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Syrian death toll tops 3,500: UN rights office

More than 3,500 people have been killed in the Syrian regime’sbrutal crackdown on dissent, the UN human rights office said Tuesday, deploring the slaughter that went on despite a peace plan. “The brutal crackdown on the dissent in Syria has so far claimed the lives of more than 3,500 Syrians,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN…

Roadside bomb kills Afghan police chief

A roadside bomb ripped through a police vehicle in southernAfghanistan, killing a district police chief and two of his bodyguards, authorities said on Monday. The blast happened late Sunday as the group drove from Lashkar Gah, the capital of troubled Helmand province, to Garmser district. “Mohammad Saifullah, the police chief of Garmser district in Helmand province,…

Muslims gather on Arafat for peak hajj day

More than two million Muslims began massing Saturday on Saudi Arabia’s Mount Arafat and its surrounding plain, marking the peak day of the largest annual pilgrimage. Swarms of pilgrims who had spent the night in Mina, some 10 kilometres (six miles) northwest of Arafat surged through the roads leading to…

Syria blasts U.S. for ‘blatant interference’

Damascus on Saturday strongly condemned Washington after the US State Department advised Syrians against surrendering following an amnesty for those who give up weapons. “The American administration disclosed again its blatant interference in Syria’s internal affairs, and its policy which supports killing, in addition to its funding of the terrorist…

‘Don’t kill civilians,’ Taliban leader tells fighters

Elusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar called on his fighters to avoid killing civilians in a statement posted Friday on the Afghanistan hardline Islamists’ website, SITE Intelligence reported. The US monitoring group said Omar “stressed that his fighters must maintain good relations with civilians and to avoid any action that may…

World’s largest pilgrimage underway as hajj begins

MINA, Saudi Arabia — The world’s largest annual pilgrimage, the hajj, began on Sunday with hundreds of thousands of Muslims pouring into the camp of Mina from Mecca to prepare for the solemn rituals. This year’s number of pilgrims is estimated at up to 2.5 million, posing a major headache…

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