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Suicide bomber wounds eight at Shia mosque in Kuwait

Local media scenes of the aftermath Credit: APTV

A suicide bomber has blown himself up at a Shia mosque during Friday prayers in Kuwait City, according to reports.

"Eight casualties have been taken to the Emiri hospital, two in critical condition," Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida said on its Twitter feed, without giving a source.

The paper also said said the attack was at Imam al-Sadeq Mosque in the Sawaber district.

Details emerge over death in combat of ex-Saddam aide

The King of Clubs: Ezzat al-Douri Credit: RTV

The last of Saddam Hussein's key aides still at large, Ezzat al-Douri, was killed in combat with security forces, according to Iraqi sources.

Al-Douri, who helped lead Saddam's 1968 coup, and who had a $10m US bounty on his head, was apparently killed when he and other insurgents were surrounded by government soldiers.

"A group of security forces went and surrounded the area and those terrorists were killed. Three of them were suicide bombers and blew themselves up. Amongst the bodies was al-Douri's," said Raed al-Jubouri, the governor of the country's Salahuddin province.

Al-Douri was considered so important to capture that he had been assigned the king of clubs in decks of cards issued to American soldiers hunting important figures from Saddam's regime shortly after it fell.


Blair 'in discussions' over Middle East peace role

Tony Blair is in discussions about a change in his role as peace envoy in the Middle East, according to the Financial Times (£).

Senior diplomats told the newspaper the former prime minister was being eased out, which they suggested was "long overdue".

Former prime minister Tony Blair. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/DPA/PA Images

"He has been ineffective in this job. He has no credibility in this part of the world," they were quoted as saying.

But a senior source in the US administration said Blair has been "a valued partner in trying to bring peace to the Middle East", adding, "We will continue to value his input and support."

EU foreign policy chief calls Middle East peace meeting

The European Union's foreign policy chief has called a meeting of the Middle East Quartet peace mediators in Munich today in an effort to revive the peace process.

Federica Mogherini, EU high representative for foreign policy Credit: Wiktor Dabkowski/DPA/PA Images?

"We need a collective rethinking of our overall approach to the conflict. The Quartet will prepare for a resumption of the peace process, including regular and direct outreach to Arab states," Federica Mogherini told the Munich Security Conference.

The Quartet members are the United Nations, the US, the European Union and Russia.

Pope Francis arrives in Jordan for Middle East visit

Pope Francis has arrived in Jordan as he begins a three-day visit to the Middle East that will also include Israel and parts of the Palestinian territories.

Pope Francis is welcomed by Jordan's Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad. Credit: Reuters/Muhammad Hamed

During his stay in Jordan the head of the Catholic church will attend Mass in the capital city of Amman and also meet refugees from the Syrian conflict.


John Kerry joins Middle East peace talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry disembarks from his plane upon his arrival at Ben Gurion International airport. Credit: Reuters

US secretary of state John Kerry is heading back to the Middle East for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders as peace negotiations hit a critical make-or-break point.

The US state department said Mr Kerry will travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories amid a flurry of diplomatic activity by American mediators, in the hope of salvaging the troubled negotiations and getting them to extend the talks beyond a current late-April deadline.

Charles to be welcomed to Middle East by Saudi prince

Prince Charles will be welcomed in Riyadh by Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, chairman of the National Guard when he arrives in the country later today.

His Royal Highness' second visit to the kingdom in my time here as ambassador exemplifies our wish to engage at the most senior levels and our determination to sustain the personal touch.

At a time of enormous turmoil and human agony in the Middle East, seen today perhaps most acutely in Syria, the Prince's advocacy of interfaith understanding and dialogue between communities is needed more than ever. His Majesty the King shares this deep concern.

I know that he and His Royal Highness will have much to discuss about the need for reconciliation and their hopes for the region's future.

– Sir John Jenkins, the UK's ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Prince Charles begins tour of the Middle East

The Prince of Wales will fly to the Middle East for a short tour. Charles's four-day trip to Saudi Arabia and Qatar comes just under a year since he last toured the two nations.

Prince Charles. Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The heir to the throne's tour has a large majority of private engagements. But highlights of his public events include a tour of an old Saudi Arabian city and in the Qatari capital Doha he will visit a leading museum.

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