LIVE BLOG: Rohani Lauds Election Success: 'The People Showed Their Power'

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks with media at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks with media at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016.Credit: AP

Preliminary results: Iranian reformists lead parliament race in Tehran

REUTERS - Early Iranian election results show senior reformist Mohammed Reza Aref leading the race for parliamentary seats among candidates in Tehran, the interior ministry said.

A ministry statement said Aref "so far based on the counted votes is at the top of the list followed by five (other) reformists." Seventh on the list was a senior conservative, it said, according to votes tallied to date.

Aref, a Stanford-educated former presidential candidate and minister, who served as vice-president to the former reformist President Mohammad Khatami, leads the reformist list in Friday's contest in Tehran, where more than 1,000 candidates are competing for just 30 seats in parliament.

UN envoy: Despite some violence, Syrian cease-fire 'reassuring'

AP - The UN envoy for Syria says the situation after the first day of a U.S. and Russian-brokered cease-fire is "quite reassuring."

Staffan de Mistura says "the first night and first day certainly gave the impression that everyone is serious in their commitment to keep on going with this cessation of hostilities."

De Mistura said Saturday that some incidents were always expected to occur but "on the basis of five years of conflict, what I have seen so far is quite reassuring in comparison to what we saw in the past."

He says cease-fire monitors will work to improve the way they verify incidents and prevent them from escalating.

Rohani on election success: 'The people showed their power'

REUTERS - Iran's election has given the government more credibiltiy and clout, President Hassan Rohani was quoted as saying by official media on Saturday, after reformists allied to him made gains in a contest for parliament and a leadership body.

"The competition is over. It's time to open a new chapter in Iran's economic development based on domestic abilities and international opportunities," the official IRNA news agency reported him as saying. He added that the government would cooperate with anyone elected to build Iran's futue.

"The people showed their power once again and gave more credibility and strength to their elected government."

U.S.-led coalition airstrikes hit 22 ISIS targets in Iraq, Syria

REUTERS - The United States and its allies targeted Islamic State in Iraq with 14 strikes on Friday and also hit the militant group with eight strikes in Syria on the same day, the U.S. military said on Saturday. 

Seven of the strikes in Iraq were near Mosul in the north, hitting two Islamic State tactical units and five fighting positions, the military said. 

Five of the strikes in Syria destroyed two Islamic State buildings near Al Hawl. 

The U.S. military gives daily updates on strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 

At least 23 dead in Afghanistan suicide attacks

REUTERS - Suicide bombers targeted an anti-Taliban tribal leader in eastern Afghanistan and the Defense Ministry compound in the capital, Kabul, killing at least 23 people on Saturday and wounding dozens more, officials said.

A suicide bomber on a motorcycle attacked tribal leader Khan Jan in the eastern Kunar province, killing him and 10 other civilians. Jan was a vocal public opponent of the Taliban and was leading local fighters against the insurgents. More than 40 others civilians were wounded in the attack.

The suicide bomber who struck near the Defense Ministry compound killed 12 people, including two military personnel, the ministry said in a statement.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.

Afghan Taliban fighters look on as they listen to Mullah Mohammad Rasool Akhund, the newly appointed leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban, Farah, Afghanistan, November 3, 2015.Credit: AFP

ISIS offensive leaves 20 Kurdish fighters dead

Islamic State militants launched an assault on a Kurdish-controlled town on Syria's border with Turkey on Saturday, prompting air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition to try to drive them back.

The hardline Sunni fighters attacked Tel Abyad, which is controlled by the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, and the nearby town of Suluk in the early hours of Saturday, YPG spokesman Redur Xelil and Turkish security sources told Reuters.

Coalition war planes carried out 10 air strikes to try to repel the assault, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. It said at least 45 Islamic State militants and 20 Kurdish militia fighters had been killed.

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Women walk on rubble in al-Shadadi town, in Hasaka province, Syria February 26, 2016. Credit: Reuters

At least 40 killed in Yemen after Arab coalition air strikes

REUTERS - Air strikes by an Arab coalition fighting Iranian-allied Houthi forces in Yemen hit a market northeast of the capital Sanaa on Saturday, killing 40 people, residents said. 

The strikes at Nehm district in Sanaa province also wounded 30, they said, adding that most of the casualties were civilians. 

The Saudi-led alliance is fighting the Houthis and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in a bid to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. 

A girl stands on the rubble of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. Credit: AP

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