Middle East

Palestinians are pictured through a gate as they perform Friday prayers at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip January 16, 2015, to demand that Egyptian authorities open the crossing.  Egypt shut Rafah crossing, Gaza's main window to the outside world, over violence with Islamist militants in Egypt's adjacent Sinai region last October. Since then, it opened the crossing for a few days to allow thousands of Palestinians get in and out of Gaza Strip.

Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

Palestinians pictured through a gate as they perform Friday prayers at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip to demand that Egyptian authorities open the crossing

A Molotov cocktail which was thrown by protesters explodes on a riot police armoured personnel carrier at a highway in the village of Sitra, south of Manama, January 9, 2015. Several demonstrations calling for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman, head of the al-Wefaq Islamic Society, and resulting in clashes with riot police, were held across the country, local media reported. Ali Salman was arrested on December 28, 2014. Salman's lawyer Abdulla al-Shamlawi told Reuters he had been formally charged by the public prosecutor with inciting a change of government by force, inciting hatred of a segment of society, inciting others to break the law and publicly insulting the Interior Ministry. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed (BAHRAIN - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)

Hamad Mohammed/Reuters

A Molotov cocktail which was thrown by protesters explodes on a riot police armoured personnel carrier at a highway in the village of Sitra, south of Manama, Bahrain. Several demonstrations calling for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman, head of the al-Wefaq Islamic Society. Clashes with riot police took place across the country, local media reported. Ali Salman was arrested on December 28, 2014. Salman’s lawyer Abdulla al-Shamlawi told Reuters he had been formally charged by the public prosecutor with inciting a change of government by force, inciting hatred of a segment of society, inciting others to break the law and publicly insulting the Interior Ministry.

Troops of the Interior Ministry march in a parade during a ceremony marking Iraqi Police Day's 93rd anniversary at a police academy in Baghdad January 8, 2015.

Ahmed Saad/Reuters

Troops of the Interior Ministry march in a parade during a ceremony marking Iraqi Police Day’s 93rd anniversary at a police academy in Baghdad on Thursday

Syrians carry water as they walk on a road  near their refugee camp, at Ber-Elias village, in Bekaa valley, east Lebanon, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Snow fell in the Middle East as a powerful winter storm swept through the region, killing several Syrian refugees in Lebanon and forcing thousands of others who have fled their country civil war to huddle for warmth in refugee camps.

Hussein Malla/AP

Syrians carry water as they walk on a road near their refugee camp, at Ber-Elias village, in Bekaa valley, east Lebanon. Snow fell in the Middle East as a powerful winter storm swept through the region, killing several Syrian refugees in Lebanon and forcing thousands of others who have fled their country civil war to huddle for warmth in refugee camps

Palestinian children look out through a hole covered with a blanket in their family house, that witnesses said was damaged by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, in the east of Gaza City January 7, 2015. Heavy rains and near-freezing temperatures in the approaching storm threatened to deepen the misery in the Gaza Strip, where streets are still strewn with wreckage from a 50-day war with Israel last summer, thousands live in U.N. shelters and damaged homes and the power is on only six hours a day.  REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Suhaib Salem/Reuters

Palestinian children look out through a hole covered with a blanket in their family house, that witnesses said was damaged by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, in the east of Gaza City. Heavy rains and near-freezing temperatures in the approaching storm threatened to deepen the misery in the Gaza Strip, where streets are still strewn with wreckage from a 50-day war with Israel last summer, thousands live in U.N. shelters and damaged homes and the power is on only six hours a day. 

Kids play on man-made sand hill to block high waves ahead of the upcoming storm in Tel Aviv's beach front, Israel, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. Wind gusts up to 38 Knots and waves up to 9 meters, or 29 feet, hit along the coastline of Israel on Tuesday. Wintry weather is striking across the Middle East, bringing cold weather to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and a blanketing sandstorm in Cairo. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Oded Balilty/AP

Kids play on man-made sand hill to block high waves ahead of the upcoming storm in Tel Aviv’s beach front, Israel. Wind gusts up to 38 Knots and waves up to 9 meters, or 29 feet, hit along the coastline of Israel on Tuesday. Wintry weather is striking across the Middle East, bringing cold weather to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and a blanketing sandstorm in Cairo. 

A Syrian girl eats a sandwich as others fill water containers at a refugee camp in Deir Zannoun village, Bekaa valley, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015

Hussein Malla/AP

A Syrian girl eats a sandwich as others fill water containers at a refugee camp in Deir Zannoun village, Bekaa valley, Lebanon, today.

Women present their passports as they ask for permits to cross into Egypt at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip December 23, 2014. Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Sunday for incoming passengers from the Gaza Strip for the first time in almost two months, Palestinian and Egyptian officials said. Rafah is the only major crossing between impoverished Gaza, home to 1.8 million Palestinians, and the outside world that does not border Israel, which blockades the strip and allows passage mainly on humanitarian grounds.

Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

Women present their passports as they ask for permits to cross into Egypt at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip. Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Sunday for incoming passengers from the Gaza Strip for the first time in almost two months

Palestinian boy, hoping to cross into Egypt with his family, stands behind a fence as he waits at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip...A Palestinian boy, hoping to cross into Egypt with his family, stands behind a fence as he waits at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip December 22, 2014. Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Sunday for incoming passengers from the Gaza Strip for the first time in almost two months, Palestinian and Egyptian officials said. Rafah is the only major crossing between impoverished Gaza, home to 1.8 million Palestinians, and the outside world that does not border Israel, which blockades the strip and allows passage mainly on humanitarian grounds. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY IMMIGRATION)

Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

A Palestinian boy, hoping to cross into Egypt with his family, stands behind a fence as he waits at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip. Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Sunday for incoming passengers from the Gaza Strip for the first time in almost two months. 

A man dressed as Santa Claus walks on the wall of the Old City in Jerusalem Monday, Dec. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)

Dusan Vranic/AP

A man dressed as Santa Claus walks along the wall of the Old City in Jerusalem, Israel

Palestinian protester dressed as Santa Claus holds a Palestinian flag as he argues with Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Maasara near the West Bank city of Bethlehem...A Palestinian protester dressed as Santa Claus holds a Palestinian flag as he argues with Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Maasara near the West Bank city of Bethlehem December 19, 2014.

Mussa Qawasma/Reuters

A Palestinian protester dressed as Santa Claus holds a Palestinian flag as he argues with Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Maasara near the West Bank city of Bethlehem

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter holds up a piece of clothing worn by an Islamic State fighter in Kesarej village, south of Zumar, Nineveh province. Kurdish peshmerga fighters have fought their way to Iraq's Sinjar mountain and freed hundreds of people trapped there by Islamic State fighter. The assault, backed by U.S. air strikes, ended the months-long ordeal of hundreds of people from Iraq's Yazidi religious minority, who had been besieged on the mountain since Islamic State stormed Sinjar and other Kurdish-controlled parts of northern Iraq in August.

Ari Jalal/Reuters

A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter holds up a piece of clothing worn by an Islamic State fighter in Kesarej village, south of Zumar, Nineveh province. Kurdish peshmerga fighters have fought their way to Iraq’s Sinjar mountain and freed hundreds of people trapped there by Islamic State fighter. The assault, backed by U.S. air strikes, ended the months-long ordeal of hundreds of people from Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority, who had been besieged on the mountain since Islamic State stormed Sinjar and other Kurdish-controlled parts of northern Iraq in August

Christian worshipper is seen inside the Grotto, where Christians believe Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, at the Church of Nativity ahead of Christmas in the West Bank town of Bethlehem...A Christian worshipper is seen inside the Grotto, where Christians believe Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, at the Church of Nativity ahead of Christmas in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 17, 2014.

Ammar Awad/Reuters

A Christian worshipper is seen inside the Grotto, where Christians believe Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, at the Church of Nativity ahead of Christmas in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Wednesday

An Iranian woman walks past mannequins l...An Iranian woman walks past mannequins locked to a gas pipe in northern Tehran on December 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRIBEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty

An Iranian woman walks past mannequins locked to a gas pipe in northern Tehran on Monday 

Family members mourn and cry during a funeral of Minister Ziad Abu Ein on Thursday in Ramallah, West Bank. The Palestinian Minister died yesterday from a suspected heart attack after confronting Israeli security forces in West Bank demonstration.

Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images

Family members mourn and cry during a funeral of Minister Ziad Abu Ein on Thursday in Ramallah, West Bank. The Palestinian Minister died yesterday from a suspected heart attack after confronting Israeli security forces in West Bank demonstration

Displaced Iraqis, who were forced to flee their home because of Islamic State's advance earlier this year, queue for humanitarian aid that is being distributed by the Barzani Charity Foundation after being delivered by lorries from the Polish charity SOS FOR LIFE at a refugee camp near Zakho in Duhok, Iraq

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Displaced Iraqis, who were forced to flee their home because of Islamic State’s advance earlier this year, queue for humanitarian aid that is being distributed by the Barzani Charity Foundation after being delivered by lorries from the Polish charity SOS FOR LIFE at a refugee camp near Zakho in Duhok, Iraq

 Israeli Orthodox jews seen protesting on December 10, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Orthodox jews are protesting the building of a new neighbourhood in Jerusalem, because of fears it will destroy an ancient Jewish tomb at the site.

Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images

Israeli Orthodox jews seen protesting on Wednesday in Jerusalem, Israel. Orthodox jews are protesting the building of a new neighbourhood in Jerusalem, because of fears it will destroy an ancient Jewish tomb at the site

A woman carries a child as she walks past a boy selling yogurt along a street in Aleppo's Bab al-Hadeed district December 10, 2014.

Mahmoud Hebbo/Reuters

A woman carries a child as she walks past a boy selling yogurt along a street in Aleppo’s Bab al-Hadeed district on Wdnesday

A Palestinian man and his son are seen in the living room of their house which was destroyed during the 50-day Gaza war between Israel and Hamas-led militants, on Decembre 10, 2014 in Gaza City. The Israeli military committed war crimes during its Gaza offensive this summer and must be investigated, human rights monitor Amnesty International yesterday.

Mohammed Abed/AFP

A Palestinian man and his son sit quietly in what was the living room of their house, which was destroyed during the 50-day Gaza war between Israel and Hamas-led militants, on Wednesday in Gaza City

A police officer stands guard as Shia pilgrims make their way to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the holy Shia ritual of Arbaeen, in Baghdad, December 10, 2014. Arbaeen falls 40 days after the holy day of Ashura.

Ahmed Saad/Reuters

A police officer stands guard as Shia pilgrims head to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the holy Shia ritual of Arbaeen, in Baghdad on Wednesday. Arbaeen falls 40 days after the holy day of Ashura