Main headlines

January 4, 2014

People carry one of the two bodies during the funeral of Malak Zahwa and her step-mother Iman Hijazi, who both died in a car bomb that targeted a Beirut's suburb the day before on January 3, 2014. [Getty Images]
16:00 GMT

The al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Saturday claimed responsibility for the suicide car bombing last week in the stronghold of the “criminal” Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

A member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) speaks into a microphone urging people to join their fight against the regime, in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on November 13, 2013. [Getty Images]
15:09 GMT

A newly formed Syrian Islamist rebel alliance has declared war on the powerful al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and joined other opposition groups in battling the extremists. For its part, Syria’s main opposition National Coalition says it backs the rebel fight against al-Qaeda.

An Egyptian policeman tries to extinguish a police vehicle set on fire by Muslim Brotherhood supporters on a ring road in the capital, Cairo, on January 3, 2014. [Getty Images]
14:49 GMT

Egypt summoned the Qatari ambassador in Cairo on Saturday following concerns expressed by the Gulf state over the crackdown on Islamist demonstrators.

Chinese nationals living in Cyprus wave Chinese national flags as the Chinese frigate Yancheng comes in to dock at Limassol port, Jan. 4, 2014.
14:39 GMT

A Chinese frigate which will help escort Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons out of the country docked in Cyprus on Saturday as part of a delayed international mission.

Majid al-Majid, the suspected head of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades which claimed responsibility for the Iranian embassy bombing in Beirut, was detained in Lebanon. [Al-Arabiya]
14:27 GMT

An al-Qaeda-linked Saudi suspect detained in Lebanon has died, it was reported on Saturday, after being transferred to a military hospital due to “poor health” a day earlier.

SNC president George Sabra said in October that the group had taken a “firm decision” not to attend the talks. [Getty Images]
11:43 GMT

The Syrian National Council, a key group within Syria’s mainstream opposition National Coalition, reaffirmed on Friday it will not attend the “Geneva II” peace talks scheduled for later this month in Switzerland.

January 3, 2014

Fighting began in the Ramadi area on December 30, 2013, when security forces removed the main anti-government protest camp set up after demonstrations broke out in late 2012 against what Sunni Arabs say is the marginalisation and targeting of their community. [AFP]
16:03 GMT

Al-Qaeda leader in the Iraqi city of Ramadi Abu Abelrahman al-Baghdadi was killed on Friday, Al Arabiya correspondent reported, as tribesmen and government forces battled militants in the Sunni province of Anbar.

Supporters of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi run for cover from tear gas fired by riot police during clashes in the northeastern part of Cairo's Nasr City district on January 3, 2014. [Getty Images]
15:52 GMT

At least two protesters were killed as Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed with Egyptian security forces in Cairo and several other cities on Friday, Al Arabiya correspondent reported, quoting a security source.

A rebel fighter from the Free Syrian Army holds a position with a Belgium made FAL rifle at a front line in the Salah al-Din neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on December 1, 2013. [Getty Images]
13:37 GMT

Al-Qaeda-linked fighters have besieged some areas in the northwestern Syrian province of Aleppo and are readying to storm the village of al-Atareb nearby, Al Arabiya News Channel reported activists as saying on Friday.

A police car passes the Palestine embassy which stands next to the residence of the late Palestinian ambassador Jamal al-Jamal on January 2, 2014 in Prague, Czech Republic.  [Getty Images]
13:25 GMT

The Prague neighborhood where a safe explosion killed the Palestinian ambassador is seeking to oust the new Palestinian embassy complex from its territory, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

Men gather for the funeral of a person killed in fighting with Iraqi forces in the Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, on December 31, 2013. [AFP]
13:14 GMT

Iraqi police, together with armed tribesman, Friday succeeded in reclaiming control of a police station in the Sunni area of one of Anbar’s largest cities, Fallujah, as clashes renewed with al-Qaeda militants, Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported.

Iris scanners could be used at airports, border crossings, and other security checkpoints, in the search for criminals and terror suspects. [amazonaws]
06:00 GMT

Syrian refugees are expected to be issues service cards that will use iris-scanning technology for identification.

A member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carries his weapon as he looks through a hole in a wall in Sheikh Saeed neighbourhood December 4, 2013. [AFP]
05:00 GMT

Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) accused of of being “worse than the Assad regime,” by Islamist rebels.

January 2, 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) listens as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes a statement to the press before a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office on January 2, 2014 in Jerusalem. [AFP]
17:11 GMT

U.S. diplomat John Kerry arrived in Israel to work on major issues of a Middle East peace deal.

Flames rise from burning cars at the site of a car bomb that targeted Beirut's southern suburb of Haret Hreik on January 2, 2014. [AFP]
16:44 GMT

The second explosion in the capital of Beirut has claimed four lives and wounded 66 after a car bomb detonated.