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Red Cross Voices Concern at Yemen Violence

The Red Cross expressed deep concern Thursday over the impact of Saudi-led air strikes on the Yemeni capital, urging all sides in the conflict to strive to spare civilians.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was "worried by the recent escalation of violence" in Yemen, and at reports that civilians had been killed in air raids on Sanaa.

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Saudi Arabia: The Gulf's Best-Equipped Army

Saudi Arabia has the best equipped armed forces in the Gulf region, while counting on its Western partners to guarantee its security, the International Institute for Strategic Studies says.

The Saudi military numbers 227,000 troops, including 75,000 in the army, 13,500 in the navy and 20,000 in the air force.

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Amnesty Says Palestinian Rockets Killed More Gazans in 2014 War

Amnesty International said Thursday Palestinian rocket fire during the 2014 summer war in Gaza had killed more civilians in the Gaza Strip than in Israel.

Such deadly attacks on civilians on both sides constituted "a war crime," it said.

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Egypt Says Air Force, Navy Join in Yemen Intervention

Egypt's air force and Navy are participating in a Saudi-led intervention against Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen, the presidency said in a statement on Thursday.

The government had previously said it would be prepared to commit ground troops as well if required.

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U.N. Envoy Says Netanyahu Must Take Steps to Freeze Settlements

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government must take steps to freeze settlements that are threatening to "kill the very possibility of reaching peace," the U.N.'s Middle East envoy said Thursday.

In his final report to the Security Council as Middle East coordinator, Robert Serry said "I frankly do not know if it is already too late" to revive peace talks aimed at the establishment of a Palestinian state.

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U.S. Says Iraqi Shiite Militias 'Pulled Back' from Tikrit

Iraq's Shiite militias have withdrawn from the forefront of an offensive to recapture Tikrit from Islamic State jihadists, allowing Baghdad government troops to take the lead, a top U.S. general said Thursday.

The Shiite militias "have pulled back from that area" and Iraqi special forces and police are clearing Tikrit, General Lloyd Austin, head of U.S. Central Command, told lawmakers.

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Kuwait Beefs Up Security at Oil Facilities over Yemen

Kuwait, a member of the coalition that has launched airstrikes on rebels in Yemen, said Thursday it has beefed up security at oil facilities as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Khaled al-Sabah, chaired a meeting of top officials to review the security plan to safeguard the Gulf state.

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Top Arab Israeli MP Begins 4-Day March for Bedouins

Israel's top Arab MP began a four-day walk to Jerusalem on Thursday in a show of support for the impoverished Bedouin community and to put a spotlight on the "human misery" they face.

Ayman Odeh, who was elected in last week's Israeli polls and heads the Arab parliamentary bloc, set off on a 100-kilometer (60-mile) walk from the southern Negev -- where he has long campaigned for the rights of Bedouin Arabs.

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EU Says Military Action Not the Solution in Yemen

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Thursday warned of regional risks from fighting in Yemen and said there could be no military solution, after Saudi warplanes bombed Shiite rebels and sparked Iranian warnings.

"The latest events in Yemen have dramatically worsened the already fragile situation in the country and risk having serious regional consequences," Mogherini, the former Italian foreign minister, said in a statement.

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Iraq Opposes Saudi-Led Air Strikes in Yemen

Iraq's foreign minister on Thursday opposed Saudi-led air strikes on Shiite rebels in Yemen, saying military intervention was not a solution.

Ibrahim al-Jaafari, whose Shiite-led government is fighting Sunni jihadists in Iraq with Western and Iranian backing, said he supported a "peaceful" approach to Yemen.

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