Middle East News

  • Top Asian News at 3:00 a.m. GMT

    TOKYO (AP) — Japan's prime minister said Sunday he was "speechless" after an online video purported to show one of two Japanese hostages of the extremist Islamic State group had been killed, and demanded the release of the other. Shinzo Abe said on NHK TV that the video was likely authentic and…

    Associated Press45 mins ago
  • Japan condemns apparent IS execution, demands hostage release

    By Linda Sieg and Kiyoshi Takenaka TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday called the apparent killing of a Japanese captive by Islamic State militants "outrageous and impermissible," and again called for the group to release a second Japanese national they are holding. …

    Reuters3 mins ago
  • Obama, Cameron condemn Japan hostage 'murder'

    US President Barack Obama strongly condemned the killing of one of two Japanese hostages by the Islamic State group, announced in a video that has not yet been officially authenticated. Obama's comments, echoed Saturday by British Prime Minister David Cameron who condemned the group's "murderous…

  • Tributes to Saudi King spark rights criticism in Britain

    As world leaders flew to Saudi Arabia to mark the death of King Abdullah, several prominent British politicians criticized the deference shown to the leader of a country accused of having a poor human rights record. Human rights campaigners and politicians from different parties questioned why the…

  • Exclusive: Some counter-terrorism efforts in Yemen frozen for now - U.S. officials

    By Mark Hosenball and Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has halted some counter-terrorism operations against al Qaeda militants in Yemen following a takeover of the country by Iran-backed Houthi rebels, U.S. officials said on Friday. The collapse of the U.S.-backed government…

  • First U.S. troops head to Middle East to train Syrian opposition

    By David Alexander and Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the first group of about 100 U.S. troops to head to the Middle East in the next few days to establish training sites for Syrian opposition fighters battling Islamic State militants, the Pentagon…

  • DAVOS WATCH: Hollande, King Abdullah, Draghi, Greek vote

    DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The World Economic Forum held in the Swiss ski resort of Davos has the official goal of "improving the state of the world." In practice, it's a massive networking event that brings together 2,500 heads of state, business leaders, philanthropists and artists.

    Associated Press
  • Challenges on multiple fronts likely to test new Saudi king

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia's new monarch inherits the throne at a moment when the oil-rich kingdom is being buffeted by a plunge in the value of its most valuable commodity, growing challenges by activists at home and deepening turmoil on its borders that stands to benefit…

    Associated Press
  • World leaders react to death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah

    Comments from world leaders in response to the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, who died early Friday in Riyadh.

    Associated Press
  • Oil market upheaval looms over Saudi succession

    King Abdullah's death could not have come at a worse time for Saudi Arabia's vital oil sector as the absolute monarchy seeks to reassert its leadership in a fast-changing industry. After an exceptional decade that saw it build up production capacity and huge financial reserves, Saudi Arabia is…

  • HRW urges Saudi's new king to respect rights

    Human Rights Watch urged new Saudi King Salman Friday to end the "persecution of dissidents and minorities" and to protect the rights of women and migrant workers. King Salman was announced as the highly conservative kingdom's new ruler overnight, after the death of King Abdullah, his…

  • New heir to Saudi throne is relatively liberal outsider

    By Angus McDowall and William Maclean RIYADH/DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's new Crown Prince Muqrin represents the biggest break from the kingdom's tradition of any of his predecessors in the role - both because of his lowly maternal birth and his foreign education. Seen as a relative…

  • Islamic State deadline on Japanese captives passes with no word on fate

    By Mari Saito TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan said on Friday it was still trying to secure the release of two Japanese hostages held by Islamic State militants after a deadline to pay ransom for their release passed and there was no immediate word on their fate. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government…

  • Saudi King Abdullah, a gradual modernizer, dead at 90

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — His changes looked minute to the outside world. But in a kingdom where ultra-conservative Muslim clerics long have held a lock on all aspects of society, King Abdullah's incremental reforms echoed mightily.

    Associated Press
  • Israeli's 'magic' yarmulke made to protect Jews from attacks

    REHOVOT, Israel (AP) — An Israeli barber has fashioned what he calls "magic" yarmulkes out of hair, designed to allow religious Jews to cover their heads without attracting unwanted attention from anti-Semites.

    Associated Press
  • King of Jordan cancels Davos talk after Saudi king's death

    Jordan's King Abdullah has pulled out of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, early following the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. Other Arab delegates also left Davos prematurely, ahead of the funeral of the Saudi king. Abdullah had ruled Saudi Arabia as king since 2005, but had…

  • Obama offers condolences on death of Saudi King Abdullah

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden will lead a U.S. delegation to Saudi Arabia in the coming days to pay respects to the family of deceased King Abdullah, the White House announced.

    Associated Press