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Media Summary

Iran admits killing protestors

The Huffington Post reports that Iranian state television on Tuesday acknowledged security forces shot and killed what it described as “rioters” in multiple cities amid recent protests over the spike in government-set gasoline prices — the first time that authorities have offered any sort of accounting for the violence they used to put down the demonstrations. The Independent reports that at least 208 civilians have been killed in protests across Iran, according to human rights watchdog Amnesty International.

The Times reports that kidnappers have spread terror amongst Iraqi protestors, as gangs backed by Iran are blamed for violence in the Iraqi capital. Across Baghdad, activists involved in anti-government protests are being followed, threatened and in many cases openly abducted in a new campaign of terror.

The Telegraph reports that 100 fighters have been killed as fighting has intensified in Syria’s Idlib province. Regime forces and armed groups were locked in heavy clashes on Monday on the edge of Syria’s last opposition bastion. The Independent also reports at least 12 children have been killed in Syria over the past 24 hours, in attacks by both the Assad regime and Turkish forces. An airstrike on a busy market described as a ‘massacre’ by rescue workers attempting to pull bodies from the rubble.

BBC News and The Guardian report that Syrian documentary ‘For Sama’ has triumphed at the British independent film awards. ‘For Sama’ picked up four Bifas including best British independent film, as well as prizes for best documentary, director and editing.

BBC News reports thirteen Pakistani nationals, including eight children and four women, have died in a fire at a farm in Jordan, the civil defence department (CDD) has said. The fire swept through corrugated iron sheds housing labourers in South Shouna, a rural area west of the capital Amman, early on Monday.

The Times reports Saudi Aramco’s imminent IPO float has inspired an institutional investor rush despite doubts over pricing. The Saudi state oil group said that it had received $38.4 billion of bids from institutional investors to buy almost 4.6 billion of shares, compared with the 2 billion, or 1 per cent, of shares it intends to sell

In the Financial Times, Gideon Rachman analyses the ways in which both President Trump and President Obama have sought to disengage the US from the Middle East, a symptom of broad similarities in both administrations’ foreign policy orientation.

Reuters reports US senators have demanded the imposition of sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of a Russian missile defence system, saying the failure to do so sends a “terrible signal”. A key Senate committee has set a vote on additional legislation to punish Ankara.

Reuters reports US Defence Secretary Mark Esper urged Turkey on Monday to stop holding up support for a NATO defence plan for the Baltics and Poland, as Ankara presses the alliance to support its fight against the US – backed Kurdish YPG militia in Syria.

Reuters reports that Turkey will oppose NATO’s plan for the defence of Baltic countries if the alliance does not recognise groups that Turkey deems terrorists, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, ahead of the NATO alliance summit in London.

All the Israeli media report that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled his visit to the UK because British authorities were unable to provide the appropriate security at such short notice given that so many world leaders are arriving in London for the NATO summit. Haaretz notes that in September, Netanyahu did make a snap visit to London when he flew in to meet US Defence Secretary Mark Esper and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. According to Channel 13 News, Netanyahu may meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo elsewhere in Europe later this week.

Yediot Ahronot reports that if new elections are necessary, the Central Elections Committee confirmed yesterday that they would be ready to hold them as early as February 25, and not in the middle of March, as originally thought. The current deadline for a Prime Ministerial candidate to present the signatures of at least 61 MKs is December 11 at midnight, after that the Knesset is automatically dissolved. Usually the law mandates a 90 day election campaign to prepare for elections but given this would be an unprecedented third election in less than a year, the committee confirmed 75 days would suffice.

All the Israeli media report that the IDF has sent a humanitarian mission to Albania to assist in rehabilitation following the earthquake. The delegation consists of ten experts from the Home Front Command. The delegation is equipped with technology and control systems developed in Israel and will provide waterproof tents to be used as shelter for the evacuated population.

Israel Hayom reports on the decision yesterday by the International Criminal Court (ICC) not to open an investigation into the IDF raid on the Mavi Marmara ship in May 2010, in which nine Turkish citizens were killed. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda suggested that war crimes may have been committed, but the case was not serious enough to warrant an ICC investigation. The boat was part of a flotilla attempting to break the Israeli maritime blockade to Gaza, that Israel put in place to prevent Hamas from smuggling weapons.