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Briefly: Middle East
Israel to free Palestinian hunger striker
JERUSALEM — A Palestinian prisoner Tuesday agreed to end a two-month hunger strike after reaching a deal with Israel that will free him in April, the Israeli Justice Ministry said.
The agreement ended a tense standoff that had drawn attention to a controversial Israeli policy of holding suspected Palestinian militants without charge.
Under the deal, Khader Adnan, a 33-year-old member of the Islamic Jihad militant group, agreed to resume eating immediately, the Justice Ministry said. If “no new additional substantial evidence” emerges against him, he will be released April 17, when a four-month detention order is to expire.
Mr. Adnan was arrested from his West Bank home Dec. 17, and he launched his hunger strike the following day.
Opposition says 16 dead in intense shelling
BEIRUT — Syrian government troops heavily shelled rebellious districts in the resistance stronghold of Homs on Tuesday, killing at least 16 people and compounding fears of a new round of bloody urban combat in a country careening toward all-out civil war.
Activists said the intense shelling of Baba Amr in Homs lasted a few hours but did not seem to be the start of a widely expected military offensive aimed at retaking rebel-held neighborhoods in the central region.
Two of the 16 people killed were children, activists said, warning that Homs already is facing a humanitarian catastrophe.
In the northern province of Aleppo, the government said a Syrian businessman was shot dead in front of his home in the latest incident suggesting armed factions are growing bolder and more coordinated in their uprising against President Bashar Assad.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports
By John R. Bolton
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