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White House Concerned about 'Iranian Activities' in Yemen

The White House on Thursday voiced concern about "Iranian activities" in Yemen, where Huthi Shiite rebels have taken control of several cities and are assaulting the port of Aden.

Alistair Baskey, a National Security Council spokesman, said such actions, as well as "reports of Iranian flow of arms into Yemen," were "contributing to destabilizing the situation and contributing to the threat posed to the legitimate government."

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Pakistan Vows 'Strong Response' to Any Threat against Saudi Arabia

Pakistan's government said Thursday it will dispatch a top civil-military delegation to Saudi Arabia following Riyadh's request that it join a coalition to defend Yemen's president, promising a "strong response" to any threat to the Gulf kingdom.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif decided to send the group to Saudi Arabia on Friday after meeting with top defense and military officials in Islamabad late Thursday, his office said in a statement.

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Arab Foreign Ministers Agree on Joint Military Force

Arab foreign ministers meeting in Egypt agreed Thursday on the formation of a joint military force, the Arab League chief and the Egyptian foreign minister said.

The plan forms part of a draft resolution to be submitted to Arab leaders at a weekend summit in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

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U.S. Weighs Tanker and Radar Planes for Saudi Yemen Op

The United States may provide refueling and early-warning radar aircraft support a Saudi Arabian-led operation in Yemen against Huthi rebels, officials told AFP Thursday.

"It's definitely on the table and being discussed," a defense official said of the possible U.S. military assistance to the day-old intervention by an Arab coalition. 

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Turkish Man Gets 13 Years Jail for Lowering Flag

A Turkish court on Thursday sentenced a man to 13 years and nine months in prison for climbing up a flagpole and lowering the Turkish flag last year in the Kurdish-majority southeast, local media reported.

Prosecutors had charged Omer Mutlu with "entering a banned military zone", "membership in an armed terrorist organization" and "publicly humiliating the state's sovereignty symbols."

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Museum in Tunis Attack to Reopen Briefly to Public Monday

Tunisia's national museum which was the scene of last week's massacre of foreign tourists is to reopen to the public briefly on Monday, the culture ministry announced.

The ministry said on its Facebook page that the Bardo museum in Tunis would receive visits by school groups on Friday and then open to the general public for the day on Monday.

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Red Cross Voices Concern at Yemen Violence

The Red Cross expressed deep concern Thursday over the impact of Saudi-led air strikes on the Yemeni capital, urging all sides in the conflict to strive to spare civilians.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was "worried by the recent escalation of violence" in Yemen, and at reports that civilians had been killed in air raids on Sanaa.

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Saudi Arabia: The Gulf's Best-Equipped Army

Saudi Arabia has the best equipped armed forces in the Gulf region, while counting on its Western partners to guarantee its security, the International Institute for Strategic Studies says.

The Saudi military numbers 227,000 troops, including 75,000 in the army, 13,500 in the navy and 20,000 in the air force.

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Putin, Rouhani Express 'Hope for Success' at Iran Talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani voiced hope Thursday for progress at crunch talks over Iran's nuclear drive, the Kremlin said. 

"Hope was expressed for success at the new round of talks in Lausanne," the Kremlin said in a statement after Rouhani called Putin to discuss the negotiations in Switzerland.

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U.S. Says Yemen Offensive Has 'No Impact' on Iran Nuclear Talks

U.S. involvement in a coordinated military attack on Iran-allied rebels in Yemen will have "no impact" on nuclear talks with Tehran, a senior U.S. official told AFP on Thursday.

"We have always been clear that the P5+1 negotiations are solely focused on the nuclear issue," the official said, requesting anonymity and referring to the group of six nations engaged in talks.

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