Middle East
Latest stories
U.S. Congratulates Iraq on Electing New President

The United States on Thursday threw its weight behind the newly elected president of Iraq, Fuad Masum, and urged him to form a "cohesive government" to help fight Islamic militants.

"By taking this crucial step, the Council of Representatives has demonstrated its commitment to uniting the country according to the constitution," deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, offering Washington's congratulations on Masum's election.

W140 Full Story
Israel Boosts Security after Deadly W.Bank Clashes

Israeli security forces were on heightened alert Friday after a Palestinian man was shot dead during a huge protest in the West Bank against Israel's military offensive in Gaza.

Palestinian factions in the West Bank declared a "Day of Rage" after the Thursday night clashes, which took place around the West Bank and in some sectors of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

W140 Full Story
Pressure for Gaza Truce Mounts after Israel Shells U.N. Refuge

Signs of renewed efforts for a Gaza ceasefire were evident on Friday as the death toll continued to climb after Israel shelled a U.N. shelter killing 15 Palestinians.

Israel's secretive security cabinet was expected to meet later in the day to discuss truce proposals passed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry earlier in the week, Israeli media said.

W140 Full Story
15 Dead, 200 Hurt as Israel Shells U.N. School in Gaza, Assault Death Toll Rises to Nearly 800

Fifteen people were killed Thursday when Israeli fire hit a U.N. shelter in Gaza, as the Palestinian toll in the 17-day conflict rose to 798, medics said.

Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said at least 15 people had been killed and 200 wounded by Israeli shelling of a school run by the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in the northern town of Beit Hanun, where hundreds of civilians had sought refuge from the violence.

W140 Full Story
U.S. Says Gaps Remain as Kerry Presses Gaza Truce

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry worked the phones, including with Hamas allies, on Thursday, as he pressed efforts to end the bloodshed in Gaza, but aides warned gaps remained.

A day after he flew into Israel and cited signs of progress, Kerry was hunkered down in Egypt -- which drafted a proposal to halt the Israel-Hamas conflict -- and spoke to regional leaders by telephone.

W140 Full Story
Contact Lost with Algerian Jet that Took Off from Burkina Faso, Official Says Wreck Found in Mali

An Air Algerie plane missing since early Thursday over Mali with 116 passengers and crew, including some 50 French nationals, on board probably crashed, French President Francois Hollande said.

Speaking on French television, Hollande said: "Everything leads us to believe that the plane has crashed."

W140 Full Story
Ban Accuses Syrian Forces of Stepping Up Attacks on Hospitals

Syrian government forces have stepped up attacks on hospitals and clinics, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said Thursday, accusing all sides of blocking aid deliveries as a "tactic of war."

Ban told the U.N. Security Council in a report that both government forces and rebel fighters were increasingly targeting vital services such as water stations and electric cables, compounding the humanitarian crisis.

W140 Full Story
Abbas Meets Jordan King, Hopes for Gaza Ceasefire

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he hopes a ceasefire can be agreed in Gaza as the Palestinian death toll on day 17 of an Israeli offensive topped 788 people.

"So far, there is hope for a ceasefire," Abbas said after meeting Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman, a palace statement said.

W140 Full Story
Larijani Says Iran Gave Hamas Its Rocket Know-How

Iran provided Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas with the technology it has used to rain down rockets on Israel from Gaza, its parliament speaker said on Thursday.

Tehran frequently boasts of the financial and material support it gives to Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad but more rarely talks of its military assistance.

W140 Full Story
Lufthansa Suspends Flights to Tel Aviv for Another 24 Hours

German flag carrier Lufthansa said Thursday it would continue to suspend flights to Tel Aviv for another 24 hours over security concerns amid the raging conflict in the Gaza Strip.

"We will resume flights as soon as the protection of the airport is assured in a tangible manner," it said in a statement.

W140 Full Story