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Middle East

PM urges Fallujah to oust militants

Gunmen patrol during clashes with Iraqi security forces in Fallujah on 5 January 2014
Al-Qaeda-linked militants have been in control of the city for several days

Maliki said if the people expelled what he called terrorists, they would be spared military action. Iraqi forces are preparing to recapture the city, which has been out of government control for days. Hundreds have already fled shelling and air strikes by government forces. Mr Maliki called on “the people …

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US backs Iraq but will not send troops – Kerry

Sunni fighters in Fallujah, 4 January
Sunni gunmen in Fallujah took advantage of an army pullout earlier this week

John Kerry said he was confident the government of Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki could defeat the militants. Earlier, the Iraqi government said it had lost control of the strategic city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad. Al-Qaeda-linked militants now control the south of the city, a security source told the BBC. …

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Egypt jails Ahmed Maher and other secular activists

The jailing of the three pro-democracy campaigners will deepen concern among Egyptians over a crackdown on dissent

Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel were found guilty of organising a recent unauthorised protest. They were arrested after protesting in November over a new controversial law that restricts demonstrations. The move will deepen concern in Egypt about a growing crackdown on dissent, says the BBC’s Orla Guerin in …

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Libya’s first suicide attack kills seven near Benghazi

Scene of suicide attack at a security checkpoint outside Benghazi on 22 December 2013
The suicide bomber detonated a truck loaded with explosives, witnesses said

The attacker targeted the checkpoint in the village of Aguiria, some 50km (30 miles) east of Libya’s second city. At least eight people, including soldiers and civilians, were wounded. The security situation in and around Benghazi has been worsening in recent months, with extremist militia blamed for almost daily attacks. …

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