In the Middle East this week, millions of Shiites marked a holy commemoration in Iraq despite the threat of attacks from the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State group.
Pilgrims poured into the holy city of Karbala for Arbaeen, which marks the end of the 40-day mourning period after the anniversary of the seventh-century martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson.
In the West Bank, Palestinian Cabinet member Ziad Abu Ain died shortly after a confrontation with Israeli troops during a protest against Israeli settlements near the West Bank city of Ramallah. His death sparked more protests.
In Afghanistan, a suicide attack struck the French Cultural Centre during a performance about violence in the country, killing a German citizen.
In Lebanon, 21-year-old singer Hazem Sharif from Aleppo in northern Syria was named the winner of the popular pan-Arab song contest "Arab Idol." Shanshan Feng of China won the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters golf tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
In the Gaza Strip, The Associated Press profiled some of the two dozen people surfing there despite frigid temperatures and sewage in the water. Elsewhere in Gaza, masked gunmen took to the streets to mark the 27th anniversary of the Islamic militant group Hamas.
And in Iran, where man's best friend is seen by conservatives as a corrupting Western influence, a rare animal shelter is showing mercy to hundreds of lucky dogs.
This gallery contains photos published Dec. 8-14, 2014. See the latest AP photo galleries: http://apne.ws/TXeCBN
AP Mideast regional photo editor Maya Alleruzzo in Cairo curated this gallery. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mayaalleruzzo .
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