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Twin car bombs kill 25 in Syria's Homs: state media

At least 25 people, including women and children, were killed on Wednesday when two car bombs exploded in the central Syrian city of Homs, the state-run SANA news agency reported. The attacks wounded another 100 people in the Karam al-Luz district, according to SANA, which blamed the bombings on "terrorists," the government's term for all those fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Twin car bombs kill 25 in Syria's Homs: state media

At least 25 people, including women and children, were killed on Wednesday when two car bombs exploded in the central Syrian city of Homs, the state-run SANA news agency reported. The attacks wounded another 100 people in the Karam al-Luz district, according to SANA, which blamed the bombings on "terrorists," the government's term for all those fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Iraq attacks kill 18 on anniversary of Baghdad fall

Attacks, including 13 car bombs in mainly Shiite-populated areas of Iraq, killed at least 18 people Wednesday, highlighting the persistent danger from militants 11 years after American forces took Baghdad. The latest violence is part of a protracted surge in nationwide bloodshed that has killed more than 2,400 people so far this year and sparked fears Iraq is slipping back into the all-out sectarian fighting of 2006-7.

Pope expresses 'profound pain' at killing of priest in Syria

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis spoke on Wednesday of his deep grief over the assassination of a 75-year-old Dutch Jesuit priest in Syria and made a renewed appeal for an end to the violence. Frans van der Lugt had been living in Syria since the 1970s and had become widely known for his refusal to leave Christians who remained in the rebel-held city of Homs as it was blockaded by government forces. He was beaten and shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his monastery on Monday.

U.N. rights chief says Syria government abuses 'far outweigh' rebels

By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Human rights violations by Syrian government forces "far outweigh" those by armed opposition groups, U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said on Tuesday, prompting the Syrian U.N. envoy to accuse her of acting like an irresponsible "lunatic."

Drought could push millions more Syrians into hunger: U.N.

By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - A looming drought in Syria could push millions more people into hunger and exacerbate a refugee crisis caused by years of civil war, the United Nations said on Tuesday. Syria's breadbasket northwestern region has received less than half of the average rainfall since September and, if it stays dry up to wheat harvest time in mid-May, the country - already reliant on aid for millions of people - will need to import even more food.

Syria army starts battle for Rankus in Qalamun

Syrian regime forces have shelled the Rankus area ahead of an operation to retake the town, one of the last rebel-held regions in the Qalamun area, a monitoring group said Tuesday. Al-Manar television, which belongs to the pro-Syrian regime Lebanese group Hezbollah, also reported that the Syrian army had begun an offensive against Rankus. A military source, meanwhile, told AFP that regime forces had taken a hilltop position by Rankus and were surrounding the town.

Iran Guards say seize foreign agents at border en route to attacks

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's Revolutionary Guards have arrested a number of foreign agents as they crossed the border from Iraq to carry out bombings and assassinations, a statement on the website of the Islamic Republic's elite ideological force said. Sepah News said the alleged suspects were picked up late last month in a sting operation as they entered Khuzestan, an oil-rich province with a significant Arab minority and historically a hotbed of revolt against the Tehran government.

Wife of slain Iraq journalist breaks down in court

The wife of an Iraqi journalist shot dead at a Baghdad checkpoint for a "trivial reason" burst into tears when faced with his alleged killer in court on Monday. Rafaa Jaafar demanded his killer receive a "fair punishment", speaking at the opening of the trial of an Iraqi Kurdish officer charged with murdering her husband Mohammed Bidaiwi. Other witnesses recounted how an argument at the checkpoint had quickly escalated before the accused, Lieutenant Ahmed Braiyim, allegedly opened fire.

Fighting in Palestinian camp in south Lebanon kills eight

SIDON, Lebanon (Reuters) - At least eight people were killed in fighting on Monday between Palestinian factions in a refugee camp near Lebanon's southern city of Sidon, Lebanese and Palestinian medical sources said. Local sources said the clashes broke out between fighters from the Brigades of Return, a group originally linked to Palestinian President Mohammad Abbas's Fatah group, and a rival militant organization.
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