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First Iran Hajj Dead Flown Home Nine Days after Stampede

The first bodies of Iranians killed in a stampede at the hajj arrived home from Saudi Arabia Saturday after a controversial nine-day delay and questions over the final death toll.

President Hassan Rouhani and other top officials laid white flowers on coffins at a sombre ceremony in Tehran for the 104 pilgrims -- among 464 Iranians declared dead in the September 24 crush.

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Tehran Confirms Death of Ex-Lebanon Envoy Roknabadi in Hajj Stampede

Tehran announced on Thursday that four of its diplomats, including its former Lebanese ambassador, were killed in the hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia, reported the Iranian Students News Agency (Isna).

The news agency ended days of speculation over the fate of former envoy Ghazanfar Roknabadi, 49, who was attending the annual Muslim gathering.

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Khamenei Threatens 'Fierce' Reaction if Saudi Does Not Return Hajj Dead

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threatened a "fierce" reaction Wednesday if Saudi Arabia does not quickly repatriate victims of last week's hajj stampede.

"Saudi officials are failing to do their duties," Khamenei said in a speech to graduating navy officers, following delays in the return of at least 239 Iranian bodies, accusing some of them of "slyness."

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Coalition Says it Seized Iran Boat with Arms for Yemen Rebels

The Saudi-led coalition said on Wednesday it had seized an Iranian fishing boat in the Arabian Sea loaded with weapons destined for Shiite rebels it is fighting in Yemen.

A coalition statement said that the vessel was intercepted on Saturday and that 14 Iranians and weapons including anti-tank shells were found on board.

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Lebanon Remains a 'Priority' but World Response for Refugee Aid Remains Weak

The U.N. chief's Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Philippe Lazzarini, has lamented that the response of the international community to the needs of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and other countries is weak.

In an interview with An Nahar daily published on Wednesday, Lazzarini said: “The response does not meet the needs.”

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Iran Says Return of Hajj Dead Delayed

The repatriation of Iranians killed in the hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia has been delayed until at least Wednesday, officials said, citing administrative problems and difficulties in identifying victims.

With the uproar over the tragedy showing no sign of easing, President Hassan Rouhani arrived back in Tehran on Tuesday having left the U.N. General Assembly early, after citing Saudi "incompetence" at the hajj.

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2 Suspected Militants Killed in Saudi Police Raids

Saudi police killed two suspected militants and arrested three others during raids to foil an "imminent terrorist operation," the interior ministry said Monday.

"This cell planned to carry out an imminent terrorist operation that had reached late stages of execution," the ministry said, without disclosing a target.

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Syria Contact Group Including Russia, U.S. to Meet in October

Russia and the United States are expected to take part in Syria peace talks in October, along with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt, Russia's deputy foreign minister said Monday.

A meeting of an international contact group of the "most influential outside players" will "be pushed forward to October after the U.N. General Assembly," deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.

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Indonesian Stampede Toll Hits 41, Officials 'Race against Time'

The number of Indonesians killed in a stampede at the hajj rose to 41 Monday with scores more still missing, an official said, warning Jakarta faces a "race against time" to identify its citizens who died.

The stampede on Thursday during a ritual stoning of the devil near the holy Saudi city of Mecca killed 769 people, the worst disaster to strike the annual Muslim pilgrimage in a quarter of a century. 

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Saudi-led Air Strikes Kill 28 in Yemen

Air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition killed 23 Huthi rebels and five civilians at a village in northwestern Yemen on Sunday, residents said.

Coalition helicopters and planes targeted a building used by the rebels at the village of Zaylaa, in Hajja province which borders Saudi Arabia, they said.

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