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Several Troops Dead in Attacks on Army in Akkar as Kidnap of Soldiers Foiled

At least two army troops were killed and several others wounded in an armed attack Saturday on a military vehicle in the Akkar area of al-Mhammara, which was followed by clashes with gunmen “loyal to Sheikh Khaled Hoblos” and a failed attempt to abduct five soldiers.

In a separate incident, gunmen fired “a rocket-propelled grenade against an army vehicle in the northern area of Minieh near the Haroun mosque, which resulted in the death of an officer and the wounding of two troops,” the army said in a statement.

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Al-Rahi Fears Lebanese Would Adapt to Vacuum

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-RAhi renewed on Saturday his call for the election of a new head of state, rejecting to let the Lebanese get used to the vacuum at the Baabda Palace.

“There is no justification for not electing a new president,” al-Rahi said during a meeting at the Maronite Diocese of Saint Maron of Sydney in Australia.

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Nusra Front Warns: Government Taking Country into Abyss

Al-Nusra Front warned on Saturday that the case of abducted soldiers and policemen became a political tool that the government is using to take the Lebanese people into the abyss.

“The Lebanese cabinet is exploiting the case and will lead the country into the abyss,” al-Nusra Front said via it's account on Twitter.

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Grateful for U.S. Strikes, Syrian Kurds Name Baby 'Obama'

Sultan Muslim, a Syrian Kurd, had no doubt what to name her seventh child when he was born, safely in Turkey, after a harrowing month-long flight from her home in Kobane: Obama.

Desperate to flee the flashpoint Syrian border town, the heavily pregnant mother, her husband and six other children made it across the frontier just in time for the boy's arrival. 

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France Announces Big Coalition Air Raid against IS in Iraq

The international coalition currently battling the Islamic State group in Iraq dropped around 70 bombs on an arsenal and jihadist training center in a large-scale overnight raid, the French military said Friday.

"I think it's safe to say we hurt them last night. The operation is a success," France's Chief of the Defence Staff Pierre de Villiers told Europe 1 radio, adding the raid took place in the Kirkuk region of northern Iraq.

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Six 'Militants' Killed Ahead of Key Tunisia Polls

A raid by Tunisian security forces on an armed group near the capital Friday left six suspected militants dead, including five women, fanning tensions days ahead of a landmark election.

Tens of thousands of soldiers and police will be deployed for Sunday's parliamentary polls -- the first since an uprising three years ago that inspired the Arab Spring revolutions.

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Akkar Security Patrol Attacked from Syrian Territories

A security patrol came under fire in an area bordering Syria in the northern Akkar district, the state-run National News Agency reported Friday.

NNA said the vehicle was targeted by gunfire from Syria near the town of Qashlaq.

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EU Official Says he Pressed Lebanese Politicians on Elections

A top European Union official said he informed Lebanese officials during his visit to Beirut that the presidential and parliamentary elections should be held to have a healthy democracy

Hugues Mingarelli, who is the Managing Director for North Africa, Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq at the European External Action Service, said: “You have a democracy and there are routine elections and a multi-party system.”

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IS Attack on Syrian Border Town Kobane Stalls amid U.S. Air Assault

A bid by Islamic State fighters to seize the flashpoint Syrian border town of Kobane has stalled, American officials said, with the help of air strikes reported to have killed over 500 jihadists.

U.S. and allied aircraft have flown nearly 6,600 sorties in the air war against the Islamic State (IS) group and dropped more than 1,700 bombs, the American military said Thursday.

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Derbas Says Lebanon and Jordan United at Berlin Conference

Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said the stance of Lebanon and Jordan at the upcoming Berlin conference on the Syrian refugees will be united.

In remarks to An Nahar daily published Friday, Derbas said that both countries are suffering from the same repercussions of the Syrians crisis that resulted in millions of refugees.

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