US pop icon Madonna was poised to hit the stage in Tel Aviv later Thursday to launch a hotly anticipated world tour spanning 30 countries and 86 concert dates to promote her new MDNA album.
Israel on Thursday handed over to the Palestinian government the remains of 91 militants who had been killed while carrying out suicide bombings and other attacks in an effort to renew long-stalled peace talks.
Two American tourists kidnapped in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula by Bedouin tribesman were released on Thursday after less than 24 hours in captivity, security and government officials told AFP.
Iraq on Thursday opened the last day of a landmark sale of energy exploration blocks by awarding two contracts, already better than a poor start that dampened its hopes of cementing its role as key global supplier.
A spate of bombings in Baghdad on Thursday killed at least seven people and wounded several more, security and medical officials said.