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Reports: Hamas Team in Iran for Talks on Ties

A delegation of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which controls Gaza arrived Monday for talks with Iranian officials on repairing ties, local media reported.

Tasnim news agency said the team was led by Hamas political bureau member Mohammed Nasr and included Ossama Hamdan, who is in charge of international relations.

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EU Counts on Intelligence Sharing to Stem Foreign Fighters' Flow to Syria

New European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in Turkey on Monday she hoped increased intelligence-sharing would help stop the flow of foreign fighters joining the ranks of Islamic State militants.

Mogherini was speaking after talks in Ankara on her first trip to Turkey since taking office.

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U.N. Appeals for $16.4 Billion for Aid Work in 2015

The U.N. appealed Monday for $16.4 billion (13.4 billion euros) to provide aid to nearly 60 million people worldwide next year, with almost half the amount aimed at helping victims of Syria's drawn-out conflict.

"The rising scale of need is outpacing our capacity to respond," warned United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, stressing that 2014 has been marked by a sharp rise in the number of people affected by violent conflicts.

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Salam: Lebanon Needs more Help to Tackle Jihadist Threat

Lebanon needs more international help to fight jihadist forces that have launched a series of attacks against the army and kidnapped troops and policemen, Prime Minister Tammam Salam said in an interview with Agence France-Presse.

Salam, speaking ahead of a visit to France this week, welcomed French arms deliveries due "in the coming weeks," but said the Lebanese army needed more.

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Hamadeh Resumes STL Testimony: Syrian Officials Seized Files in My Assassination Attempt to Muzzle Investigation

MP Marwan Hamadeh resumed on Monday his testimony before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon by recounting the developments in the country following the extension of President Emile Lahoud's term and detailing the assassination attempt against him in October 2004.

He said before the Trial Chamber: “A brief investigation was launched in my assassination attempt before Syrian officials took away the files and transported them to the headquarters of Syrian intelligence in Anjar.”

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Syria, Iran Say Israel in 'Same Trench' with Jihadists

The Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers have condemned Israeli airstrikes on two areas near Damascus, calling it an act of aggression that proves Israel was "in the same trench" with extremist groups fighting the Syrian government.

Israeli warplanes bombed the two areas Sunday, striking near Damascus' international airport as well as outside a town close to the Lebanese border. The Syrian government said the attacks caused material damage. Israel has not commented on the strikes.

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Israel on Alert on Lebanon Border as Minister Stresses 'Policy' to Stop Arms Transfers to Hizbullah

Israeli troops on Monday went on alert along the border with Lebanon over fears of a military operation as a cabinet minister stressed that the Jewish State has a policy of preventing arms transfers to Hizbullah.

The state-run National News Agency said Israeli soldiers were on alert mainly in the area of the Shabaa Farms.

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Report: Jihadist Recruiter Arrested in Northern Lebanon

Lebanese security forces have arrested a Lebanese man in the North on suspicion of recruiting scores of fighters and sending to Syria via Turkey, pan-Arab daily al-Hayat reported on Monday.

The daily quoted political sources as saying that the man has admitted to contacting several fighters via Twitter and sending them to Turkey through Tripoli's port.

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Derbas to Urge World Community to Take its Share of Syria Refugee Problem

Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas, who is scheduled to travel to Geneva on Monday to attend a conference on Syrian refugees, said he would urge the international community to carry out its duties and resolve the crisis.

Derbas told al-Liwaa newspaper that during his speech at the conference he will reiterate the repercussions of the Syrian refugee crisis on Lebanon, particularly on its economy.

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U.N. Wants Countries to Take in 180,000 Syrian Refugees

More than 30 humanitarian organizations launched an appeal on Monday for countries to take in around 180,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict.

That figure would represent five percent of the projected refugee population by the end of 2015, according to the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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