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Inater national news

Washington: President Barack Obama on Thursday telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his election victory earlier this week, a call that had been delayed after new tensions surfaced between Washington and Tel Aviv over recent comments the premier had made.

The White House said in a statement that Obama had "reaffirmed the United States' long-standing commitment to a two-state solution that results in a secure Israel alongside a sovereign and viable Palestine".

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Jerusalem: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday appeared headed for a record fourth term after his Likud party emerged as the surprise winner in Israel's general elections based on a campaign revolving around no compromise attitude on Palestine's statehood.

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Washington: The White House has slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his campaign comments about Arab-Israeli voters after his win in parliamentary elections.

The US is "deeply concerned about rhetoric that seeks to marginalize Arab-Israeli citizens," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.

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Berlin: Mass surveillance of US intelligence agencies has become routine, said American whistleblower Edward Snowden while addressing the CeBIT.

"Extensive monitoring has become routine," said Snowden on Wednesday while taking a video interview at the annual IT trade fair taking place in Germany.

"Thus, the activities of the NSA have become invisible. Even in the White House," he added.

The whistleblower further said that surveillance was not confined to the US.

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Tunis: At least 19 people, including 17 tourists, were killed and over 20 others injured when gunmen attacked a museum in Tunisia's parliament complex here on Wednesday, according to media reports. Two of the terrorists were later killed.

Five "terrorists" carried out the attack on Bardo Museum, and two of them were killed by security forces, Prime Minister Habib Essid said at a press conference, according to Xinhua news agency.

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Islamabad: Gunmen in Pakistan shot dead a lawyer for Shakil Afridi, who had allegedly helped the US in locating Osama bin Laden, police said.

The attackers on Tuesday fired at the car of Samiullah Afridi near Peshawar city when he was heading home, a police officer said, Dwan online reported.

The Taliban splinter group, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, claimed responsibility.

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Gaza: Hamas has said that all Israeli parties were on the same page over the rights of the Palestinians as the parliamentary elections are still too close to call.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesperson on Tuesday night, made the remarks while commenting on the exit polls of the elections, Xinhua reported.

He said in an emailed press statement that Hamas movement does not differentiate between Israeli parties "because all of them agreed on denying the legitimate rights of our people."

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Tel Aviv: The Israeli elections took a dramatic turn in the early morning hours on Wednesday as official tallies from nearly all precincts indicate that Likud has opened up a significant lead over Zionist Union, a far cry from the virtual dead heat that television exit polls had reported Tuesday evening.

With nearly 90 percent of precincts reporting before dawn on Wednesday, the Likud holds a major edge over Zionist Union in the distribution of Knesset seats, Jerusalem Post reported.

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Jerusalem: Israelis were casting their ballots on Tuesday in a parliamentary election which is expected to be a close race between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party and its main rival, the centre-left Zionist Union.

After casting his vote with his wife Sarah at a polling station in Jerusalem, Netanyahu reiterated his stance not to sit in a national unity government headed by the Zionist Union, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Islamabad: The toll in the deadly attacks on two churches in Pakistan's Lahore city on Sunday has increased to 16, as one more person has died from injuries, a media report said on Tuesday.

The man received severe multiple injures during the two powerful explosions that rocked the Catholic Church and Christ Church in the city's Youhanabad area, and died on Monday night, the Daily Times reported.

The area is home to more than 100,000 Christians.

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