As Riyadh and Baghdad work to renew ties after decades of estrangement, Secretary of State Tillerson urges Saudi, Iraqi leaders 'to expand vital relationship for the stability of the region' as part of bigger effort to combat growing Iranian influence in the Middle East.
Associated Press 16:15 , 22.10.17
Iranian Chief of Staff Bagheri signs memorandum of understanding with Syrian counterpart Ayyoub delineating cooperation, coordination on intelligence, training, technology and combating terrorism and 'Zio-American schemes.'
Roi Kais 16:04 , 21.10.17
Iraqi central gov't forces complete takeover of Kurdish-held Kirkuk province by taking Altun Kupri, last Peshmerga-held quarter; before retreating, Kurdish forces fight advancing Iraqi army; 'This is beginning of war between Kurds and Iraq," says Peshmerga commander; US calls to resolve conflict politically rather than militarily.
Reuters 11:04 , 21.10.17
IRG announces country's ballistic missiles program will proceed as planned despite mounting US, EU pressure, threats of reinstating sanctions; 'Hostile approach of rogue and brute (US) president shows failure of America, Zionist regime's wicked policies in region,' Guards' statement says.
Reuters 15:53 , 19.10.17
Iranian Supreme Leader says Iran will 'shred' nuclear deal should US withdraw from it; Ayatollah welcomes support of other Western nations, but cautions it does not suffice: 'It is unacceptable for Europeans to join America in its bullying.'
Reuters 16:04 , 18.10.17
3 years after the Islamic State captured Syrian city of Raqqa and made it its capital, Kurdish forces announce its liberation is close at hand; thousands of civilians living under brutal Sharia reign of terror since 2014 flee front lines and collapse before their rescuers.
The Associated Press 15:10 , 14.10.17
Saeb Erekat undergoes successful lung transplant surgery at the Inova Fairfax Hospital in Northern Virginia; he has been suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, lung disease characterized by scars in lung tissue, which makes it difficult for them to function properly.
Elior Levy 09:23 , 13.10.17
Official within the US State Department reveals estimation that two Hezbollah operatives are planning to carry out a terrorist attack within the US; State Department offering $ 7M for one's capture and $ 5M for the other's.
News Agencies 23:14 , 10.10.17
German intelligence agencies report Iran made 32 procurement attempts relating to technology used in ballistic missile programs during '16 after nuclear deal was already in place, and 141 attempts in '15; attempts very likely 'undertaken for benefit of (nuclear) proliferation programs.'
Ynet 17:05 , 10.10.17
In rare and risky display, dozens of renowned Shiite public figures, including professors, writers, journalists and businessmen, meet in Beirut to voice their opposition to Hezbollah and call for a transfer of power, claiming oppression and drawing the ire of the terror group's supporters.
Roi Kais 15:04 , 09.10.17
2 guards are killed and 3 injured in shooting attack on Saudi royal palace Saturday; attacker is shot and killed, after which a rifle and explosives are found in his possession; Saudi King Salman was visiting Russia during attack.
Roi Kais 23:37 , 07.10.17
While President Trump may yet decertify nuclear deal with Iran, achieved two years ago and often maligned by him as a 'bad deal,' Iranian President Rouhani says, 'We have achieved benefits that are irreversible. Nobody can roll them back, neither Trump, nor 10 other Trumps.'
The Associated Press 15:04 , 07.10.17
Al-Arouri, in charge of Hamas' military wing in W. Bank, is appointed dep. head of Hamas' political bureau; last June, al-Arouri and other Hamas officials were forced to leave Qatar as part of Gulf states diplomatic crisis, after US exerted pressure on Qatar to oust them.
Elior Levy 14:34 , 05.10.17
In rare interview, exiled senior PA official Dahlan says PM Netanyahu 'does not want peace, imposed reality of 700,000 settlers in West Bank and Jerusalem that made it impossible'; Palestinian unity now 'more important and more useful than so-called negotiation,' Dahlan says.
Reuters 22:25 , 04.10.17
Abu Mohammad al-Julani, leader of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, was reportedly hurt while 50 other militant commanders were killed in Russian strike targeting a high-level meeting at an undisclosed location in Syria.
Associated Press 13:40 , 04.10.17
Egypt steps up crackdown on people suspected of homosexuality after rainbow flag is raised at concert, arresting at least 33 in little more than a week and charging most with 'promoting sexual deviancy'; those arrested are subjected to anal examinations, supposedly to determine whether they have had gay sex, which rights groups say amounts to torture.
Reuters, AP 19:41 , 03.10.17
Egypt deepens involvement in Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, as Pres. al-Sisi warns both parties: 'History will pay its debt to anyone who misses opportunity for peace'; PA Pres. Abbas talks careful hope for future: 'I don't want to run for president, but if the people demand it, I will. I'm optimistic the day will come when we'll achieve a Palestinian state, but it won't happen soon.'
Elior Levy and Moran Azulay 19:35 , 03.10.17
PA delegation headed by PM Hamdallah visits Gaza and holds cabinet meeting, signaling beginning of rapprochement between Palestinian factions; Gazans hope sanctions will be lifted, but Abbas insists Hamas must first disarm.
Elior Levy 14:47 , 03.10.17
While the date of the 46-minute recording is unclear, the ISIS leader makes reference to North Korean threats against Japan and United States. This is the first communication from the elusive jihadist leader in almost a year.
Reuters, Roi Kais 19:26 , 28.09.17
Women, who hitherto faced detention for defying ban, will be able to drive from next summer but will not be able to obtain licenses immediately; opponents argued lifting ban it would corrupt society and lead to sin; US hails change as 'step in right direction.'
Associated Press 23:29 , 26.09.17
Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah to arrive in the strip with his ministers next Monday 'to begin assuming the responsibilities of the government' following Hamas announcement it was disbanding its administrative committee.
Reuters 16:45 , 25.09.17
Despite threats from Iraq, Iran and Turkey and international pressure from other countries, vote goes ahead and expected to result in a 'yes' majority for independence; 'We have been waiting 100 years for this day,' says one voter.
Reuters 09:56 , 25.09.17
Ankara continues exerting pressure on the Kurds in hope of cancelling referendum in northern Iraq in two days; Turkish military conducts large-scale drill on Iraqi border, while parliament extended mandate to send Turkish troops to Iraq; Turkish PM says not ruling out military operation in Iraq.
Reuters 23:12 , 23.09.17
Syrian foreign minister says his country is 'marching steadily' toward goal of rooting out terrorism; and while noting the Assad regime was encouraged by talks on de-escalation zones, 'Syria reserves the right to respond to any violation by the other party.'
Associated Press 22:47 , 23.09.17
Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami says the new Khorramshahr missile, allegedly able to carry multiple warheads, can 'evade the enemy's air defense line and be guided from the moment of launch until the target is hit.'
Reuters, Ynetnews 19:16 , 23.09.17
Mohammad Bakri, an Israeli-Arab actor and director, arrives in Beirut to take part in Palestinian Days festival, despite law against on travel from Israel to Lebanon; newspaper Al Akhbar prominently features Bakri, who says his 'presence in Lebanon is a victory over racist laws.'
Roi Kais 18:05 , 23.09.17
The committee, effectively acting as government in Gaza Strip, will be dismantled amid efforts to promote Palestinian reconciliation; Hamas also accepts holding new general elections; announcement comes following heated Egyptian mediation efforts, marathon talks with Hamas and PLO delegations; Abbas keeps word, announces end to sanctions.
Elior Levy 09:31 , 17.09.17
Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah Sec. Gen. Nasrallah declares victory in Syrian conflict for Syrian Pres. Assad, after 6-year civil war; comments reportedly made in closed-door meeting; Israel, US, others still trying to prop up resistance, though Nasrallah states that it's of 'no use.'
Smadar Perry 20:20 , 13.09.17
Study book for eight graders shows the Israeli flag instead of the Palestinian one on a map of the Middle East, causing the Education Ministry in the country to order the removal of the controversial page from the book and bar it from further distribution while it investigates the matter.
Roi Kais 14:37 , 13.09.17
Abbas's recently enacted Electronic Crimes Law leads to the closure of some 30 websites and the detention of multiple journalists in the West Bank in the name of 'national security' and 'public good'; in Gaza, Hamas attacks, kidnaps, tortures and limits journalists from travelling abroad.
The Media Line 17:13 , 09.09.17
Immediately after first high-level phone call between Qatari, Saudi leaders over boycott of Qatar on Saturday, Qatar News Agency reports that both sides 'stressed the need to resolve this crisis by sitting down to the dialogue'; Saudi Arabia denies statement, with official Saudi Press Agency claiming, 'This proves the authority in Qatar is not serious in dialogue.'
Associated Press 15:12 , 09.09.17
Investigators conclude President Bashar Assad's air force carried out sarin-gas attack in the spring that claimed the lives of 83 civilians, prompting reprisal strikes from the US; Syrian officials deny responsibility despite commission chairman insisting 'this attack was perpetrated by the Syrian air force.'
Associated Press 17:19 , 06.09.17
Speaking to a conservative think tank, President Trump's UN ambassador details information which may lead to US declaring Tehran to be in breach of the nuclear deal, says Trump may have to ‘move beyond narrow technicalities and look at the big picture.'
Associated Press 20:46 , 05.09.17
Breaching the siege in the eastern city marks both another triumph for Assad as his forces advance on several fronts against ISIS, and a strategic and symbolic defeat for ISIS after losing hold over their stronghold in Mosul.
Associated Press 14:58 , 05.09.17
Some 300 ISIS jihadists and their families have been stuck since Monday on the Syria-Lebanon border while the US-led coalition bombs the area to stop them from advancing towards the Iraqi border; Hezbollah and the Syrian regime, who reached a deal to evacuate the jihadists out of government-held territory, are looking for new routes to take the remaining fighters out of Syria.
AFP 18:39 , 02.09.17
Commander of US-led coalition against ISIS admits he doesn't 'have a clue' where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is, but he has 'seen no convincing evidence, intelligence, or open-source or other rumor or otherwise that he's dead.'
AFP 19:19 , 01.09.17
The New York Times publishes report describing how the Iranian-backed terror group, which it says has become an invaluable instrument in Tehran’s ambitions of regional domination, has stretched its influence far beyond the borders of Lebanon and Syria, into Iraq and Yemen; report documents modus operandi of recruiting new fighters.
Liad Osmo 15:28 , 01.09.17
New Russian base built near facility allegedly manufacturing guided missiles for Hezbollah west of Hama, with advanced defense systems reportedly in place to protect it; Kremlin spokesman rejects reports Netanyahu and Putin did not agree on Iran's role in Syrian conflict.
Yossi Yehoshua 11:57 , 31.08.17
Mandate of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon extended for another year by the United Nations Security Council; extension comes on heels of pressures exerted by Israel and US to endow it with greater operational powers to hinder Hezbollah activities in south of Lebanon.
Associated Press 09:04 , 31.08.17
After fighting the Lebanese army on one front and Hezbollah and the Syrian army on the other while losing ground to both, ISIS submits to ceasefire in the Qalamoun region; truce meant to allow for negotiations over the fate of 9 Lebanese soldiers taken captive by ISIS.
Reuters 11:07 , 27.08.17
After warning from Defense Minister Lieberman that Israel 'does not intend to resign itself' to Iran's attempts to manufacture precise weaponry in Lebanon, Lebanese PM raises objections to Tehran's plans for factory that would arm Hezbollah with accurate missiles.
Yossi Yehoshua 10:40 , 27.08.17
Speaking to reporters, US Ambassador Nikki Haley levels harsh criticism at Irish Major General Michael Beary, the commander of United Nations forces in Lebanon, accusing him of turning a blind eye to Iran's covert arming of the Hezbollah terrorist group.
AP 11:03 , 26.08.17
For senior US Navy commanders serving in Persian Gulf, the presence of an Iranian drone causes them to fear that it might be carrying weapons, posing a direct threat to US vessels; 'Iranians don't always follow the rules,' says US Navy Adm. in charge of US carriers, adding that when they do, they often 'challenge our assertion that they are flying into danger.'
Associated Press 19:46 , 25.08.17
More Mideast News
After it was reported that Amanda Hanna, the winner of the 2017 Miss Lebanon Emigrant Beauty Pageant—visited Israel in 2016, Lebanon's Minister of Tourism decides to strip her of her title over her violation of Lebanon's boycott of Israel.
Roi Kais 19:16 , 23.08.17
Iranian-backed militants slowly overtaking land in Syria's central desert region in effort to link Tehran to the Mediterranean and facilitate movement of Iranian-backed fighters between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, as well as flow of weapons to Damascus and Lebanon's Hezbollah.
Associated Press 19:07 , 23.08.17
Just days after launching fresh offensive against ISIS on Syrian border in bid to expunge its terrorists from the area, Lebanese military announces it has already captured over 80% of territory formerly controlled by the group.
Associated Press 18:52 , 22.08.17
While signaling Tehran is not interested in reneging on nuclear deal, country's atomic chief warns of attempts to renegotiate or walk away from deal: 'If there is a plan for a reaction and a challenge, we will definitely surprise them.'
Associated Press 11:18 , 22.08.17
Fighters from Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran commanded by Qasem Soleimani and backed by the Revolutionary Guard and supply transports by air and sea; according to report by intelligence analyst, Israel's leadership has justifiably been losing sleep over Iran's encroachment into neighboring Syria.
Roi Kais 23:33 , 21.08.17
Shiite terror organization conducting large-scale operation with Syrian army against ISIS on border with Lebanon, using drones to bomb ISIS targets; according to organization, UAVs attacked positions and fortifications and recorded direct hits; video footage of attack was released by Al-Mayadeen network.
Roi Kais 18:57 , 21.08.17
After Lebanese army launches a border offensive against the Islamic State Saturday, Hezbollah and Syria mount their own border attacks; ‘We’re confronting ISIS terrorists to chase them out and recover territory,’ says army spokesperson.
News agencies 09:16 , 21.08.17
The embattled president boasts success in war against rebels, but says 'battle continues'; thanks allies Russia, Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah for helping his army make battlefield gains and reduce the burden of war.
News agencies 15:31 , 20.08.17
The Lebanese army, together with Hezbollah, launches an offensive against the Islamic State at Lebanon's border with Syria, coordinating with the Syrian army to 'remove the terrorist threat at the borders of the nation.'
Reuters 09:48 , 19.08.17
When Hamas security forces tried to stop two Salafists terrorists nearing the Rafah border crossing, one of them set off an explosion, killing 28-year-old Hamas commander Nidal al-Jaafari and wounding several others.
Elior Levy, Roi Kais 08:20 , 17.08.17
Under the auspices of the cease-fire in the nearby Daraa district and with the massive aid of the Iranian-supported Shiite militias, the Syrian army was able to recapture 30 kilometers on the border with Jordan from rebels.
Roi Kais and Yoav Zitun 18:39 , 14.08.17
Iranian parliament passes bill approving increased spending on ballistic missiles and foreign operations by its paramilitary organization, chanting 'Death to America,' amid growing agitation in Washington with Tehran's conduct.
Associated Press 16:36 , 13.08.17
Fighters from Syrian rebel group Saraya Ahl al-Sham will start on Saturday to pull out of Lebanon enclave; About 300 fighters, along with their families and some other civilians who wish to return to Syria, will then be escorted to the border by security forces.
Reuters 17:18 , 11.08.17
The Palestinian government in the West Bank clamps down on social media and news websites with a vaguely worded decree that critics say allows his government to jail anyone on charges of harming 'national unity' or the 'social fabric.'
Associated Press 10:27 , 11.08.17
US-backed Lebanese military begins preparations to remove hundreds of Islamic State militants from area near Syria border in bid to destroy long-term threat posed to neighboring towns and villages by extremists.
Associated Press 19:57 , 08.08.17
Jordan's King Abdullah II meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah for the first time in five years; the two leaders discuss Temple Mount tensions and wider political developments, including US peace initiatives.
Reuters 15:55 , 07.08.17
Far from being an ally in the fight against Hezbollah, the Lebanese government headed by Saad Hariri is based on a partnership with the Shiite group, whose clout and dominance in the tiny country is on the rise.
Associated Press 11:55 , 06.08.17
Jordan's king to hold rare visit to Ramallah on Monday amid rocky ties with Israel following Temple Mount standoff and shooting at Amman embassy in show of support for Palestinian president and the Palestinian people.
Elior Levy, Roi Kais 17:17 , 05.08.17
Iran-Hamas relations have known many ups and downs in recent years, due to Hamas's shunning Syrian Pres. Assad; however, after pro-Iranian faction is voted to lead Hamas, the Gaza-based organization expects increase in financial and military aid.
Elior Levy 17:28 , 04.08.17
Jordanian lawmakers abolish a law that lets rapists off the hook if they marry their victims; rights groups now hope Lebanon, which is discussing amending or abolishing a similar provision, will follow Jordan's lead.
Associated Press 16:25 , 01.08.17
Nadia Murad, who fled ISIS after enduring torture, speaks at special Knesset session, calling on Israeli government to hold a memorial day for the Yazidim and integrate their story into the education system; 'The people who went through the Holocaust must not stand aside,' she tells Ynet.
Roy Kais 16:34 , 24.07.17
Washington Post reports UAE hacked Qatari government sites, allowing UAE to post false, inflammatory quotes linked to Qatar's emir, which prompted current diplomatic crisis; UAE ambassador calls report 'false,' saying, 'What is true is Qatar’s behavior. Funding, supporting, and enabling extremists from the Taliban to Hamas and Qadafi.'
Reuters 15:28 , 17.07.17
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to Doha to ink agreement aimed at ending month-long rift between Western-allied Arab states after several Arab countries imposed sanctions on Qatar following accusations that it was abetting extremist groups and cosying up to Iran; memorandum meant 'to interrupt and disable terror financing flows and intensify counter terrorism activities globe,' says Tillerson.
Reuters 20:39 , 11.07.17
Just days after Iraqi prime minister declares victory in Mosul, the Syrian human rights watchdog claims to have evidence that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been liquidated; if confirmed as true, Baghdadi's death may have been caused by a Russian air strike in Raqqa last month.
Reuters 19:03 , 11.07.17
Three years after ISIS militants capture the city and turn it into the stronghold of their 'caliphate', Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi makes historic declaration, announcing 'end and the failure and the collapse of the terrorist state of falsehood and terrorism which the terrorist Daesh announced from Mosul.'
Reuters 20:57 , 10.07.17
Lebanese news report says high-ranking military official met with Hezbollah's leader to convey a message from the Kremlin that his terror group may soon be called upon to play a role in the conflict raging in Syria.
Roi Kais 19:33 , 10.07.17
Kemal Kilicdaroglu completes the 'March for Justice' with protesters who began in the capital Ankara and stomped on to Istanbul in a demonstration against government crackdowns on opponents; Wrapping up the march, Kilicdaroglu reminds sea of activists why they joined; 'We walked for the non-existent justice, for the rights of the oppressed, for the imprisoned lawmakers, the jailed journalists.’
Associated Press 22:01 , 09.07.17
Attempt to gain compensation comes after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties and severed air, land and sea links with the country after making host of demands, including to stop supporting extremism.
Associated Press 18:21 , 09.07.17
Mosul, the Islamic State's stronghold in Iraq, is left in ruins, with thousands of civilians killed and nearly a million displaced; UN estimates over $1 billion will be needed to repair basic infrastructure in the city; battle also takes heavy toll on Iraqi security forces.
Reuters 16:04 , 09.07.17
With fighting displacing around one million civilians, Iraqi forces claim they are set to take control of the city 'in hours'; the news isn't exactly good news for civilians whose lives are destroyed seemingly beyond repair.
Reuters 16:48 , 08.07.17
The ceasefire, brokered by the US and Russia, is meant to help allay growing concerns by neighboring Jordan and Israel about Iranian military ambitions in the area; Syrian in-fighting has repeatedly spilled over into Israel.
Roi Kais & Associated Press 13:21 , 08.07.17
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain vow to take 'all necessary political, economic and legal measures' against Qatar after it refused to accept their demands over allegations it supports extremist ideology; US, Germany intervene in effort to resolve crisis.
Associated Press 12:06 , 07.07.17
Mohammed El Emadi—head of the Qatari Committee for Reconstruction of Gaza—visits the region for the first time to meet with Palestinian officials in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and check on the progress of Qatar-sponsored restoration projects.
Roi Kais and Elior Levy 22:21 , 06.07.17
With Hamas and Gaza's citizens struggling with limited power and intense summer heat, Hamas begins to warm ties with Egypt with the help of Mohammed Dahlan, who is considered a threat to PA President Abbas.
Reuters 21:30 , 05.07.17
In a joint statement, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain slam Qatar's response to their demands, which includes cutting back ties with Iran and severing links with Muslim Brotherhood; Egyptian FM: 'Qatar's position reflects a failure to realize the gravity of the situation.'
Reuters & AP 19:51 , 05.07.17
Speaking to reporters in Rome, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani says 13 demands, including closure of Al Jazeera satellite channel, reducing ties with Iran and removing Turkish air bases in Qatar, were meant 'to be negotiated,' not accepted.
Associated Press 09:02 , 02.07.17
Syrian army reportedly succeeds in driving ISIS from last territory in Aleppo province; However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights states ISIS has retaken most of the industrial district of Raqqa after mounting counter-attack against US-backed alliance of Kurdish & Arab militias.
Reuters 23:47 , 30.06.17
UN refugees agency states nearly half a million Syrian refugees already 'spontaneously' returned to their war-torn homeland; UN official stresses Syrian people 'remain in grave difficulty,' with almost 14 million of 18 million in Syria needing humanitarian assistance.
Associated Press 22:35 , 30.06.17
As Qatari officials promise 'situation today is very comfortable' under Arab ban, Qatar is given 10 days to comply with demands, which include scaling back diplomatic ties with Iran, shutting down news outlets, handing over 'terrorist figures' and ending funding of all terrorist groups.
News Agencies 11:55 , 24.06.17
Host of Arab countries join Saudis in cutting ties with Qatar and issuing numerous demands including closure of Al-Jazeera, cutting back Iranian ties and severing links with Muslim Brotherhood; accusing Qatar of funding terrorism, countries give 10 days for it to comply with demands.
Associated Press 08:59 , 23.06.17
According to report in Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat, Hezbollah and Iranian-backed forces will not be allowed into safe zone, which will stretch 30 kilometers from the Jordan border; humanitarian aid will be allowed in and refugees who fled to Jordan will return.
Roi Kais 10:08 , 22.06.17
King Salman appoints 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince, replacing the incumbent Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and effectively removing the latter from first-in-line to the throne; newly announced young crown prince already presides over defense ministry and economic council portfolios.
Associated Press 08:41 , 21.06.17