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Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, July 17

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Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, July 17

JERUSALEM -- Israeli troops launched a ground offensive in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Thursday night after days of heavy bombardment, the military said.

"Following ten days of Hamas attacks by land, air and sea, and after repeated rejections of offers to de-escalate the situation, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has initiated a ground operation within the Gaza Strip," the IDF said in a statement. (Israel-Gaza- Operation)

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BAGHDAD -- Fierce clashes between Iraqi security forces and Sunni militant groups continued in several Iraqi provinces on Thursday, as government troops repelled several militant attacks in Salahudin province, security sources said.

Security forces, with military air support, fought back an overnight militant offensive targeting the oil refinery of Baiji, killing dozens of militants, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. (Iraq-Sunni-Offensive)

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TEHRAN, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Iran will agree on an extension of the nuclear talks for another period of time, if the world powers respect Iran's nuclear rights, President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday.

"To build confidence and to be transparent, we have been and will be flexible in the nuclear talks. But we will not slacken over the nuclear rights of the Iranian nation," Rouhani was quoted as saying by official IRNA news agency. (Iran-Nuclear Deal)

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TUNIS -- Fourteen Tunisian soldiers were killed in a "terrorist " attack against the Tunisian army in Mount Chaambi, in mid-west Kasserine, on the Tunisian-Algerian borders on late Wednesday.

The number of casualties rose from four soldiers last night, and the regional hospital of Kasserine is still receiving injured soldiers for treatment, stated the spokesperson of the Tunisian Ministry of Defense. (Tunisia-Algeria-Attack)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/xinhua-news-agency/140717/xinhua-middle-east-news-summary-at-2200-gmt-july-17