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Tunisia Says Clashes Kill 2 Soldiers, 10 Jihadists

Two Tunisian soldiers and 10 presumed jihadists have been killed in clashes in rugged terrain near the border with Algeria this week, the defense ministry said on Friday.

"Another two soldiers have been martyred and seven wounded in this army operation on Mount Salloum," spokesman Belhassen Oueslati told AFP.

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IS Jihadists Down Regime Aircraft in South Syria

The Islamic State shot down a regime aircraft near a key military airport in southern Syria Friday, with pro-IS Twitter accounts saying the jihadist group had captured the pilot, a monitor said.

The plane went down east of Khalkhalah airport, the only air base in Sweida province, a stronghold of the Druze minority that has largely avoided the bloodshed of Syria's war, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.  

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Saudi Foils 'IS Bombing Plot', Blames Group for Killing Policemen

Saudi Arabia said Friday it had foiled a bomb plot by the Islamic State group and blamed the jihadists for shooting dead two policemen in the capital earlier this month.

The authorities said three bomb-laden cars had been seized during investigations into the killings.

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Saudi Executes Jordanian Drug Trafficker

Saudi Arabia executed a Jordanian man on Friday for drug trafficking in the ultra-conservative kingdom, the interior ministry said.

Mohammed Abu Samak was arrested "as he was smuggling a large amount of banned amphetamine pills," said a ministry statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

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Palestinian Student Vote Offers Taste of Real Democracy

As relations between rival political factions hit rock bottom and with the prospect of a general election ever more distant, some Palestinians are left with a single voting outlet -- student elections.

The annual student council vote has all the flavour of a general election, pitting Fatah and Hamas, the two main political blocs, against each other.

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U.N.: Separate Talks with Syria Rival Sides to Start in Geneva May 4

The United Nations said Friday it would host separate talks with rival sides in Syria from May 4 in a bid to kickstart stalled negotiations to end the four-year conflict.

"The Geneva consultation invitations have gone out a couple of days ago," U.N. spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told reporters, saying the talks would last between four and six weeks and would be at "mostly ambassadorial level and expert level."

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Bahrain Jails Iraqi 'Rioter' for Three Years

Bahraini authorities sentenced an Iraqi man to three years in prison on charges including rioting and joining an "unauthorized" protest in the capital Manama, official media reported.

The small Sunni-ruled kingdom has seen frequent unrest since 2011 when security forces crushed protests led by the Shiite majority demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

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Nusra Front, Allies Advance on Regime in Northwest Syria

Al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate and other Islamist fighters made gains on Friday in a joint offensive on the last major regime bastion in the northwest province of Idlib, a monitor said.

The assault, which began on Thursday, has seen al-Nusra Front and allied groups seize three checkpoints around the large town of Jisr al-Shughur, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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UNICEF: At Least 115 Children Killed in Yemen since March 26

At least 115 children have been killed and 172 maimed in the violence raging in Yemen since Saudi-led air raids began on March 26, the U.N. children's agency said Friday.

"We believe that these are conservative figures," UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac told reporters in Geneva, saying at least 64 of the children killed between March 26 and April 20 were victims of air strikes.

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Air Strikes Pound Yemen Rebel Positions as Clashes Rage

Saudi-led coalition air strikes hit a camp housing rebel troops in Yemen's third city Taez on Friday, after a night of clashes and raids throughout the war-hit country, residents said.

Warplanes struck the camp, which was being used by a rebel army unit loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh in central Taez, they said. 

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