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Israel (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Netanyahu Claims Narrow Victory

1700 GMT: Palestine. A 21-year-old Palestinian woman died after being shot in the face by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank today.

Lubna Hanash was killed in a shooting outside a college near Al-Arrub refugee camp, eight kilometres (five miles) north of Hebron, medics said.

Witnesses said a civilian car with Israeli plates stopped on the main Hebron-Bethlehem road in the southern West Bank and two men wearing military fatigues got out and began shooting towards a nearby Palestinian college. Medics said another two people were injured by gunshot wounds.

A military spokeswoman said troops on a routine patrol had been "confronted by Palestinians with Molotov cocktails" and opened fire in self-defence, wounding several of them.

Meanwhile, a 15-year-old Palestinian who was hit in the face by Israeli gunfire last Friday died of his injuries, an Israeli hospital spokeswoman told AFP.

Saleh Amarin had been seriously hurt by a bullet fired by Israeli troops during clashes in Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem.

The two deaths raised to six the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli gunfire since 10 January.

1640 GMT: Mali. French warplanes have continued to bomb insurgent targets in the north of the country, with Islamist fighters reportedly withdrawing from positions.

A resident of Ansongo, a town near the border with Niger, said airstrikes were forcing the Islamists to retreat. Timbuktu, to the west, was also being bombed.

"As long as armed groups remain present in those areas the air raids will continue," said a Malian officer. "Each time we discover a base, we will bomb it."

A resident of Timbuktu said by telephone that insurgents were still present in the town, despite air raids. French forces have bombed an insurgent headquarters in the area, a palace built by former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

1500 GMT: Iraq. In the latest in a wave of attacks, a suicide bomber has left at least 42 dead and 75 wounded at a Shia mosque in Tuz Khurmatu, 175 miles north of Baghdad.

Among the injured was the Deputy Chief of the Iraqi Turkam Front, Ali Hashem Mukhtar, who was attending the funeral of his late brother-in-law, shot dead on Tuesday.

1454 GMT: Mali. A British sources have said that a small number of UK Special Forces troops are already on the ground in Mali, helping to co-ordinate the French military effort against Islamist groups in the north.

The troops are part of a team of British military and MI6 personnel in the country who are providing advice and support to French commanders. None of the Special Forces are being deployed in a combat role.

The sources further said that Britain is preparing to offer reconnaissance aircraft and imagery from military satellites, while providing two C-17 transport aircraft on a long-term basis.

1429 GMT: Iraq. A suicide bomber has detonated his explosives inside a Shia mosque in Tuz Khurmato, killing at least 20 people attending a funeral.

Tuz Khurmato is in a tract of land in northern Iraq near Kurdistan, where tension is brewing over disputed oil revenues.

0959 GMT: Egypt. The National summarises criticism of President Morsi for poor building standards and a failing infrastructure amid his promise of an "Egyptian Renaissance".

Seven months into his term, Morsi is being challenged over an ineffective bureaucracy and corruption. Anger has crystallised around 5 lethal accidents in the last six months on Egyptian railways, leaving at least 70 dead.

0949 GMT: Israel. Spiegel has one of the sharpest assessments of the election, "The Winner Who Has Lost":

The conifdent Benjamin Netanyahu has likely lost the election despite his claim to victory. Now the "Strong Premier" for a "Strong Israel" has to contend with the stronger centre parties. His usual alliance with Likud-Beiteinu faces a loss of 12 seats, compared to 2009, which means they do not have a comfortable majority.

The party of [former journalist] Yair Lapid Party made significant gains in the centre and could enter a grander coalition, but a deal will be difficult to negotiate. Although unlikely, it is not entirely impossible that a ultra-religious centre-left government could be formed, without Netanyahu.

Harriet Sherwood of The Guardian profiles Lapid and his Yesh Atid Party, which finished second to Netanyahu's Likud-Beitenu alliance:

Its main platforms were reform of the political system, an overhaul of education, the inclusion of the ultra-orthodox in military service and more economic help for small businesses and the squeezed middle-class. People who voted for Yesh Atid voted in favour of "normalcy", he told campaign workers in the early hours of Wednesday.

Lapid steered his new party hard away from foreign policy and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, only making vague calls for the resumption of talks while insisting Jerusalem would never be divided as the capital of two states. But on Wednesday he acknowledged that Israel was "facing a world that is liable to ostracise us because of the deadlock in the peace process.

The Jerusalem Post offers an Election Night snapshot of Lapid, as he declared, "Grave responsibility was put on our shoulders tonight."

0921 GMT: Algeria. A spokesman for BP said the energy company "fears the worst" for four missing employees from the attack on the In Amenas gas plant.

Fourteen of 18 BP employees have been confirmed safe after the end of the siege on Saturday, when Algerian forces overran the captors.

Six British nationals, three of whom have been named, and one British permanent resident are thought to have died.

0910 GMT: Jordan. Polls have opened for Parliamentary elections.

Following the dismissal of a series of Prime Ministers and amid protests over economic problems and lack of political reform, King Abdullah called the elections ahead of schedule. Opposition factions such as the Islamic Action Front, the Hirak protest movement, and three smaller parties are boycotting the election as a "meaningless gimmick".

Ian Black offers an overview in The Guardian:

Constitutional reforms over the last year gave more authority to the chamber of deputies, which will have a freer hand to draw up legislation and a bigger role in monitoring the cabinet. And for the first time the king is promising to consult parliament before appointing the prime minister, though the king will still be able to sack him (as he has done three times in the last two years).

A new electoral law remains controversial because it is weighted in favour of the traditionally loyalist East Bank elite. Constituencies are gerrymandered against national or ideologically-based parties and against Palestinians.

0710 GMT: Israel.  With exit polls indicating his alliance have a narrow lead in Parliamentary seats --- but with a significant drop from the last elections in 2009 --- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to form "as broad a government as possible".

Netanyahu's Likud-Beitenu bloc is projected to hold 31 seats in the Knesset, down from 42. The centrist Yesh Atid (There is a Future) Party, with a surprisingly strong performance, is predicted to take 18 to 19 seats, with Labour next on 17. The Habayit Hayehudi Party of Naftali Bennett, who received a lot of attention in Western media, is expected to win 12 seats, the same number as the religious Shas Party.

If the full results announced today bear out these numbers, Netanyahu faces the challenge of forging his promised coalition. A majority of 61 members is needed in the 120-seat Knesset.

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