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Egypt's Army, Islamists Clash over Constitution

Egypt's biggest political group the Muslim Brotherhood clashed with the country's army leaders on Thursday, accusing them of trying to "marginalize" parliament over the writing of a new constitution.

Mohammed el-Baltagui, one of the leaders of the Brotherhood's political party, said the movement had pulled out of a contact group with the army leaders who have been in power since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in February.

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Paris Slams Assad Remarks: He Will Not Escape Justice

Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “will not escape justice,” the French foreign ministry stressed Thursday.

“France does not give any credibility to Bashar al-Assad’s provocative statements, which totally contradict with the fact that acts of repression and violence against the Syrian people have continued unabated,” ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters, referring to Assad’s recent interview with ABC News.

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Iraq to Press Syria to Sign Arab Deal, League to Meet Saturday

Iraq said it would try to convince neighboring Syria to accept an Arab League deal to end unrest and head off sweeping economic sanctions, during a visit by the group's chief to Baghdad on Thursday.

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi told journalists in the Iraqi capital that "the ball is in the Syrian court" but warned that if Damascus wanted to avoid sanctions, it would have to sign on to the initiative.

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At Least 7 Civilians Killed by Syrian Forces in Homs

Syrian security forces on Thursday killed at least seven civilians including a woman in an assault on the restive central city of Homs, activists said.

The deaths occurred as the security forces used sniper fire and "arbitrary" shelling during raids on three districts of the city, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement sent to Agence France Presse.

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Yemenis Protest against Regime Loyalists in New Cabinet

Tens of thousands of Yemenis marched in the streets of the Yemeni capital on Thursday, chanting "no partnership with murderers," in reference to former regime loyalists that have been appointed to the newly formed unity government.

Yemen's Prime-Minister designate Mohammed Basindawa announced the new government Wednesday, with half the cabinet posts entrusted to members of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ruling party, and the other half to the opposition.

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Nine Qaida Suspects, One Soldier Killed in Yemen

Nine suspected al-Qaida militants have been killed in an attack on a Yemeni military unit in the country's restive southern province of Abyan, a military official told Agence France Presse Thursday.

A Yemeni soldier was also killed in the attack which took place late Wednesday near Abyan's capital Zinjibar.

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2 Dead in Israeli Air Strike in Gaza

An Israeli air strike against a car in Gaza City on Thursday killed at least two Palestinians and wounded two others, Palestinian medical and security sources said.

The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the reported strike, which Palestinian security sources said was carried out by an Israeli drone.

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SANA Says 'Terrorists' Blow Up Syrian Oil Pipeline

Armed "terrorists" have blown up an oil pipeline west of the flashpoint Syrian city of Homs, the official SANA news agency reported on Thursday.

"An armed terrorist group targeted in a sabotage operation the pipeline of Tal al-Shor, west of Homs," Syria's third-largest city, SANA said.

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Israel Orders Closure of Ramp to al-Aqsa Compound

Jerusalem's city council has ordered the closure within a week of a wooden access ramp to the sensitive al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City, saying the structure was "a threat to public safety."

City engineer Shlomo Eshkol issued the order "to close the structure and not allow any use of it" in a letter sent to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation which is responsible for the upkeep of the structure, known as the Mughrabi Ramp.

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Syrians Launch Civil Disobedience Campaign

Syrian activists on Thursday launched a campaign of civil disobedience to pile pressure on President Bashar Assad, after he drew a stinging rebuke from the U.S. for denying he ordered a deadly crackdown.

Local human rights groups said more than 100 people have been killed in Syria since the weekend, and the U.N. estimates at least 4,000 have died since March when anti-regime protests erupted.

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