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Former Israeli premier urges world leaders to shun Netanyahu

Israel's former prime minister has urged world leaders to shun Israel's current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, as he presses ahead with a plan to overhaul the country's justice system. The United States and Germany, two of Israel's closest allies, called on Netanyahu to slow down.

The rare calls for restraint and international intervention came as thousands of Israelis once again took to the streets to protest Netanyahu's plan.

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In Israel, TV's dystopian 'Handmaids' is protest fixture

It's become an ominous fixture of the mass anti-government protests roiling Israel: a coil of women in crimson robes and white caps, walking heads bowed and hands clasped. They are dressed as characters from Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, "The Handmaid's Tale," and the eponymous TV series.

The women, growing in numbers as the demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policies intensify, say they are protesting to ward off what they believe will be a dark future if the government follows through on its plan to overhaul the judiciary.

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20 years after U.S. invasion, young Iraqis see signs of hope

Along the Tigris River, young Iraqi men and women in jeans and sneakers danced with joyous abandon on a recent evening to a local rapper as the sun set behind them. It's a world away from the terror that followed the U.S. invasion 20 years ago.

Iraq's capital is full of life, its residents enjoying a rare peaceful interlude in a painful modern history. The city's open-air book market is crammed with shoppers. Affluent young men cruise muscle cars. A few glitzy buildings sparkle where bombs once fell.

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4 killed in Israeli army raid in West Bank

It was the latest bloodshed in a year-long wave of violence in the region.

The Israeli military confirmed its forces were operating in the city of Jenin on Thursday and later said that troops killed two wanted members of the Islamic Jihad militant group and a third person, who was killed "after attempting to attack the forces with a crowbar."

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Senior Iranian official visits UAE on heels of Saudi deal

A senior Iranian official visited the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, just days after Tehran agreed to restore diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia in a Chinese-brokered deal that raised hopes of a broader rapprochement across Middle East.

Ali Shamkhani, the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said his visit was a "meaningful beginning for the two countries to enter a new stage of political, economic and security relations," Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported.

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Netanyahu in Germany amid tensions at home, Iran worries

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is meeting Germany's leaders Thursday on an abbreviated visit that comes in the shadow of tensions over his government's planned overhaul of Israel's judicial system and worries about Iran's nuclear program.

Netanyahu has meetings scheduled with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Germany's largely ceremonial president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on his one-day trip to Berlin.

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Iran agrees to stop arming Houthis in Yemen in deal with KSA

Iran has agreed to stop sending weapons to the Houthi rebels in Yemen as part of a China-brokered deal with Saudi Arabia, U.S. and Saudi officials said.

The Wall Street Journal, an American daily, quoted Thursday U.S. and Saudi officials as saying that if Tehran does stop arming the Houthis, it could put pressure on the militant group to reach a deal to end the conflict.

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Israel says responsible for roadside bomb 'will pay dearly'

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visited Thursday the Lebanese border, after Israel said an armed man suspected of blowing up a car may have come from Lebanon.

Gallant threatened that "whoever decided to test Israel" by perpetrating the roadside bombing in the country's northern region "will pay dearly."

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Israelis step up protests after Netanyahu rejects compromise

Israeli protesters pressed ahead on Thursday with demonstrations against a contentious government plan to overhaul the judiciary, pushing back against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after he rejected a compromise proposal that was meant to defuse the crisis.

Despite the effort by the country's figurehead president, Isaac Herzog, to seek a way out of the stalemate, the sides appeared to be further digging in. Netanyahu and his allies were set to barrel forward with their original plan despite weeks of mass protests and widespread opposition from across Israeli society and beyond as well as warnings by Herzog that Israel was headed toward an "abyss."

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With Saudi deals, US, China battle for influence in Mideast

In a matter of days, Saudi Arabia carried out blockbuster agreements with the world's two leading powers — China and the United States.

Riyadh signed a Chinese-facilitated deal aimed at restoring diplomatic ties with its arch-nemesis Iran and then announced a massive contract to buy commercial planes from U.S. manufacturer Boeing.

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