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US journalist released from Syria 'overwhelmed with emotion'

A US journalist released earlier this week after almost two years of imprisonment in Syria said he was "overwhelmed with emotion" because of the attention he has received upon returning home.

Peter Theo Curtis, 45, was captured in 2012 by Nusra Front and was only released on Sunday.

He said: "I suddenly remember how good the American people are, and what kindness they have in their hearts."

Meanwhile, Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, who is suspected of fighting with Islamic State militants operating in Iraq and Syria, has been killed in the Middle East, a US security official has said.

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Kerry: Forming an Iraqi government is 'critical'

Forming a government in Iraq is "critical" for the country's stability, according to US Secretary of State John Kerry.

US Secretary of State John Kerry. Credit: Reuters

He said: "The government formation process is critical in terms of sustaining stability and calm in Iraq."

He added that he hoped Iraqi Prime Minister Nour Al-Maliki would not "stir the waters" in allowing this process to move forward.

Special forces loyal to Al-Maliki have been deployed in strategic areas of Baghdad, police said, after he gave a tough speech on television indicating he would not cave in to pressure to drop his bid for a third term.

But Kerry said "there will be little international support of any kind whatsoever for anything that deviates from the legitimate constitution process that is in place and being worked on now."

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