Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Aug 20, 2011 5:59 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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LIBYA

Heavy gunfire and explosions rattle the Libyan capital after rebels seize control of a major coastal city just west of Tripoli. Rebel commanders say the firing in the capital signal the start of an attack on Moammar Gadhafi's main stronghold. Gun battles and rounds of mortar shelling are heard clearly at the hotel where foreign correspondents stay in the capital. Explosions are heard in the area as NATO aircraft carry out heavy bombing runs after nightfall.

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EGYPT

The death of Egyptian soldiers caught in a battle between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants is testing the two nations' landmark 1979 peace treaty, just as a sudden spike in violence Saturday threatens to trigger a full-scale conflict between Israel and Gaza militants. Egypt is blaming Israel. It threatens to recall its ambassador to Israel in a strongly worded statement accusing Israel of violating the peace accord. Israel issues a rare apology. Israel and Gaza both border the Sinai Peninsula.

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SYRIA

Syrian security forces fire on protesters in the central province of Homs, killing two people and wounding at least eight, as President Bashar Assad pushes ahead with a brutal crackdown despite assurances to the U.N. chief this week that the military operations have ended. Assad has come under mounting criticism for the offensive again the five-month-old uprising, most recently from the United States and its European allies who demand the Syrian leader step down. A state-owned Syrian newspaper, considered a government mouthpiece, rejects those calls, saying they reveal the "face of the conspiracy" against Damascus.

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TUNISIA

Violent clashes erupt near Tunisia's borders with Libya and Algeria between security forces and a group of armed men. The nationality of the men, who were traveling in the remote Saharan Desert region of southwestern Tunisia aboard five all-terrain vehicles, is not yet known. There were an unknown number of casualties.