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In brief: Kerry meets with Abbas, Netanyahu

Sun., Jan. 5, 2014

Ramallah, West Bank – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday cited progress on the Mideast peace process, yet acknowledged that some of the most intractable disputes between Israelis and Palestinians were unsolved after more than 20 rounds of negotiations.

“This is hard work,” he told reporters after a 2 1/2-hour meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, their second in two days.

Afterward, Kerry resumed his shuttle diplomacy by heading back to Jerusalem for his third meeting in as many days with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two had a nearly five-hour discussion that didn’t end until 11:30 p.m.

Kerry is trying to nudge Abbas and Netanyahu closer to a peace pact that would establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Top al-Qaida leader dies in custody

Beirut – A senior al-Qaida leader died in Lebanese custody Saturday, days after he was captured by the army.

Majid Majid, the head of the al-Qaida-aligned Abudllah Azzam Brigades, a Sunni militia with factions in Lebanon and on the Arabian Peninsula, died of deteriorating health in a military hospital after his condition took a turn for the worse, the Lebanese army told state media. Other media reports said he died of kidney failure.

Days earlier, Lebanon had sent a sample of Majid’s DNA to Saudi Arabia, where he was one of the country’s most wanted men, before confirming his identity publicly.


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