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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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Assad conditions Erdogan talks on Turkey exit from Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said he will only meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if Turkey withdraws troops from northern Syria, according to a Russian media interview published on Thursday.

His comments come one day after he met Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is seeking to repair ties between Erdogan and Assad severed after the 2011 Syrian war.

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Official: EU foreign policy chief unwelcome in Israel

Israel has signaled to the European Union's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, that he is not welcome to visit following critical comments he made about Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank, Israeli officials said Wednesday.

The incident marked the latest sign of deteriorating relations between Israel' s new far-right government and some of its closest allies.

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Syrians mark 12th anniversary of anti-regime uprising

Thousands of Syrians demonstrated in the war-ravaged country's rebel-held northwest on Wednesday, marking 12 years since the start of pro-democracy protests and rejecting any international "normalization" with Damascus.

The brutal repression of the 2011 protests, which began during the Arab Spring uprisings, triggered a bloody and complex civil war that has claimed more than 500,000 lives and left millions displaced.

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Saudi finance minister: KSA could invest in Iran 'very quickly'

Saudi Arabia could start making investments in Iran "very quickly" after they agreed to restore diplomatic ties, the Saudi finance minister said on Wednesday, despite sweeping US sanctions against the Islamic republic.

Mohammed Al-Jadaan said there were "a lot of opportunities" in Iran and that he couldn't see any reason to prevent investments taking place between the two Gulf heavyweights.

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Analysis: Syria rebuilding hopes dim as war enters year 13

The recent deadly earthquake in Turkey and Syria which caused billions of dollars in damage has boosted the prospects of Syria's once widely shunned president return to the Arab fold, but appears unlikely to jump-start large-scale reconstruction in the war-ravaged country.

As Syria's conflict enters its 13th year Wednesday, President Bashar Assad's government still refuses to make concessions to his domestic opponents, rejecting long-standing demands by the United States and its allies as a political solution remains elusive.

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