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Policeman Killed in Pre-Election Firefight near Tunis

A Tunisian policeman was killed in a firefight near the capital Thursday amid fears of jihadist violence in the run-up to the first parliamentary election since the country's 2011 revolution.

"Our agent died of a bullet wound in the eye sustained in clashes with a terrorist group," a police official told AFP at the scene.

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Islamic State Militants now World's Richest, Say Experts

The Islamic State has become the world's wealthiest terror group, earning tens of millions of dollars a month from illegal oil sales and ransoms, officials said Thursday.

"We have no silver bullet, no secret weapon to empty ISIL’s coffers overnight. This will be a sustained fight, and we are in the early stages," said undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence David Cohen.

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Kobane's Children Learn Turkish to Sound of Shelling

If they let their eyes wander from the blackboard, a handful of children from Kobane can watch their town being bombarded from the windows of their new Turkish school.

The thud of battle for the besieged Syrian border town can be clearly heard in the classrooms of the village school just 400 meters from the frontier, where children struggling to get their heads around being made refugees, must now learn not just a new language but a new alphabet as well.

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Belgium Extends Iraq Air Mission

Belgium said Thursday six F-16 fighter jets would continue operations until the end of the year as part of the U.S.-led coalition trying to force back Islamic State militants in Iraq.

The former Socialist-led government of premier Elli Di Rupo approved an initial month-long deployment, which includes 120 military personnel, in early September.

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Saudi to Deal 'Strictly' with Female Drivers

Female drivers in Saudi Arabia will be dealt with "strictly", authorities said on Thursday before a right-to-drive campaign culminates at the weekend.

The kingdom is the world's only country where women are not allowed to operate cars.

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Yazidi Commander Killed on Iraq's Mount Sinjar

Islamic State group jihadists besieging Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq have killed a commander of forces from the Yazidi religious minority defending the area, a fighter said on Thursday.

The commander, Al-Sheikh Khayri, had returned from Germany, which has large Yazidi community, to fight, and was killed on Wednesday night, Khalaf Mamu told AFP by telephone.

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South Yemen Separatists Pledge to Intensify Protests

Southern Yemeni separatists pledged Thursday to escalate protests demanding secession, as northern Shiite rebels vie to expand their control over more of the impoverished country.

The country continues to reel under the impact of the rebel expansion, after they overran the capital last month and seized a major port city unopposed, before clashing with Sunni tribes and Al-Qaida south of Sanaa.

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Relatives of Iraqi Victims: Blackwater Guards Deserve Death

Four former Blackwater guards found guilty for their role in the 2007 massacre of at least 14 civilians in Baghdad's busy Nisur Square should be executed, relatives of victims said Thursday.

Their convictions followed a two-month trial that heard how they opened fire with sniper rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers in Baghdad's bustling Nisur Square as they escorted a diplomatic convoy.

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Turkey to Allow 200 Iraqi Kurds to Cross into Embattled Kobane

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that 200 Iraqi Kurd peshmerga fighters would travel through Turkey to the flashpoint Syrian border town of Kobane under assault by the Islamic State group.

The regional administration in northern Iraq and Syrian Kurdish group, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) "finally agreed according to information yesterday that 200 peshmerga would be going" to Kobane, Erdogan told reporters in the Latvian capital Riga.

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'Tunisia Model' Way to Defeat IS, Says Ennahda Leader

Tunisia's transition to democracy serves as an example of how to defeat extremists such as the Islamic State jihadist group, the leader of the country's powerful Islamist movement said.

"The success of the Tunisian experience is in the international interest, especially in the fight against extremism and the fight against Islamic State and similar groups," Ennahda head Rached Ghannouchi said in an interview with AFP in the runup to the country's first parliamentary election on Sunday since its 2011 revolution.

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