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UNICEF: $500 Million Appeal for Iraq to be Launched

Humanitarian organizations are preparing to launch a fundraising appeal for $500 million (454 million euros) for the crisis created by the Islamic State group in Iraq, UNICEF said on Monday.

The announcement came a day ahead of a meeting in Paris of the U.S.-led coalition of countries working to defeat the jihadist group in Iraq and Syria.

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State Dept: 'Several' Americans Held in Yemen

Several Americans have been detained in Yemen, a State Department official said Sunday, amid reports that at least four U.S. citizens are being held by Shiite rebels.

The Washington Post reported that the Americans were believed to be held by the Huthi militia in a prison near the capital Sanaa, and that U.S. efforts to secure their release had faltered, hampered by the fact that Washington has no direct links to the rebels.

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U.N. Aid Ship Targeted by Shelling near Aden

A U.N.-chartered ship loaded with humanitarian supplies bound for Yemen was targeted by shelling as it approached the country's main southern port of Aden on Sunday, an official said.

The provincial government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, blamed Shiite Huthi rebels who control several neighbourhoods in Yemen's second city for not allowing the ship to dock at Aden's port, which is controlled by pro-government fighters.

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Prominent Egyptian Female Activist Jailed for 15 Months

An Egyptian appeals court sentenced a lawyer and award-winning activist to 15 months in jail for breaking into a police station and assaulting officers in 2013, a court official said.

In February, Mahienour El-Massry, winner of France's 2014 Ludovic Trarieux International Human Rights Prize, was sentenced with two other defendants to two years in jail by a lower court in the same case.

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Libya's Tripoli Govt. Urges Armed Mobilization against IS

Libya's Tripoli-based government on Sunday called for an armed "mobilization" against the Islamic State group after the jihadists claimed a suicide bombing that killed five fighters allied to the government.

A statement by the Tripoli government, which is not recognized by the international community, urged "officers, soldiers... and all security forces and revolutionaries to mobilize" against IS.

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Israel Advances Bill Increasing Stone-Throwers' Sentences

An Israeli ministerial legal committee approved Sunday a bill that could see protesters who throw stones at moving vehicles jailed for up to 10 years.

The bill, which faces a series of parliament readings before coming into effect, would amend an existing law that allows stone-throwers to be jailed for 20 years, but only if it can be proven they intended to inflict harm.

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Yemen Rebels Meet U.S. Delegation in Oman

Oman is hosting unprecedented talks between delegations from the U.S. and Yemen's Shiite rebels aimed at finding a solution to the Yemen war, a Yemeni government spokesman said Sunday.

"The discussions between the Huthi (rebels) and the American delegation are being held at the request of the Americans," said Rajah Badi, spokesman of the Yemeni government exiled in Saudi Arabia.

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Kurds Push Back IS in Northern Syria Border Provinces

Kurdish militia in Syria wrested control of a dozen villages from the extremist Islamic State group either side of the jihadist's bastion province of Raqa on Sunday, a monitor said. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Kurdish People's Protection Units, backed by air strikes from a U.S.-led anti-IS coalition, seized eight villages from jihadists on the western edges of Raqa province.  

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Saudi, Egypt Share 'Common Vision' on Yemen War

Saudi Arabia and Egypt said Sunday they shared a "common vision" on the war in Yemen, where a Riyadh-led coalition is waging a bombing campaign against Iran-backed rebels.

The coalition, which includes Egypt, began air raids in March targeting Huthi Shiite rebels and allied forces loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen.

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PM Says Iraq Lost 2,300 Humvee Armored Vehicles in Mosul

Iraqi security forces lost 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles when the Islamic State jihadist group overran the northern city of Mosul, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Sunday.

"In the collapse of Mosul, we lost a lot of weapons," Abadi said in an interview with Iraqiya state TV. "We lost 2,300 Humvees in Mosul alone."

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