Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, May 7

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TUNIS -- Tunisian Minister of Health Abdellatif Mekki on Thursday expressed satisfaction with Tunisia's cooperation with China in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tunisia-China cooperation "was one of Tunisia's best experiences in terms of cooperation with foreign countries to cope with the spread of the virus," Mekki told Xinhua in an interview at the headquarters of Tunisian Health Ministry. (Tunisia-China-Cooperation)

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JERUSALEM -- Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday tasked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a new government.

Rivlin formally informed Netanyahu in a letter that he has two weeks to put together a new coalition government. (Israel-Netanyahu-Government)

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TEHRAN -- A 5.1-magnitude earthquake hit Damavand town, 69 km to the east of Iran's capital Tehran, at 00:48 local time Friday (2018 GMT Thursday), according to Iran's Seismological Center.

The epicenter of the earthquake, at the depth of 7 km, is 35.777 degrees north latitude and 52.045 degrees east longitude, the center said. (Iran-Earthquake)

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ANKARA -- Turkish and Russian troops held their ninth joint patrol along a key highway in the northwestern Idlib province of Syria, Turkey's Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

"Within the framework of TUR-RF Agreement/Protocol, the 9th TUR-RF Combined Land Patrol on M-4 Highway in Idlib was conducted with the participation of land and air elements," the ministry tweeted. (Turkey-Russia-Patrol) Enditem

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