Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, Jan. 3

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RAMALLAH -- Palestine on Sunday started taking samples in the West Bank to test for the new strain of the novel coronavirus, said a senior Palestinian official.

Director-General of Supportive Medical Services at the Palestinian Health Ministry told reports during a press conference held in Ramallah that his ministry has not recorded any cases infected with the new strain.

"However, we may record cases infected with the new strain because it has already arrived in Israel and the Palestinians are in contact with Israelis," the official said. (Palestine-Coronavirus-Tests)

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ADEN, Yemen -- An explosion caused by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) targeted a location of Saudi Arabia's troops in Yemen's southern province of Abyan on Sunday evening, a government official told Xinhua.

The local government source said on condition of anonymity that "the IED's explosion struck a high school building used by Saudi soldiers as a temporary location in the country's coastal town of Shuqrah."

The explosion caused no casualties among the Saudi troops but partially damaged the exterior wall of Shuqrah's high school building, the source said. (Yemen-Saudi-Troops)

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BAGHDAD -- Iraqi leaders on Sunday called for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq on the first anniversary of a U.S. drone strike that killed two senior commanders of Shiite militias.

During a rally of thousands of supporters of Hashd Shaabi forces at al-Tahrir Square in downtown Baghdad, Hadi al-Ameri, head of Iran-backed Badr Organization, told the demonstrators "the government must abide by its pledges to remove all foreign forces, especially the U.S. forces, according to a timetable." (Iraq-U.S.-Forces)

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JERUSALEM -- The Israeli Defense Ministry said on Sunday that it had completed the delivery of two anti-rocket Iron Dome systems to the U.S. Army.

The second of the two Iron Dome batteries was delivered over the weekend, according to a statement issued by the ministry.

The two batteries "will be employed in the defense of U.S. troops against a variety of ballistic and aerial threats," the statement read. (Israel-U.S.-Iron Dome) Enditem

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