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  • The Latest: Palestinian leader to attend Peres funeral 

    Members of the Knesset guard carry the coffin of former Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, in Jerusalem, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. Peres died early Wednesday from complications from a stroke. He was 93. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on funeral preparations and a nation in mourning at the death of Israel's ninth President, Shimon Peres (all times local):


  • Russia says U.S. Syria statement shows Washington supports terrorism 

    Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov speaks during a news briefing in the main building of Foreign Ministry in MoscowRussia is outraged by the threatening tone of the latest U.S. statement on Syria, viewing it as tantamount to supporting terrorism, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday, according to Russian news agencies. Ryabkov was referring to a statement made by U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby who said on Wednesday that Russia had an interest in stopping the violence in Syria because extremists could exploit the vacuum there and launch attacks "against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities." "We cannot interpret this as anything else apart from the current U.S. administration's de facto support for terrorism," Ryabkov was quoted as saying. "These thinly disguised invitations to use terrorism as a weapon against Russia show the political depths the current U.S. administration has stooped to in its approach to the Middle East and specifically to Syria." U.S. officials said on Wednesday that Obama administration officials had begun considering tougher responses to the Russian-backed Syrian government assault on Aleppo, including military options, as rising tensions with Moscow diminish hopes for a diplomatic solution.


  • Pope urges greater efforts for peace in the Middle East VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is urging the world not to look the other way from war and suffering in the Middle East and appealed to leaders "for greater and renewed efforts to achieve peace throughout the Middle East."
  • Oil price rally fades on doubts over OPEC output deal 

    Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Nigeria's Mohammed Barkindo (R), arrives for a press conference following an informal meeting between OPEC members in the Algerian capital Algiers on September 28, 2016An oil price rally fuelled by OPEC's deal to cut crude output fizzled out Thursday with analysts doubting the cartel's ability to seriously tackle a supply glut. Following a meeting that included Russia, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries shocked markets Wednesday by saying it planned to trim total production by some 750,000 barrels per day. Exact details of the deal remain to be agreed and analysts said markets will now wait to see whether non-OPEC producers such as Russia, the United States and Canada will make cuts of their own.


  • Tumult to tranquility: Migrant family finds peace in Germany 

    In this Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 photo, Samir Qasu, 46, center, a Yazidi migrant from Sinjar, Iraq, laughs while speaking on his mobile phone as he and his wife Bessi Qasim, 43, left, and his son Dildar Qasu, 11, enjoy their time at a cafe in Freiburg, Germany. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)ELZACH, Germany (AP) — They fled Iraq just ahead of an Islamic State group onslaught in which thousands of their fellow Yazidis were enslaved or slaughtered. Months as refugees on the fringes of Turkish society, a nearly fatal trip across the Aegean and a long trek through the Balkans and Austria north to Germany came next.


  • Clinton joins Israel in paying last respects to Peres 

    Former US president Bill Clinton pays his respects next to the coffin of former Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on September 29, 2016Israeli leaders, former US president Bill Clinton and crowds of mourners gathered outside parliament Thursday to pay last respects to Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres, whose body was lying in state. A major security operation was being put in place ahead of Friday's funeral, which is to be attended by leaders from across the world, including US President Barack Obama and Britain's Prince Charles. Peres's death on Wednesday at age 93 after suffering a major stroke triggered an outpouring of grief and tributes that hailed the Israeli ex-president's transformation from hawk to fervent peace advocate.


  • Suspected people smuggler charged in Australian court SYDNEY (AP) — An Iranian citizen extradited from Indonesia was charged in a Sydney court on Thursday with attempting to smuggle 73 asylum seekers by boat to Australia.
  • Bahrain minister in surprise tribute to Israel's Peres 

    Bahrain's foreign minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa (left) pictured with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Manama on April 7, 2016Bahrain's foreign minister paid tribute to Israel's former president Shimon Peres on Thursday, in a surprise statement that drew strong Arab criticism on social media. "Rest in Peace President Shimon Peres, a Man of War and a Man of the still elusive Peace in the Middle East," Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said on Twitter. Like most Arab countries, Bahrain does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, and many Arabs associate Peres with the successive wars that have rocked the Middle East rather than the Oslo accords with the Palestinians that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.


  • Protests grow tense after police slaying of black man in California 

    Protesters gather along Broadway Avenue to protest the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man on Tuesday by officers in El CajonEL CAJON, Calif. (Reuters) - A second night of mostly peaceful protests over the fatal police shooting in Southern California of an unarmed black man said to be mentally ill climaxed on Wednesday as protesters confronted officers in riot gear who retreated as tensions rose.


  • U.S. weighs tougher response to Russia over Syria crisis: officials By Jonathan Landay, John Walcott and Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Obama administration officials have begun considering tougher responses to the Russian-backed Syrian government assault on Aleppo, including military options, as rising tensions with Moscow diminish hopes for diplomatic solutions from the Middle East to Ukraine and cyberspace, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. The new discussions were being held at "staff level," and have yet to produce any recommendations to President Barack Obama, who has resisted ordering military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's multisided civil war.
  • Obama defends Syria policy in face of renewed criticism 

    A Syrian boy carries a toy gun past a destroyed building in the northeastern Syrian city of QamishliPresident Barack Obama defended his refusal to use military force to end Syria's brutal civil war Wednesday, as diplomatic efforts faltered and a humanitarian crisis of historic proportions unfolded in Aleppo. With just months left in office, the besiegement and bombardment of Syria's second city has put Obama's polices back under the spotlight and exposed deep unease within his administration. "There hasn't been probably a week that's gone by in which I haven't reexamined some of the underlying premises around how we're dealing with the situation in Syria," Obama told a CNN town hall debate.


  • The Latest: Obama orders flags at half-staff for Peres 

    FILE - In this March 22, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama walks on the tarmac with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Israeli President Shimon Peres, left, prior to his departure from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. Shimon Peres, a former Israeli president and prime minister, whose life story mirrored that of the Jewish state and who was celebrated around the world as a Nobel prize-winning visionary who pushed his country toward peace, has died, the Israeli news website YNet reported early Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. He was 93. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on the death of former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres (all times local):


  • OPEC agrees surprise oil output cut 

    Algerian Energy Minister Noureddine Boutarfa attends an informal meeting between members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on September 28, 2016The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to cut oil production in a surprise move aimed at boosting stubbornly weak crude prices. The news triggered an immediate spike of more than five percent on oil markets, which had expected the talks in Algiers to end without agreement, and helped push US equities higher. At the end of six hours of negotiations and weeks of horse trading, OPEC announced the plan to cut production to a level of 32.5-33 million barrels per day (bpd) from 33.47 billion, bpd in August, the International Energy Agency said.


  • US says drone strikes in Yemen killed 4 Al-Qaeda members 

    Washington has been involved in a years-long unmanned drone campaign in Yemen and considers Al-Qaeda's Yemen-based franchise -- Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) -- to be its most dangerousThe United States said Wednesday it conducted drone strikes against Al-Qaeda in Yemen last week, killing four members of the terror group. The first attack occurred on September 20 in Marib province and left two Al-Qaeda operatives dead, the military's central command for the Middle East said in a statement. The second attack, on September 22 in central Baida province, killed two Al-Qaeda members, it said.


  • On little sleep, Israel's Peres persevered in peace, politics For many years Shimon Peres, who died on Wednesday at the age of 93, got by on very little sleep. Israel's perpetual prophet of peace, Peres held every top job in the cabinet. In interviews and informal chats we had through the years, Peres never abandoned his enthusiasm for the political battlefield, even when it meant enduring the scorn of countrymen who tagged him a dreamer.
  • Congress rebukes Obama, overrides veto of 9/11 legislation 

    This frame grab from video provided by C-SPAN2, shows the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, as the Senate acted decisively to override President Barack Obama's veto of Sept. 11 legislation. The White House saw it coming, but still it stung. When President Barack Obama was hit with the first veto override of his presidency on Wednesday, it landed as a clear reminder of his dwindling political influence, years of confounding relationships with Congress and shaky prospects for the few legislative priorities he has left (C-SPAN2 via AP)WASHINGTON (AP) — In a resounding rebuke, Democrats joined with Republicans Wednesday to hand Barack Obama the first veto override of his presidency, voting overwhelmingly to allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts for its alleged backing of the attackers.


  • OPEC reaches preliminary accord to curb oil production 

    Khalid Al-Falih Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia answers questions as part of the 15th International Energy Forum Ministerial meeting in Algiers, Algeria, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. At meetings in Algeria this week, energy ministers from OPEC and other oil-producing countries are discussing whether to freeze production levels to boost global oil prices. (AP Photo/ Sidali Djarboub)OPEC nations have reached a preliminary agreement to curb oil production for the first time since the global financial crisis eight years ago, immediately pushing up oil prices. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Qatar’s energy minister and current president of OPEC, announced the deal after several hours of talks Wednesday in the Algerian capital. Disagreements between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran had dimmed hopes for a deal.


  • Shimon Peres, Israel's elder statesman on defense and peacemaking, dies at 93 

    File photo of Israel's President Shimon Peres addressing the European Parliament in StrasbourgBy Ori Lewis JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Shimon Peres, one of Israel's last surviving founding fathers who developed its powerful armed forces and nuclear capabilities before seeking peace with the Palestinians and sharing a Nobel prize, died on Wednesday at 93 after suffering a stroke. A convinced campaigner for Middle East peace who remained energetic until the final days of his seven decades in public life, the center-left elder statesman was mourned by world leaders and praised for his tireless engagement. "A light has gone out," said U.S. President Barack Obama who, the White House later confirmed, will attend Peres's funeral on Friday.


  • Pro-Assad Syrian pleads guilty in US to role in hacking ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A Syrian national pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges for his role in a scheme that hacked computers and targeted perceived enemies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
  • Arabs greet Peres death with silence and animosity 

    FILE - In this Oct. 1996 file photo, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, right, shakes hands with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres at the Sharm el Sheikh resort in the Sinai peninsula for talks on the Middle East peace process. Israel’s Shimon Peres was widely admired around the world as a peacemaker and visionary but the view in the Arab world, which greeted his Sept. 28, 2016 death mostly with silence, was more complex: memories linger of another Peres who waged war in Lebanon in 1996, organized Israel's secretive nuclear deterrent, and even supported the West Bank Jewish settler movement in the 1970s. (AP Photo/ Mohamed El-Dakhakhny, File)JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's Shimon Peres was widely admired around the world as a peacemaker and visionary, but the view in the Arab world was more complex: Memories linger of another Peres, who built up Israel's military might, waged war in Lebanon and promoted policies seen as harmful to the Palestinians.


  • Israel mourns after death of founding father Peres 

    A framed portrait of former Israeli president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres is displayed outside the presidential compound in Jerusalem, on September 28, 2016Israel and global leaders mourned the death of ex-president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres on Wednesday as the country prepared for a funeral expected to be attended by major world figures. Peres, who was 93, held nearly every major office in the country, serving twice as prime minister and also as president, a mostly ceremonial role, from 2007 to 2014. Peres died Wednesday around 3:00 am (0000 GMT), Rafi Walden, who was Peres's personal doctor and also his son-in-law, told AFP.


  • Shimon Peres: some leading tributes 

    A bronze chest statue of late Israeli ex-president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres, whose death on September 28, 2016 has caused an outpour of grief, sits in the gardens of the President's Residence in JerusalemNobel laureate and former Israeli president Shimon Peres, who died Wednesday aged 93, left an indelible mark on world affairs. Here is a selection of international tributes paid to one of Israel's best-loved elder statesmen. "There are few people who we share this world with who change the course of human history, not just through their role in human events, but because they expand our moral imagination and force us to expect more of ourselves.


  • World leaders mourn Peres, praise him as a man of peace 

    FILE - In this March 20, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama is greeted by Israeli President Shimon Peres, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upon his arrival ceremony at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. Shimon Peres, a former Israeli president and prime minister, whose life story mirrored that of the Jewish state and who was celebrated around the world as a Nobel prize-winning visionary who pushed his country toward peace, has died, the Israeli news website YNet reported early Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. He was 93. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)LONDON (AP) — Current and former world leaders mourned the passing of Israeli statesman Shimon Peres on Wednesday, praising him as a visionary who committed his life to the elusive goal of lasting peace in the Middle East.


  • Danish far-right group's 'anti-migrant spray' draws ire 

    Europe has faced its biggest migration crisis since World War II with well over one million refugees and migrants arriving on its shores in the past year as they flee war in Syria and the Middle East, and poverty in AfricaIn the southern town of Haderslev, 137 cans of relabelled hair spray were given away to the public on Saturday by the far-right Party of the Danes, which does not hold any seats in parliament. "The asylum spray is a concrete reaction against more Danes feeling insecure," party leader Daniel Carlsen, a former member of a Nazi group that he now distances himself from, told AFP. "Some Danish girls don't dare to go outside after it gets dark, partly because there are now asylum seekers in town," he added.


  • Reaction to the death of Israel's Shimon Peres 

    FILE - In this March 22, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama walks on the tarmac with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Israeli President Shimon Peres, left, prior to his departure from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. Shimon Peres, a former Israeli president and prime minister, whose life story mirrored that of the Jewish state and who was celebrated around the world as a Nobel prize-winning visionary who pushed his country toward peace, has died, the Israeli news website YNet reported early Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. He was 93. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)Quotes from around the world after the death of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and elder statesman of Israeli politics, at age 93.


  • Peres sought peace, but dream now rapidly fading 

    Shimon Peres (C) was jointly awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Yasser Arafat (L) and Yitzhak Rabin (R) for their efforts to reach a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation OrganisationShimon Peres, who died Wednesday aged 93, strove for peace with the Palestinians with the Oslo accords he helped negotiate more than two decades ago, but his dream is rapidly fading. The peace process that he helped create is now comatose, with little hope on either side that the deadlock can be broken anytime soon. "We are leaving behind us the era of belligerency and are striding together toward peace," Peres declared in his acceptance speech for the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize, awarded for his role in negotiating Oslo.


  • EU hopes to move 30,000 refugees from Greece by end of 2017 

    A child stands next to a UNHCR tent at the Kara Tepe migrant camp on the Greek island of LesbosThe EU said Wednesday it hoped to relocate 30,000 refugees from Greece by the end of next year, insisting it was making "significant progress" on tackling the migrant crisis. A deal with Turkey to cut the flow of migrants to the Greek islands is also proving successful, said an assessment by the European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation bloc. "We have come a long way," Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said as he released reports on several key areas of the crisis.


  • EU executive says emergency border checks still valid though migrant influx has eased By Gabriela Baczynska BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's executive said on Wednesday that emergency border checks introduced within Europe's passport-free travel zone by countries including Germany and Sweden to stem a migrant influx were still justified even though arrival numbers have eased. In a blow to European integration, the EU partly suspended the Schengen Area arrangement as member states were overwhelmed by the arrival of some 1.3 million refugees and migrants in 2015. "The border controls have been necessary," said EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.
  • Israel's Peres won Nobel prize but his Mideast peace dream remained elusive By Jeffrey Heller JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Shimon Peres, who died on Wednesday at the age of 93, never realized his vision of a new Middle East built upon a 1993 interim peace deal he helped shape with the Palestinians. Peres was hospitalized following a stroke two weeks ago and his condition had improved before a sudden deterioration on Tuesday, doctors said. "Don't forget to be daring and curious and to dream big," Peres urged first-graders at the start of the school year in a posting on his Facebook page earlier this month.
  • US rights group says abuse rife in notorious Egypt prison CAIRO (AP) — Authorities at a maximum-security prison in the Egyptian capital routinely abuse political prisoners by cramming them into packed cells, cutting off access to families and lawyers, and blocking medical treatment, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.
  • Peres: architect of Israel nuclear programme as well as peace 

    Shimon Peres, who died Wednesday aged 93, is famed for his peace efforts with the Palestinians but his role as architect of Israel's nuclear programme may prove his more lasting legacy. When still in his 30s during the 1950s, Peres played a key part in Israel's pursuit of a nuclear capability at the urging of Israel's first prime minister David Ben-Gurion.


  • Shimon Peres worked 'tirelessly' for two-state solution: UN chief 

    Then Israeli president Shimon Peres (left) talks with UN chief Ban Ki-moon in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2009UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hailed Shimon Peres's long efforts to forge a deal aimed at fostering peace in Israel and the Middle East, after the statesman's death earlier on Wednesday. "He worked tirelessly for a two-state solution that would enable Israel to live securely and harmoniously with the Palestinians and the wider region," Ban said of the former Israeli leader who died at 93. Peres, who shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, died in his sleep after suffering a stroke, drawing tributes from past and present world leaders.


  • What are the Oslo accords? 

    Shimon Peres (C), at the time Israeli foreign minister, signed the Oslo Accords in 1993, on Palestinian autonomy in the occupied territoriesFormer Israeli president Shimon Peres, who died on Wednesday aged 93, was the last survivor of the three men awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the Oslo accords. The agreements, signed in the early 1990s, were meant to create a "lasting and comprehensive peace settlement" between Israelis and Palestinians and were hailed across the world. The accords, signed in Washington in 1993 and Taba, Egypt, in 1995, were the first peace treaties ever signed between Israel and the Palestinian leadership.


  • World Bank releases $300 mn for Syrian refugees in Jordan 

    Jordan says it currently hosts nearly 1.4 million refugees -- with more than 600,000 registered with the United NationsThe World Bank announced it will release $300 million in loans to help facilitate the labor market for Syrian refugees in Jordan. The funds will be used to attract investors and create reforms that will help grant access to the Syrian labor force, the Bank said in a statement. "By creating the conditions for increased investment and jobs, and by allowing refugees, during their time in the country, to seek work and contribute to the economy, Jordan is shifting from a purely humanitarian approach to a forward looking development drive," said Ferid Belhaj, director of the Bank's Middle East Department.


  • Shimon Peres: Key facts 

    Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres (R, pictured with PLO chairman Yasser Arafat (L), was one of the architects of the Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians, reached in 1993 and 1995Shimon Peres, former Israeli president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, died on Wednesday aged 93. Peres was one of the architects of the Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians, reached in 1993 and 1995. Peres was foreign minister under his Labour party rival Yitzhak Rabin.


  • UK opens secret files about 'Jewish terrorists' in 1940s 

    This a declassified document released by the British Security Service made available Wednesday Sept. 28, 2016. UK opened secret files about ‘Jewish terrorists’ in 1940s. The newly declassified British security services files document repeated attacks by ‘Jewish terrorists’ trying to drive British forces out of Palestine in the drive toward establishing a Jewish state. The files show how British agents tried to contain the threat of militant activities and keep the groups from launching attacks in Europe and Britain.(The National Archive via AP)LONDON (AP) — The call to British military security forces came early in the morning, shortly after 1 a.m., and could not be ignored. The informant's message was alarming: Assassins planned to kill the commander of British forces in Palestine the following morning; evasive action was needed.


  • Oil slumps as Iran-Saudi discord dims freeze prospects 

    New signs of discord sent oil prices sliding on world markets in the face of a global supply glut that has left a gaping hole in the finances of oil-exporting nationsIran on Tuesday ruled out an imminent agreement with other major oil producers to freeze output as regional rivalry with Saudi Arabia hindered efforts to reverse a price slump. The new signs of discord sent oil prices sliding again on world markets in the face of a global supply glut that has left a gaping hole in the finances of oil-exporting nations. OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia has so far refused to curb its output at a time when Iran is ramping up production following the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions.


  • Defense chief: 9/11 bill could be devastating to US military 

    FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2016 file photo, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. As defense chief for a president who famously envisioned “a world without nuclear weapons,” Ash Carter has said remarkably little about them. He has been quiet on a range of nuclear issues, including the Pentagon’s efforts to correct an array of morale, training, discipline and resource problems in the Air Force nuclear missile corps. This is all the more notable for the fact that Carter, a physicist by training and policy wonk by reputation, cut his professional teeth on nuclear weapons during the Cold War. This quiet approach is expected to end when Carter visits Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Legislation that would allow the families of Sept. 11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for allegedly backing the terrorists who carried out the attacks could be devastating to the U.S. military, according to Defense Secretary Ash Carter.


  • Russia backs Aleppo assault to strong-arm US: analysts 

    A Syrian man carries a baby after removing him from the rubble of a destroyed building following a reported air strike in the Qatarji neighbourhood of the northern city of Aleppo on September 21, 2016Russia has decided to throw its military might behind the Syrian regime's drive to recapture divided Aleppo in a bid to strong-arm Washington into accepting Moscow's demands, analysts say. "Negotiations with the Americans were just a smokescreen in order to buy time and prepare for the next phase of military operations," said Thomas Pierret, a Syria expert at the University of Edinburgh. After intensive negotiations between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, a much-awaited ceasefire agreement went into effect in Syria on September 12.


  • Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, destroyer of Timbuktu shrines 

    Alleged Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist leader Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi pleaded guilty to a single charge of cultural destruction at the International Criminal Court in The HagueAhmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, sentenced to nine years in jail by the International Criminal Court for destroying heritage sites in Timbuktu, was known as a ruthless enforcer for jihadist group Ansar Dine when it took over the fabled Malian city. Born around 40 years ago in Agoune, 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Timbuktu, the curly-haired former teacher was steeped in Islamic learning from a young age. Mahdi was soon recruited by the Islamist group Ansar Dine as "the most competent and prominent person in Timbuktu when it came to being knowledgeable in religious matters", in the words of ICC prosecutors.


 

 

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