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Bahraini Shiites Protest After Prayers

Thousands of Bahraini Shiites defied martial law to renew their pro-democracy protests on Friday, as they gathered after prayers and to bury a victim of the security forces' bloody crackdown.

"We sacrifice blood and soul for Bahrain," they chanted, alongside calls for restraint and non-violence in the face of alleged crimes against international law committed by the Sunni-ruled kingdom's police and military.

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Protesters Return to Cairo's Tahrir on Vote Eve

Pro-democracy activists who spearheaded the mass rallies that ousted Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak were poised for a new protest Friday on the eve of a referendum on the military's transition plans.

The Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution called the rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square to urge voters to reject an amended constitution intended to underpin fresh presidential and parliamentary elections this year and a swift return to civilian rule.

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Seif al-Islam Gadhafi Says Libya 'Not Afraid' After U.N. Action

A son of Libya Moammar Gadhafi on Friday said his family was "not afraid" after the United Nations approved air strikes against forces loyal to his father's regime.

"We are in our country and with our people. And we are not afraid," Seif al-Islam Gadhafi told ABC News Nightline from the Libyan capital Tripoli.

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Qatar Says to Contribute to Libya No-Fly Zone

Qatar will contribute to international efforts to protect Libyan civilians and urged quick action to impose a no-fly zone on the North African country, state news agency QNA reported on Friday.

"Based on the U.N. Security Council resolution, Qatar has decided to contribute in the efforts aiming at stopping bloodshed and protecting civilians in Libya," QNA quoted a foreign ministry official as saying.

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France Confirms: Military Strikes on Libya ‘Within Hours’

Military action to protect civilians from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces will come within "hours" and France will participate in the strikes, government spokesman Francois Baroin said Friday.

The strikes will come "rapidly... within a few hours," he told RTL radio after the U.N. Security Council on Thursday cleared the way for air strikes by approving "all necessary measures" to impose a no-fly zone on Libya.

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NGO: 32 Protesters Held for Hurting 'Syria's Image'

Syria on Thursday charged 32 demonstrators with attacking the reputation of the state a day after they joined a rally calling for the release of political prisoners, a rights group said.

The 32 protesters, including rights activist Suhair Atassi, were detained on Wednesday at a Damascus rally organized by the relatives of political prisoners to petition for their release.

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U.S. Worried Gadhafi Could Return to 'Terrorism'

A senior U.S. official warned Thursday there was a "very real danger" that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi could return to terrorism if he is allowed to consolidate his control over the fractured nation.

There is "a very real danger that if Gadhafi is successful on the ground, that you also face a number of considerable risks as well, the dangers of him returning to terrorism and violent extremism himself," under secretary of state for political affairs William Burns told U.S. senators.

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Divided NATO Presses Ahead with Libya Military Plans

NATO's chief urged the U.N. on Thursday to quickly act on Libya to stop Moammar Gadhafi from crushing rebels, but the alliance was divided even as it pressed ahead with plans for a no-fly zone.

"If Gadhafi prevails it will send a clear signal that violence pays. That would be unacceptable from a humanitarian and democratic perspective," Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

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Libya Army Reaches Benghazi Outskirts, Says to Halt Operations Sunday to Let Rebels 'Surrender'

The Libyan army announced that it would halt military operations from Sunday to give rebels the chance to lay down their arms and benefit from an amnesty, state news agency Jana reported Thursday.

"The provisional general committee (ministry) of defense has decided to halt military operations against the armed terrorist bands from midnight on Sunday (2200 GMT) ... to give (them) a chance to lay down their arms and benefit from a general amnesty," Jana said.

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14 Prisoners Die in Foiled Iran Jailbreak

Fourteen prisoners were killed and thirty three others injured at an Iranian jail during a botched breakout bid which involved arson, a daily reported on Thursday.

The detainees, some of whom were on death row for drug-smuggling, clashed with guards on Wednesday at Ghezel Hesar prison near the city of Karaj, west of Tehran, Khorasan newspaper said.

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