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December 16, 2014

Pilgrims walk past the Prophet's Mosque in the holy city of Medina. (File/AFP)
11:46 GMT
At least 6,000 workers are making efforts to expand the Prophet's Mosque in Saudi Arabia. Engineers and construction workers were in a race against time to get the job done.
Man Haron Monis was an Iranian asylum seeker living in Australia prior to the Sydney cafe siege. (AFP/File)
11:19 GMT
Man Haron Monis was many things. A sexual harasser, accessory to the murder of his wife and also guilty of sending threatening letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers. But, was he a terrorist?
Hussain sang his smash hit single "Good News" on the Arab Idol finale on Saturday night. (Image: Facebook)
11:00 GMT
Is Hussain al Jasmi really denying the huge favor Amro Mustafa did him by composing the "song of his career"?
Clashes broke out in the Qalandiya refugee bank following the raid, with Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. (AFP/File)
10:41 GMT
A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces while standing on the rooftop of his home in the Qalandiya refugee camp.
Scarlett Johansson never ceases to surprise. (Image: Facebook)
10:11 GMT
Jewish bombshell and SodaStream advocate Scarlett Johansson, as well as Jewish funny man Jonah Hill surprised everyone with a live performance at Vice Media's 20th year celebration.
A student is helped to hospital by Pakistani men following the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar, December 16, 2014. (AFP/File)
09:58 GMT
At lease 104 children Tuesday were killed by Taliban gunmen who attacked an army school in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
Noureddine Sail speaks about challenges of cinema in Morocco. (Image: www.lematin.ma)
09:52 GMT
Moroccan film critic Noureddine Sail reveals the triumphs and challenges regional film production and festivals face.
Dubai ON Demand is ready to tackle online entertainment. (Image: Facebook)
09:37 GMT
Moving their entertainment to YouTube in 2015 might be the smartest things Dubai ON Demand has ever done.
The British Embassy shut on December 7 after security concerns. (AFP/File)
08:26 GMT
The British embassy in Cairo reopened Tuesday after it closed on December 7 due to security reasons along with the Canadian embassy.
The 17-year-old Palestinian from Jenin had surgery in Dubai to restore his facial structure. (Image: Gulf News)
08:06 GMT
Mamoon Qabha, 17, didn't have any confidence but after life changing surgery to restore his face, life is definitely looking up!
Amal is as fascinating to us as she is to Barbara Walters! (Image: Telegraph)
08:05 GMT
ABC host Barbara Walters has named Amal Alamuddin "Most Fascinating Person of 2014" and you won't believe the reason behind it?
The photos were circulated by a jihadist forum but have not yet been independently verified. (Image: Press TV)
07:48 GMT
Photos have emerged showing the massacre of 13 Iraqi tribesmen, wearing orange jumpsuits in the eastern city of Tikrit.
Thirty-one government troops were killed in the attack, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights. (AFP/File)
07:27 GMT
Jihadist rebels seized a Syrian government military base in Idlib Monday. The Wadi Deif base was captured by Nusra Front rebels and Ahrar al-Sham.
A picture taken on December 15, 2014, shows the inside of a Christmas tree erected in the Lebanese historical coastal city of Byblos. The 30-metre-tall Christmas tree made from gold-coloured iron leaves was featured worldwide as part of an exhibition of the world's most beautiful Christmas trees. (AFP/JOSEPH EID)
07:25 GMT
A picture taken on December 15, 2014, shows the inside of a Christmas tree erected in the Lebanese historical coastal city of Byblos.
ISIL militants have terrorized and killed people of all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians. (AFP/File)
06:00 GMT
Iraq’s Kurdish fighters, known as Peshmerga forces, have made significant gains in their fight against the ISIL terrorist group.
Saudi Arabia has a very strict policy regarding female attendance at football matches. Permissions are needed to allow foreign women to watch the matches in which their home teams play. (AFP/File)
05:00 GMT
A Saudi woman is being investigated by police after attending a football game.
No figure for the EU's sustained contributions was provided. (AFP/File)
05:00 GMT
The European Union Foreign Affairs Council recommitted Monday to providing Syria with relief and recovery assistance.
Even at current oil prices, analysts estimate Qatar’s state budget might break even next year; it has huge fiscal reserves to cover any deficits.
04:55 GMT
Qatar predicted its economy would grow 7.7 percent next year, signalling the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas expects very little disruption to its finances
Companies in the region are struggling to identify future leaders and lacking strong and deep leadership pipelines,
04:55 GMT
Businesses and organisations in the Middle are failing to create professionals equipped with the necessary skills to head industry.

December 15, 2014

Champions League knockout fixture dates
23:30 GMT
Uefa Champions League round of 16 fixture dates
The southerners have been pushing for independence from the north for years. (AFP/File)
19:44 GMT
Yemeni security forces have reportedly killed a key leader of a southern separatist movement in the port city of Aden, inciting tensions in the major city amid continuing pro-independence protests.
Haftar's forces continue to clash with numerous militant groups inside Libya. (AFP/File)
19:01 GMT
Forces loyal to Libya’s former army general, Khalifa Haftar, have sealed off the Ras Ajdir border crossing with Tunisia.
Since mid-June, fighting in Iraq has pitted the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces against ISIL militants. (AFP/File)
18:16 GMT
At least five people were killed and 13 others were wounded in three different attacks in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Monday, authorities said.
David De Gea
16:35 GMT
The Spanish goalkeeper earned rave reviews again for his heroics in Sunday's 3-0 win over Liverpool but his compatriot would prefer that he had fewer saves to make
Poseidon was a Greek god. Check out the article to see the Egyptian entertainment comparison! (Image: alphacoders)
16:28 GMT
In the spirit of New Year's let's take a look at the giants of Egypt's entertainment business.
Mohammad Foad has given us something to look forward to it in 2015. (Image: Google)
16:06 GMT
We've been waiting for ages through many postponements, but Mohammad Foad says his new album will be released during New Year's Eve celebrations! This is one old acquaintance that won't be forgot!
An Iranian refugee with radical views took an unknown number of people hostage inside a Sydney cafe Monday. (AFP/File)
15:47 GMT
Australian police have stormed the Sydney cafe where hostages were being held by Iranian refugee Man Haron Monis.
Iranian refugee Man Haron Monis, who has been reported as either 49 or 50 years old, moved to Australia in 1996 where he assumed the title of “Sheikh Haron”. (AFP/File)
15:30 GMT
The gunman who has taken around 15 hostages in a Sydney café has been named by police as Iranian refugee Man Haron Monis.
At least 1,132 French nationals have joined ISIL in Syria, according to police. (AFP/File)
14:53 GMT
French authorities dismantled an alleged ISIL network following a series of raids across the country Monday.
The bride and groom were even given a room outside the prison for their honeymoon. (Shutterstock)
14:52 GMT
A Saudi man was given a luxurious wedding in prison.
Libya plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi. (AFP/File)
14:26 GMT
Libyan officials recently announced the closure of two of the country's biggest oil terminals.
The Painting Pool has been enjoying several screenings and awards at various international film festivals. (Image: Mehr News)
14:12 GMT
A UNESCO award-winning Iranian film titled "The Painting Pool" has entered the competition lineup of the 2015 Victoria Film Festival in Canada.
A woman inspects the damage of a classroom following a price-tag attack on the Hand-in-Hand school in Jerusalem, November 30, 2014. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
13:46 GMT
Three Israeli men were indicted Monday for a price-tag attack on an mixed Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem. All three suspects are members of an extremist Jewish group, according to Shin Bet.
Europa League draw
13:46 GMT
The Serie A outfit will have to deal with the Eredivisie giants, while a tricky trip to Turkey awaits Brendan Rodgers' struggling Reds
Libyan soldiers patrol the city of Benghazi during unrest. (AFP/File)
13:22 GMT
Egypt's foreign ministry Monday reissued a security warning to nationals in Libya after the death of two citizens during clashes.
Ex-Mossad chief Efraim Halev accused Netanyahu's government of creating a fragile status in Jerusalem with Palestinians. (AFP/File)
12:26 GMT
Without equality for Palestinians, will there ever be peace? Ex-Mossad chief Efraim Halevy said during an interview that without dignity towards Palestinians, Netanyahu would jeopardize the peace process.
The English champions will have to deal with the Spanish giants, while Chelsea were paired with PSG again
11:38 GMT
The English champions will have to deal with the Spanish giants, while Chelsea were paired with PSG again
The policeman was shot dead during a rescue operation to free three hostages. (AFP/File)
11:03 GMT
A gunman holding three laborers hostage in Riyadh shot and killed a policeman Monday during an attempted rescue operation.
Ahmed Helmy has had a full year: new baby, recovering from cancer, and a spiritual journey to Umrah. (Image: Facebook)
10:40 GMT
Has his gratitude for good health pushed him to up the religion aspect of his life? Ahmed Helmy hit up Saudi Arabia for the religious pilgrimage Umrah
Aussies took to Twitter with the hashtag #IllRideWithYou to unite against Islamophobia. (Shutterstock)
10:35 GMT
Hundreds of Aussies took to Twitter with the hashtag #IllRideWithYou, offering help to Muslims concerned over their safety after the Sydney siege.
Cristiano Ronaldo
09:54 GMT
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been crowned BBC's Oversees Sports Personality 2014 award as he upstaged tennis player Serena Williams, boxer Floyd Mayweather and MotoGP rider Marc Marquez to claim the coveted prize.
The 41-year-old Palestinian was jailed for 46 months after distributing gifts to children at the mosque. (Shutterstock)
09:53 GMT
Since when was handing out gifts and sweets to children a crime? For Israeli security forces, a Palestinian man distributing presents for children in Al Aqsa Mosque, it clearly was a threat to national security (sarcasm intended).
George and Amal looked all smiley after enjoying a dinner date. (Image: Daily Mail)
09:50 GMT
Amal and George Clooney went out for dinner in LA... don't they have access to a kitchen away from their London home?
A hostage can be seen running from the chocolate cafe towards police in Sydney, December 15, 2014. (AFP/Saeed Khan)
08:35 GMT
Five people escaped from a chocolate cafe in Sydney where they were being held by a potential jihadist gunman.
Eva looked fabulous in pink in Dubai this week. (Image: Daily Mail)
08:29 GMT
Hollywood beauty Eva Longoria looked red carpet-ready as she attended the Dubai International Film Festival press conference on Sunday.
PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat (right), is due to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry within the coming days to discuss ending Israeli occupation. (AFP/File)
08:15 GMT
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said a UN proposal to end Israeli occupation would be submitted Monday.
"Exodus: Gods and Kings" takes over box office (Image: screenrant.com)
08:12 GMT
Beating out "Hunger Games: Mockingjay" by a long stretch, the controversially Caucasian "Exodus: Gods and Kings" is North America's no. 1 movie right now.
In November, residents of the US capital voted to legalise cannabis for recreational purposes.(Photo: popularresistence.org)
08:00 GMT
Residents of the US capital voted to legalise cannabis for recreational purposes, but Congress did not approve the move; the world Mandela inspires is far from accepting Israel’s occupation of Palestine; to this day, some even remain convinced that Israel’s supposed preference for the Assad regime stands behind Washington’s de facto pro-Assad policy
Eva and Dubai Cares CEO Tariq Al Gurg during a Dubai International Film Festival Press conference at Madinat Jumeirah on Sunday. (Image: Dhes Handumon)
07:56 GMT
Desperate Housewives starlet Eva Longoria was in Dubai for the The Global Gift Gala fundraiser; she's just too good to be true!
UN envoys attempted to quell Syrian violence with efforts to freeze fighting in Aleppo. (AFP/File)
07:43 GMT
Government forces and various Syrian rebel groups clashed in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib Sunday.
Air Supply performing in Tel Aviv on Friday night. (Image: Facebook)
07:42 GMT
Friday and Sunday night left fans' love tanks filled with good "Air Supply" as the Aussie soft rock group jammed the nights away at Tel Aviv's Heichal Hatarbut.
Staff members from Turkey's Zaman newspaper protest prior to the arrest of their editor-in-chief, Ekrem Dumanli (center), December 14, 2014. (AFP/File)
07:23 GMT
The European Union condemned Turkey's government for its clampdown on opposition media outlets following a series of raids in a television station.
A banner is displayed during a demonstration to ask for the release of Lebanese soldiers and policemen who are detained by jihadists on December 14, 2014 in Beirut. Lebanon needs more international help to fight jihadist forces that have launched a series of attacks against the army and kidnapped security forces, the country's prime minister told AFP on December 8. (AFP / ANWAR AMRO)
07:04 GMT
A banner is displayed during a demonstration to ask for the release of Lebanese soldiers and policemen who are detained by jihadists on December 14, 2014 in Beirut.
OPEC’s 12 members pumped 30.56 million barrels a day in November, exceeding their collective target.
06:55 GMT
OPEC will stand by its decision not to cut crude output even if oil prices fall as low as $40 a barrel.
Prices are set to remain under $100 oil a barrel
06:55 GMT
Zawaneh told The Jordan Times the “government should play it smart” and build the law based on an average price, “not to go for $30 and not to keep it exaggerated as $100”.
British troops will return to Iraq next month. They will help train Iraqi and Kurdish forces to fight ISIL. (AFP/File)
04:58 GMT
Beginning next month, hundreds of British soldiers will help train anti-ISIL forces in Iraq.
Iran is considered one of the world's most corrupt places.
04:55 GMT
Iranian authorities have arrested 12 people for syphoning off more than $4.5 billion (3.6 billion euros) from one of the country's main banks over several years.
There are several factors ranging from global exposure to availability of the desired course that prompt students to choose foreign universities over local ones.
04:55 GMT
Every year, nearly 250,000 students from the Mena flock to universities overseas to pursue higher education.
Their expansion reflects the determination of the energy-rich Gulf states to develop new sources of income to reduce their dependence on oil.
04:55 GMT
With deep pockets and hundreds of new planes on order, Qatar Airways is one of a trio of fast-growing Gulf carriers seeking to further muscle into European markets.
“We have a real problem with growth. There has been a real slowdown in the economy."
04:55 GMT
"It is a strategic threat to the country; not only poverty, but also wage gaps."
A doctored photo released on Friday shows Amman Mayor Aqel Biltaji checking on work at the Sinaa Intersection (Photo: GAM)
04:00 GMT
A doctored photo of Amman Mayor Aqel Biltaji released by the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) on Friday sparked sarcastic comments in the local social media sphere over the weekend.
The company had been producing around 200,000 barrels a day.
03:26 GMT
Libya's eastern Es Sider oil export port, the country's biggest, has been shut due to fighting nearby between forces representing the country's competing governments.
Dubai’s stock market was the world’s best performing this year until it was caught up in a regional sell off amid tumbling oil prices.
03:16 GMT
The Dubai index wiped off gains registered in 2014, since it fell another 7 per cent for a second straight session.
Going forward, the impact of declining oil prices on Egypt's economy is less clear.
03:05 GMT
Egypt's stock market plunged by 22 billion Egyptian pounds (just over $3 billion) in a single day of trading Sunday as low oil prices dragged down regional economies.
Hostages in the siege are forced to hold up an Islamic flag, December 15, 2014. (Image: Channel 7)
00:58 GMT
Dozens of people have been taken hostage Monday in a Sydney chocolate cafe by gunmen. Staff and customers were forced to hold up a black Islamic flag while police closed off the area.

December 14, 2014

Real Madrid squad
22:13 GMT
Real Madrid will make their Club World Cup debut in Marrakesh rather than Rabat this season after Tuesday's semi-final with Cruz Azul was moved due to pitch problems.
Disneyland and Al-Waleed Bin Talal: This Saudi prince has a soft spot for Disney princesses! The philanthropist came to the rescue for the struggling Paris offshoot of the original, California-based Disneyland with a $1 billion euro bailout. He owns ten percent of Euro Disney SCA, which operates Disneyland Paris.
21:33 GMT
Global brands that you never knew were owned or part-owned by Arabs!
Thousands marched in a rally for Hamas on Sunday. (AFP/File)
20:40 GMT
Thousands of Palestinians attended a Hamas rally in Gaza, marking the group's 27th anniversary Sunday.
Pro-government forces captured territory north of Aleppo. (AFP/File)
18:50 GMT
Syrian forces seized territory north of Aleppo, while rebel forces capture three government checkpoints.
"We're putting $550 billion into fossil fuel subsidies," per year, she said. "Use this opportunity to phase them out!", she added.
18:28 GMT
World leaders have a "golden opportunity" with plunging oil prices to put a price on carbon emissions since cheaper fuel makes the move less risky politically, said the International Energy Agency (IEA).
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at Ciampino International Airport, on December 14, 2014, in Rome. (Photo: AFP/file)
18:23 GMT
US officials say Washington has not yet decided whether to veto or back the UN bid, will consult with European leaders.
On Wednesday, Naimi shrugged off suggestions that Saudi Arabia might cut production to reverse the deepest price slump in years.
18:17 GMT
Crude oil supplies from Saudi Arabia inched up in November from a month earlier, an industry source said, signalling no change in the kingdom's supply
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem offices on December 14, 2014. (Photo: AFP)
18:01 GMT
Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu says the Tel Aviv regime will not retreat from East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the West Bank within two years.
The summit adopted other resolutions with economic implications, notably continuing the work of unified guiding principles for the Gulf’s financial markets
17:56 GMT
Following repeated delays, it was generally understood that full completion of the project would take place in 2015.
A still of the four leading characters in Villa Touma. (Image: Haaretz)
17:02 GMT
Suha Arraf's debut at the big screen with Villa Touma has brought much heated discussion. More details about the highly-controversial movie inside...
Manchester United 3-0 Liverpool: Rooney & Van Persie on target as hosts march on
15:41 GMT
Manchester United's resurgence continued on Sunday as rivals Liverpool were easily beaten 3-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Karis Bashar couldn't keep the smile off her face. (Image: www.3rbcafe.net)
15:14 GMT
Rallying Syrian spirit for her co-patriot competitor, actress Karis Bashar was in the audience for the semi final episode of "Arab Idol".
Ahlam will bring her fabulous self to the Dubai Shopping Festival along with a slew of A-list artists. (Image: Facebook)
14:20 GMT
The region's hottest stars will warm up the January cold of the Dubai Shopping Festival Celebration Nights.
New demands have been issued for the servicemen's release, including the release of ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's ex-wife, who is currently in Lebanese custody. (AFP/File)
14:12 GMT
Militants still holding 25 Lebanese servicemen captive have appointed a new mediator to handle negotiations following the withdrawal f Qatar's mediator originally tasked with the talks.
Franck Ribery
13:37 GMT
The ex-France international says he is settled in Bavaria and feels happily married to the club, but nonetheless admitted that he is open to a new experience elsewhere
Majida performs on the Al-Ahliyya Amman University stage on December 12, 2014. (Image: Facebook)
13:26 GMT
Majida el Roumi graced the stage in Amman on Friday, with a beautiful concert filled with "Love and Peace."
Lewis Hamilton
13:22 GMT
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has lauded compatriot golf star Rory McIlroy for having had a phenomenal year ahead of their showdown tonight for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
More than 200,000 Syrians have poured into neighbouring countries during the conflict. (Photo: AFP)
12:00 GMT
Refugees say that it always works the same way: the sheikh has an NGO, he gets money, and he keeps some for himself and the rest he distributes as aid; Fear of ISIS Threatens Media Freedom in Kyrgyzstan; In Israel, there is no law against torture and the justification of its use is still mainstream.
The booklet reportedly consists of a 27-question/answer guideline to the group's policy on sex slaves. (File/AFP)
11:53 GMT
Pamphlets distributed by ISIL militants in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul reportedly detailed guidelines associated with taking on female sex slaves, confirming reports of the group's abhorrent sexual abuses of female captives.
Family members of captive Lebanese servicemen demonstrate for their safe return. At least 25 are still being held captive by Nusra Front and ISIL militants, who are calling for a massive prisoner exchange. (AFP/File)
11:33 GMT
After being approached and detailed by gunman while trying to deliver Qatari-sent aid to Syrian refugees, a resident of the northeastern Lebanese border town of Arsal was released Saturday, according to security sources.
Lebanese authorities have cracked down on Islamists in recent months amid rising tensions following the October attacks in Tripoli. (AFP/File)
10:58 GMT
Three suspected militants were arrested during a raid by the Lebanese army over their alleged involvement in October clashes with army personnel is Lebanon's Tripoli.
 "The Theory of Everything" screened at the Dubai International Film Festival last week. (Focus Features)
10:18 GMT
"The Theory of Everything," a film based on Stephen Hawking and his wife's life, made it to the big screen at the Dubai International Film Festival.
American Egypt scholar Michele Dunne, who is also a former US diplomat, has been a critic of the 2013 ousting of president Mohamed Morsi and the handling of Egypt's new government that followed. (AFP/File)
10:14 GMT
Egyptian authorities have refused Egyptian entry to an American Middle East researcher, citing 'security reasons,' despite the researcher being apparent invitation by a "pro-government group" to attend a conference to attend a conference.
Manchester United squad
10:09 GMT
Glazers promise to spend huge amounts of money in bid to convert Man U into Galacticos club worth 3 bln pounds
Jumblatt argues the legal cultivation and sale of cannabis could help struggling farmers, who he says were making profits off the cultivation before international authorities cracked down. (AFP/Pablo Porciuncula)
09:40 GMT
Prominent Duze MP Walid Jumblatt renewed a call for Lebanon to legalize the cultivation and sale of marijuana to help struggling farmers collect better profits.
Syrian Hazem Shareef won Arab Idol on Saturday, beating 26-year-old Saudi Majed Al Madani and 24-year-old Palestinian Haitham Khalaileh to the winning title. (Image: Facebook)
09:39 GMT
After months of tough competition, Syrian singer Hazem Shareef claimed the Arab Idol winning title.
Most Arabs are butt people, except Lebanon and Egypt. (Photo: Pornhub)
09:21 GMT
Most Arabs are butt people, except Lebanon and Egypt; British Airways launches virtual reality experience; YouTube now lets you create GIFs from videos.
A still from "The Sleeping Tree." (Image: Broadcast Pro Middle East)
09:03 GMT
Looking out for local interests too, the Dubai International Film Festival that's currently underway has included 17 films in its Enjaaz program.
Can we get a MENA Superbowl? (Shuttershock)
08:57 GMT
Egypt held Africa's first-ever competitive game of American football to be recognized by the International Federation of American Football. There are now three recognized federations on the continent — Egypt, Nigeria and Morocco.
A file photo shows demonstrators protesting against freedom of speech infringements and journalists' arrests in Turkey last November. Sunday's raid attempt was only the most recent in a list of trouble journalists have faced with the Turkish government. (AFP/File)
08:46 GMT
Turkish authorities attempted a raid operation on one of the country's most popular newspapers early Sunday, in which they indented to arrest the paper's editor-in-chief, but were not able to enter amid heavy protests by readers.
A Turkish Kurd waves a Kurdish flag at Iraqi peshmerga forces as they enter Turkey on the way to join the fight against ISIL in Syria's Kobani. (AFP/FIle)
08:20 GMT
Two prominent Kurdish parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, have been removed from the US terror blacklist by the US Congress.
Kurdish peshmerga fighters scan the horizon at a checkpoint in northern Iraq, the group took back the north-east city of Jaloula from ISIL militants last month. (AFP/File)
07:47 GMT
An Iraqi Peshmerga commander said while the two groups have had trouble in the past, Shiite fighters are helping the peshmerga fight ISIL militants after liberating the north-east Iraqi town of Jaloula from the extremist group last month.
Iraqi Shiite Muslim pilgrims attend the Arbaeen religious festival which marks the 40th day after Ashura, commemorating the seventh century killing of Prophet Mohammed's grandson, Imam Hussein, at the Imam Hussein shrine in Karbala, 50 miles (80 kilometres) south of Baghdad on December 13, 2014. Millions of Shiite Muslim pilgrims defied the threat of jihadist attacks and thronged the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala for the climax of annual Arbaeen mourning rituals. A sea of devotees descended on the city to reach the shrine of Imam Hussein, beating their heads and chests to show remorse for not saving him from the armies of the caliph Yazid that beheaded him in 680 AD. (AFP/ MOHAMMED SAWAF)
07:33 GMT
Iraqi Shiite Muslim pilgrims attend the Arbaeen religious festival which marks the 40th day after Ashura, commemorating the seventh century killing of Prophet Mohammed's grandson.
The inciident comes on the heels of American photojournalist Luke Somer's death, who died at the hands of the same al-Qaeda earlier this month during an attempted rescue mission by U.S. special forces.
07:08 GMT
Several suspected al-Qaeda militants dressed in women's niqabs were confronted and killed at the border of Saudi Arabia and Yemen when a bus security search prompted one of the militants to open fire.
More than a million claimants have been paid and nearly all the $52.4-billion reparations bill has been met.
05:55 GMT
Iraq is seeking to postpone a final $4.6 billion installment of reparations for its 1990-91 occupation of Kuwait,