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Israel 'Very Concerned' Over Plans to Open Rafah Border

Israel is "very concerned" about the implications of Egypt's plans to permanently reopen its border with Gaza, a senior official said Friday, warning it could impact on Israel's security, Agence France Presse reported.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi told Al-Jazeera that the crossing would be permanently opened in coming days as part of Cairo's plans to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

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World Bank to Give Palestinians $10 mln in Aid

The World Bank said Thursday it would provide $10 million in aid to needy Palestinian families as a new unity deal between Fatah and Hamas raised questions about continued Western assistance, Agence France Presse reported.

The international body said the funds would go to 5,500 families in the occupied West Bank and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, following a similar program in 2009 and 2010 that provided direct aid to some 25,000 families.

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Key Senators Press Obama to Say Assad Must Go

U.S. President Barack Obama must declare that his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, has squandered his legitimacy and must step down, three key senators urged Thursday.

"We urge President Obama to state unequivocally -- as he did in the case of (Libyan leader Moammar) Gadhafi and (Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak -- that it is time for Assad to go," Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham and independent Senator Joe Lieberman said in a joint statement.

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Defiant Syria Vows Protest Crackdown Will Continue

Syria defiantly vowed to restore "security and stability" across the country despite growing international censure for its violent crushing of dissent, as activists called for more protests on Friday.

Growing anger at the regime's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, meanwhile, saw Britain on Thursday withdraw the Syrian ambassador's invitation to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

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Suspected Suicide Bomber Kills 14 in Morocco Tourist Cafe

A powerful blast ripped through a cafe in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh Thursday, killing 11 foreigners and three Moroccans in what authorities suspect was the work of a suicide bomber.

"According to the information I have, it could have been perpetrated by a suicide bomber," an official in the regional governor's office told Agence France Presse.

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Bahrain Military Court Sentences 4 Shiite Protesters to Death

A Bahraini military court sentenced four Shiite protesters to death and three others to life in prison Thursday over the of killing two policemen when security forces crushed a pro-democracy protest last month, a Shiite opposition official said.

Ali Abdullah Hasan, Qassem Hasan Mattar, Saeed Abdul Jalil Saeed and Abdul Aziz Abdullah Ibrahim were sentenced to death, ex-MP from Al-Wefaq Shiite opposition group, Matar Matar, told Agence France Presse.

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Britain Withdraws Syria Envoy's Royal Wedding Invitation

Britain on Thursday withdrew the Syrian ambassador's invitation to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, saying the regime's crackdown on protesters made his presence "unacceptable".

Foreign Secretary William Hague made the decision and the royal family agreed that Sami Khiyami should not attend Friday's ceremony, the Foreign Office said in a statement, following criticism from rights groups.

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Senior Iraq General Gunned Down in Baghdad

Gunmen using silenced pistols shot dead a senior Iraqi general in Baghdad on Thursday, an official said, the latest in a spate of assassinations of top military and civilian officials.

The killing of Brigadier General Mohammed Alaa Jassim was the fourth of a senior Iraqi official in the past week, with at least three others having narrowly escaped death in that time.

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Syria Facebook Group Urges 'Friday of Anger' Demos

A Facebook group has called for protests on Friday against President Bashar al-Assad's regime and in solidarity with the southern town of Daraa, where troops and tanks have taken over the streets, Agence France Presse reported on Thursday.

"Friday of Anger, April 29, in solidarity with Daraa," says a notice on the Syrian Revolution 2011 page of Facebook, a motor of the protests in which demonstrators inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world are seeking greater freedoms.

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Lieberman: Palestinian Deal Crosses 'Red Line'

The Palestinian unity deal agreed in Cairo crossed "a red line," Israel's Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday, warning that an array of measures could be taken against the Palestinian Authority.

"With this accord, a red line has been crossed," the ultra-nationalist foreign minister told Israel's military radio a day after the Palestinian parties announced a surprise reconciliation agreement.

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