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Maltese Worker Kidnapped in Libya Freed

A Maltese worker who was abducted by Libyan rebels on the outskirts of Tripoli on July 17 has been freed and arrived home safely in Valletta on Monday, authorities said.

Martin Galea, 40, a health and safety professional who worked for an oil and gas company, appeared to be in good health but was taken to hospital for a thorough examination.

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Rocket Attack Kills Girl in Egypt's Sinai

A nine-year-old girl was killed on Monday when a rocket hit the ground outside a house in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, in an apparent attack targeting soldiers, security officials said.

Another girl, 10, was wounded in the blast south of the town of Sheikh Zuwaid in northern Sinai.

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Egypt Slams 'Excessive' Israeli Force against Gaza Civilians

Egypt on Monday condemned Israel for using what it said was "excessive force" against civilians in the Gaza Strip.

It also urged Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian movement that dominates the Gaza Strip, to abide by the "humanitarian truce" proposed by Cairo and backed by the United Nations to end the 21-day conflict.

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Syria Thyme Seller and Sons Killed as Ramadan Ends

Ramadan had just an hour left to go, but Bashar Sarmini, the thyme seller of Aleppo, and his three sons never saw the sun set on the month of fasting.

A rapid barrel-bombing raid by Syrian regime planes killed them all in the rebel-held district of Shaar in the divided northern city, the Syrian observatory for Human Rights reported.

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U.N. Takes Aim at Islamist Oil Grab in Syria, Iraq

The U.N. Security Council on Monday backed a Russian initiative to bar trade in oil with Islamists in Iraq and Syria.

The 15-nation Council warned in a joint statement that buying oil from groups such as the Islamic State and Jabhat Al-Nusra fighting in Iraq and Syria could lead to sanctions.

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Gaza War Sees U.S.-Israeli Relations Sink to New Depths

Barack Obama's demand for an "immediate, unconditional" Gaza humanitarian ceasefire has strained already-tense U.S.-Israeli ties and put Benjamin Netanyahu in a tight spot with hardliners in his government, commentators said.

Analysts see the U.S. president's call on Sunday as an ultimatum to Netanyahu, as the Palestinian toll from Israel's 21-day offensive in Gaza neared 1,050.

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Pilots of Air Algerie Plane that Crashed Asked to 'Turn Back'

France said Monday the pilots of the Air Algerie passenger plane that crashed in Mali, killing all 118 people on board, had asked to turn back in a new development to a complex probe into the tragedy.

"What we know for sure is that the weather was bad that night, that the plane crew had asked to change route then to turn back before all contact was lost," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters in his latest briefing about last week's disaster.

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Islamic State Jihadists Open 'Marriage Bureau'

The Islamic State, which advocates public stoning for adultery, has opened a "marriage bureau" for women who want to wed its fighters in territory they control in Syria and Iraq.

The jihadist group's office is operating from Al-Bab, a town in Aleppo province of northern Syria, for "single women and widows who would like to marry IS fighters", said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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Muslims Mark Somber Eid in Bloodied Gaza

The end of a month of fasting was supposed to be a time to celebrate for Abeer Shamali. But instead, she spent the Muslim Eid feast at the grave of her teenage son.

Fellow mourners looked on glumly Monday as Abeer caressed the earth under which her dead son lay, and placed pink and white hydrangeas upon the mound of sandy soil where Thaer, 16, was buried just four days ago.

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Gaza Toll Hits 1,060 on Day 21 of Assault, Netanyahu Promises 'Lengthy' Operation

Bloodshed in and around Gaza surged Monday as several children were killed in Israeli strikes on the Strip, hiking the Palestinian death toll from Israel's 21-day operation to 1,060.

It was a bloody start to the three-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr which began on Monday, with international demands for an end to the fighting falling on increasingly deaf ears.

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