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Iraq Opposes Saudi-Led Air Strikes in Yemen

Iraq's foreign minister on Thursday opposed Saudi-led air strikes on Shiite rebels in Yemen, saying military intervention was not a solution.

Ibrahim al-Jaafari, whose Shiite-led government is fighting Sunni jihadists in Iraq with Western and Iranian backing, said he supported a "peaceful" approach to Yemen.

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Arab League Chief Declares 'Complete Support' for Yemen Strikes

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi declared his full support on Thursday for Saudi-led air strikes againts Huthi rebels in Yemen.

"I affirm complete support" for the campaign, he said at a meeting of Arab foreign ministers. "It is an operation against targets belonging to the Huthis who committed a coup."

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Sanaa Residents Flee Night of Terror

Hundreds of terrified civilians fled the Yemeni capital on Thursday after a sleepless night of heavy Saudi air raids against Shiite Huthi rebels.

"I'm leaving with my family -- Sanaa is no longer safe," said Mohammed, loading personal belongings onto a minibus in a northern district of Sanaa, which has been under Huthi control since September.

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U.S. Air Strikes Trigger Final Push on Iraq's Tikrit

Iraqi forces buoyed by the first U.S.-led coalition air strikes on Tikrit made a final push Thursday to flush diehard jihadists out of Saddam Hussein's hometown.

U.S.-led warplanes carried out 17 air strikes against Islamic State jihadists in Tikrit overnight in the first wave of coalition bombing raids in support of an Iraqi government offensive to recapture the town, the U.S. military said Thursday.

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Disputes Emerge as Netanyahu Starts Work on New Israel Govt

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began talks Thursday to form a new Israeli government, which will have to mend shattered ties with Washington, while tackling pressing social and security issues.

After a bitterly fought campaign that exposed deep splits within Israeli society and a damaging rift with key ally Washington, Netanyahu knuckled down to the unenviable task of building a coalition likely to be dominated by right-wing and religious parties. 

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Cabinet Refers Btedei Crime to Judicial Council

The cabinet referred on Thursday the crime of Btedei to the judicial council, two weeks after a judge indicted eight members of the Jaafar clan over links to the case.

“The crime has been referred to the judicial council,” Information Minister Ramzi Jreij told reporters after the cabinet session at the Grand Serail.

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Kerry Held Conference Call with Gulf Ministers on Yemen

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday held a conference call with Gulf ministers to discuss the Yemen crisis amid Saudi air strikes on Huthi rebels, a senior U.S. official said.

The top U.S. diplomat "commended the work of the coalition taking military action against the Huthis" and noted Washington's support "including intelligence sharing, targeting assistance, and advisory and logistical support for strikes against Huthi targets," the State Department official said.

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Two Al-Jazeera Journalists Detained in NE Nigeria

Nigeria's military has detained two Al-Jazeera television journalists in the country's northeast, where troops have been battling Boko Haram militants.

Defence spokesman Chris Olukolade said the pair were "found to have been loitering around areas where military operations are ongoing in the northeast and have been restrained in Maiduguri".

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Four Egypt Warships Enter Suez en Route to Gulf of Aden

Four Egyptian warships entered the Suez Canal on Thursday en route to the Gulf of Aden after Egypt pledged military support for a Saudi-led campaign against rebels in Yemen, canal officials said.

The officials said the ships will take part in operations "to secure" the strategic waters that control southern access to the Suez Canal.

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Saniora before STL: Hariri Sought Extension of Hrawi's Term to Avoid Lahoud's Election

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon's Defense team continued on Thursday its cross-examination of head of the Mustaqbal bloc MP Fouad Saniora, with questions focusing on United Nations Security Council resolution 1559 and former Premier Rafik Hariri's ties with ex-President Emile Lahoud.

Saniora said: “Hariri fought hard to ensure that the term of later President Elias Hrawi was extended in 1995 in order to avoid the election of Emile Lahoud as president.”

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