Middle East and North Africa

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Air strikes hit Kobani as Kurdish peshmerga prepare to enter

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SURUC Turkey/BAGHDAD - U.S.-led air strikes hit Islamic State positions around the Syrian border town of Kobani on Friday in an apparent bid to pave the way for heavily-armed Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces to enter from neighbouring Turkey.

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Muslim men over 50 pray at Jerusalem's Aqsa mosque amid tight security 3:32pm GMT

JERUSALEM - Muslim men over 50 prayed at the Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday amid intense security, a day after Israel closed all access to the sacred compound for the first time in more than a decade following violence on the streets. | Video

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Former Gaddafi spokesman expelled from Egypt - state newspaper 2:46pm GMT

CAIRO - The former spokesman for deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has been expelled from Egypt, a state newspaper said on Friday, though the spokesman disputed the report.

Iraq's top Shi'ite calls on Baghdad to help Sunni tribes after killings 1:32pm GMT

BAGHDAD - Iraq's most senior Shi'ite cleric called on the government on Friday to rush to the aid of Sunni tribes battling Islamic State, after the militant group executed at least 220 tribesmen west of Baghdad this week.

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Iran hits back after West condemns its human rights record 12:51pm GMT

GENEVA - Iran defended its human rights record on Friday, after a wave of Western criticism of its execution of a woman for murdering a man she said had tried to rape her.

Three Iraqis arrested in Switzerland, suspected of planning attack 12:44pm GMT

ZURICH - Swiss authorities said on Friday they had arrested three Iraqi citizens in March who are suspected of providing support to Islamic State and planning an attack in Europe.

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Kurds' battle for Kobani unites a people divided by borders 11:00am GMT

ARBIL Iraq - Cloaked in Kurdish flags, thousands of people lined the roads to cheer on a military convoy headed for what was -- until recently -- an obscure Syrian border town, now the focus of a global war against the militants of Islamic State.

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Clashes erupt as Israeli police kill Palestinian 8:41am GMT

JERUSALEM - Israeli police on Thursday shot dead a 32-year-old Palestinian man suspected of having tried hours earlier to kill a far-right Jewish activist, leading to fierce clashes in East Jerusalem and fears of a new Palestinian uprising. | Video

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Clashes erupt as Israeli police kill Palestinian 30 Oct 2014

JERUSALEM - Israeli police on Thursday shot dead a 32-year-old Palestinian man suspected of having tried hours earlier to kill a far-right Jewish activist, leading to fierce clashes in East Jerusalem and fears of a new Palestinian uprising. | Video

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Iraqi Kurdish forces enter Syria to fight Islamic State 30 Oct 2014

SURUC Turkey - A first group of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters entered the besieged Syrian town of Kobani on Thursday to help push back Islamic State militants who have defied U.S. air strikes and threatened to massacre its Kurdish defenders. | Video

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