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US-INTERNATIONAL Summary

Sep 14, 2011, midnight

Kabul attack ends after 20 hours as last gunman killed

KABUL (Reuters) - An assault by Taliban insurgents on the heart of Kabul's diplomatic and military enclave ended on Wednesday after 20 hours when security forces killed the last of six attackers, an Afghan government spokesman said. It was the longest and most audacious militant attack on the Afghan capital in the decade since the Taliban were ousted from power and a stark reminder of the insurgents' strength and reach as Western forces start to return home.

Jailed Americans to be freed soon: Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will soon free two Americans jailed for spying, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday, in what he called a humanitarian gesture weeks before he travels to the United Nations in New York. "I think these two persons will be freed in a couple of days," the Iranian leader said through an interpreter in an interview broadcast on NBC's "Today" show. "We do it, for example, in a humanitarian gesture."

Civilians flee pro-Gaddafi town ahead of assault

NORTH GATE OF BANI WALID, Libya (Reuters) - Libyan fighters handed out free petrol to help hundreds of civilians flee a desert town held by Muammar Gaddafi's forces ahead of an onslaught aimed at capturing one of the ousted ruler's last bastions. Complaining of hardship and intimidation, residents of Bani Walid headed to nearby towns or started the 180 km (112-mile) journey north toward Tripoli on Tuesday in cars packed with children and possessions.

Turkish PM throws weight behind Arab cause

CAIRO (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told Arab states on Tuesday it was time to raise the Palestinian flag at the United Nations and accused Israel of obstructing peace in the Middle East. Erdogan, addressing Arab foreign ministers in Cairo at the start of a Middle Eastern tour, said backing a bid for recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations later this month was "not an option but an obligation" for Arab states.

U.S. envoys Hale, Ross to head back to Mideast

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior U.S. envoys will visit the Middle East this week to try to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and avert a Palestinian bid for U.N. membership, the United States said on Tuesday. The mission by U.S. Middle East peace envoy David Hale and senior White House aide Dennis Ross appears to be a last-ditch push to dissuade the Palestinians from seeking to upgrade their U.N. status this month, a step Israel strongly opposes.

Richardson "disappointed" after Cuba mission fails

HAVANA (Reuters) - Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said on Tuesday he felt Cuba's government did not want better ties with the United States after it refused him permission to visit a jailed American contractor whose release he was seeking. The surprise arrival of the U.S. diplomatic troubleshooter in Cuba last week had raised hopes for the possible release of Alan Gross, 62, whose imprisonment by Cuban authorities had put a freeze on relations between Havana and Washington.

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