World Bulletin/News Desk
Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi visited Qatar in the past week to discuss the fate of 48 Iranians kidnapped by rebels in Syria, a deputy foreign minister said on Saturday, according to Iran's Fars news agency.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian did not say who Salehi met while in Qatar, whose government is a major supporter of rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iran's closest ally in the region.
Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow Assad seized the group of 48 Iranians in August, accusing them of being members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards sent to help Syrian government forces crush the uprising which began in March last year.
Iran says the group was on a religious pilgrimage and has called for their immediate release.
"During this trip in addition to the developments in Syria, specifically the 48 kidnapped Iranian pilgrims in Syria were discussed," Amir-Abdollahian said, according to Fars.
Iran has called on Turkey and Qatar to use their links with rebel groups to help secure their freedom.
The al-Baraa brigade, part of the main rebel group, the Free Syrian Army, said last week it would start killing the Iranians within 48 hours unless Assad freed Syrian opposition detainees and stopped shelling civilian areas.
But Qatar, following a request from Iran, urged the rebels not to carry out the threat. Amir-Abdollahian said on Saturday the kidnapped Iranians were in good health.
Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, also visited Qatar this week, Qatari news agencies reported. Saudi Arabia is also supporting the Syrian rebels.
There was no indication of any link between the two visits.
Israeli police said on Twitter that a Palestinian man had been detained at a military checkpoint, one day after a Palestinian driver was killed for allegedly hitting several Israeli pedestrians
Media reports of a suspected Russian submarine in Swedish waters could pressure the country to spend more on its military, expert says
Khama's Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is expected to win a reduced majority, extending the grip on power it has held since 1966
Some companies have threatened to halt operations and lay off workers if taxes are not refunded
A Muslim Brotherhood source said that Morsi, who faces multiple criminal charges, did not have a say in the matter since he refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the trials.
Troops repulse Bangsamoro fighters attack on civilian community, after 2 soldiers killed at hospital
The sources said the apartment in the northern town of Asoun housed Lebanese and Syrian gunmen wanted by authorities
Oxford-educated Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told Reuters that he planned a series of rallies in a challenge to Pakistan's embattled prime minister, Nawaz Sharif.
The detainees were moved to detention centers run by the internal security agency (Shin Bet) for interrogation
Student leader says can’t see any ‘practical need’ for second round of talks on political reform after first meeting Tuesday
A video footage by TV news cameras Wednesday night shows a man scaling over the White House fence on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Up to 60 women have reportedly been kidnapped in Nigeria's Adamawa State in the restive northeastern region
Hassoumi Massaoudou, Niger's minister of the interior and public security, said it would be operated by Niger's intelligence service, the General Direction of Documentation and External Security.
China announced last month that it would send the troops to help protect civilians amid renewed violence.
IFRC said some 571,710 people were affected by the drought in Honduras, which had left them in danger of hunger due to dying crops, higher food prices and less work for agricultural day laborers.