Gaza families receive Qatari financial aid | AFP

Palestinians queue up at a post office in Gaza City to receive Qatari aid payments of $100 allocated per family, as part of millions in support from the Gulf emirate. The Hamas communications ministry says it has received $30 million in aid from Qatar, a rare Middle East ally.

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Soldiers deploy to Middle East amid pandemic

There’s a wind of uncertainty constantly circling around the 82nd Airborne Division. Right now, that means training and deploying across the globe amid a pandemic. (June 17)

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Gloves and masks litter Middle East amid pandemic | AFP

Disposable masks and gloves that remain in high demand to protect populations from the coronavirus pandemic litter the streets of several Middle Eastern and Mediterranean capitals, adding to the existing environmental pollution.

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Iran’s Chemical Weapons Survivors Struggle With Coronavirus — and U.S. Sanctions

Iran was an early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic and has remained the hardest-hit country in the Middle East. Iranian officials say that efforts to combat the virus are hampered by U.S. sanctions. President Trump has pursued a ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran since pulling out of the nuclear deal in 2018, unilaterally imposing sanctions that have devastated the country’s economy.

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Syrian widows prepare Ramadan meals for Idlib residents in need | AFP

Syrian widows in protective gear prepare iftar meals for Idlib residents in need and displaced communities during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in the city of Idlib, in war-torn Syria, which has officially recorded 42 COVID-19 cases and four deaths from the respiratory disease. Muslims across the Middle East are bracing for a bleak month of Ramadan fasting as the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic lingers.

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Muezzins voices echo in the Middle East as they call the faithful to pray | AFP

As the rising sun gently begins to illuminate, the hypnotic voices of muezzins calling to prayer echo softly in several cities around the Middle East. However, as Muslims prepare for the start of the holy month of Ramadan, the sound of muezzins calling the faithful to prayer, resonates even louder from the minarets above empty streets, while people remain in confinement to battle the COVID-19 virus.

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The five pillars of Islam | AFP Animé

From cancelled iftar feasts to suspended mosque prayers, Muslims across the Middle East are bracing for a bleak month of Ramadan fasting as the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic lingers. Videographic on the five pillars of Islam. VIDEOGRAPHIC

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Inside Iran | Inside The Outbreak | Associated Press

Iran has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus outbreak as the number of confirmed cases tops 60,000, more than any other country in the Middle East. The region, however, is beginning to see a spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Jon Gambrell, AP News Director of the Persian Gulf and Iran, explains why some countries in the Middle East are seeing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, compared to others; he also weighs in on relations between the U.S. and Iran following a Washington-directed strike in January that killed an Iranian general.

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‘It’s not rosy’: Kenya’s flowers rot amid virus slowdown | AFP

As the coronavirus pandemic has brought the world’s biggest economies to a halt, stopping flights, gatherings and much of daily life, Kenya’s flower industry has wilted. Instead of being flown to Europe or the Middle East for weddings, funerals and romantic gestures, tens of thousands of roses now lie rotting in an improvised dumpsite.

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Paratroopers always prepared for sudden deployment

Amid rising tensions with Iran, 2,800 members of the 82nd Airborne Division remain on standby in the Middle East. The Associated Press was given rare access to see how “American’s Guard of Honor” prepares to deploy at a moment’s notice. (March 16)

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Paratroopers always prepared for sudden deployments

Amid rising tensions with Iran, 2,800 members of the 82nd Airborne Division remain on standby in the Middle East. The Associated Press was given rare access to see how “American’s Guard of Honor” prepares to deploy at a moment’s notice. (March 13)

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Palestinian leader warns UN of Trump’s “Swiss cheese” peace deal | AFP

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas urges the UN Security Council to reject President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, brandishing a large map of a future Palestine as laid out by Trump, and denouncing it as a “Swiss cheese” deal.

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Dozens in Lebanon protest Trump’s Middle East plan | AFP

Dozens protest near the US embassy in Lebanon against US President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan. The demonstrators, both Palestinian refugees and Lebanese, chanted slogans and flew flags as security forces blocked off a road to the diplomatic compound.

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Arab Israelis protest against Trump’s peace plan | AFP

Arab Israelis protest against the US-brokered proposal for a settlement of the Middle East conflict, in the town of Baqa al-Gharbiya in nothern Israel. President Donald Trump’s long delayed Middle East peace plan won support in Israel but was bitterly rejected by Palestinians facing possible Israeli annexation of key parts of the West Bank.

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US support for Ukraine ‘will not waver’: Pompeo | AFP

Visiting Kiev, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that US support for Ukraine “will not waver” during a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Mike Pompeo is on his first trip to the country that is at the heart of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. The visit, which was scheduled for early January but then delayed because of Middle East tensions, was expected to highlight US support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia-backed separatists. SOUNDBITE

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Trump Mideast plan calls for Palestinian state

President Donald Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan calls for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in portions of east Jerusalem. A plan which strongly favors Israel, the Palestinians have already say no to. (Jan. 28)

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Trump proposes 4-year development freeze in area for Palestinian state | AFP

US President Donald Trump proposes that Israeli development in an area that would become the Palestinian state under his Middle East peace plan be frozen for four years. “During this time, Palestinians can use all appropriate deliberation to study the deal, negotiate with Israel, achieve the criteria for statehood, and become a truly independent and wonderful state,” Trump says at the White House in Washington. SOUNDBITE

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Trump says Mideast plan proposes ‘realistic two-state solution’ | AFP

US President Donald Trump says his Middle East peace plan offers “a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’s security.” SOUNDBITE

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Greta Thunberg joins climate protest in Switzerland | AFP

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg joins protesters at a march in Lausanne ahead of global decision-makers gathering in Davos for their annual meeting, with challenges facing the planet — from climate change to conflict in the Middle East.

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