Raid against IS in Iraq

The international coalition currently battling the Islamic State group in Iraq dropped around 70 bombs on an arsenal and jihadist training center in a large-scale overnight raid, the French military said Friday.

"I think it's safe to say we hurt them last night. The operation is a success," France's Chief of the Defence Staff Pierre de Villiers told Europe 1 radio, adding the raid took place in the Kirkuk region of northern Iraq.

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Iraq MPs Divided over Kurdish Deployment to Syria

The Iraqi parliament is divided over the planned deployment of Kurdish forces to aid the embattled Syrian town of Kobane, with some parliamentarians saying Friday the move violates the constitution.

Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region aims to send peshmerga fighters to help defend Kobane from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, which is besieging the town and also holds major territory in Iraq.

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Syria Kurds Skeptical as Erdogan Says 1,300 FSA Fighters to Join Kobane Battle

Syria's Kurds reacted coolly Friday to the prospect of hundreds of rebel fighters joining their defense of the border town of Kobane, suggesting they should focus on fighting jihadists elsewhere.

Turkey said on Friday that 1,300 Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters -- who are battling to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- would travel to Kobane, located just across its border.

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Six 'Militants' Killed Ahead of Key Tunisia Polls

A raid by Tunisian security forces on an armed group near the capital Friday left six suspected militants dead, including five women, fanning tensions days ahead of a landmark election.

Tens of thousands of soldiers and police will be deployed for Sunday's parliamentary polls -- the first since an uprising three years ago that inspired the Arab Spring revolutions.

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Israel Police on Alert after Jerusalem Clashes

Israel deployed police in force in Jerusalem Friday for weekly Muslim prayers and restricted access to a flashpoint mosque, after a deadly attack by a Palestinian sent tensions soaring.

Clashes broke out for a second night after the Palestinian ploughed his car into a crowd of pedestrians on Wednesday, killing a baby and injuring six other people before he was shot dead by police.

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IS Attack on Syrian Border Town Kobane Stalls amid U.S. Air Assault

A bid by Islamic State fighters to seize the flashpoint Syrian border town of Kobane has stalled, American officials said, with the help of air strikes reported to have killed over 500 jihadists.

U.S. and allied aircraft have flown nearly 6,600 sorties in the air war against the Islamic State (IS) group and dropped more than 1,700 bombs, the American military said Thursday.

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U.S. Officials: Iraqi Army Months Away from Major Offensive

The Iraqi army is still months away from staging a major offensive to retake ground lost to the Islamist State group and is regrouping after suffering battlefield defeats this year, U.S. military officials said Thursday.

Iraqi security forces were now able to stage small-scale attacks against the Islamic State group but needed time to plan and train for a larger operation, even with the aid of U.S.-led air strikes, one military official told reporters.

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Kuwait Talks to Counter Militants' Online Campaign

Kuwait will host international talks next week aimed at finding ways to undermine the slick online campaign attracting foreign fighters to the ranks of Islamic militants battling in Iraq and Syria.

"The conference will present an opportunity for an in-depth exchange of ideas for increasing cooperation among coalition partners," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday.

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Army Retakes Key Syrian Town from Rebels

The Syrian army on Thursday recaptured the strategic central town of Morek, nine months after it was seized by rebels and their Al-Qaida allies, a monitoring group said.

The army was backed by militias loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in the battle for the town in Hama province, the latest in a string of victories they have scored against rebels seeking his ouster.

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IS Propaganda Strategy 'Evolving'

From online videos to the social network postings of their fighters, the propaganda of the Islamic State jihadist group is evolving to prevent the leaking of strategic information while at the same time maintaining its impact.

Experts and journalists say they have observed a change in the group's approach to communications since its offensive on the Syrian town of Kobane and air strikes by a US-led coalition.

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