Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, Jan. 8

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TEHRAN -- Iran's Foreign Ministry on Saturday blacklisted 51 more U.S. individuals for their "roles" in the assassination of former Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

In a statement, the ministry said the new list of sanctioned U.S. individuals, such as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and former National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, is in line with implementing Iran's law on "combating human rights violations and the adventurous and terrorist acts of the United States in the region." (Iran-U.S.-Blacklist)


TEHRAN -- Amir Khan Muttaqi, acting foreign minister of the newly-formed government of Afghanistan, arrived in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Saturday for talks on a host of issues.

Muttaqi, who is heading a high-ranking delegation, will hold talks with Iranian officials on political, economic and transit issues, as well as on the Afghan refugees in Iran, Tehran Times daily reported. (Iran-Taliban-Talk)


JERUSALEM -- The number of active COVID-19 cases in Israel hit a record-high of 106,107 on Saturday, according to official figures.

It broke the previous national record of 95,583 cases reported on Aug. 31, 2021, said the country's health ministry. (Israel-COVID19-Record)


ANKARA -- Turkey on Saturday reported 66,237 new COVID-19 cases, raising its tally of infections to 9,916,725, according to the country's Health Ministry.

The death toll from the virus in Turkey rose by 141 to 83,529, while 34,592 more people recovered in the last 24 hours, the ministry said. (Turkey-COVID19) Enditem

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