Middle East News

  • Outrage: Extremists take ancient statues, damage Iraqi site

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State extremists trucked away statues as they damaged the irreplaceable remains of an ancient Assyrian capital, a local resident and a top UN official told The Associated Press Friday.

    Associated Press
  • Top Qaeda leader, commanders reported killed in Syria

    The military chief and several top commanders of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front have been reported killed in northwestern Syria, where the jihadist militia has made major gains in recent months. The UN Security Council, meanwhile, adopted a US-drafted resolution condemning the use of…

    AFP
  • EU borders chief fears a million migrants headed from Libya

    The head of the EU's borders agency fears as many as a million migrants could try to reach Europe this year from Libya alone. "Sources tell us there are between 500,000 and one million migrants ready to leave Libya," Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri said in an interview with Italy's Ansa news agency…

    AFP
  • U.N. chief worried by planned Palestinian security cut with Israel

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern on Friday at a decision by Palestinian leaders in the West Bank to halt security coordination with Israel and called for the international community to push for a Middle East peace deal. The Palestinian Central Council, whose votes are…

    Reuters
  • 'Hell awaits' Tajiks fighting in Syria: leader

    Post-Soviet Tajikistan's authoritarian President Emomali Rakhmon said Friday that Tajiks fighting in the ranks of ISIS and other extremist organisations in Iraq and Syria would burn in hell. Rakhmon, whose secular government is frequently accused of cracking down on religious believers, spoke in…

    AFP
  • BP unveils $12 bn investment in Egypt gas fields

    British energy giant BP unveiled plans Friday to invest a record $12 billion in Egyptian gas fields with Russian partner DEA in a "vote of confidence" for the troubled nation. The investment -- equivalent to 11 billion euros -- will be on the West Nile Delta (WND), the company said in a statement,…

    AFP
  • 3 Filipino health workers infected with MERS in Saudi Arabia

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Three Filipinos have contracted Middle East respiratory syndrome while working at separate hospitals in Saudi Arabia, the Philippine government said Friday.

    Associated Press
  • Japan eyes MI6-style spy agency as it seeks to shed pacifist past

    By Linda Sieg and Nobuhiro Kubo TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is looking into creating an overseas intelligence agency possibly modeled on Britain's MI6 spy service, ruling party lawmakers say, 70 years after Allied victors dismantled Japan's fearsome military intelligence apparatus following World War…

    Reuters
  • Emirates forges special relationship with el-Sissi's Egypt

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — This small Gulf nation, known for its soaring skyscrapers and mercantile bent, is making itself into the most stalwart ally of the Arab world's biggest country.

    Associated Press
  • Head of UN Women: No country has reached gender equality

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The head of the U.N. agency promoting equality for women is lamenting that a girl born today will be an 81-year-old grandmother before she has the same chance as a man to be CEO of a company — and she will have to wait until she's 50-years-old to have an equal chance to lead a…

    Associated Press
  • Death toll from latest Med migrant tragedy rises to 50

    Italy's coastguard rescued 127 people and recovered 10 bodies on Tuesday after a boat capsized off Sicily when the people on board rushed to one side of the vessel in a stampede to get onto the arriving coastguard boat. Di Giacomo said the latest deaths took the migrant death toll in the waters…

    AFP
  • Fight extremism, but also injustices that fuel it: UN rights chief

    In their battle against "terrorists", countries around the world must root out the injustices that fuel extremism and are used as recruiting tools, the UN human rights chief said Thursday. "The struggle to combat extremist violence must tackle the visions of injustice that fuel it," Zeid Ra'ad Al…

    AFP
  • US won't take eye off Iran, Kerry assures Gulf allies

    The United States will not take its eye off Iran's "destabilising" acts in the Middle East, Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday after talks with Gulf allies wary of an emerging nuclear deal with Tehran. Kerry, in Saudi Arabia, also said military pressure may be needed to oust Syrian…

    AFP
  • Saudi king aims for new Sunni bloc vs Iran and Islamic State

    By Angus McDowall and Amena Bakr RIYADH/DOHA (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia is pushing for Sunni Muslim Middle East countries to set aside differences over political Islam and focus on what it sees as more urgent threats from Iran and Islamic State. Its new monarch, King Salman, has used summits with…

    Reuters
  • Fleeing Tikrit residents fear no return as Iraqi forces close in

    By Isabel Coles ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - As Iraqi forces close in, Tikrit's few remaining civilians are cutting up white clothes and fabric to make flags of surrender, fearing their Shi'ite liberators more than the Islamic State militants occupying the Sunni city. Most residents of Tikrit fled in…

    Reuters
  • U.S. warns about American youths seeking Islamic State connection

    The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have warned law enforcement agencies across the country about American youths wanting to join Islamic State militants fighting in the Middle East, officials said on Thursday. The joint intelligence bulletin was issued during the weekend and law…

    Reuters
  • Outgoing UN envoy sees hope for Iraq

    Sectarianism is receding in Iraqi politics and hope is growing that the country can remain united, said Nickolay Mladenov, who left Thursday after 18 months as the top UN envoy. In an interview with AFP, he praised Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for his efforts in averting Iraq's breakup, which…

    AFP
  • Kerry seeks to ease Arab concerns of Iran deal

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sought Thursday to ease Gulf Arab concerns about an emerging nuclear deal with Iran and vowed that any agreement reached would not reduce America's commitment to combating Tehran's destabilizing actions in the Middle East and beyond.

    Associated Press