Middle East

Iran’s government allowed local bazaars and shopping malls to reopen on Monday, a potential milestone for a country that was one of the first outside of China to be hit by the new coronavirus.

The last community of Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan is seeking asylum in the U.S. after suffering an attack by Islamic State extremists, posing a test of the Trump administration’s pledge to protect and support religious minorities world-wide.

Eleven Iranian gunboats harassed U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships in the north Persian Gulf, the Navy said. The encounters came a day after Iranian naval forces temporarily seized a Hong Kong-flagged tanker.

Israel moved closer to a fourth election after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz failed to agree on a unity government deal, extending a period of political uncertainty as the country struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz are struggling to agree on a unity government, raising the specter of another do-over general election as the nation grapples with a coronavirus lockdown.

Saudi Arabia declared a unilateral two-week cease-fire in Yemen as Riyadh tries to extricate itself from a costly and protracted war with Iran-backed Houthi fighters.

Saudi Arabia is in daily talks with Iran-aligned Houthi insurgents in Yemen and has invited Houthi representatives and the internationally recognized government in Yemen to peace talks in the kingdom, a senior Saudi official said.

Israel is struggling to contain a concentration of coronavirus infections among ultra-Orthodox Jews, with the impact reaching Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who went into isolation after an adviser from the community tested positive.

Israel’s opposition leader splintered his political party to pursue the formation of a unity government, a move that could allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to extend his tenure.

The insurgency against U.S. troops in Iraq has entered a different phase with the emergence of the League of Revolutionaries, a new militant group that has claimed responsibility for deadly rocket attacks.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the deep cut after he failed to broker a diplomatic deal during a trip to Kabul meant to inject new momentum into the U.S.’s efforts to extricate itself from the war in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has mobilized Israel’s intelligence agencies to help contain the new coronavirus, an effort that has involved an undercover purchase of testing kits from abroad and the use of antiterrorism phone-tracking technology to map infections.

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