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Abbas to Meet War Crimes Prosecutor as Unrest Flares

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas will meet Friday with the prosecutor of the world's only permanent war crimes court, Palestinian officials said amid a surge of fresh violence with Israel.

It will be Abbas's first meeting with the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court since the Palestinian Authority sparked controversy by joining the tribunal in January, an official with the Palestinian mission in The Hague told AFP.

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Putin 'Winging' it in Syria, Says Top U.S. Official

Russian President Vladimir Putin is "winging" it in Syria, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says, in damning remarks of the Kremlin strongman's actions in the war-torn country.

"I personally question whether he has some long-term strategy or whether he is being very opportunistic on a day-to-day basis," Clapper told CNN late Thursday. "And I think his intervention into Syria is another manifestation of that."

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'U.S. Tourist' Hurt as Jerusalem, W. Bank Hit by New Violence

Jerusalem was shaken by its first stabbing in two weeks Friday as violence intensified in the occupied West Bank with fresh clashes and knife attacks in a surge of Palestinian unrest.

A Palestinian stabbed and lightly wounded an American tourist in Jerusalem, where the wave of violence first erupted a month ago over the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, a highly sensitive site sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

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Beheaded Bodies of Syria Anti-IS Activist, Friend Found in Turkey

The beheaded bodies of a Syrian activist opposed to the Islamic State jihadist group and a friend were found early Friday in the southern Turkish city of Sanliurfa, his colleagues said.

Ibrahim Abdul Qader, 20, and friend Fares Hamadi "were found beheaded at the friend's house this morning," Abu Mohammad, a founder of the activist's "Raqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently" group, told AFP via the Internet.

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Iraq Weather Halts Ramadi Operation

Heavy rains wreaking havoc in Iraq have brought military operations to wrest the city of Ramadi back from the Islamic State group to a halt, senior army officers said Friday.

"The military operations to liberate Ramadi have stopped because of the weather," said Ismail Mahalawi, the general in charge of Anbar province, of which Ramadi is the capital.

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Attacks on Syria Rebel Strongholds Kill 91

At least 91 people, including 17 children, were killed on Friday in attacks on opposition strongholds in the north and outside Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The deaths came as top diplomats from 17 countries, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, met for the first time in Vienna hoping to find a political solution to the conflict.

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German IS Rapper Killed in Air Strike in Syria

A German rapper who joined the Islamic State group and publicly threatened President Barack Obama was killed in a U.S. air strike in Syria, a defense official said Thursday.

Denis Cuspert, also known by his artist name Deso Dogg, used to rap in Berlin and was one of the most famous Western fighters for the IS extremist group.

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MSF Demands Answers from Saudi-Led Coalition over Yemen Hospital Strike

Doctors Without Borders demanded answers Thursday from the Saudi-led coalition over the bombing of one of the medical charity's hospitals in northern Yemen, rejecting Saudi Arabia's denial of responsibility.

The hospital in the northern city of Saada was hit late Monday drawing condemnation from United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon, who also fingered the coalition forces as responsible.

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Rocket Barrage Kills 26 Iranian Exiles at Iraq Camp

A rocket barrage killed at least 26 Iranian exiles at a camp near Baghdad, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said Friday after the deadliest attack against the opposition group in years.

The United States and United Nations condemned the attack on the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI), which demanded that its members be protected.

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Iran Joins First Talks on Syria's Fate

Major powers, including arch-rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia who back opposing sides in Syria, meet for the first time Friday in search of a political solution to the devastating war.

Top diplomats from more than a dozen nations have gathered in Vienna to narrow differences over the fate of President Bashar Assad, who has defied Western demands to step down.

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