Middle East

IDF Spokesperson Unit / Wikimedia Commons

After weeks of violence, a three-day cease-fire between the Israeli Defense Forces and the Hamas militants seems to be holding this morning in the ravaged Gaza strip.

Wikimedia Commons

The First Coast is home to one of the largest Palestinian-American communities in the country. Just before tensions recently broke out in Gaza, several area residents visited the region.

Tom Rayner / Twitter

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Family members of a Palestinian-American teenager who was apparently beaten by Israeli police want him returned to the U.S. so he can receive proper medical attention.

WIkimedia Commons

Iraqi authorities this morning are looking at a video that purportedly shows the leader of the extremist terror group The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS, delivering a sermon in Mosul.

Will Walsh got to know the Iraqi city of Fallujah while running across its bridges in the middle of the night, under fire, looking for IEDs. That was nearly 10 years ago.

Last weekend, the former Army captain heard the news that Fallujah had fallen, again, to al-Qaida-linked groups.

"The question I have to ask myself is was that effort in vain?" he says now. "Was all the work that we did, all the sacrifice that we had, what is the benefit?"

A veteran Hezbollah commander with expertise in technology and intelligence was assassinated Wednesday in Beirut — a killing the militant group blamed on Israel.

Israeli officials denied involvement in the death of Hassan al-Laqis, who was reportedly shot in a parking lot outside his home.

Some of the sanctions against Iran will be eased under an agreement reached between Iran and six world powers over the weekend. In return, Iran promises to temporarily curb part of its nuclear program.

There's widespread agreement that sanctions have worked, squeezing Iran financially and bringing its leaders to the negotiating table. Iran's economy is, by any measure, in terrible shape.

Pakistan is blasting the United States for a drone strike that has allegedly killed Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Pakistan's ties with the United States would be reviewed, after what he called "an attack on regional peace by America."

Pakistan's Dawn reports:

While human rights groups and other watchdogs have put the civilian death toll in the hundreds, Pakistan's Ministry of Defense announced Wednesday that just 3 percent of the deaths from U.S. drone strikes since 2008 were noncombatants.

The ministry says 317 drone strikes have killed 2,160 Islamic militants and 67 civilians in the last five years.

Alexandra Chen, a specialist in childhood trauma, is on her way from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, to the southern town of Nabatiyeh, where she's running a workshop for teachers, child psychologists and sports coaches who are dealing with the Syrian children scarred by war in their homeland.

"All of the children have experienced trauma to varying degree," explains Chen, who works for Mercy Corps and is training a dozen new hires for her aid group.

Known for quiet diplomacy, Saudi Arabia is taking an unusual and very public step to protest the international community's failure to resolve the crisis in Syria and other issues that interest Riyadh.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia was elected to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which the Saudi ambassador to the U.N. initially called a defining moment in his nation's history.

The U.S. desire to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan is the subject of talks today in Kabul, where Secretary of State John Kerry is in prolonged discussions with President Hamid Karzai. Most of the U.S. troops would continue training Afghan forces, while another contingent works against terrorist groups.

As for how many Americans would be posted to Afghanistan, NPR's Sean Carberry says a precise number hasn't emerged, but he adds that "through conversations and comments by military officials, the range is about 5,000 to 10,000."

Jacksonville Visitor Gives Hope In Sinai

Oct 9, 2013

Fady Mcshut has taken advantage of learning opportunities in Jacksonville.

He came here as part of a delegation of Egyptian visitors sponsored locally by GlobalJax through the International Visitor Leadership Program.  

Mcshut chose to intern with the Jacksonville Community Council Inc. (JCCI) to learn how to build a better community in his home country of Egypt.

Iran and Israel are at it again, but at least it's not the nuclear issue. This time it's jeans.

It started last week when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told BBC's Persian TV that "if the Iranian people had their way, they'd be wearing bluejeans; they'd have Western music; they'd have free elections."

As the war in Afghanistan enters its 13th year, the political and security situation there remains precarious. But the country is hoping to reach a milestone next spring: the first democratic transfer of power in the country's history.

And there's no shortage of candidates vying to succeed President Hamid Karzai — who is barred from running for a third term.

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