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Bombings Kill 13 in Shiite Areas of Baghdad

Bombs exploded in two Shiite-majority areas of Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 13 people, security and medical officials said.

A car bomb detonated near a market in the Ameen area of eastern Baghdad, and a roadside bomb exploded near a restaurant in Shaab in the north of the city.

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Russia Urges 'Action' after Shell Hits Damascus Embassy Compound

Russia's foreign ministry on Monday called for "concrete action" after a shell landed on its embassy compound in the Syrian capital, blaming forces battling Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"A shell fell on the territory of the Russian embassy in Damascus on September 20 around 9:00am, going deep into the ground without causing damage," the ministry said in a statement.

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Fire Forces 1,500 Pilgrims from Mecca Hotel

A fire forced some 1,500 people from their hotel in the Saudi city of Mecca on Monday as hundreds of thousands gathered for the hajj pilgrimage, the civil defense department said.

Four Yemeni pilgrims sustained minor injuries following the pre-dawn fire in a 15-story hotel, state news agency SPA quoted the department as saying.

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European States Raise Pressure for Syria Peace at U.N. Rights Council

Europe's migrant crisis took center-stage at the U.N. human rights council on Monday, as European states said the need to end the conflict in Syria was at an all-time high.

After formally receiving the latest report from U.N. investigators on widespread rights abuses committed by all sides during the four-year war, European delegations stressed that ending conflict in Syria was the only way to contain the flow of people seeking refuge on the continent.

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Netanyahu Meets Putin in Moscow over Syria Worries

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday as Israel frets over a Russian military buildup in Syria.

Netanyahu was accompanied by his army and intelligence chiefs in a rare step for an overseas visit that Israel said would focus on Russia's maneuvering in the war-torn nation. 

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Rights Group: Iraq Must Rein in Paramilitary Forces

The Iraqi government must assert control over paramilitary forces that have carried out abuses including enforced disappearances and destruction of property, and hold those responsible to account, Human Rights Watch said.

Baghdad should "take immediate steps to establish effective command and control over pro-government militias (and) disband militias that resist government control," the rights group said in a report.

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Regime Bombardment Kills 18 Civilians in Syria's Aleppo

Heavy bombardment by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad killed at least 18 civilians on Monday in a residential district of the northern city of Aleppo, a monitor said.

"Regime forces fired on the al-Shaar neighborhood in Aleppo city's east, which is controlled by the opposition, and killed at least 18 civilians," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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Study: IS Defectors Disillusioned with Killing Muslims

A growing number of "disillusioned" Islamic State fighters are defecting from the jihadist group and could be used by governments to deter potential recruits, a report published Monday said.

At least 58 people have left the group and publicly spoken about their defection since January 2014, according to the report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ISCR) at King's College London.

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Jerusalem Under Tight Security for Jewish, Muslim Holidays

Israel said Monday thousands of police would be deployed in Jerusalem ahead of the Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha holidays after three days of clashes rocked the al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Authorities also said 66 people had been arrested in Jerusalem over the past week, including some detained in connection with the unrest at al-Aqsa which saw Israeli police clash with rioters.

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Monitoring Group: IS Claims Responsibility for Cairo Bombing

An Egypt-based affiliate of the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in the capital, Cairo, which wounded two people.

The claim was reported late Sunday by SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S.-based group that monitors militant websites.

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