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Islamic State Militants now World's Richest, Say Experts

The Islamic State has become the world's wealthiest terror group, earning tens of millions of dollars a month from illegal oil sales and ransoms, officials said Thursday.

"We have no silver bullet, no secret weapon to empty ISIL’s coffers overnight. This will be a sustained fight, and we are in the early stages," said undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence David Cohen.

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Kobane's Children Learn Turkish to Sound of Shelling

If they let their eyes wander from the blackboard, a handful of children from Kobane can watch their town being bombarded from the windows of their new Turkish school.

The thud of battle for the besieged Syrian border town can be clearly heard in the classrooms of the village school just 400 meters from the frontier, where children struggling to get their heads around being made refugees, must now learn not just a new language but a new alphabet as well.

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Turkey to Allow 200 Iraqi Kurds to Cross into Embattled Kobane

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that 200 Iraqi Kurd peshmerga fighters would travel through Turkey to the flashpoint Syrian border town of Kobane under assault by the Islamic State group.

The regional administration in northern Iraq and Syrian Kurdish group, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) "finally agreed according to information yesterday that 200 peshmerga would be going" to Kobane, Erdogan told reporters in the Latvian capital Riga.

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Malaysia Charges Three with Supporting Islamic State

A Malaysian court on Thursday charged three men with supporting the Islamic State after they were arrested while attempting to leave the country to join the militants fighting in Iraq and Syria.

The charges against the trio -- an architect and a technician, both 26, and a 42-year-old trader -- come amid concerns over the group's growing influence in Southeast Asia.

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U.S.-Led Strikes Kill more than 500 Militants in Syria

U.S.-led air strikes in Syria were reported Thursday to have killed more than 500 jihadists in a month, as Kurdish fighters readied to reinforce the embattled border town of Kobane.

An AFP correspondent across the frontier in Turkey reported fierce clashes and fresh air raids in Kobane, with heavy gun and mortar fire rocking its western side in the evening.

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Rifi: Granting Jihadists their Demands Should be Done According to Law

Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said that he will abide by the law regarding any swap between Islamist inmates held at Roumieh prison and the abducted soldiers and policemen, considering that their freedom and safety are more important than any price paid.

“We will abide by the law,” Rifi said in comments published in An Nahar newspaper on Thursday.

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Report: Nasrallah Meets Qahwaji, Expresses Readiness to Aid Army

Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah met with Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji recently, media reports said on Thursday.

According to al-Akhbar newspaper, the meeting tackled the latest developments and highlighted the readiness of the resistance to defend Lebanon's southern, northern and eastern border alongside the army.

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March 14 Urges Govt. to Join International Coalition against IS

The March 14 General Secretariat called Wednesday on the government to take the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the Syrian conflict to Lebanon.

To that end, it urged the government to “clearly join the international coalition against the Islamic State group.”

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Jailed PKK Leader Sees Better Chance for Peace Deal with Turkey

The jailed leader of Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) said he saw a better chance for a peace deal with Ankara, despite Kurdish protests over Turkish inaction in Syria.

"My hopes over a successful execution in this process have been increased," Abdullah Ocalan said in a message relayed on Tuesday by pro-Kurdish lawmakers who visited him in his prison on the island of Imrali near Istanbul.

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Syria Says Shoots down Two of Three 'IS Warplanes'

Syria's air force has destroyed two of three warplanes reportedly seized by fighters of the Islamic State group in the north of the country, Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi said.

The jihadists were reported to have seized the three planes, believed to be MiG-21 and MiG-23 jets, from Syrian military airports now under IS control in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Raqa.

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