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Grand Serail Security Meeting: We Refuse Blackmail in Case of Abducted Soldiers

Prime Minister Tammam Salam chaired on Saturday a security meeting at the Grand Serail to address the security developments taking place in the northeastern town of Arsal.

Salam stressed after the talks: “The government stands united by the army in its open war against terrorists and it rejects blackmail in the case of abducted soldiers.”

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5 Members of Hujeiri, Fleiti Families Abducted near Arsal

Five people who hail from the Bekaa border town of Arsal were kidnapped on Saturday, after al-Nusra Front published the video of the execution of Lebanese soldier Mohammed Hamiyeh.

According to the National News Agency, the five are members of the al-Hujeiri and Fleiti families.

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Albania Tightens Security Ahead of Pope Visit

Albania upped security on Saturday as it prepared to host Pope Francis amid warnings that the Islamic State jihadists could be planning an attack on the pontiff in the mainly-Muslim country.

Plainclothes police were out on the streets of the capital Tirana, with some 2,500 officers due to be deployed for the pope's visit on Sunday, his first to a European country.

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Soldier, Three Militants Killed in Northwest Pakistan Clash

A soldier and three militants have been killed in fighting in restive northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border, the military said on Saturday.

The four were killed in an exchange of fire in the Boya area of North Waziristan tribal district, the military said in a statement to the media.

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Qaeda Tunisia Offshoot Offers Backing to IS

An Al-Qaeda-linked Tunisian group has offered backing to the Islamic State organisation that has overrun chunks of Iraq and Syria, becoming the third jihadist group to do so this week, a U.S.-based monitor says.

Okba Ibn Nafaa, whose militants Tunisian armed forces have been hunting in mountains near the Algerian border for two years, has identified itself with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the international jihadist network's North African branch.

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Yemen Flights Halted as Truce Talks End without Result

Flights to the Yemeni capital were suspended for a second day straight Saturday as the toll mounted from clashes between pro-government forces and rebels after U.N. efforts to reach a ceasefire ended.

Forces allied to the government have been battling to halt Shiite rebels who have swept into Sanaa from their stronghold in the rugged northwestern mountains.

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Indonesia Names Four Foreigners as Terror Suspects

Four foreign men detained in Indonesia for allegedly planning to take part in militant training were officially named suspects for breaking counter-terrorism and immigration laws, police said Saturday.

The men, who police believe to be ethnic Uighur from China, are suspected of arranging to meet the country's most wanted militant, Santoso, for training. They were formally arrested on Friday night after a week in custody.

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N. Korea Threatens Attack if Leaflets are Launched from South

North Korea on Saturday threatened to attack South Korean activists if they launch anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border while the South hosts the Asian Games.

A group of South Korean activists plans to launch 200,000 leaflets slung from gas-filled balloons into the North from a site near the border on Sunday.

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Khodorkovsky Urges Russians to Pull Together to Challenge Putin

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Kremlin opponent who spent a decade in prison, on Saturday launched a movement to bring together pro-European Russians to challenge strongman Vladimir Putin's grip on power.

Once Russia's richest man, Khodorkovsky was released from prison late last year and is now based in Switzerland. He urged his compatriots to pull together to be able to influence the fate of the country.

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Salam: Terrorists Should Not Be Given Chance to Create Division among us

Prime Minister Tammam Salam reiterated on Saturday the importance of internal unity in confronting the threat of terrorism.

He said after holding talks with Speaker Nabih Berri: “We need to stand united against terrorism and we should not grant terrorists the chance to create division among us.”

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