This undated hand out picture released by Norway's energy group Statoil on January 17, 2013.
This undated hand out picture released by Norway's energy group Statoil on January 17, 2013 shows vehicles parked at the In Amenas gas field in Algeria. Photo by AFP
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Some of the Westerners held hostage by Islamist militants at a gas plant in Algeria were forced to wear belts strapped with explosives, French media reported on Thursday. For full coverage of the hostage crisis in Algeria, click here.

Iran is set to deploy warships to the Mediterranean and the Red Sea in a show of strength, Iranian media reported on Wednesday.

Despite of the doubled budget deficit in 2012, Standard & Poor’s decided to maintain Israel’s credit rating.

With five days until the election, Israel’s right-wing bloc continues to gain strength, according to three new polls.

The joint Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu slate, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, has yet to release a detailed platform.

State Prosecution on Wednesday closed the case against Gilad Sharon, son of former prime minister Ariel Sharon, in the Cyril Kern affair. The material of the investigation was transferred to Israel’s tax authority, focused on a payment of $3 million he received.

A rare journal written by an unknown Jew in the Warsaw Ghetto during the uprising there was unveiled Thursday morning at a ceremony at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum in the presence of President Shimon Peres.

The Finance Ministry on Wednesday introduced a new directive that limits the salaries of CEOs and VPs at public organizations