AFP Middle East news summary at 1330 GMT

DVBP456 4 N 0575 CYP /AFP-VO17 Mideast-news-summary AFP Middle East news summary at 1330 GMT NICOSIA, Aug 21, 2011 (AFP) - AFP Middle East news summary: Fighting rages as Libya rebels close in on Tripoli TRIPOLI: Explosions and gunfire rocked Tripoli as a months-long uprising reached the Libyan capital with rebel leaders insisting they are near to ending Moamer Kadhafi's almost 42-year rule. Thousands of troops defend Tripoli: Kadhafi spokesman TRIPOLI: Libya's capital Tripoli is well-defended by "thousands" of troops, a spokesman of Moamer Kadhafi's regime said. Gunfire forces ship to abort Tripoli evacuation: Poland WARSAW: A Maltese ship which was due to evacuate foreign nationals from Tripoli came under fire and was forced to retreat to sea, Poland's foreign ministry said. Neighbouring Tunisia recognises Libyan rebels TUNIS: Tunisia decided to recognise the rebel National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, the official news agency TAP reported. Gaza rockets land in Egypt amid tensions with Israel CAIRO: Rockets from Gaza apparently targeting Israel landed across the border in Egypt amid tensions after the deaths of policemen on the border and protests outside Israel's embassy. Arab League calls for global pressure on Israel CAIRO: The Arab League condemned the Israeli raids on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and called on the international community to put pressure on the Jewish state to halt the strikes. Egypt 'Spiderman' earns hero status with Israel flag protest CAIRO: A lone protester became a hero to an exultant crowd of Egyptians and many more online by hauling down the Star of David flag atop Israel's embassy in Cairo after the border killing of Egyptian policemen. Israel arrests 120 Hamas members in West Bank: Palestinians HEBRON, Palestinian Territories: Israeli troops arrested 120 Hamas members in the southern West Bank just hours after the faction's Gaza branch fired rockets into Israel, Palestinian police said. ICRC hopes to meet jailed Syrians as Assad to go on TV DAMASCUS: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was to speak on television after Western powers pressed him to quit over the brutal crackdown on dissent, as a UN humanitarian team visited the country and the Red Cross hoped to visit prisoners soon. Turkish air strike kills seven in Iraq: official SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq: A Turkish air strike on a north Iraq village killed seven civilians, an official from the area told AFP, during a bombing campaign against Kurdish separatists in the region. 11 tribesmen killed in two south Yemen suicide attacks ADEN, Yemen: Eleven Yemeni tribesmen were killed overnight in two suicide attacks in the southern province of Abyan, a stronghold of Al-Qaeda, tribal sources and medics told AFP. Tehran prosecutor confirms 8-year jail term for US hikers TEHRAN: Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi confirmed that Iran has sentenced two American hikers to eight years in prison each for illegal entry and espionage, local media reported. Pirates hijack ship with 21 Indian sailors: India NEW DELHI: Suspected Somali pirates have hijacked a tanker with 21 Indian sailors on board near a port in Oman, India's government shipping agency said. afp AFP 211327 GMT AUG 11