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Iraq (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Dozens Killed in Attack on Police Headquarters

Today's opposition rally in Bahrain "Change is Coming"

See also Syria Live Coverage: Diplomatic Breakthrough? Opposition Leader Meets Russia & Iran Foreign Ministers
Saturday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Beatings, Molotovs, & a Death in Clashes

2102 GMT: Mali. French warplanes have carried out airstrikes in the far north near the Algerian border.

Thirty jets targeted insurgent training and communication centres around Tessalit in a mountainous area.

The French forces are trying to remove insurgents from their last urban foothold in the north, the town of Kidal. Paris's troops captured the airport on Wednesday, but --- contrary to some reports last week --- have not taken the centre of the town from an insurgent group, the MNLA, which is part of the Tuareg people.

Malian Interim President Dioncounda Traore has offered to hold talks with the MNLA to help secure Kidal.

1918 GMT: Egypt. The director of Central Security Forces, Police General Ashraf Abdallah, has said that his officers are only defending themselves against attacks by demonstrators.

Claiming 394 of his men have been injuredm Abdallah said, “Some say that the Central Security Forces treat demonstrators badly. But the truth is that protesters are the ones treating us in a very bad way. They throw Molotov cocktails, missiles and fireworks at us."

Abdahllah said the CSF do not have any birdshot and only use tear gas and warning shots to disperse demonstrators when they attack.

Most of the 54 people killed since 25 January were victims of birdshot and other live ammunition.

1908 GMT: Egypt. President Morsi’s office has rejected the proposal of the National Salvation Front and other opposition groups to form a national salvation government.

“There is only two months or less left before holding the Parliamentary elections. Then there will be a true national salvation government that reflects the street,” spokesman Yasser Ali said. “The elections need preparations, and there are other topics of interest to the citizen that must be taken care of now.”

Ali continued with an emphasis on Morsi's "national dialogue", “Whoever has a vision [to propose] in this context, they shall raise it in the dialogue, and the President is ready to compile to them according to what participators agree on."

1503 GMT: Yemen. Officials have said that a ship intercepted last month off the coast was an Iranian vessel trying to smuggle explosives and surface-to-air missiles into the country.

US officials had said earlier this week that the seizure of the ship on 23 January was coordinated with the American navy, and that the shipment was believed to have been from Iran and destined for insurgents in northern Yemen.

Yemeni State news agency SABA, quoting a source at the Higher Security Committee, said the weapons, including Russian-designed anti-aircraft missiles, were hidden inside four containers concealed by a diesel tank.

1349 GMT: Kuwait. An opposition youth activist has been sentenced to five years in prison "with immediate effect" for insulting the Emir on Twitter.

Mohammad Eid al-Ajmi can appeal the ruling but must begin serving the sentence.

Ajmi is the third opposition youth activist to be convicted for insulting the Emir on Twitter. Last month the same court sentenced Ayyad al-Harbi and Rashed al-Enezi to two years each in prison.

More youth activists face trial on similar charges, with verdicts expected in the coming weeks.

1305 GMT: Egypt. The Ministry of Health says the toll of injured from Friday's clashes has reached 113.

One protester was killed Saturday near the Presidential Palace in Cairo, while 88 people were injured in the same area.

The Ministry said 46 of the injured are still being treated in hospital.

1255 GMT: Iraq. Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani has said that 3000 prisoners have been released over the past month, amid continuing demonstrations against the al-Maliki Government.

"We have released 3,000 prisoners from Iraqi prisons in the last few weeks, and we transferred all women prisoners to prisons in their home provinces," Shahristani, who heads a cabinet committee addressing protesters' demands, said during a visit to Mosul.

Wrongful detention, especially of Sunnis, and poor treatment of female prisoners are among the complaints of the mainly-Sunni demonstrations.

Shahristani said around 30,000 people are in Iraqi prisons. He said that about 17,000 were either convicted or accused of crimes unrelated to "terrorism". Of the remaining 13,000, about 6000 have convicted of terror-related offences, and a further 7,000 being held without charge or have been accused of terror offences.

0900 GMT: Iraq. An attack on a police headquarters in the northern city of Kirkuk has killed at least 30 people and wounded 70.

Gunmen stormed the headquarters after a car bomb was detonated by a suicide attacker. Witnesses said the vehicle was painted to resemble a police car, and the gunmen, armed with grenades and wearing suicide vests, were dressed as policemen.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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