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International Red Cross Chief Visits Syria's Daraa

International Committee of the Red Cross chief Jakob Kellenberger traveled on Wednesday to Daraa to assess the humanitarian needs in the birthplace of Syria's year-long uprising, the ICRC said.

Two lorries filled with food aid and hygiene kits, as well as 500 blankets, were unloaded at Red Cross depots in Daraa ready for distribution, ICRC spokesman in Damascus Saleh Dabbakeh told Agence France Presse.

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Gazan Found Dead after Overnight Border Clash

Palestinian medics on Wednesday found the body of a Palestinian man who was shot dead by Israeli troops overnight east of Gaza City, close to the border, a spokesman said.

"The body of a Palestinian martyr who was killed by Israeli fire was found at dawn to the east of Gaza City's cemetery," said emergency services spokesman Adham Abu Selmiya.

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Israel PM Seeks to Legalize 3 Settler Outposts

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will seek to legalize three settler outposts established illegally in the West Bank, he told his government on Wednesday.

"It is my intention to bring to the government in the near future a recommendation from the defense minister, and the necessary permissions, for regulating the status of the communities of Bruchin, Sansana and Rekhelim," he said.

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Gulf NGOs Warn Bahrain over Jailed Activist's Health

Civil society groups in Gulf States on Wednesday warned Bahraini authorities over the life of a jailed activist who has been on a hunger strike for almost two months and demanded his release.

"The Bahraini government and the ruling family will be held responsible for any harm resulting from the ongoing (hunger) strike of rights activist Abduhadi al-Khawaja," said a statement by the Gulf Forum for Civil Societies signed by its secretary general Anwar al-Rasheed.

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Lavrov Says Syria Opposition Will Never Defeat Assad's Army

Syria's opposition will never defeat President Bashar Assad's army even if it is "armed to the teeth," Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

"It is clear as day that even if the Syrian opposition is armed to the teeth, it will not be able to defeat the government's army," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying while on a visit to the ex-Soviet nation of Azerbaijan.

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Israel Begins Evicting Settlers from Hebron House

Israeli forces on Wednesday began evicting a group of settlers from a disputed house in the West Bank city of Hebron, a day after they were ordered to leave the property, police said.

"The security forces are evacuating the house at this moment," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

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Car Bomb Kills Five in Iraq

A car bomb apparently targeting a local police chief killed five people and wounded 10 in central Iraq on Wednesday morning, police and medical officials said.

"Five people were killed and ten wounded by a car bomb" that exploded near the town of Dhuluiyah, 70 kilometers north of Baghdad, a senior police officer in nearby Samarra said.

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Iraq Says Iran Wants Nuclear Talks in Baghdad

Iran wants crucial nuclear talks with world powers to take place in Baghdad instead of Istanbul as had been mooted, according to a statement from Iraq welcoming the proposal.

An "Iranian delegation expressed the desire for Iraq to host the international meeting on the Iranian nuclear file of the five permanent members of the (U.N.) Security Council plus Germany" in Baghdad, said the statement posted on the foreign ministry's website late Tuesday.

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Obama Calls Maliki, Stresses Support for 'Unified, Democratic Iraq'

U.S. President Barack Obama called Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Tuesday to congratulate him on the Arab summit held last week and to stress his support for a unified Iraq.

In a statement announcing the call, the White House termed last week's Arab summit, Iraq's diplomatic coming-out party following the full withdrawal of U.S. troops late last year, a "success."

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U.S. Wants 'Urgent' U.N. Action if Syria Doesn't Heed April 10 Deadline

The U.N. Security Council will have to take "very urgent and serious" action if Syria fails to meet an April 10 deadline to halt its military operations in protest cities, U.S. ambassador Susan Rice said Tuesday.

U.N. Security Council members negotiated a statement backing the April 10 deadline that U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan says Syria has accepted, as fierce clashes were reported between government forces and rebels.

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