Presenting a peace plan in secretary of state’s meeting with Palestinian negotiator would be unproductive, State Dept. spokeswoman says; ‘It’s up to the parties to take steps.’
Law limits government’s ability to release prisoners prematurely; opposition MKs criticizes it as impediment to peace process.
CAIRO (Reuters) – Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Egypt’s most active militant group, has sworn allegiance to Islamic State, a statement from Ansar said Monday night. Ansar had previously told Reuters that it sought inspiration and advice from Islamic State, the radical al-Qaeda offshoot that has taken over swathes of Iraq and Syria, drawing U.S.-led airstrikes as it tries to remake the map of the Middle East. “After entrusting God we decided to swear allegiance to the emir of the faithful Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, caliph of the Muslims in Syria and Iraq and in other countries,” the statement said. …
Possible compromise would allow Jerusalem-born Americans to list ‘Israel’ as their place of birth, but passport will include disclaimer saying the place of birth is not intended to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.
A Riyadh court sentenced five Saudis to jail for five to 10 years on Monday for anti-regime activities in its restive Eastern Province and supporting jihadists in Iraq and Syria. It gave another defendant an eight-year prison term for having travelled to war-torn Syria and pledging allegiance to the head of the Sunni jihadist Islamic State group. Another was sentenced to seven years in jail for going to Iraq to fight alongside jihadists after receiving combat training at a camp in Yemen, where Al-Qaeda is highly active. Scores of Saudis are believed to be in the ranks of radical Islamist groups in areas of unrest across the Middle East, including Iraq and Syria.
By Omer Berberoglu MURSITPINAR Turkey (Reuters) – Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters and moderate Syrian rebels bombarded Islamic State positions in Kobani on Monday, but it was unclear if their arrival would turn the tide in the battle for the besieged Syrian border town. Kobani has become a symbolic test of the U.S.-led coalition's ability to halt the advance of Islamic State, which has poured weapons and fighters into its assault of the town that has lasted more than a month. …
New EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini will visit Israel, Gaza and the West Bank this week to help revive the stalled Middle East peace process, her office said Monday. The trip will last three days beginning Friday, taking in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Gaza and Ramallah. "The visit is a signal of the priority given to the region by the EU and (Mogherini's wish) to play a role in the stabilisation, reconstruction and revival of the peace process," a spokesperson said.
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are discussing the creation of a military pact to take on Islamic militants, with the possibility of a joint force to intervene around the Middle East, The Associated Press has learned.