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Israeli Minister Airs Iran Nuclear Concerns at Pentagon

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Tuesday he shared with his U.S. counterpart his country's concerns about the direction of talks between world powers and Iran on its nuclear program.

In an audio message released by Yaalon's office after his meeting with Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon, Yaalon said they also talked about the conflicts in Iraq and Syria and the U.S.-Israel defense partnership.

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U.N. Tells Israel, Palestinians to Stop Unilateral Actions

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon urged Israel and the Palestinians on Tuesday to move away from unilateral actions stoking tensions and make the "tough compromises" needed to end their decades-old conflict.

Ban spoke to the U.N. Security Council after returning from a visit to the Middle East where he saw first-hand the destruction in Gaza wrought by the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas militants.

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Libya Government Calls for Civil Disobedience in Tripoli

The internationally recognized Libyan government called Tuesday for a civil disobedience campaign in Tripoli until its forces retake the capital from militias who seized it.

Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani's cabinet said on its Facebook page that it has ordered Libya's armed forces "to advance on Tripoli to liberate it and state institutions from the grip of armed groups".

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Jordan King Says World Faces Fight against Extremism

Jordan's King Abdullah said Tuesday the world was engaged in a battle against extremism as his country takes part in U.S.-led air strikes on Islamic State jihadists in Syria.

"All countries in the world are witnessing a war between moderation and extremism, and today Islam is plagued by a civil war," Abdullah told a meeting of Jordanian lawmakers.

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Egypt Court to Hear Jazeera Journalists' Appeal on January 1

An Egyptian court will hear on January 1 an appeal by three Al-Jazeera journalists and four co-defendants against their conviction of ties with Islamists, a judicial official said Tuesday.

Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were convicted in June of aiding the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood and spreading false news that portrayed Egypt as being in a state of "civil war".

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Turkey Says Kurdish Peshmerga Fighters Yet to Cross to Syria

Turkey said Tuesday Kurdish peshmerga fighters based in Iraq have yet to cross into Syria from Turkish territory, a day after announcing it was assisting their transit to join the battle for the town of Kobane.

"The peshmerga have yet to cross from Turkey to Kobane and this issue is still being discussed," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told NTV television, without giving further details.

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U.S. Arms Airdrop Falls into Jihadist Hands in Syria

A U.S. military airdrop of weapons meant for Kurdish fighters fell into the hands of their jihadist foes near the Syrian battleground town of Kobane, a monitor said Tuesday.

The U.S. Air Force parachuted crates of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies on Sunday night to resupply Kurds defending the Syrian town of Kobane from the Islamic State group (IS) jihadists.

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Twitter 'Source of all Evil', Says Top Saudi Cleric

Twitter is nothing more than "a source of lies" and evil, Saudi Arabia's top Muslim cleric said, in comments that sparked lively debate Tuesday on the micro-blogging site.

"If it were used correctly, it could be of real benefit, but unfortunately it's exploited for trivial matters," Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh said on his "Fatwa" television show broadcast late Monday.

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Egypt Sentences 7 Jihadists to Death for Attacks on Troops

An Egyptian military court sentenced to death seven members of an Al-Qaida inspired jihadist group Tuesday for carrying out deadly attacks on the army, army officials said.

Two other members of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem) were sentenced to life in prison, which amounts to 25 years in Egypt.

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Iraq Minister Vows to Probe Army Debacle in IS Assault

Iraq's new defense minister vowed Tuesday to investigate military failings that allowed the Islamic State group to overrun large areas of the country and to hold those responsible to account.

"We will investigate with depth and sincerity" and hold accountable those who made mistakes or failed to perform their duties, Khaled al-Obaidi said in his first speech since being approved by parliament on Saturday.

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