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More Than 240,000 Killed in Syria Conflict

More than 240,000 people, including 12,000 children, have been killed in Syria's conflict which broke out in March 2011, a monitoring group said Thursday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it has documented the deaths of 240,381 people, up from its tally of 230,618 announced on June 9.

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Displaced Iraq Christians in Frontline Prayer for Return

Christian clerics prayed in the ruins of a monastery not far from jihadist positions in northern Iraq Thursday to mark a year since the exodus of Iraq's Christians from nearby ancestral lands.

"We want the good people to hear our prayers from this place so they hurry and liberate our areas as quickly as possible," Yohanna Boutros Moshe, the Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, told AFP.

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Israeli President Warns of Isolation over Row with U.S. on Iran

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin warned Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's fight with Washington over the Iran nuclear deal threatens to leave the Jewish state isolated.

U.S. President Barack Obama vigorously defended the agreement with Tehran on Wednesday and singled out the Jewish state as its only public opponent.

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Damascus, Muscat to 'Unite' Efforts to End Syria War

Muscat and Damascus agreed to work together to end Syria's brutal war, official media reported, as the Syrian foreign minister Thursday made his first Gulf visit since the conflict erupted in 2011.

Foreign Minister Walid Muallem met Oman's chief diplomat Yussef bin Alawi to discuss "several regional and international topics of common interest," the official Omani news agency ONA said.

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Kuwait Court Frees 11 Suspects in Shiite Mosque Attack

A Kuwaiti court trying 29 suspects in a deadly bomb attack on a Shiite mosque freed 11 defendants Thursday, while the main accused said he had been told worshipers would not be harmed.

A travel ban, however, remains in place on the freed defendants, including two women. Of the 29 initial suspects, five have gone on trial in absentia.

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IS Suicide Bomb Attack at Mosque for Saudi Forces Kills 15

An Islamic State group suicide bomber on Thursday detonated an explosives-packed vest in a mosque inside a Saudi special forces headquarters killing 15 people.

In the latest in a string of IS attacks in the kingdom, the interior ministry said the bomber struck during noon prayers in the city of Abha, in the southern province of Asir near the border with war-strewn Yemen.

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Military Reinforcements Enter Yemen from Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has sent new military equipment including tanks into Yemen to support loyalists fighting Iran-backed Huthi rebels, tribal and military sources said on Thursday.

"Dozens of tanks, armored vehicles and personnel carriers, as well as hundreds of Yemeni soldiers trained in Saudi Arabia, arrived in Yemen overnight" via the Wadia border post in the north of the country, a Yemeni military source told AFP. 

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Explosion Kills Four, Wounds 30 at House in Gaza

An explosion that ripped through a house in the southern Gaza Strip Thursday killed four people and wounded dozens, an official said, but the cause of the blast was unclear.

"Four Palestinians were killed and 30 others wounded" in a blast inside a house in Al-Shabura (refugee) camp near Rafah, Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, updating an earlier toll of two.

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U.N. Security Council to Vote Friday on Syria Chemical Weapons Probe

The U.N. Security Council is expected to adopt on Friday a draft resolution that would set up a panel to determine who is responsible for deadly chlorine gas attacks in Syria, diplomats said.

A vote at the 15-member council was scheduled after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry won backing from Russia for the measure, in a rare sign of cooperation from the Damascus ally over how to address the conflict in Syria.

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Hamas Sentences Man to Death for 'Collaborating' with Israel

A Hamas military court in the Gaza Strip on Thursday sentenced a Palestinian to be hanged to death after he was found guilty of collaborating with Israel, a court source said.

The defendant, identified only by his initials A.S., was "sentenced to death by hanging after being convicted of collaborating with the occupation," the source said. 

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