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Stiff Fines in Qaida Campaign to Stamp Out Qat in Yemen City

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has stepped up its campaign to stamp out use of the mild narcotic qat in a Yemeni city it controls, announcing hefty fines for traffickers.

Chewing wads of the evergreen herb has a stimulant effect similar to drinking numerous cups of strong coffee, and it is part of the social fabric of Yemen.

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Iraq Christians Train to Recapture Homes from IS

With wooden crosses around their necks and others tattooed on their arms, several dozen Iraqi Christians are training to recapture their homes overrun by the Islamic State jihadist group.

A year ago, IS launched a fierce offensive in northern Iraq, quickly capturing second city Mosul, with its large Christian minority, and Christian-populated areas in the surrounding Nineveh province.

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Syria Refugee Child Labor a 'Growing, Dangerous Problem'

A growing number of Syrian refugee children are being pushed into the labor market to support their families and exploited, often in dangerous conditions, said a report released on Thursday.

Syria's civil war has killed more than 230,000 people and forced around half the population from their homes.

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With Army Ranks Depleted, Syria Urges People to Enlist

With the Syrian army's ranks depleted by casualties and rampant draft-dodging, a new campaign in the war-torn country is urging citizens to enlist.

In recent weeks, billboards have sprung up across Damascus reading "Join the army," "We are all the army," and "With our army, we'll win our country."

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Syrian Observatory: 4 South Syria Hospitals Shut after Regime Raids

Four hospitals in the southern Syrian province of Daraa have been forced to close in recent days after intensive government air strikes, a monitor said on Thursday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 18 people were killed in government strikes across Daraa on Wednesday, including in a raid that hit a rebel checkpoint near a field hospital in the town of Saida.

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Egypt Vows to Wipe Out 'Dens of Terror' after IS Attacks

Egypt vowed Thursday to crush an escalating insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula after Islamic State group jihadists killed dozens in their most spectacular assault yet in the strife-plagued region.

The violence poses a major test for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former army chief who has pledged to wipe out the militants.

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Tunisia Arrests Eight with 'Direct Links' to Beach Massacre

Tunisia has arrested eight people in connection with last week's jihadist massacre at a seaside resort, as the remains of more British victims were set to be flown home Thursday.

"Eight people with direct links to the carrying out of the operation, including a woman, have been arrested," said Kamel Jendoubi, a minister who heads a crisis group set up after the attack.

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Deadly Clashes Shake Yemen's Aden

Fighting raged in Yemen's battleground southern port of Aden Thursday, a day after the United Nations declared its highest level of humanitarian emergency in the war-torn country.

The clashes killed seven rebels and five pro-government fighters, a military official said.

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Benghazi, where Libya's Uprising Began, Now a Shattered City

The old courthouse in central Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and the birthplace of the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi, is a shelled-out ruin — a testimony to the destruction and chaos that permeate this North African country four years after the civil war that ousted the longtime dictator.

The building is steeped in symbolism. It was here that the rallying cry first came against Gadhafi's 42-year rule. It was here that pro-democracy protesters and rebels first raised the tri-colored Libyan flag, replacing Gadhafi's green banner.

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Egypt Cabinet Passes Anti-Terror Law, Requests Faster Trials

Egypt's government adopted a controversial anti-terror law and requested a faster court appeals process on Wednesday, after the president pledged tougher laws following the assassination of the top prosecutor.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who vowed to adopt tougher measures following the killing of state prosecutor Hisham Barakat on Monday, is expected to swiftly ratify the law.

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