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Air Strikes on IS-Run Refineries in Syria Kill 30

U.S.-led coalition air strikes on oil refineries run by the Islamic State group in northern Syria killed 30 people, mostly jihadists, a monitoring group said on Monday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said coalition warplanes launched two strikes Sunday on oil facilities in Raqa province, a stronghold of the extremist group which borders Turkey.

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Philippines Says 4 Citizens among 9 Foreigners Abducted in Libya

Four Filipinos, an Austrian and four other foreigners were abducted in an attack on a Libyan oilfield last week, official sources said Monday, after an assault blamed on Islamic State jihadists.

Eight guards were killed in the surprise attack on the southern oilfield of Al-Ghani on Friday, the Libyan unit tasked with protecting oil installations has said.

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Riyadh to Host Yemen Talks at Hadi Request

The Gulf monarchies have agreed to a request by Yemen's beleaguered president to host talks in Riyadh aimed at pulling their impoverished neighbor out of crisis, the Saudi royal cabinet said.

President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who has been based in Yemen's second city Aden since escaping the Shiite militia-controlled capital last month, made the request after failing to reach agreement with the militia and their backers on a venue inside Yemen.

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Netanyahu Denies Reneging on Palestinian State Speech

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denies reneging on a 2009 speech in which he acknowledged the need for the creation of a Palestinian state, a spokesman said on Monday.

Over the weekend a pamphlet distributed in Israeli synagogues including a Q&A with the main parties running in next week's general election featured a response by Netanyahu's rightwing Likud party to a question on the formation of a Palestinian state.

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Top U.S. Officer in Baghdad as Iraq Fights for Tikrit

The top U.S. military officer vowed in Baghdad on Monday that the Islamic State group will be defeated, as Iraqi forces pressed their largest operation yet against the jihadists.

Some 30,000 men have been involved in a week-old operation to recapture Tikrit, one of the jihadists' main hubs since they overran large parts of Iraq nine months ago.

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Jordan's King Abdullah, Queen Rania to Visit Morocco on Tuesday

Jordan's King Abdullah II and his wife Queen Rania will begin a two-day visit to Morocco on Tuesday at the invitation of King Mohammed VI, the Moroccan royal palace announced.

The two monarchs will hold "official talks" during the visit, the palace was quoted as saying by the official MAP news agency on Sunday.

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Kuwaiti Lawyer for Jihadi John's Father Quits the Case

The Kuwaiti lawyer representing the father of alleged Islamic State group executioner "Jihadi John" said Sunday after filing lawsuits for his client that he has now withdrawn from the case.

"I have decided to withdraw from the case for personal reasons," Salem al-Hashash told a news conference lasting just a few minutes.

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German Woman Fighter Dead in Kurd-IS Clashes in Syria

A young German woman has been killed fighting alongside Kurdish forces against Islamic State group jihadists in northeast Syria, a monitoring group said on Sunday.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman said the woman in her 20s was "killed in the past few hours" in a battle since Saturday for the Kurdish-held town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province.

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Netanyahu Poll Challenger Urges End to Israel Isolation

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's main challenger in March 17 elections, the center-left Zionist Union, unveiled its platform Sunday with an emphasis on ending Israel's "diplomatic isolation."

Its two planks for the legislative polls are "to end the diplomatic isolation of Israel" and halt the rising cost of living, the alliance between the Labor party of Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni's centrist HaTnuah said in a statement.

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U.S. General Says Escalating Air War on IS Not the Answer

The U.S. military's top officer Sunday defended the pace of the air war against Islamic State jihadists, warning that escalating bombing raids or sending in more American troops would be a mistake.

During a visit to a French aircraft carrier in the Gulf taking part in the air campaign, General Martin Dempsey appealed for "strategic patience" in the fight against the IS group in Iraq and Syria.

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