Middle East

  • Israeli ex-intel chief slams PM's Iran stance
    2012-04-28 23:31:34 UTC

    JERUSALEM (AP) — The former head of Israel's Shin Bet security agency has accused the country's political leaders of exaggerating the effectiveness of a possible military attack on Iran, in a striking indication of Israel's turmoil over how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program. Yuval Diskin said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu...
  • Syria derides UN chief as peace plan in crisis
    2012-04-28 21:47:35 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syria derided U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon as biased and called his comments "outrageous" Saturday after he blamed the regime for widespread cease-fire violations — the latest sign of trouble for an international peace plan many expect to fail. In new fighting Saturday, activists said regime forces battled army defectors nea...
  • ElBaradei returns to Egypt politics with new party
    2012-04-28 21:40:11 UTC

    CAIRO (AP) — Reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei launched a new political party Saturday that he said aims to unite Egyptians and save the country's revolution from a messy democratic transition. The Constitution Party marks a return to public life for ElBaradei, who declared in January that he would not run for president and that a fai...
  • Gunmen kill 2 guards in attack on Afghan governor
    2012-04-28 16:28:54 UTC

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — Two Taliban militants hiding handguns in their shoes infiltrated a government compound in southern Afghanistan on Saturday in an attempt to assassinate a provincial governor, setting off a fierce gunbattle that left two security guards and both attackers dead. The assailants passed through a pair of secu...
  • Iraq leaders call for solution to political crisis
    2012-04-28 16:05:50 UTC

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Leaders from nearly all of Iraq's top political blocs called Saturday for a solution to a crisis pitting the Shiite-led government against Sunnis and Kurds, saying the dispute threatens the country's national interests. The statement came after three days of meetings that brought together senior Sunni, Kurdish and eve...
  • Syria accuses UN chief of encouraging 'terrorists'
    2012-04-28 15:47:12 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — A Syrian state-run newspaper accused U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday of encouraging "terrorist" rebel attacks by focusing his criticism on the government, while other government media reported that the navy foiled an infiltration attempt by gunmen who tried to land on the Syrian coast in rubber boats. Th...
  • US officials: Core al-Qaida 'essentially gone'
    2012-04-28 04:20:54 UTC

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A year after the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida that carried out the Sept. 11 attacks is essentially gone but its affiliates remain a threat to America, U.S. counterterrorist officials say. Core al-Qaida's new leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, still aspires to attack the U.S., but his Pakistan-bas...
  • Suicide bombing in Syrian capital kills 10
    2012-04-28 04:10:06 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — Two weeks into a cease-fire agreement, there still was no peace in Syria: Security agents in Damascus collected the remains of 10 people killed in a suicide bombing. Activists reported troops firing on protesters. Video showed a crowd carrying a slain boy to U.N. observers as proof of regime violence. The head of the U...
  • Israeli leaders speak up about Syria
    2012-04-27 07:12:23 UTC

    ERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli officials have become increasingly outspoken in their belief that Syria's President Bashar Assad should relinquish power after a 13-month uprising that has killed thousands of his citizens — a surprising turnaround that risks backfiring and potentially strengthening the embattled Syrian leader. These calls ma...
  • Bin Laden family leaving Pakistan
    2012-04-26 20:08:19 UTC

    ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's government says Osama bin Laden's three widows and his children have been deported to Saudi Arabia. A statement said the family left early Friday to the "country of their choice, Saudi Arabia." The family was detained by Pakistani authorities immediately after the pre-dawn American raid on May 2, 2011,...
  • Top al-Qaida bomb maker in Yemen resurfaces
    2012-04-26 19:57:05 UTC

    WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. counterterrorism officials are concerned about al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen because of increased intelligence chatter in the past several months. And in recent weeks, the group's top bomb maker — once thought to be dead — has resurfaced, The Associated Press has learned. While the intelligence community sees ...
  • Syrian wants to form 'government' in exile
    2012-04-26 18:34:18 UTC

    PARIS (AP) — Syria's fractured opposition is showing further signs of cracking, even as international powers build the pressure on President Bashar Assad to end his regime's bloody repression of dissent. The son of a former Syrian prime minister announced Thursday plans to create a shadow "government" in exile, exposing the lack of ...
  • Syria blames rebels for blast that killed 16
    2012-04-26 21:02:34 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — U.N. observers on Thursday inspected the site of an explosion that flattened a block of houses in the central Syrian city of Hama and killed at least 16 people, while the government and the opposition traded blame over the cause of the blast Syrian state-run media said rebel bomb-makers accidentally set off the explosi...
  • AP Interview: Iraqi Kurd leader hints at secession
    2012-04-26 04:10:47 UTC

    RBIL, Iraq (AP) — The president of Iraq's self-rule Kurdish region demanded Wednesday that Shiite leaders agree on sharing power with their political opponents by September or else the Kurds could consider breaking away from Baghdad. The warning by Kurdish President Massoud Barzani in an interview with The Associated Press underscor...
  • France raises prospect of military action in Syria
    2012-04-26 03:31:03 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — France raised the prospect of military intervention in Syria on Wednesday, saying the U.N. should consider harsher measures if an international peace plan that has been shaken by violence ultimately collapses. The statement reflects mounting international frustration with daily attacks that have kept a cease-fire betwe...
  • France warns Syria that UN clock is ticking
    2012-04-25 18:14:00 UTC

    PARIS (AP) — France on Wednesday warned that if Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime doesn't fully implement an international peace plan it will seek U.N. action under a provision that includes possible military action. The comments from French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe signaled that Paris is increasingly lining up behind a U.S...
  • Annan alarmed at Syria military action
    2012-04-25 07:00:18 UTC

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — International envoy Kofi Annan told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday that the situation in Syria is "bleak" and expressed alarm at reports that government troops are still carrying out military operations in towns where U.N. observers are not present. He expressed particular concern at media reports that gover...
  • Satellites said to show Syria not abiding by truce
    2012-04-24 18:07:17 UTC

    GENEVA (AP) — Satellite imagery and other credible reports show that, despite its claims, Syria has failed to withdraw all of its heavy weapons from populated areas as required by a cease-fire deal, international envoy Kofi Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said Tuesday. Annan, who was giving a speech in Sweden and briefing the U.N. Sec...
  • Syrian rebels target security officials in capital
    2012-04-24 15:41:42 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — Rebels seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad killed three regime officers in separate attacks Tuesday around Damascus, activists and state media said, the latest violence targeting the security forces used by the government to quash dissent. A bomb hidden in an army truck also exploded in the capital, woundin...
  • Egypt denies 8 US nonprofits license to operate
    2012-04-23 17:27:52 UTC

    CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian official says the government has denied permission to eight U.S.-based nonprofit groups to operate locally, including an election monitoring group headed by former American President Jimmy Carter. The Social Affairs Ministry official says the licenses were denied because the groups' activities "breach the co...
  • Activists: Dozens killed in Hama after UN visit
    2012-04-23 17:41:55 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian troops armed with heavy machine guns killed dozens in the central city of Hama Monday, activists said, just a day after chanting protesters welcomed a visit by a U.N. team sent to observe a shaky cease-fire. The day's violence, the city's worst in months, added a dangerous new aspect to the U.N. team's work: tha...
  • Syria hotspot enjoys lull with UN monitors present
    2012-04-22 21:18:02 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — The deployment of U.N. truce monitors brought a lull in shelling of the Syrian opposition stronghold of Homs for a second day Sunday while President Bashar Assad's troops kept up heavy attacks on other areas where observers were not present. International envoy Kofi Annan expressed hope that despite continued violation...
  • UN observers tour rebel-held town in Syria
    2012-04-22 15:47:42 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — U.N. cease-fire monitors toured a rebel-held town in central Syria Sunday with army defectors, while government troops pounded a Damascus suburb with artillery and heavy machine guns, activists said. The shelling in Douma highlighted the need for more observers a day after the Security Council voted to expand the numbe...
  • UN monitors visit Syria opposition stronghold
    2012-04-21 21:30:32 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — Five unarmed U.N. truce monitors toured the battered city at the heart of the Syrian uprising on foot Saturday, encountering unusually calm streets after weeks of shelling as a throng of residents clamored for foreign military help to oust President Bashar Assad. Their foray into a chaotic crowd in the city of Homs hig...
  • Syrians ask UN monitors in Homs for intervention
    2012-04-21 14:24:31 UTC

    BEIRUT (AP) — A group of U.N. cease-fire observers toured a rebel-held neighborhood in the central city of Homs Saturday as residents chanted loudly for a military intervention to protect them from President Bashar Assad's regime forces. Fighting and government shelling stopped in Homs and troops hid tanks in advance of the visit by...