Across the Middle East this week, the battle against Islamic extremists raged as a U.S.-led rescue attempt in Yemen saw two hostages killed.
In the Syrian border town of Kobani, long under siege by the Islamic State group, civilians took shelter near the Turkish border as Kurdish fighters continued to battle the extremists. In northern Iraq, Christians displaced by the militant group gathered for a candlelight procession after Pope Francis addressed the crowd via a video message played on large screens.
Bombs tore through the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and in Sanaa, Yemen. An American teacher was the victim of a stabbing attack in an upscale Abu Dhabi shopping mall. A pipeline rupture caused an oil spill near Israel's desert border with Jordan.
In Gaza, workers began the long process of removing rubble from the neighborhood hardest hit during this summer's war between Hamas and Israel. In Jerusalem, lawmakers voted to dissolve the Knesset, a preliminary step that will pave the way for early elections two years ahead of schedule.
In Yemen, a South African teacher and an American photojournalist were killed by their al-Qaida captors during a rescue operation by U.S. commandos, American officials said.
This gallery contains photos published Dec. 1-7, 2014. See the latest AP photo galleries: http://apne.ws/TXeCBN
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AP Middle East regional photo editor Maya Alleruzzo curated this gallery. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mayaalleruzzo.