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Trial Opens of Muslim Brotherhood Deputy in Jordan

The deputy leader of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood went on trial Thursday after he criticized the United Arab Emirates for placing his group on a list of "terrorist organizations".

Zaki Bani Rsheid, who appeared in a blue prison jumpsuit at Amman's state security court, denounced his arrest and trial in a military tribunal as unconstitutional.

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Dead, Wounded in Car Bomb Attacks on Yemen Shiite Militia

Twin car bomb attacks in Yemen's western port city of Hodeida targeting Shiite militiamen left dozens of people dead and wounded on Thursday, a security official said.

"The two explosions were the result of two car bombs and left dozens dead and wounded," the official told AFP, without providing any precise figures.

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Arab League Hopes U.S. Will not Veto U.N. Palestinian Resolution

The Arab League said Thursday it hoped the United States would not veto a draft U.N. Security Council resolution laying out the terms of a final peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Jordan presented the draft Wednesday on behalf of the Palestinians, who have sought to avoid a clash with Washington by saying they are open to negotiations on the text.

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Gazans Rally for ex-Strongman Dahlan as W. Bank Trial Opens

Thousands of supporters of exiled Palestinian strongman Mohammed Dahlan protested Thursday in Gaza against the reported sacking of dozens of members of the security forces who back him.

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Iraq to Defer Kuwait War Reparations for a Year, Says U.N.

Iraq can delay payment of a final $4.6 billion in war reparations for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait because of the difficulties it faces in battling the Islamic State insurgency, the U.N. said Thursday.

After holding a special session in Geneva, the governing body of the U.N. Compensation Commission (UNCC), which is handling the reparations, said "extraordinarily difficult security circumstances" in Iraq had presented "unusual budgetary challenges".

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Egypt Jails 40 Morsi Backers for Church Fires

An Egyptian court sentenced 40 backers of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to up to 15 years in jail Thursday for violence including torching churches, a judicial source said.

Followers of Morsi have been the target of a relentless crackdown by the authorities since he was deposed in July 2013 by ex-army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

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Poll: Israelis Want Netanyahu Out but Don't See Better Choice

Most Israelis would like to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu replaced after March elections but, paradoxically, he is seen as most suitable for the job, an opinion poll said Thursday.

Israelis go to the polls on March 17, just over two years after Netanyahu's right-leaning coalition took office and following a spat in which the premier fired two ministers.

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Kurds Press Northern Iraq Offensive against Jihadists

Kurdish forces backed by foreign jets pressed an ambitious operation against the Islamic State group in northern Iraq on Thursday, taking on the jihadists in the heart of their "caliphate".

After mass bombing by aircraft of the U.S.-led coalition paved the way for ground troops Wednesday, Iraq's Kurdish peshmerga retook several villages and closed in on the Sinjar area.

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Jihadists Claim Murders in 2013 of Tunisia Secularists

Jihadists who have joined the Islamic State group claimed Thursday the 2013 murder of two secular politicians that plunged Tunisia into crisis, warning of more killings just days before a presidential runoff election.

"Yes, tyrants, we're the ones who killed Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi," Abou Mouqatel, a dual French national wanted for their murders, said in a video released on the Internet.

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UNICEF says needs $900 mn to help Syria children

UNICEF said Thursday it needs more than $900 million to help children affected by Syria's civil war next year and appealed to donors for support.

"The Syria crisis represents the biggest threat to children of recent times," UNICEF's regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, Maria Calivis, said ahead of the launch of a major U.N. appeal for Syrian refugees in Berlin later Thursday.

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