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May, 29, 2016

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World > Middle East
Iraq elite forces take position around Fallujah
Iraq's counter-terrorism forces deployed on the edge of Fallujah Saturday for the first time since an operation was launched to retake the jihadist-held city, top commanders said.
 
Filmmaker pays homage to Gaza with biopic on singing hero
Raised in a refugee camp in the ramshackle Gaza Strip, singer Mohammed Assaf emerged as a symbol of Palestinian resilience as he persevered to win the "Arab Idol" television contest.
 
After nuke deal, Iran art sells for US$7.4 mil.
An annual art auction in Tehran drew record sales of US$7.4 million Friday, a sign of Iran's emerging arts market that buyers hope will be buoyed by the recent nuclear deal with world powers.
 
U.S forces on the ground in northern Syria are helping a major offensive against the Islamic State group in its stronghold of Raqa province, Kurdish-Arab fighters battling the jihadists say.
 
Turkey on Friday accused the United States of hypocrisy after U.S. commandos in Syria were pictured supporting a major ground offensive led by a Kurdish militia branded a terror group by Ankara.
 
Food aid has reached nearly half the civilians trapped in besieged areas of Syria, but much more remains to be done to help the 13.5 million in need across the war-torn nation, according to a United Nations report issued Wednesday.
 
Israel expands gov't, names Lieberman defense minister
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached a deal to expand his coalition government on Wednesday by bringing in the ultranationalist Yisrael Beitenu party and appointing its leader Avigdor Lieberman as his new defense minister.
 
EU visa waive before refugee deal: Erdogan
Turkey's president warned on Tuesday that his country wouldn't move forward on implementing a refugee readmission agreement with the European Union unless visa requirements are lifted for Turkish citizens without further conditions.
 
A leading Israeli rights group said Wednesday it will stop seeking investigations of Israeli soldiers suspected of abusing Palestinians, arguing that internal military probes have failed to deliver justice and effectively help whitewash half a century of occupation.
 
U.S.-backed Syrian fighters and Iraqi forces pressed twin assaults against the Islamic State group on Wednesday, in two of the most important ground offensives yet against the jihadists.
 
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