A look at political unrest in the Middle East

AP News
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Posted: Mar 06, 2011 3:33 PM
A look at political unrest in the Middle East

A look at anti-government protests, political unrest and key developments in the Middle East on Sunday:

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LIBYA:

Libyan helicopter gunships strafe opposition fighters as forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi pound them with artillery and rockets, dramatically escalating a counteroffensive to halt the rapid advance of rebels toward the capital, Tripoli.

Another scene of heavy fighting is the city of Misrata, 120 miles (200 kilometers) east of Tripoli, where a doctor tells The Associated Press 20 people were killed and 100 wounded.

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YEMEN:

Government supporters wielding knives and handguns attack protesters in the country's south, leaving one dead in the latest of weeks of demonstrations demanding the president step down.

In a separate development in the increasingly chaotic nation, suspected al-Qaida gunmen kill four soldiers from the elite Republican Guard forces in a mountainous region.

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BAHRAIN:

Thousands of Shiite opposition supporters block the entrance to the Bahraini prime minister's office but fail to disrupt a government meeting as the campaign for reform in the strategic Gulf nation enters its third week.

Bahrain's Shiite majority has long complained of discrimination and political persecution in the island nation, which is ruled by a Sunni dynasty.

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EGYPT:

Egypt's prime minister-designate names a caretaker Cabinet to help lead the country through reforms and toward free elections after the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. The changes include new faces in the key ministries of foreign affairs, interior and justice.

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SAUDI ARABIA:

Saudi authorities release a Shiite cleric two days after Shiites in the eastern region demonstrate to demand his release. Tawfiq al-Amer, who was arrested last week after he called for a constitutional monarchy, was released, a close associate of al-Amer says.