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Israeli Official Says Obama Warning over Netanyahu Unjustified

A senior official in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rightwing Likud party on Friday rejected fresh U.S. criticism of the premier as unjustified and hypocritical.

Tzahi Hanegbi, chairman of the influential foreign affairs and defense committee in parliament, was responding to remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama published Thursday in news magazine The Atlantic.

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Priest Kidnapped in Homs Region of Syria

A priest of the Syriac Catholic Church in the western Syrian city of Homs was kidnapped Thursday along with one of his colleagues, the NGO l'Oeuvre d'Orient told AFP Friday.

Father Jacques Mourad was seized with another Christian originating from Aleppo, who was helping the priest.

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Several Dead, Hurt as IS Suicide Bomber Hits Shiite Mosque in Eastern Saudi

An Islamic State group suicide bomber attacked a Shiite mosque in Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia on Friday, killing and wounding several people in an assault that threatens to fan sectarian tensions.

The bomber struck during the main weekly prayers in Eastern Province, where assailants linked to the Sunni extremist IS killed seven members of the minority Shiite community in November.

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Iraq Sunni Politician Brands Ramadi Pullout 'Shameful'

One of Iraq's leading Sunni Arab politicians, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq, branded as "shameful" Friday the army's chaotic pullout from Anbar provincial capital Ramadi.

Mutlaq, who is himself from the overwhelmingly Sunni province, said the Shiite-led government would discipline officers who had given up the fight as Islamic State jihadists overran the city last Sunday.

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Saudi-led Coalition Pounds Yemen Rebels in Three Cities

Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition pounded Shiite rebels across three Yemeni cities on Friday, as Riyadh reported the death of a Saudi child from cross-border fire.

The coalition has stepped up its raids on positions held by the Huthi Shiite rebels and their allies since a humanitarian ceasefire ended late Tuesday.

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IS Cements Grip on Iraq-Syria Border in 'Setback' Offensive

The Islamic State group consolidated its control of the Iraq-Syria border Friday after capturing an Iraqi provincial capital and a famed Syrian heritage site in an offensive that has forced a review of U.S. strategy.

The jihadists, who now control roughly half of Syria, reinforced their self-declared transfrontier "caliphate" by seizing Syria's al-Tanaf crossing on the Damascus-Baghdad highway late Thursday.

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Rebels Seize Hospital Holding 150 Syrian Soldiers

Islamist rebels on Friday overran a hospital in northwest Syria where at least 150 regime forces and dozens of civilians were trapped for nearly a month, a monitor said.

Al-Nusra Front, which is al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria, and other factions "have taken complete control of Jisr al-Shughur hospital," said Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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Kuwait Magnate Khorafi Dies at 75

Kuwait's richest independent businessman, Jassem al-Khorafi, who served as speaker of the Gulf emirate's parliament for a decade, has died at the age of 75, his family said Friday.

Kuwaiti media said he had suffered a heart attack while flying home from a private visit to Turkey.

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Tunisia's Sunbeds and Souks Empty after Museum Attack

It's another sun-drenched day but the deckchairs of a four-star hotel on the island of Djerba stand empty, in a sign of the "catastrophic" summer on the horizon for Tunisian tourism.

"It's dead. It's all over for this year," was the blunt verdict from Adel Tarres, manager of the hotel on the holiday island off the south coast of Tunisia that has in past years been a magnet for tourists from Italy across the Mediterranean.

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U.S. Says Air Raid in Syria Killed Two Children

U.S. air strikes against Islamist extremists in Syria killed two children by mistake, officials said Thursday, marking the first time the American military acknowledged inflicting civilian casualties in the war.

"We regret the unintentional loss of lives," Lieutenant General James Terry, head of the U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic State group, said in a statement, citing the results of an investigation.

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