* Head of powerful Syrian rebel group killed in airstrike Zahran Alloush, head of the Jaish al-Islam Syrian rebel group, killed in airstrike on Eastern Ghouta region.
* Turkey to Israel: No renewal of ties without unlimited access to Gaza 'Hurriyet Daily News' reports that Erdogan will not accept any Israeli restrictions on the flow of Turkish aid to the Palestinian coastal enclave.
* Pope calls in Christmas message for unity against Islamist militant atrocities Pontiff refers to Islamic State in traditional Christmas "Urbi et Orbi" address.
* Mideast Christians face 'apocalypse' at hands of Islamic State, top UK cleric says 'Elimination' looms, warns archbishop of Canterbury; Pope denounces 'monstrous evil' inflicted upon Syria and Libya.
* Russia to start delivering S-300 to Iran in January Russian military source says the country will start delivering air defense system in the first month of 2016.
* Egyptian paper claims Jewish Temple was never in Jerusalem Article seeks to deny Jewish connection to 'Al-Quds', says Jews' place of worship was actually a converted Egyptian building in the Galilee.
* Security forces: Terror wave likely to last 'months' Officials release figures from last 100 days of terror, showing over a third of the attacks have taken place within 'Green Lines.'
* Record 12,000 candidates for Iran elections Women account for 11 percent of entrants vying for 290 available seats in parliament, as February polling draws near.
* Nearly 30,000 Jews immigrated to Israel in 2015 Aliya has been on the rise in recent years, driven largely by the flow of immigrants from France and Ukraine; IFCJ to double size of its aliya program.
* The final redemption is hidden for a reason This week's Torah portion: What does Yaakov's vision of the 'End of Days' tell us about the Messianic era we live in?