Middle East

  • UAE squeezes Islamist group on Arab Spring fringe
    2012-05-07 18:52:21 UTC

    RAS AL-KHAIMAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Morning prayers had just ended. Worshippers streamed out, squinting into the rising sun and paying no attention to the knot of men wearing the traditional white robes of the Gulf standing nearby. "Can we talk?" one of the men said as they surrounded an activist who was heading home for bre...
  • Palestinian prisoners on mass hunger strike
    2012-05-07 16:04:37 UTC

    RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A bearded Islamist who lived on liquids and minerals for 66 days to protest his open-ended incarceration in Israel, winning his freedom, has inspired more than 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners to follow him, putting pressure on Israel. The prisoners who have joined the strike in recent weeks are demanding...
  • New video of US aid worker kidnapped in Pakistan
    2012-05-07 18:30:13 UTC

    ISLAMABAD (AP) — A 70-year-old American aid worker kidnapped nine months ago in Pakistan said in a video released by al-Qaida that he will be killed unless President Barack Obama agrees to the militant group's demands. The White House called for his immediate release. The video posted on militant websites Sunday followed one issued ...
  • 5 killed in Syria's increasingly restive Aleppo
    2012-05-05 20:32:42 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — A bomb struck a car wash Saturday in Aleppo, killing at least five people, a day after government troops opened fire to break up large protests against a violent university raid in Syria's largest city. Aleppo, an important economic hub, has largely stayed out of the revolt against President Bashar Assad that erupted n...
  • Rights group urges Libya to revoke speech law
    2012-05-05 16:20:32 UTC

    TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — The New-York based Human Rights Watch has urged the new government in Libya to revoke a law that criminalizes those glorifying the former dictator Moammar Gadhafi or spreading "propaganda" that insults or endangers the state. The group said Saturday that the law passed earlier this week is a throwback to Gadhaf...
  • Hundreds held after Egypt Defense Ministry clash
    2012-05-05 15:54:07 UTC

    CAIRO (AP) — Military prosecutors ordered the detention of 300 protesters on accusations of attacking troops and disrupting public order during violent clashes outside Egypt's Defense Ministry, a prosecution official said Saturday. The Friday clashes were some of the worst near the headquarters of the country's ruling generals, and ...
  • Ahmadinejad rivals cement hold on Iran parliament
    2012-05-05 06:34:52 UTC

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Final results for many constituencies in Iran's parliamentary runoff elections show conservative rivals of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winning a solid majority of seats and cementing their hold on the legislature. The parliament has no direct control over major policy matters like Iran's nuclear program, but it...
  • Syrians questioning whether armed revolt works
    2012-05-04 18:01:50 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — The woman wearing a blood-red dress stood in the middle of a busy intersection outside Syria's parliament holding up a red banner: "Stop the killing, we want to build a homeland for all Syrians." Drivers tooted their horns and supporters clapped. Rima Dali's act of defiance last month — which landed the 33-year-old in ...
  • Rabin killer's brother released from Israel prison
    2012-05-04 05:46:46 UTC

    JERUSALEM (AP) — The brother of the man who killed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has been released from prison after 16 1/2 years. Hagai Amir was serving a sentence for complicity in the 1995 killing. His brother Yigal Amir is serving a life sentence for gunning down the prime minister after a Tel Aviv peace rally. Upon hi...
  • 4 students killed as Syrian forces raid university
    2012-05-03 20:17:13 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian forces stormed student dormitories during an anti-government protest at Aleppo University Thursday, firing tear gas and bullets in an hours-long siege that killed at least four students and forced the closure of the state-run school, activists said. U.N. truce observers toured other restive parts of the country,...
  • Hamas says it's holding talks with 5 EU countries
    2012-05-02 19:41:51 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — The Palestinian Islamist Hamas has been holding secret political talks with five European Union member states in recent months, a senior official in the militant group told The Associated Press on Wednesday. If confirmed, such talks would be a sign that the isolation of Hamas is easing in the wake of the Arab Spring up...
  • US-Afghan pact achieved despite Karzai's rhetoric
    2012-05-02 18:50:36 UTC

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's president has branded his U.S. allies as corrupt, wasteful and contemptuous of Afghan lives. Once he even threatened to join the Taliban. Nonetheless, Hamid Karzai signed a deal that could keep thousands of U.S. troops in his country for years. Despite his rhetoric, Karzai needs international ...
  • Israeli ministers: Election won't affect Iran
    2012-05-02 18:28:33 UTC

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Two top Israeli security officials said Wednesday that the prospect of early national elections will have no influence over a decision over whether to strike Iranian nuclear sites. Both Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said in published comments on Wednesday that policy toward Iran ...
  • Iran seeks sanctions rollback as nuke talk goal
    2012-05-02 18:03:34 UTC

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has made no secret of its hopes for the next round of nuclear negotiations with world powers: Pledges by the West to ease sanctions as a step toward deal making by Tehran. Iran's pitch is certain to smack head-on into resistance and counter proposals by the West. But it reflects a harder-edged atmosphere bef...
  • Army mortar shells kill 10 in Syrian village
    2012-05-01 18:34:31 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian forces fired mortar shells into a farming village Tuesday, killing 10 people, among them two young children, and sending panicked residents running for cover, activists said. U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous deplored the ongoing violence and promised to put 300 observers in Syria by the end of the month, up...
  • Suicide blasts kill 9 in Syrian city of Idlib
    2012-04-30 15:44:48 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — Two suicide bombers blew up cars rigged with explosives near a military compound and a hotel in northwestern Syria on Monday, killing at least nine people and wounding nearly 100, state media said. The powerful blasts, which tore two craters into the ground and ripped the facade off a multistory building, marked the la...
  • Israel says inclusion on UN list 'absurd'
    2012-04-30 15:28:01 UTC

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's Foreign Ministry has criticized a U.N. statement that places the country on a list of nations it says are moving to further restrict advocacy and rights groups. Spokesman Yigal Palmor on Monday called Israel's inclusion on the list "absurd." The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights issue...
  • Prime Minister Netanyahu's father dies at 102
    2012-04-30 05:53:10 UTC

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Benzion Netanyahu, historian, Zionist activist and influential father of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, died Monday in his Jerusalem home, the Israeli leader's office said. He was 102. Born Benzion Mileikowsky in Warsaw, Poland, Netanyahu was a devout follower of revisionist Zionist leader Zeev Jabotinsk...
  • Weaker al-Qaida still plots payback for US raid
    2012-04-30 02:10:05 UTC

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A year after the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida is hobbled and hunted, too busy surviving for the moment to carry out another Sept. 11-style attack on U.S. soil. But the terrorist network dreams still of payback, and U.S. counterterrorist officials warn that, in time, its offshoots may deliver. ...
  • Austria: Ex-Libya oil chief found dead in Danube
    2012-04-29 19:58:52 UTC

    VIENNA (AP) — Libya's former oil minister, who last year announced he was abandoning Moammar Gadhafi's regime to support the rebels who ultimately toppled him, was found dead Sunday in a section of the Danube river flowing through Vienna, Austrian police said. Police spokesman Roman Hahslinger said the corpse of 69-year-old Shukri G...
  • Egypt military rulers promise government reshuffle
    2012-04-29 19:07:12 UTC

    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's ruling military council promised Sunday to reshuffle the Cabinet, hours after the Islamist-dominated parliament suspended sessions to protest the panel's failure to heed repeated calls for the government's dismissal. Parliament Speaker Saad el-Katatni said he received a call from the ruling generals promising to...
  • Official says Israeli premier exploring early vote
    2012-04-29 19:03:26 UTC

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to decide by next week whether to move up national elections, an Israeli official said Sunday. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 2013. but Netanyahu told political allies on Sunday that he would not cave in to "extortion" and might call an early vote. Israeli c...
  • Wife: Bahrain hunger striker fed against his will
    2012-04-29 17:47:18 UTC

    MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — The wife of a jailed Bahraini hunger striker was granted her first visit in two weeks Sunday, then accused authorities of using feeding tubes and other life-saving measures on her husband against his will. In recent weeks, the case of rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja has became a powerful rallying point fo...
  • Syrian: Iran arming Syrian army to fight the rebels
    2012-04-29 07:46:53 UTC

    Syrian opposition: Some neighboring countries, particularly Iran and Iraq, are arming the Syrian military to continue the fight with the opposition, one of the leaders of the Syrian opposition, who wished to remain anonymous, told Trend on Saturday. According to the source, the authorities themselves organize terrorist attacks in th...
  • Dubai spends $250M to get full control of Atlantis
    2012-04-28 23:45:57 UTC

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dubai says it now has full control of the Atlantis resort hotel perched atop its palm-shaped island. State-run investment firm Istithmar World said late Friday it paid $250 million to buy out financially troubled business partner Kerzner International Holdings Ltd., which had held a 50 percent stak...