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Released Arab-Israeli 'proud' of 40-year prison term for killing

Arab-Israeli Karim Younis, hailed by supporters as the "dean of Palestinian prisoners", said Thursday he was proud after being released from 40 years behind bars for killing a soldier.

With a black and white keffiyeh wrapped around his shoulders, 64-year-old Younis was met by hundreds of supporters singing the Palestinian national anthem in his home village of Ara in northern Israel.

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Iran closes French institute to protest Khamenei cartoons

Iran announced Thursday the closure of a Tehran-based French research institute in protest against cartoons of the Islamic republic's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

"The ministry is ending the activities of the French Institute for Research in Iran as a first step," the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement, a day after Tehran had warned Paris of consequences.

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Israeli forces kill Palestinian boy in West Bank

The Israeli army killed a Palestinian boy Thursday in the West Bank city of Nablus, the Palestinian health ministry said, where armed clashes broke out between militants and Israeli forces.

The health ministry announced "Amer Abu Zeitoun, 16, was killed by a bullet in the head fired by the occupation (Israeli) soldiers during the aggression on Nablus at dawn today".

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Israel's new government unveils plan to weaken Supreme Court

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's justice minister has unveiled the new government's long-promised overhaul of the judicial system that aims to weaken the country's Supreme Court.

Critics accused the government of declaring war against the legal system, saying the plan will upend Israel's system of checks and balances and undermine its democratic institutions by giving absolute power to the most right-wing coalition in the country's history.

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UAE top diplomat back in Syria as relations continue to thaw

The United Arab Emirates' top diplomat has met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, his second visit to Damascus as relations continue to thaw between the two countries.

According to a statement from Assad's office, he and UAE's Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan discussed boosting economic ties between their nations. It quoted Assad as saying that the restoration of ties between the two countries is in the interest of regional stability.

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Israel demolishes parts of West Bank hamlet set for eviction

The Israeli military has demolished homes, water tanks and olive orchards in two Palestinian villages in the southern West Bank where some residents are at risk of imminent expulsion, residents and activists said Wednesday.

One of the villages whose structures were demolished on Tuesday is part of an arid area of the West Bank known as Masafer Yatta, which the Israeli military has designated as a live-fire training zone. Some 1,000 residents of the eight hamlets that make up Masafer Yatta are slated for expulsion, an order Israel's Supreme Court upheld in May after a two-decade legal battle.

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Palestinian rights lawyer says deportation won't stop him

Palestinian lawyer and activist Salah Hammouri vowed to keep up his fight for the rights of the Palestinian people despite his deportation to France following Israel's claim that he has ties to a banned militant group.

Hammouri, who holds French citizenship, landed in Paris on Dec. 18 following months of legal wrangling, despite France's public opposition to the expulsion.

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Tunisia ex-minister jailed over hazardous waste scandal

A Tunisian former environment minister has been sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the illegal import of 280 containers of waste from Italy, local media reported Wednesday.

Mustapha Aroui and several ministry officials had been sacked and arrested in December 2020 as public anger mounted and authorities investigated how the waste had been imported.

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Rockets hit US base in east Syria without causing losses

Two rockets struck a base housing American troops in eastern Syria on Wednesday without causing any human or material losses, the U.S. military said.

The morning attack on Mission Support Site Conoco came as Iran and its allies in the region marked the third anniversary of the killing of Iran's elite Quds force chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad.

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Oil facilities in Yemen change hands in $21.6 million deal

A global energy company has acquired oil producing facilities in war-torn Yemen from another international firm. The move comes as the country's Houthi rebels have repeatedly targeted terminals and tankers in efforts to stop their rivals from exporting oil.

Zenith Netherlands, a subsidiary of Zenith Energy Ltd., announced that it has agreed to acquire energy assets of Vienna-based OMV in Yemen, in a deal worth more than $21.6 million.

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