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Chechen Strongman Calls on Kremlin to Send Local Troops to Syria

Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov on Friday called on the Kremlin to let a contingent from his region fight the Islamic State in Syria, where Russia launched air strikes earlier this week.

"I demand that we be authorized to come (to Syria) and take part in special operations. This is not idle talk," Kadyrov told Russian radio.

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U.N. Says 2.44 Million People in Libya Need Protection, Aid

Nearly half of the population of Libya people has been affected by violence and needs protection and some form of humanitarian aid, the United Nations says.

"Armed conflict and political instability has impacted over 3 million people across Libya," the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report published on Thursday. 

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Thousands of Iraqis Demonstrate for Reforms

Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated in Baghdad and several other cities Friday, urging the government to deliver on its promised reform package aimed at tackling corruption and improving services.

Iraqis have been staging weekly protests since July. The movement that stemmed from exasperation over power cuts in the searing summer heat gradually led to broader demands for political reform.

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Muallem Says Damascus Will Take Part in Non-Binding U.N. Talks

Syria will take part in U.N. talks aimed at launching formal negotiations on ending its four-year war but will not be bound by their outcome, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Friday.

Muallem told the U.N. General Assembly that he understood the talks, proposed by UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, to be "mainly to exchange ideas" and non-binding.

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Jordan MP's Son Carries Out Iraq Suicide Attack

A Jordanian parliamentarian's son died carrying out a suicide attack claimed by the Islamic State militant group in Iraq this week, Jordanian media said Friday.

Independent legislator Mazen al-Dhalaein was quoted as telling the Khaberni website that his son, Mohammed, who went by the name of Abu Baraa, had died in Iraq.

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Yemen Loyalists Say They Now Control All of Key Strait

Government forces in Yemen now control the key Bab al-Mandab Strait through which much of the world's maritime traffic passes after retaking it from Shiite rebels, a general said Friday.

"The Bab al-Mandab Strait is now under the total control of our troops," General Turki Ahmed told AFP.

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EU Says Air Strikes in Syria Must Target IS

The European Union said Friday that air strikes in Syria must target Islamic State militants and be coordinated to avoid civilian casualties, after mounting criticism of Russian strikes.

Moscow insists it has only targeted the IS group, but Washington and others suspect it has largely hit mainly Western-backed opponents of President Bashar Assad, with monitoring groups saying civilians have been killed.

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Netanyahu in Berlin Next Week for Talks with Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu next Thursday for talks, as part of a regular annual meeting of the two countries' cabinets.

The two leaders will hold bilateral talks before joining a plenary with ministers from both sides, in what would be the sixth such meeting.

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More than 500 Children Killed since Start of Yemen Conflict

More than 500 children have been killed since the upsurge in violence in Yemen in March, while some 1.7 million youths are at risk of malnutrition, the United Nations said Friday.

During the six months since Saudi-led airstrikes targeting Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels began in March to defend embattled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, at least 505 children have died and 702 have been injured, said Christophe Boulierac, spokesman for the U.N. children's agency.

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Russia Strikes IS Stronghold in Syria as Putin Meets Hollande, Merkel

Russia carried out a third day of air strikes in Syria on Friday and said it had hit Islamic State's 'capital' as President Vladimir Putin faced mounting international criticism over his military campaign.

Moscow said it had bombed "an IS training camp" and a command post in the IS bastion f Raqa on Thursday, but on Friday it targeted rebel groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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