May 21, 2018
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Latest developments in Middle East

The Associated Press

In Syria, anti-government protesters in the Syrian city of Hama set up barricades and took up sticks and stones Monday to defend themselves after one of the bloodiest days so far in President Bashar Assad’s regime’s campaign to quell an uprising now in its fifth month. Syrian troops backed by tanks resumed shelling Hama for a second day in an attempt to subdue the city. Six people were reported killed across Syria, four of them in Hama. At least 55 died on Sunday.

France is handing over $259 million in frozen Libyan funds to the country’s opposition and allowing the rebels’ new ambassador to use the country’s mothballed embassy in Paris. The French Foreign Ministry said the money, currently frozen in French banks, must be used for humanitarian purchases, in accordance with European law.

In southern Yemen on Monday, government airstrikes killed at least 15 suspected al-Qaida-linked militants. They also destroyed a tank seized by militants and several artillery positions in the Dufas area near Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province. The airstrikes were the latest in a government campaign to try to dislodge al-Qaida-linked militants from Zinjibar and Jaar, another city in Abyan.

In a dramatic policy shift, Israel’s prime minister has agreed to negotiate the borders of a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 cease-fire line that marks off the West Bank, a TV station reported Monday.

Up to now, Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to spell out his plan for negotiating the border. A senior Israeli official would not confirm outright that the prime minister was now willing to adopt the cease-fire line as a starting point, but said Israel was willing to try new formulas to restart peace talks based on a proposal made by President Barack Obama.

Egyptian forces swinging electrified batons and shouting “God is great” chased off dozens of activists who had refused to end four weeks of renewed protests at Tahrir Square to pressure the country’s transitional military rulers. Hundreds of riot police backed by armored vehicles and soldiers moved in to tear down the camp of dozens of tents after a group of holdout activists — some of them relatives of people killed in the uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak in February — refused pleas over loudspeakers to go home.

In Algeria, a remotely detonated roadside bomb killed three soldiers and injured eight others in a convoy southwest of Algiers. The attack in the Tissemsilt region came as troops returned to barracks after a routine patrol. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Algeria has seen a recent bout of anti-government violence.

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