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Iran reports new arrest of Israel-linked spies

Iran arrested five people accused of links to the Israeli spy agency Mossad, state media said on Thursday, in the second such report in as many days. 

"A spy network consisting of five members affiliated with the Zionist regime was identified and arrested," said a police intelligence statement quoted by the official news agency IRNA.

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Rights group slams Morocco's 'manual' of press repression

Morocco is jailing journalists after flawed trials for non-political crimes, particularly sexual ones, in order to silence them, part of a range of "techniques of repression", Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

"Moroccan authorities have developed and refined a full manual of techniques to muzzle the opposition, even as it claims to be simply applying the law against them in a neutral manner," it said.

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Israeli army says Hamas is rebuilding capabilities in Gaza

The Israeli army has said that Hamas has rebuilt some of the capabilities that were damaged during last year's Gaza war, including three new tunnels and a series of weapons manufacturing and storage sites.

The army published aerial imagery and maps showing what it said are tunnels, weapons factories and arms depots. It said the installations were near al-Azhar University in Gaza City, a Pepsi factory, mosques, United Nations facilities and hospitals elsewhere in Gaza.

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Slain journalist's family: No help from US for a full probe

A relative of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh has said that the Biden administration's top diplomat refused her face-to-face appeal to push for a full U.S. investigation into the killing of the veteran television correspondent.

Niece Lina Abu Akleh also said Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. officials declined in meetings with her this week to provide any more information than they had already made public about how Americans reached the findings about the killing that they released this month.

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Seeking new funds, Hamas raises taxes in impoverished Gaza

Gaza's Hamas rulers have imposed a slew of new taxes on imported clothes and office supplies just ahead of the new school year, sparking limited but rare protests in the impoverished coastal strip.

The move by the militant group comes at a time when Gaza's 2.3 million people are suffering not only from a 15-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade, but also from a new jump in prices caused by global supply-chain issues and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Macron hosts Saudi crown prince despite rights outrage

French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for talks in Paris on Thursday, defying criticism that the invitation is deeply inappropriate barely four years after the murder by Saudi agents of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The meeting will be seen as the latest step in the readmission of the de-facto ruler of the kingdom into the international fold, after U.S. President Joe Biden met the man universally known as MBS earlier this month.

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Pro-Sadr protesters breach Iraq's fortified Green Zone

Supporters of powerful Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr on Wednesday penetrated the capital's high-security Green Zone, home to government buildings and diplomatic missions, an AFP reporter said.

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Iran says arrested Israel-linked agents were Kurdish rebels

Iran's intelligence ministry said Wednesday that agents linked to Israel's Mossad who were arrested last week were also members of an outlawed Kurdish rebel group who planned to target a "sensitive defense center."

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17 fighters killed in south Syria clashes

Seventeen gunmen were killed in two days of clashes in southern Syria's Sweida province between groups loyal to the Damascus regime and others opposing it, a war monitor said Wednesday.

Ten loyalists and seven opposition fighters died in fighting on Tuesday and Wednesday in two villages in the Druze-majority province, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, raising the toll from 10 a day earlier.

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UAE, Iran discuss boosting ties ahead of possible ambassador return

The Emirati and Iranian foreign ministers have held a telephone conversation and discussed boosting ties, UAE state media reported Wednesday, as the Gulf Arab country considers sending an ambassador back to Tehran.

Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian discussed ways of "boosting bilateral relations and areas of cooperation for the benefit of both countries", the UAE's state news agency WAM reported.

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