Middle East Updates Kurds Confirm at Least 200 Yazidis Released by ISIS

Egyptian liberals demand Mubarak face court over attack by supporters on camels; Egypt's Sissi makes first official visit to United Arab Emirates; John McCain-led delegation meets Saudi crown prince on Syrian rebel training.

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Kurdish security forces help an elderly Yazidi man, seated in a truck, on the outskirts of Kirkuk, Iraq, January 17, 2015.
Kurdish security forces help an elderly Yazidi man, seated in a truck, on the outskirts of Kirkuk, Iraq, January 17, 2015.Credit: Reuters

For Saturday's updates, click here

5:26 P.M. Egyptian liberals demand Mubarak face court over attack by camel-riding supporters

Liberal Egyptian parties filed new judicial complaints against ousted former ruler Hosni Mubarak on Sunday, including over a deadly camel charge against protestors led by his supporters, after a string of court rulings in his favor.

The Democratic Current coalition filed the complaints to the public prosecutor, requesting an investigation of possible links between Mubarak and some of the most dramatic violence of the revolt.

Government supporters on horses and camels charged into crowds gathered in Tahrir Square, triggering a battle that was seen as a crucial moment in the 18-day uprising against Mubarak's three decades of iron-fisted rule. Around a dozen people died in the attack. (Reuters)

5:01 P.M. Italy has expelled nine suspected jihadis since December

Italy has expelled nine suspected jihadis since late December, and a top minister vowed on Sunday that authorities would order more expulsions in a heightened terrorism crackdown.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told reporters that the expelled include five Tunisians and citizens from Turkey, Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan. The expulsions to their countries of origin began before the Jan. 7 terror attack in Paris.

"We said that we would have tightened controls, and we did it before Paris," Alfano said. "Those expelled ... were here for years, and two of these involved their respective families, sending them into Syria to fight." (AP)

4:59 P.M. Qatari man, once held as enemy combatant by U.S., returns home

A Qatari man declared an enemy combatant by the Bush administration following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and imprisoned over links to Al-Qaida has returned home to the Gulf nation after quietly being released by U.S. authorities.

Ali al-Marri was arrested in December 2001 while attending graduate school in central Illinois. He was held without charge for nearly six years in a U.S. Navy brig in South Carolina before eventually pleading guilty and receiving a sentence of just over eight years behind bars.

Al-Marri's nephew, Saleh Garallah Kahlah al-Marri, said Sunday that his uncle returned home to the small energy-rich country the previous evening and was greeted by representatives from the Qatari interior and foreign ministries. (AP)

1:21 P.M. Civil disobedience campaign begins in Yemen to protest presidential aide's abduction

A campaign of civil disobedience began Sunday in southern Yemen to protest the abduction of the president's chief of staff by Shi'ite Houthi rebels.

The Houthis said they were behind the abduction of Ahmed bin Mubarak, the chief of the presidential office, to protest a disputed draft of a new constitution.

Tribes in southern Yemen, to which bin Mubarak belongs, vowed that the civil disobedience will continue until he is released.

"All government institutions have suspended their work in solidarity with the southerners," Awwad bin al-Wazir, a tribal chief in the southern province of Shabwa, told dpa.

Roads joining southern and northern Yemen were also blocked by tribal protesters, locals said.

"Shabwa has been paralyzed," a local journalist said, asking not to be named for security reasons.

Bin Mubarak, a businessman-turned-politician, was abducted on Saturday by gunmen from his car in the capital Sana'a while he was on his way to the presidency reportedly to present a draft constitution opposed by the Houthis.(DPA)

11:10 A.M. Nusra Front claims to have shot down army cargo plane in northwest Syria

The Syrian wing of Al-Qaida, the Nusra Front, said it shot down an army cargo plane filled with food and ammunition overnight in the northwest of the country.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the report, which appeared on the group's social media accounts.

State news did not mention the downing of the plane, which the Nusra Front said happened near the army-controlled Abu al-Duhur military airport in Idlib province.

Several Syrian air force jets and helicopters have been shot down in Syria's civil war, which erupted after the government cracked down on pro-democracy protests in 2011. (Reuters)

10:54 A.M. Egypt's Sissi makes first official visit to United Arab Emirates

Egyptian leader Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is in the United Arab Emirates on his first official visit since being elected president of the Arab world's most populous country.

Emirati state news agency WAM says Sissi arrived in the capital of Abu Dhabi late Saturday and met with the powerful Abu Dhabi crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The visit reflects the strong support the Emirates has given el-Sissi's government since he was elected in June after leading the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

He previously visited the oil-rich Gulf federation in March 2014, when he was Egypt's interim military chief, to mark the end of joint military exercises between the two countries. (AP)

10:06 A.M. At least 200 captive Yazidis released by ISIS in northern Iraq

Kurdish military officials in northern Iraq say at least 200 people from the minority Yazidi group have been released from captivity by the Islamic State group.

Peshmerga Gen. Shirko Fatih, commander of Kurdish forces in the northern city of Kirkuk, told The Associated Press on Sunday that almost all of the freed prisoners are elderly men and women in poor health. He said three were young children.

The militants transported them from the northern town of Tal Afar, where they were being held for the past five months after the militants raided their towns last summer. Fatih says the militants dropped them off Saturday at the Khazer Bridge, near the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil. They are now being held by Kurdish authorities for questioning. (AP)

8:14 A.M. McCain-led delegation of U.S. senators meets Saudi crown prince regarding Syrian rebel training

A delegation of U.S. senators led by John McCain has met with Saudi Arabia's crown prince in the kingdom, where talks focused on the training of Syrian rebels.

A message on the official Twitter feed for McCain, a Republican from Arizona, said that the U.S. delegation also met Saturday with the head of the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition, Ahmed al-Jarba, and the commander of Saudi Arabia's training and equipment program. They also met in Qatar with the country's emir.

Saudi Arabia is part of a U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State group. (AP)

12:25 A.M. U.N. Security Council threatens sanctions over Libya turmoil

The UN Security Council on Saturday welcomed Libyan peace negotiations held in Geneva this week but warned the North African state it would consider sanctions against anyone undermining the country's security and stability.

Libyan factions agreed to continue United Nations-backed negotiations in the Swiss city next week over ending the country's political crisis.

Key representatives from a self-declared government based in Tripoli stayed away but in a possible sign of movement, its main armed groups battling forces of Libya's recognized government declared a ceasefire.

"The members of the Security Council supported the resumption of another round of talks in Geneva next week and strongly urged all relevant Libyan stakeholders to attend," the 15-nation council said in a statement. It added that it welcomed the ceasefire announcements.

The council cautioned that its Libya sanctions committee "is prepared to sanction those who threaten Libya's peace, stability or security or that obstruct or undermine the successful completion of its political transition." (AP)

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