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AP PHOTOS: Top Middle East photos from 2016


              FILE - A car bomb explodes next to Iraqi special forces armored vehicles as they advance towards Islamic State militant- held territory...

              FILE - Fire and smoke rise after a Saudi-led airstrike hit a site believed to be one of the largest weapons depots on the outskirts of ...

              FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 photo, Amina Hamawy cries after she returned to her looted home in the Hanano district of eastern A...

              FILE - An Iraqi woman grieves at the scene after a truck bomb attack in Karradah, a busy shopping district in the center of Baghdad, Ir...

              FILE - An Egyptian Coptic nun weeps as she looks at damages inside the St. Mark Cathedral in central Cairo, following a bombing, Sunday...

              FILE - An Iraqi man looks for victims at the site of a car bomb attack at a commercial area in Karradah neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, Su...

              FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 12, 2016 photo, an Iraqi pantomime prepares for a show, in Diwaniyah, Iraq. Pantomimes expressed resentment...

              FILE - In this Saturday, July 9, 2016 photo, Asal Ahmed, 4, is carried by her father at the scene of a massive suicide truck bomb attac...

              FILE - Kayaks, 7, poses for a picture holding toy gun in a camp where Christians displaced by Islamic State militants are living, in Ir...

              FILE - Israeli Arabs stand under a waterfall during the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the Gan HaShlosha national park near the northern Israel...

              FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 photo, an Egyptian woman hangs her laundry over a mural by Egyptian artist Omar El Fayoumi in Bu...

              FILE - Iraqi women wait to hear about family members who went missing after a car bomb hit Karada, a busy shopping district in the cent...

              FILE - A family grieves over the grave of a family member at a graveyard damaged by Islamic State extremists in Qayara, some 31 miles, ...

              FILE - FILE - FILE - A Peshmerga convoy drives towards a frontline in Khazer, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Mosul, Iraq, Monda...

              FILE - FILE - FILE - Palestinian students march during sunset in a display of their military skills at Al-Rebat College for Law and Pol...

              FILE - Syrian children who were displaced with their family from eastern Aleppo play in the village of Jibreen south of Aleppo, Syria, ...

              FILE - Iranian Shiite Muslims pray as they place the Quran on their heads at the graves of soldiers who were killed during 1980-88 Iran...

              FILE - A woman fires into the air at a Popular Mobilization Units base south of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Felipe Da...

              FILE - A sniper from Misrata fires towards Islamic State militant positions in Sirte, Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu ...

              FILE - A Pakistani police officer fires tear gas shell to disperse crowd protesting against the government in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Fri...

              FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 photo, a member of the Iraqi Special Forces shoots his machine gun against an Islamic State milita...

              FILE - A Syrian army soldier places a Syrian national flag during a battle with rebel fighters at the Ramouseh front line, east of Alep...

              FILE - Migrating Cranes flock to the Hula Lake conservation area, north of the Sea of Galilee, northern Israel, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016...

              FILE - This Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 photo shows a drawing of Mickey Mouse with its face painted over by Islamic States militants on the w...

              FILE - Internally displaced people flee fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants on a road in eastern Mosul, Iraq, Tue...

              FILE - Mourners carry the body of Muhey al-Tabakhi, 12, during his funeral in the West Bank town of Al-Ram, near Jerusalem, Wednesday, ...

              FILE - A girl hiding behind a blanket looks as Iraqi special forces enter her house while advancing towards Islamic State militant-held...

              FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 photo, Iranian rock climber, Farnaz Esmaeilzadeh, scales a climbing gym in the city of Zanjan, som...

              FILE - Iranians spend time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)
      ...

              FILE - In this picture taken on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, an Iranian woman covers herself with a blanket due to the cold, while visiting ...

              FILE - Iraqi internally displaced groom Jassim Mohammed walks with his bride, Amena Ali, during their wedding ceremony at a camp for in...

              FILE - A wedding gown stands in a beauty parlor damaged in clashes between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State fighters in Bartella...

              FILE - Iraqi displaced people plead for food during an aid distribution in Khazer camp for the displaced in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq, Satu...

              FILE - Contestants in the first Miss Trans Israel beauty pageant practice the walk on the stage during rehearsal in Tel Aviv, Israel, T...

              FILE - Israeli Arab boys jump into the Mediterranean sea from the ancient wall surrounding the old city of Acre, northern Israel, Tuesd...

              FILE - A martial looks through the early morning fog which delayed the 1st round of Dubai Ladies Masters golf tournament in Dubai, Unit...

              FILE - U.S. President Barack Obama touches the flag-draped coffin of former Israeli President Shimon Peres during his funeral at the Mo...

              FILE - Iranian Shiite Muslims mourn after covering themselves with mud during Ashoura rituals, in Khorramabad, Iran, Wednesday, Oct.12,...

              FILE - In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, Eritrean Christian Orthodox migrant women attend a mass at a makeshift church in Tel Avi...

              FILE - A Pakistani Christian wears mask while participating in a peace rally in connection with a Christmas celebration, in Karachi, Pa...

              FILE - Tattoo artist Hussein Al-Hussein inks the chest of client Alodi Issa, 22, with Shiite Muslim religious slogans at his tattoo sho...

              FILE - Mourners walk past the Israeli barrier as they carry the body of Muhey al-Tabakhi, 12, during his funeral in the West Bank town ...

              FILE - A Pakistani lights lamps in tribute to Pakistan's renowned social worker and legendary philanthropist, Abdul Sattar Edhi, in Kar...

              FILE - A damaged bench inside the St. Mark Cathedral in central Cairo, following a bombing, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. The blast at Egypt's...

              FILE - A Shiite re-enacts the events of Ashoura while Iranian and Iraqi Shiite Muslims mourn in a procession in southern Tehran, Iran, ...

              FILE - A rainbow shines in the sky above the city following a rainstorm, in Beit Lahiya City, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. (AP P...

              FILE - The sun sets over the the Giza Pyramids, near Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

              FILE - A damaged clock and Coptic clergyman at the scene inside the St. Mark Cathedral in central Cairo, following a bombing, Sunday, D...

FILE - A car bomb explodes next to Iraqi special forces armored vehicles as they advance towards Islamic State militant- held territory...

FILE - Fire and smoke rise after a Saudi-led airstrike hit a site believed to be one of the largest weapons depots on the outskirts of ...

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 photo, Amina Hamawy cries after she returned to her looted home in the Hanano district of eastern A...

FILE - An Iraqi woman grieves at the scene after a truck bomb attack in Karradah, a busy shopping district in the center of Baghdad, Ir...

FILE - An Egyptian Coptic nun weeps as she looks at damages inside the St. Mark Cathedral in central Cairo, following a bombing, Sunday...

FILE - An Iraqi man looks for victims at the site of a car bomb attack at a commercial area in Karradah neighborhood, Baghdad, Iraq, Su...

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 12, 2016 photo, an Iraqi pantomime prepares for a show, in Diwaniyah, Iraq. Pantomimes expressed resentment...

FILE - In this Saturday, July 9, 2016 photo, Asal Ahmed, 4, is carried by her father at the scene of a massive suicide truck bomb attac...

FILE - Kayaks, 7, poses for a picture holding toy gun in a camp where Christians displaced by Islamic State militants are living, in Ir...

FILE - Israeli Arabs stand under a waterfall during the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the Gan HaShlosha national park near the northern Israel...

FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 photo, an Egyptian woman hangs her laundry over a mural by Egyptian artist Omar El Fayoumi in Bu...

FILE - Iraqi women wait to hear about family members who went missing after a car bomb hit Karada, a busy shopping district in the cent...

FILE - A family grieves over the grave of a family member at a graveyard damaged by Islamic State extremists in Qayara, some 31 miles, ...

FILE - FILE - FILE - A Peshmerga convoy drives towards a frontline in Khazer, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Mosul, Iraq, Monda...

FILE - FILE - FILE - Palestinian students march during sunset in a display of their military skills at Al-Rebat College for Law and Pol...

FILE - Syrian children who were displaced with their family from eastern Aleppo play in the village of Jibreen south of Aleppo, Syria, ...

FILE - Iranian Shiite Muslims pray as they place the Quran on their heads at the graves of soldiers who were killed during 1980-88 Iran...

FILE - A woman fires into the air at a Popular Mobilization Units base south of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Felipe Da...

FILE - A sniper from Misrata fires towards Islamic State militant positions in Sirte, Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu ...

FILE - A Pakistani police officer fires tear gas shell to disperse crowd protesting against the government in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Fri...

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 photo, a member of the Iraqi Special Forces shoots his machine gun against an Islamic State milita...

FILE - A Syrian army soldier places a Syrian national flag during a battle with rebel fighters at the Ramouseh front line, east of Alep...

FILE - Migrating Cranes flock to the Hula Lake conservation area, north of the Sea of Galilee, northern Israel, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016...

FILE - This Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 photo shows a drawing of Mickey Mouse with its face painted over by Islamic States militants on the w...

FILE - Internally displaced people flee fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants on a road in eastern Mosul, Iraq, Tue...

FILE - Mourners carry the body of Muhey al-Tabakhi, 12, during his funeral in the West Bank town of Al-Ram, near Jerusalem, Wednesday, ...

FILE - A girl hiding behind a blanket looks as Iraqi special forces enter her house while advancing towards Islamic State militant-held...

FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 photo, Iranian rock climber, Farnaz Esmaeilzadeh, scales a climbing gym in the city of Zanjan, som...

FILE - Iranians spend time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, North-western Iran, Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File) ...

FILE - In this picture taken on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, an Iranian woman covers herself with a blanket due to the cold, while visiting ...

FILE - Iraqi internally displaced groom Jassim Mohammed walks with his bride, Amena Ali, during their wedding ceremony at a camp for in...

FILE - A wedding gown stands in a beauty parlor damaged in clashes between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State fighters in Bartella...

FILE - Iraqi displaced people plead for food during an aid distribution in Khazer camp for the displaced in Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq, Satu...

FILE - Contestants in the first Miss Trans Israel beauty pageant practice the walk on the stage during rehearsal in Tel Aviv, Israel, T...

FILE - Israeli Arab boys jump into the Mediterranean sea from the ancient wall surrounding the old city of Acre, northern Israel, Tuesd...

FILE - A martial looks through the early morning fog which delayed the 1st round of Dubai Ladies Masters golf tournament in Dubai, Unit...

FILE - U.S. President Barack Obama touches the flag-draped coffin of former Israeli President Shimon Peres during his funeral at the Mo...

FILE - Iranian Shiite Muslims mourn after covering themselves with mud during Ashoura rituals, in Khorramabad, Iran, Wednesday, Oct.12,...

FILE - In this Saturday, April 23, 2016 photo, Eritrean Christian Orthodox migrant women attend a mass at a makeshift church in Tel Avi...

FILE - A Pakistani Christian wears mask while participating in a peace rally in connection with a Christmas celebration, in Karachi, Pa...

FILE - Tattoo artist Hussein Al-Hussein inks the chest of client Alodi Issa, 22, with Shiite Muslim religious slogans at his tattoo sho...

FILE - Mourners walk past the Israeli barrier as they carry the body of Muhey al-Tabakhi, 12, during his funeral in the West Bank town ...

FILE - A Pakistani lights lamps in tribute to Pakistan's renowned social worker and legendary philanthropist, Abdul Sattar Edhi, in Kar...

FILE - A damaged bench inside the St. Mark Cathedral in central Cairo, following a bombing, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. The blast at Egypt's...

FILE - A Shiite re-enacts the events of Ashoura while Iranian and Iraqi Shiite Muslims mourn in a procession in southern Tehran, Iran, ...

FILE - A rainbow shines in the sky above the city following a rainstorm, in Beit Lahiya City, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. (AP P...

FILE - The sun sets over the the Giza Pyramids, near Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

FILE - A damaged clock and Coptic clergyman at the scene inside the St. Mark Cathedral in central Cairo, following a bombing, Sunday, D...

CAIRO (AP) — For the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2016 was a year of grueling warfare.

It saw the campaign against the Islamic State group gain momentum, with international coalitions or local forces pushing back their territory in Iraq, Syria and Libya. But the militants also lashed back. They carried carried out a spectacular truck bomb attack on a shopping mall complex in Iraq as people prepared for the Muslim holiday Eid. Their Egypt branch carried out a similarly brazen suicide attack at Cairo's main cathedral.

Operations to wrest the group from Mosul, their last major stronghold in Iraq, began in October. But the fight has bogged down in tough urban warfare. And in Syria, the fight against IS was eclipsed by the brutal last days of the rebel-held enclave in Aleppo, which fell to government forces after weeks of siege.

Mercifully, 2016 also brought opportunities for people to gather for sacred days and in celebration of their daily lives.

Here is a selection of top 2016 photos from AP photographers across the region.


Updated : 2020-12-03 13:14 GMT+08:00