Main headlines

October 18, 2013

Muslim pilgrims recite prayers after throwing pebbles at pillars in the "Jamarat" ritual which symbolizes the stoning of Satan on the third day of the Eid Al-Adha holiday in Min. (Image credit: AFP)
07:14 GMT

Approximately 1.4 million Muslim pilgrims from 188 countries started leaving Saudi Arabia at the end of a largely incident-free haj.

There has been a 70% rise in Israeli settlement activity in 2013. (Image credit: Getty)
06:42 GMT

A new report released by an Israeli NGO says that Israeli construction in the West Bank increased by 70 percent from January to June compared to the same period in 2012

October 17, 2013

Jamaa was considered one of the most powerful Syrian army officers in the country (Courtesy of Syria Center News)
18:40 GMT

Gunmen killed General Jamaa Jamaa, the head of the military intelligence directorate in Deir el-Zour and considered one of the most powerful Syrian army officers in the country Thursday according to state-run Syrian television.

Baghdad is particularly interested in obtaining more helicopters from Russia in order to target rebels conducting attacks across the Iraq (Saad Shalash/Reuters)
18:05 GMT

Baghdad announced Thursday that it has received the first arm shipments of 4.3 billion USD deal with government officials in Moscow, making Russia the second largest arms supplier to Iraq after the United States.

Saudi Arabia still needs approval from two-thirds of the General Assembly to secure its non-member UNSC status (Courtesy of the UN)
17:23 GMT

Saudi Arabia was elected to serve as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council Thursday.

Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil announced Thursday that Geneva II talks to end the Syrian conflict have been set for November 23rd and 24th despite divided opposition commitments to attend the talks (Reuters)
13:12 GMT

Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said on Thursday that Geneva II, an international conference aimed at seeking an end to the country’s civil war, is scheduled to be held between November 23-24th.

Pope Francis has already stated that he wishes to visit the Holy Land, but the Vatican has not yet confirmed the trip (Reuters)
13:01 GMT

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas invited Pope Francis to visit the Holy Land Thursday.

Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan reportedly disclosed the identities of ten Iranians who went to Turkey to meet Israeli spies, according to the Washington Post article (Courtesy of Naharnet)
12:16 GMT

A Washington Post article released Thursday reported that Turkey intentionally revealed an Israeli spy ring working inside Iran in early 2012.

More than 330 people have been killed in Iraq this month from rising violence in the country according to AFP figures (Courtesy of France 24)
11:14 GMT

A suicide bomber detonated near the northern city of Mosul Thursday killing fifteen people

The Saudi king called for Muslim unity and dialogue Wednesday while other Saudi officials negotiated a weapons purchase worth 6.8 billion USD with the US pentagon (Courtesy of France 24)
10:52 GMT

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz called for Muslim unity and dialogue Wednesday as other KSA officials negotiated a weapons purchase amounting to 6.8 billion USD with the US Pentagon to "stay ahead" of its rival Iran.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki may also discuss "regional issues" with Obama in their meeting in November and ways in which the two countries can coordinate their efforts together (Courtesy of France 24)
10:02 GMT

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will meet President Barack Obama at the White House on November 1st to discuss financial, political and diplomatic relations between Iraq and the US.

In her new post, Kaag will direct a team of approximately 100 experts to destroy all of Syria's chemical weapon arsenals my the mid-2014 deadline (Courtesy of the UN)
07:35 GMT

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appointed Assistant Secretary General Sigrid Kaag Wednesdat to lead the joint mission to eradicate Syria's chemical weapons by mid-2014. The Secretary General also announced that he is stepping up efforts to hold Syria peace talks in mid-November.

Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said Wednesday that the tension in the Egypt-US relationship will reflect and impact US interests throughout the Middle East (AFP)
06:31 GMT

Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy stated in an interview Wednesday that Cairo needs to "reconsider and better estimate" its relationship with the US in the future in response to America's decision to withhold aid from Egypt earlier last week.

October 16, 2013

Turkish Airlines pilots Murat Akpinar (L) and Murat Agca, who were kidnapped in Beirut in August 2013. [AFP]
06:26 GMT

In a video released just before the Eid, two Turkish pilots that have been held hostage since August speak on camera.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (L) talks to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before the start of two days of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva. [arneruhnau]
06:10 GMT

Discussions on Iran's nuclear weapons efforts continue in Geneva.