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UAE, Bahrain Defend Egypt's Assault on Morsi Supporters

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have separately voiced support for a deadly assault by Egypt's security forces on Islamist supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi, saying it was the state's duty to restore order.

The Emirati foreign ministry affirmed in a late Wednesday statement its "understanding of the sovereign measures taken by the Egyptian government after it had practiced maximum self-restraint during the preceding period."

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Turkey PM Urges U.N. Security Council Meeting over Egypt 'Massacre'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday called for an urgent U.N. Security Council meeting over Egypt's bloody crackdown on supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, which has left hundreds dead.

"The Security Council of the United Nations should convene quickly to discuss the situation in Egypt," Erdogan told reporters in Ankara.

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Car Bombs Kill 26 in Iraqi Capital

A wave of car bombs in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday killed 26 people and wounded dozens, the latest attacks in a months-long surge in violence.

Attacks have been on the rise in Iraq since a deadly security crackdown in April on a Sunni protest camp. More than 3,000 people have been killed in violence during the past few months, raising fears Iraq could see a new round of widespread sectarian bloodshed similar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

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U.N. Says Chemical Team's Departure to Syria 'Imminent'

The United Nations said Wednesday the departure of a team of chemical weapons inspectors to Syria was "imminent" following a green light from Damascus.

"The Government of Syria has formally accepted the modalities essential for cooperation to ensure the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the mission," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman said in a statement.

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At Least 578 People Killed in Egypt Violence

At least 578 people were killed in the violence that swept Egypt Wednesday, the health ministry said, with more than 300 of them losing their lives after police assaults on Cairo sit-ins.

The death toll included 43 policemen and 318 protesters killed in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda square protest camps, senior health ministry official Khaled al-Khatib told Agence France Presse Thursday.

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U.N. Condemns Aid Worker Death in Syria

The U.N.'s Palestinian refugee agency on Wednesday condemned the killing of one of its staff members in Syria, saying eight agency workers had now died in the country's two-year civil war.

"UNRWA strongly condemns the killing of Mr Imad Abdelhafeez, the eighth staff member to lose his life in the Syria conflict, and the second in less than a month," it said in a statement.

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PM Praises Police, Says Egypt Committed to Elections

Egypt's interim prime minister Hazem al-Beblawi praised police for their "self-restraint" on Wednesday and said the country remains committed to an army-drafted roadmap which calls for elections in 2014.

He was speaking after scores of people were killed in clashes with security forces who stormed two protest camps occupied for several weeks by supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi.

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Kerry Urges Egypt to Hold Elections

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday urged Egypt's military to allow elections and for all sides to avoid further violence.

Denouncing the crackdown on supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi, Kerry urged a "peaceful, democratic way forward."

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Iran 'Hostile' to Israeli-Palestinian Talks

Iran said it was "hostile" to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks brokered by the United States, hours before negotiations in Jerusalem were due to kick off on Wednesday.

"Iran is hostile to these negotiations and several Palestinian groups are hostile to them," foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi told the ISNA news agency.

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Israel May Shun Key EU Program over Settlement Spat

Israel warned on Wednesday that it might shun a key EU research program unless a compromise is found over the bloc's guidelines which bar funding to Jewish settlement entities.

Its position was spelt out at a meeting with the European Union on the Jewish state's participation in Horizon 2020, the bloc's six-year funding plan for research and innovation, the foreign ministry said.

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