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A Sunni Lebanese militant group linked to al Qaeda has apologized for the civilian casualties of a suicide bombing last month and said its fight was against Iran and its ally Hezbollah, not Shi'ites in general. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades took credit for a February 19 attack on Shi'ite Iran's cultural center in Beirut that killed eight people in an area where support for the Shi'ite political and military movement Hezbollah runs strong. "The Abdullah Azzam Brigades' operations do not target Shi'ites in general, or any other sect, and we always stress to our martyrdom-seekers to be cautious and abort an operation if they think it could kill others than those targeted," it said. Lebanon has been increasingly hit by violence linked to the war in its much larger neighbor Syria, which has killed over 140,000 people over the last three years and forced millions to flee their homes, including nearly 1 million into Lebanon.
CAIRO (AP) — As he nears announcing a run for Egypt's presidency, Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has been focusing on preparing an economic program, senior generals and government officials say, demonstrating the wariness within the military over the scale of problems facing the country.
Simferopol (Ukraine) (AFP) - Concern was mounting Saturday over the safety of journalists in Crimea after reports that Ukrainian reporters were beaten by pro-Russian militants and an international television crew had its equipment seized. Ukraine's Channel 5 television reported that its journalists were among several beaten by pro-Russian militants late Friday as they covered a confrontation at a Ukrainian air force base in Sevastopol. Pro-Russian militia in Crimea have often been confrontational with Ukrainian and international journalists, whom they accuse of working for foreign powers against Moscow. Other reports have emerged of journalists being attacked, including an incident that reportedly took place outside parliament in Simferopol on Thursday.