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Arab League unveils joint military force amid Yemen crisis

Arab leaders unveil joint force, vow strikes in Yemen will continue until rebels withdraw
Hamza Hendawi, The Associated Press

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt - A two-day Arab summit ended Sunday with a vow to defeat Iranian-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen and the formal unveiling of plans to form a joint Arab intervention force, setting the stage for a potentially dangerous clash between U.S.-allied Arab states and Tehran over influence in the region.

Official: Al-Shabab siege at Somali hotel ends, 24 dead

Somalia police: Attack on hotel by al-Shabab extremists ended by troops; at least 24 dead
Abdi Guled, The Associated Press

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Blood spattered utensils, bullet-pocked walls and overturned chairs mark the reception area of a prominent hotel in the Somali capital following an attack by Islamic extremists that killed at least 24, including six attackers.

Turmoil in Yemen escalates as Saudi Arabia bombs rebels

Turmoil in Yemen grows as Saudi Arabia leads airstrikes against Shiite rebels
Ahmed Al-Haj And Hamza Hendawi, The Associated Press

SANAA, Yemen - The turmoil in Yemen grew into a regional conflict Thursday, with Saudi Arabia and its allies bombing Shiite rebels allied with Iran, while Egyptian officials said a ground assault will follow the airstrikes.

Iran denounced the Saudi-led air campaign, saying it "considers this action a dangerous step," and oil prices jumped in New York and London after the offensive.

US, Iran nuke talks enter critical round ahead of deadline

US, Iran nuclear talks enter critical phase with deadline for framework deal just days away
Matthew Lee, The Associated Press

LAUSANNE, Switzerland - Nuclear negotiations between the United States and Iran entered a critical phase on Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meeting his Iranian counterpart less than a week away from a deadline to secure the outline of a deal.

US counterterrorism strategy in Yemen collapses amid chaos

Once Obama's model for fighting extremists, US counterterrorism strategy collapses
Julie Pace And Ken Dilanian, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Yemen has all but collapsed as the country once hailed by President Barack Obama as a model for fighting extremism descends into chaos, according to U.S. and Yemeni officials.

Boehner 'baffled' by reports Israel spied on Iran talks

Boehner 'baffled' by reports that Israel spied on Iran nuclear talks
Deb Riechmann And Josef Federman, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The leader of the U.S. House of Representatives House said Tuesday that he's "baffled" by reports that Israel spied on negotiators in the closed-door talks over Iran's nuclear program — espionage that Israeli officials denied.

"I'm baffled by it,"Speaker John Boehner told reporters about the news report that comes at a time of strained relations between the U.S. and Israel. "I'm not aware of that at all."

Syria's Assad makes rare appearance at rally

Syria's president makes rare public appearance at rally of his supporters
Albert Aji,Elizabeth A. Kennedy, The Associated Press

DAMASCUS, Syria - Syrian President Bashar Assad joined thousands of his supporters Wednesday in an extremely rare public appearance, telling a pro-regime rally in the capital that the "conspiracy" against his country will fail.

Dressed more casually than usual in a jacket but no tie, the president told the cheering crowd that he wanted to draw strength from them. Security guards surrounded him as supporters waved his portrait and raised Syrian flags.

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