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Envoy Says U.S. Will 'Protect' Syrian Rebels when Time Comes

The United States will be ready to "protect" moderate Syrian rebels possibly with air power once they enter into combat, a top U.S. official said Monday.

Retired U.S. general John Allen, President Barack Obama's envoy to the international coalition fighting the Islamic State group, insisted that once moderate Syrian rebels were vetted, trained and armed, they would not be abandoned on the battlefield.

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Libya Parliament Votes to Return to U.N.-brokered Talks

Libya's internationally recognized parliament voted on Monday to return to U.N.-brokered talks on the future of the crisis-hit country, a week after suspending its participation, a lawmaker said.

The motion to resume the negotiations was adopted at the end of a meeting between members of parliament and the U.N.'s special envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, the lawmaker Abu Bakr Beira told Agence France-Presse.

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U.N. Peace Envoy Chides World over Lack of Gaza Aid

U.N. Middle East peace envoy Robert Serry criticized the international community Monday over the failure to deliver aid promised for reconstructing Gaza, on his final trip to the Palestinian territory.

Israel and Hamas fought a devastating 50-day war in the besieged coastal enclave last summer which killed more than 2,200 people and left 100,000 Gazans homeless and large swathes of the territory in ruins.

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11 Wounded, One Critically, in Bomb Blast near Egypt Court

Eleven people were wounded, one critically, in a bomb explosion outside the Egyptian supreme court in Cairo on Monday, hospital officials said.

A police official and state media had said one man died but later retracted the information.

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Lavrov Says Crimes against Mideast Christians 'Genocide'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday crimes committed against Christians in the Middle East were tantamount to "genocide", joining other high-ranking diplomats in calling for action.

Like other minorities, Christians have been the target of brutal violence waged by jihadists in countries such as Libya or Syria.

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Hamas Commander Says Group Rebuilding Rocket Arsenal

A senior Hamas military official said Monday his Palestinian Islamist group which controls Gaza is rebuilding its heavily depleted rocket arsenal in case of fresh conflict with Israel.

"Any regional or international attempt to lay siege to Hamas or its armed wing is bound to fail," said Marwan Eissa, a commander of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades armed wing.

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Palestinians to File First ICC Case against Israel in April

The Palestinians are to lodge their first complaint against Israel for alleged war crimes at the International Criminal Court on April 1, a senior official told Agence France-Presse on Monday.

"One of the first important steps will be filing a complaint against Israel at the ICC on April 1 over the (2014) Gaza war and settlement activity," said Mohammed Shtayyeh, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

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Report: Turkish Army Probes Soldier for Failure to Resist IS

The Turkish military has launched disciplinary proceedings against a soldier for failing to resist Islamic State (IS) insurgents after he went missing on the border with Syria, media reported on Monday.

Ozgur Ors, a non-commissioned officer, went missing in January after he crossed the border into Syria from the southeastern Turkish province of Kilis in an operation to capture a group of smugglers.

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Turkey's Erdogan in Riyadh as Saudi Seeks 'Sunni Unity'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived Monday in Riyadh for a visit at the king's invitation in what is seen as a Saudi bid to unify Sunnis against Iran and jihadists.

Erdogan's meeting with King Salman comes a day after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi held talks with the monarch, and precedes a visit by Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif later this week.

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U.S. Envoy to Yemen Says Hadi 'Legitimate' President

The U.S. envoy to Yemen threw his support behind President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after talks in the southern port city of Aden on Monday, saying he remains the "legitimate" leader.

Ambassador Matthew Tueller was the latest high-profile diplomat to travel to Aden, Hadi's base since he fled effective house arrest in the capital last month following a power grab by the Shiite Huthi militia.

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