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58 Dead in Tikrit Attack, Including Journalist

Security forces stormed the provincial council building in former dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit on Tuesday after an hours-long shootout with gunmen that left 58 dead and 97 wounded, a police official said.

"The latest toll is 58 dead and 97 wounded, and there are many with serious injuries, Six of the dead were the attackers," said the official, stationed at Tikrit's main hospital."

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World Powers Move Towards Gadhafi Exile Plan, ‘Regime Lost Legitimacy’

International powers meeting in London on Tuesday edged closer to an exile plan for embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, as France said it was ready to discuss military aid for rebels.

More than 40 countries and organizations, including the United Nations and NATO, agreed to create a contact group to map out a future for Libya and to meet again as soon as possible in the Arab state of Qatar.

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Saleh Hits Back at Opponents, Urges Them to Leave Instead

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, given a new lease of life by a solidarity rally as well as U.S. fears over al-Qaida and 150 deaths in a killer blast, has taken the initiative against calls for his ouster.

Scoffing at pressure to quit at a time of growing insecurity, as highlighted by the blast at an ammunitions plant in southern Yemen, Saleh challenged his opponents to leave the country instead, in remarks published on Tuesday.

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Facebook Group Urges Syria Sit-In 'Until All Demands Met'

Facebook group The Syria Revolution 2011, which has emerged as the motor behind demonstrations demanding "freedom" in Syria, is calling for sit-ins across the country Friday despite a bid by the state to reach out to protesters.

"The Friday of Martyrs. In all governorates, in all mosques, in all squares. An overnight sit-in until our demands are met -- all our demands," read a banner poster as the group's profile picture.

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World Powers Keep Up Pressure as Gadhafi Beats Back Rebels

World powers vowed Tuesday to continue military action until Moammar Gadhafi stops his "murderous attacks" on Libyan civilians, as loud blasts rocked his stronghold in Tripoli.

At a meeting of more than 35 nations in London, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister David Cameron said that allied air strikes would go on until the Libyan leader met U.N. demands for a ceasefire.

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Syrian Govt Resigns, Assad to Speak in Parliament Wednesday

Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri on Tuesday tendered his government's resignation to President Bashar al-Assad, who promptly re-appointed him caretaker premier, state media reported.

"President Bashar al-Assad today accepted the resignation of the government of Mohammed Naji Otri and designated it to act in a caretaker capacity pending the formation of a new cabinet," state-run news agency SANA said.

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Kuwait Condemns 3 to death in Iran Spy Ring

A court in Kuwait on Tuesday condemned to death two Iranians and a Kuwaiti national for belonging to an Iranian spy ring, a judiciary source told Agence France Presse.

A Syrian and a stateless Arab were handed life terms at the end of the espionage trial, while an Iranian man and the only woman defendant -- daughter of one of the two Iranians on death row -- were acquitted, he said.

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Yoram Cohen New Israeli Internal Security Chief

Yoram Cohen, an Arabist with 30 years experience at Israel's internal security service, Shin Bet, has been appointed as its new director, the prime minister's office said.

Cohen, who replaces Yuval Diskin and will assume the position on May 15, was named by Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night.

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Shiite ex-MPs Exposed to Prosecution in Bahrain

Bahrain's parliament on Tuesday accepted the resignations of 11 out of 18 Shiite MPs who stepped down in protest at violence against pro-democracy demonstrators, exposing them to prosecution.

The house in a unanimous vote "accepted the resignations of 11 MPs of Al-Wefaq, the largest bloc in the 40-member parliament of the Shiite-majority state, official news agency BNA said.

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Israel Passes Law Nixing Citizenship for Treason

Israel's Knesset, or parliament, has passed a law which would enable the court system to revoke the citizenship of anyone convicted of spying, treason or helping the enemy during times of war.

The bill, which was passed by 37 to 11 at a late-night session on Monday, was initiated by two Knesset members (MKs) from the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

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