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Tunisia Rescues 86 African Migrants on Italy-Bound Boat

The Tunisian military rescued 86 African migrants at sea off the town of Zarzis aboard a makeshift boat bound for the Italian island of Lampedusa, an official said Wednesday.

The group were fleeing the conflict in neighboring Libya, from the port of Zuwarah about 60 kilometers (35 miles) from Tunisia, when their vessel started taking water on Tuesday afternoon, the Tunisian coastguard official said.

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Saudi Executions Set 'Unprecedented' Pace

Saudi Arabia has beheaded dozens of convicts, including foreign drug traffickers, since the start of the year in what Amnesty International calls an unprecedented pace of executions in the kingdom.

Those put to the sword have included five Pakistanis, an Indian, two Jordanians, two Syrians and a Yemeni, with few foreign governments willing to publicly appeal for clemency from the wealthy Gulf state.

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Iraq Forces Look to Tighten Noose around Tikrit

The Iraqi army said Wednesday that its strategy for retaking the jihadist stronghold of Tikrit is to surround the city before launching an assault.

On Monday, the Iraqi security forces and a variety of allied fighting units launched the biggest ground operation yet against the Islamic State group in Iraq.

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UK Bans Ad for Implying Old Jerusalem Part of Israel

Britain's advertising watchdog banned an Israeli government tourism advert for suggesting that the Old City of Jerusalem was part of Israel on Wednesday.

The newspaper brochure showed a panorama of the walled Old City with the text "Israel has it all", and was ruled misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which said it implied the UNESCO World Heritage Site was part of Israel.

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British Ex-Marine Killed Fighting IS in Syria

A former Royal Marine has become the first Briton to be killed while fighting with Kurdish forces battling Islamic State jihadists in Syria, leaving his family "devastated" Wednesday.

Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, 25, died on Monday in a battle with IS militants, a source in the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) told AFP.

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Netanyahu U.S. Speech Impresses Many Israelis, But Not All

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's impassioned speech Tuesday in the U.S. Congress impressed many Israelis in Jerusalem but drew criticism from others who said he was interfering in American affairs.

Netanyahu delivered with gusto an address in which he chided Israel's arch-foe Iran and charged that a deal between the Islamic republic and world powers would allow it to develop nuclear weapons.

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France Skeptical about U.N. 'Freeze' for Syria

France cast doubt Tuesday on whether a U.N. plan to freeze fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo will materialize, and blamed the Damascus regime for the setback.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre, who chairs the United Nations Security Council this month, said U.N. peace envoy Staffan de Mistura still has the full support of the 15-member council despite his unsuccessful efforts.

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Iraq Jihadists Slow Tikrit Advance with Bombs and Snipers

Iraqi forces closed in on Tikrit Tuesday, their progress slowed by jihadist snipers and booby traps, on the second day of Baghdad's largest operation yet against the Islamic State group.

The government has mobilized a 30,000-strong force for the push to retake Tikrit made up of Shiite militiamen and Sunni tribesmen as well as troops and police.

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Rights Groups Urge UAE to Free Dozens of Activists

International human rights groups urged the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday to release dozens of activists jailed for plotting to overthrow the government, denouncing their trial as "grossly unfair."

The call came on the second anniversary of the start of a mass trial that concluded in July 2013 with the sentencing of 69 activists to up to 15 years each in jail.

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Firebrand Arab Israeli Politician Attacked by Far-Right Activists

Firebrand Arab Israeli lawmaker Hanin Zuabi was attacked by activists linked to the extreme rightwing Yahad party during a debate Tuesday near Tel Aviv, police and a political rival said.

The attack occurred during a cross-party debate on women's issues at a college in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv, with a man in his 20s pouring a bottle of juice over Zuabi's head, police said.

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