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Sicilian Judge Sergio Mattarella Elected Italian President

Sergio Mattarella, a constitutional court judge from Sicily who has come to symbolize Italy's battle against organized crime, was on Saturday elected the country's president.

The 73-year-old Sicilian, who was backed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's center-left Democratic Party (PD), succeeds the hugely popular Giorgio Napolitano, 89, who is stepping due to old age.

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Egypt Rules Hamas Armed Wing is 'Terror Group'

An Egyptian court on Saturday banned the armed wing of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, declaring it a "terrorist" group.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, denounced the ruling against the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades as "a dangerous political decision that serves the interests of the occupier," referring to Israel.

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Saniora to Nasrallah: Your Words are Hasty, Eliminate Will of People

Head of al-Mustaqbal Parliamentary bloc MP Fouad Saniora lashed out on Saturday Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, describing his remarks on shattering rules of engagement with Israel as “hasty and individual.”

“His speech deletes the will of the Lebanese people as no side is allowed to make decisions on behalf of the the state authority and the citizens,” Saniora stressed.

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Suicide Bomber Kills Prominent Tribal Leader in Iraq

A suicide bomber killed a prominent tribal leader and five other people in an attack southwest of Baghdad, police said on Saturday.

The bomber blew up a tanker truck rigged with explosives outside the home of Sheikh Lorens al-Hadhal in the al-Nikhaib area of Anbar province on Friday night, Major Alaa al-Dulaimi said.

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Ukraine Peace Talks Collapse as Fighting Rages

Peace talks aimed at halting rising bloodshed in eastern Ukraine ended in failure Saturday, with Kiev's envoy saying pro-Russian separatists wrecked a deal by refusing to discuss an immediate ceasefire.

The delayed talks in Minsk were "thwarted" after top rebel leaders stayed away and their negotiators also refused to discuss withdrawing heavy weapons, former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma told Interfax Ukraine news agency. 

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Turkey Airport Police Hunt Extremists en Route to Syria

Everything seems normal as the passengers stream out of a routine flight from a Middle Eastern country after landing at a major Turkish international airport.

But as they cross the air bridge from the plane into the airport, two plainclothes Turkish police -- on the lookout for jihadists on their way to Syria -- scrutinize their appearance and behavior.

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Interior Ministry Employee Killed in Sinai

An Egyptian interior ministry employee was killed in North Sinai, security officials said Saturday, two days after jihadists aligned with the Islamic State group killed 30 people in the peninsula.

The 50-year-old, who worked for the road traffic department, was shot in the head in his home in the regional capital of El-Arish on Friday night, the officials said.

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Three Dead, 24 Injured in Slovak Bus Crash

Three people died and 24 were injured in a bus crash in northern Slovakia early on Saturday, rescuers said.

"Three people died, two are in a critical condition, four suffered serious injuries and 18 had light injuries," emergency service spokesman Andrej Hirjak told Agence France Presse, adding the accident had occurred around 0300 GMT.

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Civilians Killed in Philippines Anti-Terror Raid

An eight-year-old girl and three men -- one with his hands bound -- were among those killed in a botched anti-terror police operation in the Philippines last weekend, a local official said Saturday.

Mamasapano town mayor Benzar Ampatuan said residents had told him police tied up the man to stop him tipping off their targets ahead of the pre-dawn raid, in which 44 commandos died in one of the force's bloodiest days in recent years.

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Pakistan Mourns 61 Killed in Mosque Bombing

Thousands of Shiite Muslims rallied Saturday to protest the killing of 61 people in a suicide bombing at a mosque, as southern Pakistan shut down to mourn the nation's worst sectarian attack in nearly two years.  

The blast hit the mosque in the Shikarpur district of southern Sindh province, around 470 kilometres (300 miles) north of Pakistan's biggest city Karachi, as hundreds of worshippers attended Friday prayers.

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