Fatah Security Headquarters Overtaken by Hamas

HAMAS VS FATAH VIOLENCE

Hamas Captures Fatah Security HQ

Hamas is reported to now control almost the entire Gaza Strip Hamas militants have seized the headquarters of their rival Fatah's Preventive Security force, tightening their control over the Gaza Strip. (BBC)

Olmert Mulls Int'l Force to Stop Arms Smuggling at Gaza-Egypt Border

The deployment of a multinational force along the Philadelphi Route in Rafah, on the Gaza-Egypt border, should be seriously considered, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday. (Harretz)

Abbas Orders Elite Guard to Attack Hamas

Print Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the first time Thursday ordered his elite presidential guard to strike back against Hamas militants bent on besieging his Gaza City compound. (AP)

IRAQ

Iraq Qaeda Group Kills 14 Abducted Officers-Web

An Iraqi al Qaeda-led group said on Thursday it had killed 14 Iraqi army and police personnel and posted an Internet video showing a masked militant shooting the kneeling men in the head. (Reuters)

Several Sunni Mosques in Iraq Attacked

A handful of Sunni mosques were attacked or burned Thursday, but curfews and increased troop levels kept Iraq in relative calm a day after suspected al-Qaida bombers toppled the towering minarets of a prized Shiite shrine. (AP)

Female Iraqi Refugees Vulnerable to Human Trafficking

Many Iraqi refugees fled violence in their own country only to face extreme poverty and marginalization in Syria. Increasingly desperate, a growing number have reportedly turned to extreme measures to support themselves and their families. (ABC News)

U.N. Supports U.S Troops Staying in Iraq

The U.N. Security Council agreed Wednesday to an Iraqi request to extend the mandate of the U.S.-led multinational force after the country's foreign minister said the troops were "vitally necessary." (AP)

IRAN SUPPORT OF TALIBAN

Afghan Minister Denies U.S. Claims

Afghanistan's defense minister on Thursday dismissed claims by a top U.S. State Department official that there was "irrefutable evidence" that the Iranian government was providing arms to Taliban rebels. (AP)

Gates links Iran to Taliban Weapons

Defense Secretary Robert Gates tied Iran's government to large shipments of weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan and said yesterday such quantities were unlikely without Tehran's knowledge. Gates's comments, following accusations by a State Department official, were the strongest yet by a Cabinet secretary about Iran's support of the militant group in Afghanistan. (AP)

Analysis: Backgrounder: Is Iran Abetting the Taliban?

By Lionel Beehner

U.S. officials say they have found evidence that Iran has supplied weapons to Taliban rebels operating along the Afghan-Pakistani border. This has prompted questions about why majority Shiite Iran would support a Sunni-led force it has opposed for more than a decade. But some experts say there are a number of reasons why a strengthened Taliban would serve Iran's interests, particularly in keeping U.S. forces off balance, as well as potentially deflecting pressure over its nuclear program. (NY Times)

AFGHANISTAN

33 Militants Killed in Afghanistan

Afghan troops killed 33 Taliban militants, including several commanders, in three operations in the country's volatile south, officials said Thursday. (AP)

Taleban Is Accused of Murdering Girl Who Had Dared to Attend School

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