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Tensions rise in the Middle East
Tensions rise in Middle East
Mahdi faction shuts regional governors out

<small>Al-Jazeera LIVE</small>

Good afternoon from Dubai, I'm Samir Abdukhaliq and here are your headlines at the top of the hour.

Tensions continue to arise across Dominance V as the man proclaimed by his followers to be the Mahdi continues to draw followers. The Ascendancy himself, Nikolai Brandon, is coming in just a few days to visit the Dominance in an attempt to negate the escalating violence, and it seems it can't happen a moment too soon.

I'm sure you all remember the attack on the Grand Mosque in Mecca that took some inexplicable turn when the attackers were struck by lightning. Well, just two days ago, there was another strike by lightning which claimed the lives of about a dozen individuals who were also found with various weaponry about themselves.

The CCD has been fast in its response to bring troops into the region, setting up checkpoints for weapons searches in various parts of the area. One such checkpoint flared up in a fiery battle yesterday morning. Apparently loyalists of the Mahdi faction refused to surrender their weapons to CCD officials, claiming they were needed for defensive purposes. When CCD troops moved to seize the weapons, the Mahdi loyalists resisted, sparking a skirmish that left three CCD soldiers and six civilians dead.

From Mecca, the Mahdi faction has apparently blamed the CCD for targeting the wrong faction as the aggressors in this current flare-up of religious violence. A declaration came today from Mecca to his faithful:

(Roll video clip)

AL-HASAN: "Do not lose heart as the unbeliever moves to take your protecton away. Allah will show the right path if you submit yourself to his will. And he will prove himself supreme over all transgressors."

(end video clip)

More news has come today that Mahdi supporters have moved to prevent several provincial governors from entering their places of work. In Medina, protestors barred the entrance for Sharif Abdul Kasan into the city hall. Similar actions have been noted in other cities across Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

That's all for now, I'm Samir Abdukhaliq and this is Al-Jazeera Live.

Copyright Al-Jazeera News, 2045, Dubai, D.V.

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