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Libyan Military: Defected Soldiers will be Pardoned

Former Libyan soldiers who defected to the rebels will be pardoned if they surrender to government forces, state television said Monday, quoting the military.

The announcement came as forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi pursued their eastward drive towards the rebel capital of Benghazi, threatening the key town of Ajdabiya.

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U.S. Criticizes Israeli Settlement Construction Plan

The U.S. Embassy said Monday it was "deeply concerned" by Israel's plans to build hundreds of new homes in the West Bank following a deadly attack on a settler family, calling Israeli settlements "illegitimate" and an obstacle to peacemaking.

In a rare interview to the Israeli media, the Palestinian president reached out to the Israeli public, decrying the weekend attack in the settlement of Itamar as "despicable, immoral and inhuman." But he rejected the Israeli suggestion that his government was indirectly to blame.

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Young Militants Call for Egypt Referendum 'NO' Vote

Young militants who spearheaded Egypt's pro-democracy revolution called Monday for a "no" vote in next weekend's referendum on constitutional reform.

"We have decided on our position, we are saying 'go and vote but say no', said Shadi al-Ghazali Harb, a member of the youth coalition which helped to overthrow president Hosni Mubarak last month.

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Suicide Attack on Iraq Army Base Kills 11

A suicide attacker rammed a truck packed with explosives into an army barracks in Iraq's restive Diyala province Monday, killing at least 11 troops and wounding 14, a security official said.

The attack took place at around 6:00 am (0300 GMT) at an army base at Kanaan, some 70 kilometers northeast of Baghdad, the official said.

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Dozens Hurt as Protesters, Police Clash Anew in Bahrain

Bahraini police on Sunday clashed with demonstrators trying to occupy Manama's banking center, as protests spread to the heart of the strategic Gulf state's business district.

Witnesses said police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at around 350 activists who had sealed off the Financial Harbor business complex with road blocks and a human chain.

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Libyan Regime: Zawiyah, Uqayla, Ras Lanuf, Brega Liberated, Army Marching to Cleanse Country

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are "marching to cleanse the country" of insurgents, military spokesman Colonel Milad Hussein told a news conference on Sunday.

"Our raids are forcing the terrorists to flee. We have liberated Zawiyah, Uqayla, Ras Lanuf and Brega and the army is advancing to liberate the rest of the regions," he said.

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Bahrain Police Fire Tear Gas at Protest

Bahraini police on Sunday fired tear gas at protesters in Pearl Square for the first time since demonstrators began an anti-regime sit-in there last month, witnesses said.

Several protesters were hurt after inhaling tear gas fired by riot police from a bridge overlooking the square, but the security forces pulled out shortly after, witnesses said.

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Death Toll Rise to 7 after Saturday Clashes in Yemen

Two anti-regime protesters died in Yemen on Sunday, a day after police shot them in the head, a medic said, raising the death toll to seven from demonstrations against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The two succumbed to wounds after "being shot in the head" in the southern city of Aden, said the medic, adding four other demonstrators were in a critical condition after also being shot in the head.

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Israel Gives Green Light to New Wave of Settlements

Israel said Sunday it has okayed hundreds of new settler homes after a gruesome weekend attack in which five Israelis, three of them children, were murdered in their beds in the West Bank.

The ministerial committee for settlements, which met late on Saturday, approved construction of several hundred units across in Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim, Ariel and Kiryat Sefer, a statement from the bureau of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

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Arabs Demand U.N. No-Fly Zone: Gadhafi’s Regime ‘Lost Legitimacy’

The Arab League on Saturday urged the United Nations to slap a no-fly zone on Libya and said Moammar Gadhafi's regime had "lost legitimacy," in a boost for rebels fighting to unseat the strongman.

The pan-Arab organization also announced its recognition of the transitional national council set up by the rebels in their eastern stronghold of Benghazi and said they would open contact with the group.

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