Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Mar 25, 2011 6:10 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

A look at the latest developments in Mideast political unrest on Friday:

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LIBYA

Qatar becomes the first Arab country to fly combat missions over Libya after NATO agrees to take command of the no-fly zone part of air operations against Moammar Gadhafi's regime.

French and British jets strike Libyan military targets around a besieged eastern city, as talks in the Ethiopian capital to find a way out of the crisis produce a statement from the Libyan government representative saying his country is ready to talk with rebels and accept political reform, possibly including elections.

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SYRIA

Violence erupts around the country as troops open fire on protesters in several cities and pro- and anti-government crowds clash on the tense streets of the capital in the most widespread unrest in years, witnesses say.

Soldiers shoot at demonstrators in the restive southern city of Daraa after crowds set fire to a bronze statue of the country's late president, Hafez Assad, a resident tells The Associated Press. Heavy gunfire is heard in the city center and witnesses report several casualties.

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JORDAN

Protesters demanding reforms clash with government supporters in the center of Jordan's capital, pelting each other with stones until security forces charge in and beat protesters, as unrest intensifies in the key U.S. ally. The clashes, in which more than 100 are injured, are the most violent in more than two months of protests. A government supporter dies of a heart attack during the unrest.

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YEMEN

Facing growing calls for his resignation, Yemen's longtime ruler tells tens of thousands of supporters that he's ready to step down but only if he can leave the country in "safe hands," while anti-government protesters mass for a rival rally. The president's remarks recall a similar statement by Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak days before he was ousted on Feb. 11.

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BAHRAIN

Security forces fire tear gas at anti-government protesters after a prominent Shiite cleric vows that their demands for the Sunni monarchy to loosen its grip on power will not be silenced by "brutal force." Activists say one person died.

Bahrain's government, meanwhile, brushes aside suggestions for an international investigation into the deaths of protesters during the month of unrest or allegations that police attacked wounded protesters at a hospital.

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SAUDI ARABIA

Several hundred Shiite Muslims protest in eastern Saudi Arabia to demand the release of detainees and show support for fellow Shiites protesting against the Sunni monarchy in nearby Bahrain, a Saudi news agency says. The protesters call on the Saudi government to withdraw its troops from Bahrain, where they are leading a 1,500-strong Gulf military force helping shore up the Sunni monarchy.

(This version CORRECTS that Jordanian died of heart attack).)