Here is a round-up of global news developments:
- The Iraqi army says the last battalion of the Special Forces has arrived outside Fallujah ahead of a major operation to liberate the Daesh-controlled city. Troops have recaptured 80 percent of the territory around the city since the operation began a week ago.
- In Syria, thousands of civilians have been forced to flee the towns of Mare’ and A’zaz amid clashes between Daesh and rival foreign-backed militants . The two towns have been under the control of foreign-backed militants while Daesh is trying to push them out.
- Media reports say an Israeli police investigation has recommended indictment for Prime Minister's wife due to misuse of state funds at official and private residences. Sara Netanyahu allegedly used state funds to care for her late father and overpaid for meals. Benjamin Netanyahu has denied the reports.
- Amnesty International has condemned a Saudi court ruling sentencing a rights activist to eight years in jail under the kingdom’s so-called counter-terrorism law. The rights body also accuses Saudi Arabia of being bent on concealing the truth about its dire human rights record.
- A Bahraini appeals court has sentenced five Shia activists to life in prison over espionage charges. The court also stripped them of their citizenship. The Bahraini regime has intensified its crackdown on dissent since 2011. A large number of activists have been languishing behind bars ever since.
- A court in Egypt has sentenced 8 members of Muslim Brotherhood to death on charges of planning attacks on the army. Egypt’s government has tightened crackdown on dissent ever since President Abdel Fatah al-Sisis seized power in 2013 by ousting the country’s first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi.
- At least five UN peacekeepers have been killed in a mine explosion in Mali. No group has claimed responsibility. Mali has witnessed violence linked to militant activity, especially in its northern regions since 2012. The area remains vulnerable despite a military intervention led by France in 2013.
- Five Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and four injured in fresh clashes with pro-Russians east of Ukraine. The Ukrainian military says this has been the second largest daily casualty toll this year. A ceasefire signed in 2015 has failed to quell the fighting in Ukraine's east.