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Mali (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Insurgents Counter-Attack, Move Closer to Capital

See also Mali Feature: A Beginner's Guide --- The Timeline of the Conflict
Syria Live Coverage: Deadly Bombardment of Damascus Suburbs Continues
Monday's Mali (and Beyond) Live Coverage: French Warplanes Continue Attacks

2055 GMT: Bahrain. An appeals court has upheld a 15-month prison sentence on former MP Jawad Fairooz, imposed in absentia, for participation in protests in 2011.

Fairooz was convicted of calling for protests without notifying authorities, but acquitted of inciting hatred against the regime and spreading false information.

In November, Fairooz and 30 other activists were stripped of their Bahraini citizenship over accusations of "jeopardising state security".

2045 GMT: Egypt. The White House has criticised remarks by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, filmed almost three years ago, about Jews.

A Muslim Brotherhood leader in 2010, Morsi asked Egyptians to "nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred". Months later, in a television interview, Morsi referred to Zionists as bloodsuckers who attack Palestinians and described them as "the descendants of apes and pigs".

"The language that we have seen is deeply offensive," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. "We completely reject these statements, as we do any language that espouses religious hatred....This kind of discourse has been acceptable in the region for far too long, and is counter to the goal of peace/"

The Obama administration called for Morsi to make clear he respects members of all faiths.

Since becoming President last June, Morsi has promised to abide by Egypt's decades-old peace treaty with Israel.

1836 GMT: Bahrain. Back from a teaching break to find footage of last night's protest in Sitra calling for freedom for political prisoners:

1336 GMT: Iraq. Seven people, including Sunni MP Ifan al-Issawi, have been killed by a suicide bombing in Fallujah in western Iraq.

Thesuicide bomber wrapped his arms around the lawmaker, who had been inspecting a road under construction, before blowing himself up. Al Essawi, four bodyguards, and two civilians were slain, and six other people were wounded.

The killing comes just two days after Minister of Finance Rafa Al Essawi, a member of the same tribe and political bloc, escaped an apparent assassination attempt as his convoy was passing near the location of Tuesday’s attack.

Iraq's political crisis escalated when Rafa Al Essawi's offices and home were raided by security forces last month. Mainly-Sunni demonstrations, blocking a main highway in Anbar Province, have ensued.

1236 GMT: Saudi Arabia. Egyptian human rights lawyer Ahmed al-Gizawi has been sentenced to five years in prison and 300 lashes by a court in Jeddah, according to his former attorney.

Al-Gizawi was arrested in April with more than 20,000 anti-anxiety drugs, which are banned in Saudi Arabia. Egyptians protested at his arrest, and the Saudis recalled their ambassador.

Another Egyptian who was arrested in connection with the same case was sentenced to four years in prison and 400 lashes, and a Saudi national jailed for two years and sentenced to 100 lashes.

Egyptian activists say Mr Gizawi was held after lodging a complaint against Saudi Arabia for its treatment of Egyptians in its prisons. His family said he had gone to perform a pilgrimage, an account disputed by Saudi authorities.

1230 GMT: Mali. "Defence sources" say France is planning to send a total of 2,500 troops to Mali, more than three times the current deployment.

"There will be a gradual build-up to a figure of 2,500," a source close to Minister of Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.French media indicate the deployments will move beyond protection of the capital Bamako to include a base at Mopti in central Mali, from where operations in the north of the country can be pursued.

1220 GMT: Turkey. With a large crowd expected to attend the funerals of three Kurdish activists assassinated in Paris, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned against any provocations to challenge his government's talks with the imprisoned leader of the Kurdish insurgency PKK, Abdullah Ocalan.

The three women --- PKK co-founder Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan, and Leyla Söylemez -- were shot to death at the Kurdistan Information Bureau last Thursday. Their bodies will be brought to Turkey for burial on Wednesday.

Erdogan said in remarks to his party's MPs:

Nothing can justify violence and terror. Terror has brought nothing to this country but pain, blood and tears. Our only wish and aim is to dry the tears of mothers.

We have never lost hope and will not. We are cautious and hopeful.

1210 GMT: Israel and Palestine. Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during clashes in Budrus near Ramallah today, medics said.

Samir Ahmad Abdul-Rahim, 17, was hit by four bullets in the head, chest, and leg.

The head of Budrus village council, Mohammad Marar, said Israeli military jeeps approached the village high school during a raid. Students were leaving the school after taking final exams and threw stones at Israeli forces.

Israeli soldiers responded with live ammunition, fatally wounding Abdul-Rahim, Marar said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said several Palestinians had damaged Israel's wall in Budrus "attempting to infiltrate Israel". Israeli soldiers at the scene "responded immediately to secure the area and prevent infiltration". She could not say whether Israeli soldiers used live fire and said the incident was under investigation.

Mustafa Abu Jarad, 21, was shot in the head on Monday in the town of Beit Lahiya, medics said, and later died from his injuries. Israel's military denied involvement in the incident.

Anwar Muhammad al-Mamlouk, 22, was killed by Israeli fire east of Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza on Friday, and another man was seriously wounded and taken to the Kamal Udwan hospital by paramedics.

1200 GMT: Libya. Italy has temporarily closed its consulate in Benghazi and withdrawn its staff from the country following a gun attack on its consul Guido De Sanctis.

"The Italian government has temporarily suspended activity at the consulate in Benghazi for security reasons. The staff will return to Italy in the next few hours,” the Foreign Ministry ministry said.

De Sanctis’s bullet-proof car came under fire on Saturday. The consul escaped unharmed.

Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi on Sunday condemned the incident as “a vile act of terrorism” and “an attempt to destabilise the institutions of the new Libya".

0850 GMT: Bahrain. Women march in Karzakan yesterday, promoting demonstrations in the capital Manama on Friday:

0720 GMT: Mali. Last weekend's story of attacks by French warplanes, driving Islamists out of towns in northern Mali, was replaced on Monday by the narrative of counter-attacks by insurgents. 

Opposition fighters overran the garrison village of Diabaly in central Mali, far to the southwest of the insurgent-held territory attacked since last Friday and 400 kilometres (about 250 miles) from the capital Bamako.

French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian said the insurgents "took Diabaly after fierce fighting and resistance from the Malian army that couldn't hold them back"'. France expanded its air attacks into central Mali in an attempt to counter the advance.

President Francois Hollande said that the currrent French deployment of 750 soldiers, many of them positioned in Bamako, "will increase".

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council expressed unanimous "understanding and support" for the French action, according to Paris's ambassador, Gerard Araud.

Araud told a closed-door meeting of the Security Council that France was responding to calls for help from the Malian Government and that the existence of the country was at stake: "We will defend [the capital] Bamako. We will not let the southern part of the country, with its 13 million inhabitants, fall to terrorist groups."

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