Middle East
Latest stories
Indonesia to Stop Sending Maids to Saudi over Beheading

Indonesia will suspend sending domestic helpers to Saudi Arabia after the beheading of a maid convicted of murdering her Saudi employer, a minister said Wednesday.

"The Indonesian government has decided to impose a moratorium on sending workers to Saudi Arabia," Labor Minister Muhaimin Iskandar was quoted by state news agency Antara as saying.

W140 Full Story
Israel Security Cabinet Meets in Jerusalem Nuclear Bunker

Israel's security cabinet on Wednesday met for the first time in a secret nuclear bunker in Jerusalem, officials and press reports said, as part of a massive nationwide defense exercise.

As air raid sirens cut through the air at 11:00 am (0800 GMT), the 14-member security cabinet was safely ensconced inside the underground bunker which is located somewhere in the hills around Jerusalem, Israel's main newspapers and radio stations reported.

W140 Full Story
NATO Vows to Press Libya Campaign over Italian Reservations

NATO vowed Wednesday to press its bombing campaign in Libya despite a call from member state Italy for a halt to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid as the civilian death toll mounts.

Alliance chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said more civilians would die if operations were not maintained under a U.N. mandate to protect Libyans from the exactions of the government of veteran leader Moammar Gadhafi.

W140 Full Story
Israel Takes Down Barbed Wire at West Bank Protest Village

Israeli troops on Wednesday began taking down barbed wire around the West Bank village of Bilin, focus of years of protests against Israel's controversial separation barrier, Agence France Presse reported.

Army bulldozers were seen razing a watchtower on a hill overlooking the village but the military declined to comment on the significance of the operation.

W140 Full Story
EU Agrees to Extend Syria Sanctions to Include 3 Iranians

The European Union on Wednesday agreed to extend the list of sanctions against Syria by adding seven people, including three Iranians, and four companies.

The three Iranians were accused of providing military equipment to support Syria's brutal crackdown on protests, diplomats told Agence France Presse on Wednesday.

W140 Full Story
Top Netanyahu Adviser in Cairo to Discuss Shalit, Alleged Spy

A senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the cases of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and a man suspected of spying for the Jewish state, an airport official said.

Yitzhak Molho was to meet Egyptian officials "to discuss the Shalit issue, the recent spy case and other issues such as the peace process and Egyptian gas exports to Israel," the official told Agence France Presse.

W140 Full Story
Syria's FM Rejects Foreign Interference, Calls on Turkey to Reconsider Position

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Wednesday rejected foreign meddling in his country's internal affairs while stressing Damascus is keen to maintain good ties with longtime ally Turkey.

"We are keen on maintaining good relations with Turkey with which we share a common border of 850 kilometers," Muallem told a press conference in Damascus.

W140 Full Story
Prisoners Flee Yemen Jail after Qaida Attack

More than 60 al-Qaida prisoners escaped from a south Yemen jail on Wednesday after they clashed with guards, killing one and wounding two others, security and medical officials told Agence France Presse.

The prisoners fled the central jail in al-Mukalla, capital of the Hadramawt province, into the nearby mountains after they overpowered the guards and seized some of their arms, a security official said.

W140 Full Story
Impeachment of Iran Foreign Minister Scrapped

Iran's parliament on Wednesday scrapped plans to impeach Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi after he dismissed a controversial deputy who is close to the president's under-fire chief of staff, reports said.

A group of MPs on Tuesday had launched an impeachment motion against Salehi after he appointed Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh as a deputy foreign minister in charge of administrative affairs.

W140 Full Story
Bahrain Court Jails 8 Opposition Activists for Life

A special Bahraini court on Wednesday sentenced eight Shiite opposition activists to life in prison for "plotting to overthrow" the kingdom's Sunni regime, state news agency BNA reported.

The National Safety Court of first instance also jailed 13 others for terms ranging from two to 15 years on similar charges, BNA added.

W140 Full Story