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November 17, 2014

Kurdish chief of staff, Fuad Hussein, said he believes the number of ISIL militants is "seven or eight times bigger than" foreign estimates, especially that of the CIA. (AFP/File)
13:12 GMT
Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani's chief of staff said Sunday international numbers drastically underestimate the number of ISIL fighters in Syria and Iraq, which he believes has reached 200,000.
The militants had previously threatened to kill the seven hostages this morning, but the ultimatum has since been extended until 4 p.m. today. (AFP/File)
11:35 GMT
ISIL has announced an extension of four hours their ultimatum to the Lebanese government to revoke death sentences for Islamists or expect the execution of seven Lebanese captives.
The group of veiled women are affiliated with ISIL in northern Lebanon, according to a local newspaper. (AFP/File)
11:21 GMT
A group of "veiled females" linked to ISIL are allegedly recruiting girls to adopt extremist ideologies in northern Lebanon.
Egypt's foreign ministry released a statement Monday condemning the ISIL killing of American Peter Kassig, the fifth beheading of a Western hostage by the militant group. (AFP/File)
11:09 GMT
Egypt's foreign ministry released a statement Monday condemning the killing of American aid worker Peter Kassig by ISIL militants.
Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, has pledged to introduce new legislation to replace the controversial "kafala" sponsorship system and improve conditions for migrant workers (AFP).
10:55 GMT
The move comes after growing international criticism of the system that allows employers to keep workers from leaving their jobs.
ISIL and Nusra Front kidnapped 27 Lebanese soldiers during clashes in the town of Arsal. (AFP/File)
09:06 GMT
ISIL threatened Monday morning to execute the Lebanese servicemen it is holding captive along the northeastern border of Lebanon if the government doesn't revoke sentences handed down to Islamist Prisoners in Roumieh Prison.
Israeli security forces used stun grenade and tear gas to disperse protesters who threw stones and petrol bombs at the Israeli troops. (AFP/File)
08:43 GMT
Clashes broke out in several neighborhoods of East Jerusalem overnight after a Palestinian driver was found hanged late Sunday.
Political parties in Egypt have raised concerns about the country's controversial protest law during meetings with the PM. (AFP/File)
08:24 GMT
Egypt's Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab met with Egypt's political group, Independence Current, as part of a series of sessions with political groups in preparation for the upcoming parliamentary election.
Libya has struggled with intense violence ever since the ouster of former leader Muammar Gaddafi. (AFP/File)
08:02 GMT
Libya's recently-elected parliament based in Tobruk has declared the eastern city of Benghazi a "disaster area," citing a wave of "acts of terror" that had gripped the flashpoint city for months.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said Palestinian people should be guaranteed legitimate rights. (AFP/File)
07:52 GMT
The UAE's prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, voiced support for Palestine following ongoing violence at the Al Aqsa Mosque.
A screenshot from an ISIL propaganda video shows the Syrian men lined up prior to being beheaded, November 16, 2014. (AFP/File)
06:42 GMT
ISIL extremists beheaded 18 Syrian hostages along with American aid worker Peter Kassig in a propaganda video Sunday.
Tensions continue to run high in Jerusalem after another Israeli man was stabbed on Sunday. (AFP/File)
05:26 GMT
A Palestinian bus driver was abducted and hanged by Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem, according to local sources.
Sweden is the first major European country to recognize Palestine. (AFP/File)
04:00 GMT
Sweden officially recognized the Palestinian state on Thursday becoming the first major European country to do so. Ambassador Rietz shares her thoughts.
US President Barack Obama. [AFP]
04:00 GMT
President Barack Obama on Sunday confirmed the death of American hostage Peter Kassig, saying the aid worker was killed "in an act of pure evil" by Islamic State militants.

November 16, 2014

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Sunday agreed to return their ambassadors to Qatar. [AFP]
22:08 GMT
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Sunday agreed to return their ambassadors to Qatar
A Palestinian woman gestures as it rains near a house that was destroyed during the 50-day Gaza war between Israel and Hamas-led militants in Gaza City in the Gaza Strip, on November 16, 2014. [AFP]
21:41 GMT
The investigation committee of the UN Human Rights Council has listened to testimonies of victims’ families and civil society organizations, the representative of Palestine to the HRC said Saturday.
Imran Khan's party Tehreek-i-Insaaf, has criticized the Pakistani government amid increasing tensions. (AFP/File)
20:37 GMT
Ten supporters of Pakistani opposition leader, Imran Khan, were injured in a gun attack Sunday during an anti-government rally.
Gulf leaders including the emirs of Kuwait and Qatar arrived in Saudi Arabia to attend a previously unannounced summit aimed at resolving differences with Doha. (SPA)
20:18 GMT
A meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders is being held on Sunday in the Saudi capital Riyadh, ahead of the GCC’s annual summit due to take place in Doha next month, a senior Kuwaiti source told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Paramedics with man who was stabbed in Jerusalem.
20:04 GMT
Jewish man stabbed in back in suspected Jerusalem terrorist attack
Jihadi John was also responsible for the murder of British aid worker Alan Henning. (AFP/File)
14:22 GMT
Jihadi John, the Briton who beheaded two British and two American hostages held by Islamic State terrorists, has been injured in a US-led air strike, according to reports received by the Foreign Office.
According to the U.N., an estimated 1.8 million citizens have been internally displaced this year throughout Iraq. (AFP/File)
13:50 GMT
Four people, out of the 40 kidnapped in the western Iraqi province of Anbar on Saturday by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants, have been killed, said a local official on Sunday.
Liberman made his comments during a meeting with German FM Frank Walter Steinmeier. (AFP/File)
13:00 GMT
Israel will not stop building in any Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem, said Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in response to continued international criticism of such activity over the pre-1967 lines in Israel’s capital.
Maria Angela Holguin was denied permission to enter Palestine unless she met with the Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman. (AFP/File)
11:31 GMT
Columbia's foreign minister Maria Angela Holguin was banned from entering the West Bank by Israeli authorities.
The reports come after ISIL fighters abducted 50 people from a Sunni tribe earlier this week. (AFP/File)
11:02 GMT
ISIL militants kidnapped up to 40 truck drivers and businessmen on a highway between Iraq's Anbar province and Salahuddin, according to local sources.
Two Egyptian Navy vessels maneuver on an exercise in 2009. (Wikimedia Commons)
11:01 GMT
The Russian ship was seized and taken to the northern entrance of the Suez Canal.
Israeli occupation of the West Bank inflames tensions further. (AFP/File)
10:34 GMT
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes withdrawing from the West Bank would hurt Israel.
Peter Kassig, in a photo released by his family.
10:17 GMT
Kassig, who had converted to Islam, is thought to be the fifth Western hostage murdered in ISIL's brutal media campaign.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah will cement an agreement to reduce tensions in Jerusalem. (AFP/File)
09:47 GMT
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly set to meet Jordan’s King Abdullah II over the next two days for further discussions on tensions surrounding al Aqsa mosque.
Obama spoke to reporters at the G20 summit in Brisbane about the U.S.'s intention to avoid any alliance with Syria's Assad. (AFP/File)
09:00 GMT
U.S. President Barack Obama reconfirms the White House's intent to avoid an "alliance of convenience" with Syria's Assad.
The Gulf Arab state has also designated Nusra Front, the Islamic State, and Yemen's Houthi movement as terrorist organizations. (AFP/File)
08:21 GMT
The United Arab Emirates has formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood and local affiliates as terrorist groups.
Muslims participate in a Friday prayer November 14, 2014 at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. Members of five Muslim communities joined the very first Muslim Friday prayer, also known as jumu'ah, that held at the cathedral today. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP)
07:21 GMT
Muslims participate in a Friday prayer November 14, 2014 at the National Cathedral in Washington
The U.S. is leading an international coalition, which includes France, Germany, and Saudi Arabia, among others, that has carried out numerous airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. (AFP/File)
07:18 GMT
U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey met with Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani in Erbil on Saturday, an official statement said.
The North African country has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups that refuse to lay down arms. (AFP/File)
06:59 GMT
Medical sources say at least 340 people have been killed in fighting in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi since October 15.
European nations are taking a more pro-Palestinian stand. (AFP/File)
05:00 GMT
Hugh Lovett, an official with European Council on Foreign Relations, predicts several EU countries are likely to follow Sweden in recognizing Palestine as an independent state.

November 15, 2014

The clashes erupted after the Ansarullah forces entered the town in an attempt to restore stability there. (AFP/File)
20:00 GMT
Fighting in a town in central Yemen has left at least 80 people dead over the last three days.
North Sinai has witnessed intensifying activity of the armed forces after a major militant attack. (AFP/File)
19:43 GMT
Egyptian armed forces killed 10 and arrested 54 "terrorists" in North Sinai.
The US is slated to train the Free Syrian Army in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. (AFP/File)
18:30 GMT
The United States and Turkey have agreed to train Free Syrian Army rebels starting late December 2014.
Retaking the refinery marks a significant achievement against ISIL. (AFP/File)
14:08 GMT
Iraqi troops retook Iraq's largest oil refinery after a month long ISIL siege.
A statue of Saint Jean-Paul II is sold at a religious and decorative shop in Dbayeh, north of the Lebanese capital Beirut on November 13, 2014. A recent study by a Beirut-based research firm, found that around 40% of the population was Christian. (AFP / JOSEPH EID)
12:50 GMT
A statue of Saint Jean-Paul II is sold at a religious and decorative shop in Dbayeh.
The U.S. remains firm in its resolve not to send combat troops into Iraq or Syria. (File/AFP)
10:55 GMT
A U.S. State Department spokesman reaffirmed the U.S. stance to not send combat troops to Iraq or Syria.
U.K. Muslims makes up 4.8 percent of the country's population and number around 2.7 million. (AFP/File)
08:30 GMT
Tell Mama, a charity that documents crimes and acts against Muslims, said recent events in the UK and internationally have resulted in a sharp increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes.
The small village of Deir Nidham is located beside the Hallamish Jewish settlement and often the site of fierce clashes. (AFP/File)
04:00 GMT
Four Palestinians were injured during a raid by armed Israeli settlers in a village north of Ramallah Friday.

November 14, 2014

Prosecutors charged with the Hariri bombers' trial are reportedly "clearly pointing" in the direction of Assad's security personal as key players in the 2005 Valentine's Day assassination.
16:19 GMT
The Special Tribunal handling the trial to prosecute bombers who killed former premier Rafik Hariri will allow prosecutors to show evidence of a deteriorating relationship between Syria President Bashar al-Assad and Hariri as the first stepping stone to demonstrate the possibility of Syria's role in the assassination.
The UN Commission announced plans to release the report earlier this week detailing ISIL 'crimes against humanity.'
14:46 GMT
The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria released its first report on ISIL's crimes against humanity.
Visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (2nd L) receives a bouquet from a Pakistani youth during his arrival at the Nur Khan air base in Rawalpindi on November 14, 2014. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani arrived for his first visit to neighbouring Pakistan, seeking to improve ties crucial to his hopes of reviving Taliban peace talks as US troops end their 13-year war. (AFP / Farooq NAEEM)
11:16 GMT
Visiting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (2nd L) receives a bouquet from a Pakistani youth during his arrival
Defense lawyers in charge of prosecuting assailants who carried out the 2005 bombing that killed Hariri claimed to have evidence linking Assad's phone to the case during a Special Tribunal for Lebanon this week. (AFP/File)
11:05 GMT
During a speech Sunday, Lebanon's interior minister Nouhad Machnouk suggested Syrian President Bashar al- Assad may be linked to the assassination of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
A police spokesperson announced the lifting of Israeli age-restrictions for Palestinian entry to al-Aqsa this week. (AFP/File)
10:52 GMT
Israeli authorities opened the al-Aqsa compound to men of all age groups in time for Friday prayer this week, hoping to quell mounting tensions in Jerusalem.
The border town of Arsal has been the site of fierce clashes between militants and the Lebanese army in recent months, sparking high tensions between Syrians refugees and Lebanese host communities. (AFP/File)
09:37 GMT
A bomb hit a Lebanese military vehicle Friday in the outskirts of Arsal's northeast region, according to a security source, wounding two soldiers.
A group of Palestinians at the shut Rafah crossing has been stuck  for the last three weeks. (AFP/File)
09:01 GMT
A group of Palestinians is stuck on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border asked Egypt to reopen the crossing Thursday and allow them to pass back into the Gaza Strip.