Middle East

APNewsBreak: FIFA study backs 48-team World Cup in 2022

LONDON (AP)— A FIFA feasibility study concluded the 2022 World Cup can expand to 48 teams by using at least one of Qatar’s neighbors as an additional host, and found there is a low legal risk to changing the format and an additional $400 million in revenue could be generated. The Associated Press obtained a … Continue reading APNewsBreak: FIFA study backs 48-team World Cup in 2022

Israeli court sentences soldiers for abusing Palestinians

JERUSALEM (AP) — Three Israeli soldiers charged with abusing Palestinian detainees have been sentenced to six and a half months in prison under a plea deal with a military court. The court approved the plea bargain late Sunday after the soldiers confessed to severely abusing two Palestinian suspects. The agreement, which avoided more serious assault … Continue reading Israeli court sentences soldiers for abusing Palestinians

Sudan’s lawmakers approve 6-month state of emergency

CAIRO (AP) — Sudan’s Parliament says lawmakers have approved a state of emergency across the county, but shortened an initial proposal to six months. It says lawmakers on Monday discussed President Omar al-Bashir’s February decision to declare a yearlong state of emergency. Parliament can extend the term after it expires. Al-Bashir also disbanded the federal … Continue reading Sudan’s lawmakers approve 6-month state of emergency

US senator vows to seek recognition of Israeli rule in Golan

JERUSALEM (AP) — Senator Lindsey Graham says he will push for American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a territory it captured from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war. The South Carolina Republican toured the mountain plateau Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said he aims “to persuade the administration to … Continue reading US senator vows to seek recognition of Israeli rule in Golan

Wonder Woman to the rescue: Gal Gadot takes on Netanyahu

JERUSALEM (AP) — Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot has come to the rescue of a fellow Israeli celebrity in a spat with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Gadot, who typically shies away from politics, is rallying behind Rotem Sela, one of Israel’s top models and TV hosts, who drew fire from Netanyahu for criticizing his fearmongering … Continue reading Wonder Woman to the rescue: Gal Gadot takes on Netanyahu

First time in Baghdad: Iran’s president to visit Iraq

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s president is making his first official visit to Iraq this week as he faces mounting pressure from hard-liners at home in the wake of the Trump administration’s unraveling of the nuclear deal. Hassan Rouhani‘s trip — billed as “historic and noble” by his foreign minister — is meant to solidify … Continue reading First time in Baghdad: Iran’s president to visit Iraq

A list of the 35 nationalities killed in Ethiopia crash

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Citizens from 35 countries were killed when an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi on Sunday morning. Here is the latest list of nationalities as released by the airline. It accounts for the nationalities of 150 of the 157 people believed to … Continue reading A list of the 35 nationalities killed in Ethiopia crash

Abbas picks ally for new Palestinian premier

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinian president on Sunday chose a longtime adviser, Mohammed Ishtayeh as his new prime minister, a step that deepens the rift with the Gaza Strip‘s ruling Hamas militant group. The official Wafa news agency made the announcement, saying “President Abbas has given Mohammed Ishtayeh a mandate to form a … Continue reading Abbas picks ally for new Palestinian premier

Clashes break out in Yemen’s key port city after cease-fire

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Fighting erupted in Yemen’s key port city of Hodeida on Sunday, the first significant clashes since warring sides agreed to a U.N.-brokered cease-fire deal in December, security officials and eyewitnesses said. Fires burned on the main front lines in the city’s east and south, while exchanges of artillery fire shook buildings … Continue reading Clashes break out in Yemen’s key port city after cease-fire

Abandoned tents, foxholes left behind by IS in Syria

AL-OMAR OIL FIELD BASE, Syria (AP) — Abandoned tents, vehicles and foxholes to hide from airstrikes are all that are left from evacuated parts of the Islamic State group’s last shred of territory in Syria. An exclusive video obtained by The Associated Press on Friday showed parts of the tiny pocket of land in the village … Continue reading Abandoned tents, foxholes left behind by IS in Syria

Armenian patriarch in Turkey, Mesrob II, dies at 62

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Patriarch Mesrob II, the leader of the Armenian Christians in Turkey, has died. He was 62. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said Mesrob Mutafyan, the 84th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, died Friday at Istanbul’s Armenian Surp Pirgic hospital where he was being cared for. He had been incapacitated since 2008 with an … Continue reading Armenian patriarch in Turkey, Mesrob II, dies at 62

More suspected IS members leave extremists’ holdout in Syria

BAGHOUZ, Syria (AP) — Scores of suspected IS members, including foreign fighters, were screened and searched for concealed weapons and explosives Thursday after leaving the last pocket of territory held by the Islamic State group in Syria. The men, their faces covered with dust, were divided into three groups — Syrians, Iraqis and other nationalities. … Continue reading More suspected IS members leave extremists’ holdout in Syria

Egyptian actor says military court sentenced him to 8 years

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian actor known for his criticism of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi‘s government says a military court has sentenced him in absentia to eight years in prison in two separate cases. Amr Waked, a 45-year-old actor living in Spain, said on Thursday his lawyer told him he was convicted of “disseminating false news … Continue reading Egyptian actor says military court sentenced him to 8 years

Ministry: Israeli fire kills Gaza teen at border skirmishes

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza’s Health Ministry says a 15-year-old Palestinian has died from Israeli gunfire during nighttime skirmishes along Gaza-Israel frontier. Saif Abu Zaied was wounded in the head Wednesday and died at a hospital, the ministry said early Thursday. The circumstances were not immediately known, but the incident occurred as dozens of … Continue reading Ministry: Israeli fire kills Gaza teen at border skirmishes

‘Danny, welcome home’: Trump meets American held in Yemen

WASHINGTON  (AP) — President Donald Trump welcomed home an American citizen who had been held captive in Yemen for 18 months and hinted Wednesday that more hostage negotiations are underway. Trump announced last month that Danny Burch had been freed in what the State Department suggested was a rescue operation. He appeared in the Oval Office … Continue reading ‘Danny, welcome home’: Trump meets American held in Yemen

Rights group: Egyptian activists targeted in phishing scams

CAIRO (AP) — Dozens of Egyptian activists, rights defenders and journalists have been targeted by digital phishing attacks in the last two months, likely by their own government, an international rights group said Wednesday. Amnesty International said it analyzed dozens of suspicious emails and the attacks appear “to be part of a sustained campaign to … Continue reading Rights group: Egyptian activists targeted in phishing scams

Father of UK teen who joined IS says don’t scrap citizenship

SUNAMGANJ, Bangladesh (AP) — The father of a British teenager who ran away to join the Islamic State group in Syria said his daughter’s citizenship should not be revoked and that she should return to the U.K. and be punished if it was determined she had committed a crime. Shamima Begum fled east London with … Continue reading Father of UK teen who joined IS says don’t scrap citizenship

Iran lawyer convicted after defending women protesters

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A prominent human rights lawyer in Iran who defended protesters against the Islamic Republic’s mandatory headscarves for women has been convicted and faces years in prison, an activist group said Wednesday. The conviction of Nasrin Sotoudeh, who previously served three years in prison for her work, underlines the limits … Continue reading Iran lawyer convicted after defending women protesters

General: No F-35 jet sale to Turkey if it buys Russia system

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. commander for Europe says he would recommend the United States not sell its high-tech F-35 fighter jet to Turkey, if Ankara moves ahead with plans to buy a Russian missile defense system. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, head of U.S. European Command, says Turkey should reconsider its plan to buy the … Continue reading General: No F-35 jet sale to Turkey if it buys Russia system

US ends preferential trade deals with India, Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey and India reacted with a mix of anger and resignation Tuesday at the United States’ decision to end a preferential trade program with the countries that will see some tariffs return on goods. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced Monday that India and Turkey will within 60 days no longer … Continue reading US ends preferential trade deals with India, Turkey

Defeat of IS looms as hundreds leave last area in Syria

OUTSIDE BAGHOUZ, Syria (AP) — Hundreds of people left the last area held by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria on Tuesday where they gathered in a massive reception area to be searched and screened by U.S.-backed fighters. Some of those who gathered outside the village of Baghouz said they had been waiting since … Continue reading Defeat of IS looms as hundreds leave last area in Syria

Final IS defeat looms as thousands leave last area in Syria

OUTSIDE BAGHOUZ, Syria (AP) — A spokesman for the U.S.-backed Syrian forces fighting the Islamic State group says thousands of people, including militants, have left the last area held by the extremists in Syria. Mustafa Bali tweeted that about 3,000 came out of the village of Baghouz in eastern Syria on Monday through a humanitarian … Continue reading Final IS defeat looms as thousands leave last area in Syria

Hundreds leave IS-held area in Syria as fighting slows down

BAGHOUZ, Syria (AP)— Hundreds of people, including Islamic State fighters, evacuated the extremist group’s last foothold in eastern Syria on Monday, after U.S.-backed Syrian fighters again slowed their offensive to allow a way out of the tiny enclave. The new exodus came only three days after the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces resumed military operations against … Continue reading Hundreds leave IS-held area in Syria as fighting slows down

Hamas leader says Egypt is renewing Gaza mediation efforts

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The leader of Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement says Egypt is launching a new round of mediation to secure a cease-fire between the militant group and Israel. Speaking to reporters Monday, Ismail Haniyeh accused Israel of “opting out of short and long term understandings” aimed at alleviating the humanitarian crisis … Continue reading Hamas leader says Egypt is renewing Gaza mediation efforts

Egypt releases prominent photojournalist after 5-year term

CAIRO (AP) — A prominent Egyptian photojournalist was released after five years in prison and returned home Monday to hugs from family and friends, pledging to continue working despite severe restrictions imposed on his movements, including having to spend the nights at a police station nearby. Mahmoud Abu Zaid, popularly known as “Shawkan,” was convicted … Continue reading Egypt releases prominent photojournalist after 5-year term

Head of UN nuclear agency: Iran keeping to nuclear deal

BERLIN (AP) — The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog says Iran is complying with the 2015 deal with major world powers aimed at preventing the country from building nuclear weapons. Yukiya Amano made his assessment in a regular update to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors, confirming a confidential report distributed to … Continue reading Head of UN nuclear agency: Iran keeping to nuclear deal

American golfer Kurt Kitayama wins in Oman

MUSCAT, Oman (AP) — American golfer Kurt Kitayama won his second European Tour title by a single shot after a remarkable comeback at the weather-hit Oman Open on Sunday. After coming through all three stages of Q-School in November to earn a place on tour, Kitayama won the Mauritius Open on just his third start … Continue reading American golfer Kurt Kitayama wins in Oman

Egypt’s top cleric calls polygamy ‘injustice,’ draws debate

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s top Muslim cleric has stirred up controversy after saying that polygamy is an “injustice” for women, but stopped short of calling for a ban on the practice. “Those who say that marriage must be polygamous are all wrong. We have to read the (Quranic) verse in full, said Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, … Continue reading Egypt’s top cleric calls polygamy ‘injustice,’ draws debate

Fierce fighting as US-backed Syrian forces advance on IS

BAGHOUZ, Syria (AP) — Columns of black smoke billowed from the last small piece of territory held by Islamic State militants on Sunday as U.S.-backed fighters pounded the area with artillery fire and occasional airstrikes. Commanders of the Kurdish-led fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces said fierce clashes were taking place as they advance … Continue reading Fierce fighting as US-backed Syrian forces advance on IS