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Bahrain to Lift State of Emergency on June 1

King Hamad on Sunday ordered an early end to Bahrain's state of emergency declared in mid-March to tackle Shiite-led protests, as leading opposition figures went on trial in a court set up under the law.

The announcement came as top opposition figures appeared in the court to face charges of trying to topple the ruling Sunni monarchy and of forming a terrorist organization.

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Several Killed as Regime Hunts Opponents in Syrian Towns

A 12-year-old boy was among several people killed Sunday as Syrian troops hunted down opponents of President Bashar al-Assad in two restive cities, activists said, despite world anger over the bloody crackdown.

The military said six troops, including three officers, were killed in clashes as the army pursued "armed terrorist groups" in Homs, Banias and around the southern town of Daraa -- three protest hubs.

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Egypt Army Vows to Use ‘Iron Hand’ to Halt Sectarian Unrest

Egypt's military rulers warned Sunday they will use an "iron hand" to protect national security after clashes between Muslims and Christians in Cairo killed 12 people and injured scores.

Authorities would "strike with an iron hand all those who seek to tamper with the nation's security," Justice Minister Abdul Aziz al-Gindi told reporters after cabinet crisis talks.

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8 Policemen, 10 Inmates Killed in Baghdad Jail Mutiny

An insurgent accused of masterminding a bloody Baghdad church siege last year grabbed a policeman's gun mid-interrogation and led a prison mutiny that left eight Iraqi police, including a general, and 10 detainees dead, officials said Sunday.

The incident came as security was tightened in Iraq where authorities fear reprisals from the local branch of al-Qaida after the death of Osama bin Laden in a U.S. special forces raid in Pakistan on Sunday, with 24 policemen already having been killed in a car bomb south of Baghdad on Thursday.

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Tanks Storm Syrian Flashpoint City Banias

Syrian troops backed by tanks swept early Saturday into Banias, a hub of anti-regime protests, as residents formed human chains in a bid to halt the military operation, rights activists said.

Electricity and communications were cut as the tanks entered along three axes heading towards the southern sector of the city on the Mediterranean coast, the bastion of the protesters.

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U.S. Warns of More Steps Against Syria, Welcomes EU Sanctions

The United States warned Friday it would take "additional steps" against Syria if it continues a brutal crackdown on protesters, a week after imposing tough sanctions on the Arab nation.

"The United States believes that Syria's deplorable actions toward its people warrant a strong international response," the White House said in one of its strongest statements yet since the outbreak of unrest there.

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Report: U.S. Targeted Awlaqi in Yemen Drone Strike

A U.S. drone attack in Yemen targeted but failed to kill U.S.-Yemeni cleric and terror suspect Anwar al-Awlaqi, who is linked to al-Qaida and considered a major threat to the United States, U.S. media reported Friday.

The drone attack Thursday killed two local members of the militant network, a security source and witnesses told Agence France Presse in Yemen.

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30 Dead, Top Dissident Held in Syria 'Day of Defiance' Demos

Syria's security forces shot dead 30 people Friday, a Syrian human rights activist told the AP, as thousands rallied on a "Day of Defiance" against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad after tanks converged on protest centers.

At the same time, "armed criminal gangs" killed one officer and four policemen, state news agency SANA said.

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Yemen's Saleh Vows to Resist 'Outlaw' Protesters

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh told a mass rally of supporters on Friday that he would resist calls to quit, describing as "outlaws" tens of thousands of protesters gathered a short distance away.

"I can assure you that I will resist," Saleh told the crowd in the capital Sanaa's Sabbine Square after taking part in the main weekly Muslim prayers at nearby Tahrir Square.

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14 Libyan Diplomats Ordered to Leave France

France has ordered 14 people who served as Libyan diplomats under Moammer Gadhafi's regime to leave the country within two days, the French foreign ministry said on Friday.

"France has declared persona non grata 14 Libyan ex-diplomats posted in France," the ministry said in a statement, indicating that Paris no longer recognized their diplomatic status.

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