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Egypt Protests to Israel over Police Deaths, Wants Probe

Egypt protested to Israel on Friday and demanded a probe into the deaths of its policemen a day earlier on the Israeli border as Israeli troops pursued militants behind deadly attacks, the official MENA news agency reported.

"Egypt filed an official complaint with Israel following yesterday's deaths at the border between Israel and Egypt," the agency reported.

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Gaza Group Denies Role in Israel Attacks

Gaza militants blamed for shooting attacks near the Egyptian border that killed eight Israelis, denied Friday that they were involved, as the hunt for the killers moved to Egypt.

"We salute (the operation) and we are proud of it, but we do not claim it," Popular Resistance Committees spokesman Abu Mujahid told Agence France Presse in the Gaza city of Rafah as the faction buried five members killed in a retaliatory Israeli air strike a day earlier.

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EU Prepares Sanctions against Syria Oil Sector

The European Union is preparing sanctions against Syria's key oil sector, a European diplomatic source told Agence France Presse Friday.

"The EU is preparing sanctions against the petroleum sector and envisions eventually an embargo on all Syrian oil imports," the diplomat who requested anonymity said.

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France Backs Call for ICC Probe into Syria Unrest

France threw its support on Friday behind a call from the United Nations human rights chief for the International Criminal Court to investigate the violence in Syria.

On Thursday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told members of the Security Council that there was "reliable corroborative evidence" that Syrian forces are deliberately shooting anti-regime demonstrators.

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Turkey Says Not Ready to Call on Assad to Step Down

Turkey believes it is too soon to call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, a government official told Agence France Presse on Friday.

"We are not there yet," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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At Least 22 Dead as Tens of Thousands Flood Syria Streets

Syria's security forces killed at least 22 protesters as tens of thousands swarmed the streets after Friday prayers, activists said, piling pressure on President Bashar al-Assad after Western leaders demanded he step down.

Fifteen people, including two children, were killed in separate shootings on protesters in the southern province of Daraa, while three were killed in the central city of Homs and two in the Damascus suburb of Harasta, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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Egypt TV Says 5 Egyptians Killed in Israel Border Clash

Egyptian state television said on Friday two unknown Egyptians were killed along with three policemen by Israeli gunfire the previous day when Israeli forces were tracking down militants behind deadly attacks in their territory.

Security officials had said that three policemen were killed on Thursday when an Israeli Apache gunship fired a rocket at militants it was pursuing along the border, after attacks on Israeli buses and cars killed eight.

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Russia Opposes Calls for Assad to Quit

Russia opposes Western calls for Syria's president to step down and will send a delegation to Syria to meet the opposing sides, the Interfax news agency said Friday citing a source and a lawmaker.

"We do not support such calls and believe it is now that President Bashar Assad's regime needs to be given time to implement all the reform processes that have been announced," Interfax quoted a ministry source as saying.

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Syrian Coalition against Assad Formed

More than 40 Syrian "revolution blocs" have forged a coalition to unite their efforts against the regime of Bashar Assad, according to a statement received Friday by Agence France Presse.

The so-called Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC) said the coalition was formed due to "the dire need to unite the field, media and political efforts" of the pro-democracy movement launched in mid-March.

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Spain Joins Call for U.N. Sanctions against Syria

Spain said Friday it is joining calls for U.N. Security Council sanctions against Syria's government, blamed for at least 2,000 deaths since protests started in mid-March.

Spain is backing Britain, France, Germany and Portugal, which are preparing a sanctions resolution against President Bashar Assad's government, Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez said.

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