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Egypt Slams Israel Plan to Seize Palestinian Land

Egypt on Monday denounced Israeli plans to expropriate West Bank land, saying the move violates international law and is an obstacle to efforts for a lasting Palestinian-Israeli settlement.

On Sunday, Israel said it would expropriate 400 hectares (988 acres) of Palestinian land around Bethlehem, and allowed 45 days for any appeal.

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Merkel Says Arms Aid for Iraqi Kurds in Europe's Interest

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday defended a watershed decision to send arms to Iraqi Kurds battling jihadist militants, saying Europe's own security was at stake.

Merkel told parliament that Germany's decision to break with its post-war tradition of refusing to send weapons into conflict zones was crucial in strife-torn Iraq, the scene of "inconceivable atrocities" against civilians.

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Maliki Vows Iraq Will be 'Graveyard' for Jihadists

Outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki vowed Monday that Iraq will be a "graveyard" for jihadists as he visited the Shiite town of Amerli after the breaking of an 11-week siege.

"Iraq will be a graveyard for (the Islamic State)," the two-term premier said in televised remarks from the town, referring to the powerful jihadist group.

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Saudi Crown Prince in Paris for Talks on Arms, Jihadist Threat

Saudi Arabia's crown prince arrived in Paris Monday for talks with President Francois Hollande likely to touch on a Saudi-financed French package of arms for Lebanon and the wider jihadist threat in the region.

Salman bin Abdul Aziz, who is also deputy prime minister and defense minister, will meet Hollande on Monday and will be treated to an official dinner at the Elysee presidential palace.

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Israeli Kids Back to School after Tense Summer

More than 2 million Israeli children went back to school on Monday after a summer spent by many in bomb shelters or far away from homes near the Gaza border.

In the wake of Israel's 50-day military campaign against Gaza militants, which began on July 8 and ended last Tuesday, the education ministry said on its website that the first two weeks of the new school year would be spent helping children "return to routine".

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HRW: Islamic State Jihadists Using Cluster Bombs

Islamic State jihadists have used cluster munitions in Syria in at least one location and Syria's regime is continuing to use the widely banned weapon, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

The New York-based group, citing reports from local Kurdish officials and photographic evidence, said IS fighters had used cluster bombs on July 12 and August 14.

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Iraq Violence Killed at Least 1,420 People in August

Violence in Iraq killed at least 1,420 people during the month of August, as Iraqi forces fought to regain areas overrun by jihadist-led militants, the United Nations said on Monday.

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Shiite Rebels Rally in Sanaa after Leader Defies U.N.

Tens of thousands of Shiite rebel activists demonstrated in the Yemeni capital Monday, heeding a call by their leader to press their campaign to oust the government in defiance of the U.N.

The show of strength by the Zaidi Shiite rebels caused traffic jams on several major roads in Sanaa, an Agence France-Presse correspondent reported, as sources said the president has sent an envoy for renewed talks with the rebels' leader.

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Syria Army, Rebels Clash as U.N. Bids to Free Golan Monitors

Syrian troops and Islamist rebels battled close to the armistice line with Israel in the Golan Heights on Monday, as the U.N. pressed efforts to free 44 peacekeepers held by the insurgents.

The unrest on Israel's doorstep followed a spillover of mortar and gunfire into Israeli-controlled territory, putting the Jewish state on high alert and prompting it to shoot down a drone over the occupied plateau on Sunday.

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Hamas Boosted Politically Despite Battlefield Losses

Gaza's Islamist Hamas movement may have suffered heavy military losses during 50 days of conflict with Israel but it emerged with its political standing enhanced, analysts say.

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