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Public workers strike in Tunisia, signaling national crisis

Flights were cancelled, public transport ground to a halt and government offices were closed in a nationwide strike by Tunisia's main trade union confederation Thursday, that piled pressure on a president already facing a string of crises.

The powerful UGTT confederation had called on up to three million public sector workers to strike, halting work at 159 state agencies and public companies to demand concessions on salaries and threatened reforms.

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Official says Yemeni journalist killed in explosion in Aden

A Yemeni journalist has been killed by a car bomb in the country's second city Aden, headquarters of the internationally recognized government, a security official told AFP on Thursday.

"Unidentified assailants had planted an explosive device in the vehicle of journalist Saber al-Haidari, who works for a number of foreign media outlets," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. 

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US airborne raid nets top IS operative in Syria

U.S. coalition forces said they captured a senior Islamic State group bomb maker in an airborne operation before dawn Thursday in northern Syria.

A war monitor and AFP correspondents said helicopters touched down for only a few minutes in a village in an area controlled by Turkish-backed rebel groups.

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Venezuela's Maduro meets Qatar's ruling emir on Mideast trip

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has met with Qatar's ruling emir as part of a Mideast tour.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani posted a photo on social media of the two meeting, saying they "discussed prospects for enhancing cooperation between our two countries in various fields for the good and interest of our two friendly peoples."

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Moscow raps Israel over Jerusalem church land ruling

Russia said Wednesday it was "deeply concerned" after Israel's top court ruled that a Jewish settler group legally purchased an east Jerusalem property from the Greek Orthodox Church.

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Israel hopes Biden trip helps tighten ties with Saudi Arabia

Israel is looking to U.S. President Joe Biden's Mideast trip next month to bolster its efforts to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia, a country with which it does not have official ties, according to Israel's foreign minister.

Yair Lapid spoke a day after the White House announced the whirlwind trip to Israel and the West Bank followed by a flight to Saudi Arabia. At a news conference in Jerusalem, Lapid was asked about his expectations from Biden's expected stop in the kingdom and first said he didn't want to "steal the show from the president's visit." But he said Saudi Arabia and Israel, as well as the wider Middle East, are under threat from Iran's nuclear capabilities.

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Israel, EU, Egypt ink deal to boost gas supply to Europe

Egypt, Israel, and the European Union on Wednesday signed a deal to increase liquefied natural gas sales to EU countries, who aim to reduce dependence on supply from Russia as the war in Ukraine drags on.

The deal, stamped in a five-star Cairo hotel, will see Israel sending more gas via Egypt, which has facilities to liquefy it for export via sea, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said.

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Israeli strike on Syria's main airport hikes tensions

Israel marked a major escalation in its years-long campaign of airstrikes in Syria, carrying out an attack last week that shut down the country's main civilian airport in Damascus as Israel steps up efforts to stop Iranian weapons shipments to Hezbollah.

Commercial flights were still halted at Damascus International Airport five days after Friday's pre-dawn airstrikes smashed into its runways, leaving multiple craters, and damaged the air control tower and other buildings.

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Facing gas 'blackmail' by Russia, EU turns to Israel

The European Union wants to strengthen its energy cooperation with Israel in light of Russia's use of gas supplies to "blackmail" its members over the Ukraine conflict, the European Commission chief said.

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Biden to visit Israel, West Bank and KSA in July

U.S. President Joe Biden will make history next month with a direct flight between Israel and Saudi Arabia where he will meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, abandoning efforts to ostracize the oil kingdom's de facto leader over the murder of a dissident.

The White House ended weeks of speculation Tuesday, announcing that Biden will travel to Israel, the Palestinian West Bank and Saudi Arabia from July 13-16.

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