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World News: Libyan Base Attacked; Egypt, Syria, Iraq Updates

By: AP
By: AP

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- A Libyan military spokesman says more than 150 gunmen have attacked an air base in the country's southern desert, killing two government troops.
Saad al-Orfi says the attack early Saturday targeted a military air base about 45 kilometers (30 miles) north of the city of Sabha. He says the assailants were heavily armed and clashed with government forces stationed at the base.
A colonel and a soldier were killed in the fighting, and two more troops were also wounded.
Al-Orfi identified the assailants as Libyan but said an investigation is underway to determine who they were.
Two years after the country's civil war, Libya's weak central government is still grappling with powerful militias as it struggles to create a new police and army.

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's official news agency says state prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for a popular TV satirist for allegedly insulting Islam and the country's president.
The warrant issued Saturday is the latest in a series of legal actions against Bassem Youssef, known as Egypt's Jon Stewart.
Youssef's widely-watched weekly show has become a platform for parodying the government, opposition, media and clerics.
The comedian has faced a number of lawsuits in the past accusing him of insulting Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, and "corrupting morals."
One of Youssef's attorneys, Gamal Eid, said this is the first time an arrest warrant has been issued for Youssef, however.
The warrant comes amid what the opposition says is a widening government crackdown against its ranks, fueling concerns about freedoms of expression and assembly.

CAIRO (AP) -- An Egyptian rights group says police have detained 13 people including five lawyers, accusing them of assaulting police in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.
The arrest inside the police station is rare instance in which lawyers face potential criminal charges. The opposition says there is an expanding crackdown on anti-government activists.
The arrests Saturday on accusations that include insulting security officials and illegal assembly prompted an angry response from lawyers at Cairo's Bar Association, who demanded an apology from the police.
The Haqanya Center for Rights said the detainees are also accused of attempting to free other detainees held at the police station.
The lawyers were at the station to represent activists reportedly arrested by members of a political party affiliated with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and handed to the police.

CAIRO (AP) -- Officials say a commercial airliner has left Egypt for Iran in the first direct passenger flight between the two countries in more than three decades.
Cairo-Tehran relations have witnessed a thaw since the June election of Egypt's Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi. Diplomatic relations were frozen after Egypt signed its 1979 peace treaty with Israel and Iran underwent its Islamic Revolution.
Cairo airport officials say a private Air Memphis flight departed Saturday for Tehran carrying eight Iranians, including two diplomats. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to reporters.
Egypt's tourism minister visited Tehran last month to sign an agreement promoting tourism between the countries. Egypt's Foreign and Civil Aviation Ministries, however, set regulations restricting the number and movement of Iranian tourists in Egypt.

BEIRUT (AP) -- Activists say Syrian rebels have taken control of at least part of a strategic neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo after days of heavy fighting.
The Aleppo Media Center opposition group and Aleppo-based activist Mohammed Saeed say rebels seized control of the predominantly Kurdish neighborhood of Sheik Maqsoud in its entirety late Friday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, however, says rebels took only the eastern part of the neighborhood, and reported heavy fighting there Saturday.
The Observatory also said rebels captured a pro-government Sunni Muslim cleric, killed him, then paraded his body around the neighborhood.
State-run Al-Ikhbariya TV identified the cleric as Hassan Seifeddine. It said he was beheaded and his head was placed on the minaret of Al-Hassan Mosque where he used to lead the prayers.

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi officials say at least 23 people are dead after a series of car bombings that targeted five Shiite mosques.
The bombings took place as worshippers emerged from Friday prayers. They were the latest assaults staged by insurgents trying to undermine the government's efforts to achieve security across Iraq.
There's been no claim of responsibility, but the attacks resemble those that have been routinely carried out by al-Qaida's Iraq branch.
The first of today's explosions involved a parked car in western Baghdad that blew up, killing seven worshippers and wounding 25 others. Additional attacks took place elsewhere in Baghdad and in the northern city of Kirkuk.


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