An assault near the Egypt border left three militants and an Israeli civilian dead. According to Israeli officials, gunmen open fired on a crew of construction workers as they were constructing a border fence in the Sinai desert region.
The attack sent three of the workers to the emergency room, where one later succumbed to his wounds. It is believed that at least three assailants were involved in the attack. Small arms gunfire was evident by the shell casings that riddled the floor; an improvised explosive device was detonated as well.
Soldiers were immediately dispatched to the area where they killed one of the gunmen. The second suspect was killed when an IED he was carrying detonated in his arms. The lifeless body of the third was later discovered at the scene. The civilian who died was identified as an Arab citizen of Israel.
Additional suspects are believed to have retreated back into Egypt.
The U.S. has released an official statement condemning the attacks and emphasized the importance for Israel to maintain a strong border security. Officials also cited the lack of political stability in Egypt as the cause for the violence, which magnified after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
In a separate incident, the Israeli Air Force launched an air strike in the northern section of the Gaza Strip that killed two Palestinian motorcyclists. Militants have confirmed the two dead as belonging to Islamic Jihad.
A second strike was carried out moments later that killed another two men and injured an additional three in Beit Hanoun. The air assault was confirmed by authorities who said the targets were a group of militants firing rocket propelled grenades across the border.
The government believes that the recent attacks show that militants are becoming more desperate and daring. The attacks also demonstrate a new degree of sophistication and complexity.
Iran announced that arrests have been made in the murder of two nuclear scientists. Officials claim that the suspects in custody have ties to Israel and have been relocated to a detention facility for questioning. The arrests were made following an 18 month investigation involving heavy intelligence and surveillance work abroad.
So far, no further information has been released regarding the number of suspects or their identities. According to the Iranian intelligence ministry, the suspects are being held for the murder of Majid Shahriari, who was a member of Iranâ€™s Atomic Energy Organization. He was killed in November of 2010. The following January, the director of Natanz nuclear facility, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, was also assassinated along with his bodyguard.
Both men were killed in the same manner. An assailant on a motorbike placed a bomb on their moving vehicles during Tehranâ€™s rush hour traffic. The murders reportedly caused widespread panic among other scientists and hindered the progress of the nuclear enrichment program.
Initially, Iran pointed the finger at the U.S., whom they also blamed for the killings of two other scientists. So far, Israel has not come forward with any public statements to confirm or deny any involvement.
Just a month prior, Iran convicted and hanged a man it accused of being a spy for the Mossad. The man was Iranian citizen Masoud Ali Mohammadi, and he was also the prime suspect in the murder of a nuclear scientist, who was killed from a bomb blast outside his home back in early 2010.
Since then, Iran has sporadically made announcements about the arrests of people suspected as spies for the U.S. and Israel but has not provided evidence or released further details about the case. Iran has also fervently blamed the two countries for attempting to wreck its nuclear program by sabotaging its computers with malicious malware.
Demonstrators marched in unison to protest the arrests and deportation of African migrants. The streets of Tel Aviv were occupied by protestors who claim that asylum seekers are being unfairly treated because of the color of their skin.
The demonstration was conceived and carried out by the Bnei Darfur Organization. Marchers made their way to the United Nations Refugees office and handed a written letter to the government. The letter contained a demand for migrant workers to be reclassified as refugees.
The goal of the demonstration was for the UN to step in because of sentiments that Israeli authorities are not doing so. The march is also a call for migrants to be given access to education and health care. They are also asking for all denied asylum claims to be reexamined.
The marchers are made up largely of men, women and children from North Sudan and Darfur. One demonstrator was identified as Andrew Akolawin, who is planning to return to his native country of South Sudan with his children after staying in Israel for five years.
According to Akolawin, the issue is not about being deported back to his country as much as the manner in which the deportation process is being handled. He says that many are being forced out despite being owed unpaid wages and other dues. Like Akolawin, many will be leaving Israel with bitter feelings toward the country.
The protest at Tel Aviv did erupt in violence at one point and resulted in the arrest of 17 demonstrators. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, known for his firm stance against illegal immigration, denounced the violence and referred to those arrested as â€œinfiltrators.â€
According to official records, over 59,000 African immigrants have illegally entered Israel through the border that the country shares with Egypt. Construction is currently underway to build a fence to encompass the perimeter of the border.
Syria has become a hotbed of bloodshed in the 15 months since the countryâ€™s people lead a revolt against the rule of their president, Bashar Assad. In total since March 2011, over 11,400 were killed so far, including 9,862 civilians, 3,470 soldiers and 783 army deserters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
No one, not even civilians, are safe from the shelling and gunfire that is taking place nearly on a daily basis. Some activists are now claiming that militia members supportive of the government are now targeting unarmed civilians. The latest massacre is believed to have taken place in the province of Hama where 78 people were killed.
The victims included women and children. Some of the bodies showed signs of stab punctures, while other bodies were burned. Blood is spilling on the street every day and all signs are pointing in the direction of civil war if nothing is done to put a stop to the senseless killings.
Just two weeks before, another mass killing took place in the city of Houla. A pro-Assad gang known as Shabbiha slaughtered 108 civilians; half of the confirmed dead were children. The town of Mazraat al-Qabeer and Maazarif have been heavily shelled by Syrian forces. After the shelling, thatâ€™s when members of Shabbiha entered the city and began the massacre.
The slayings have been witnessed by United Nation members who were sent to observe a ceasefire agreement set in place by envoy Kofi Annan. Both the government and rebel fighters have since called off the truce to ceasefire due to recent attacks.
The government has refused to comment on the massacres and has restricted ground access for the international media. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, however, is calling for an immediate investigation.
Until there is deeper international involvement, it looks like there are no plans for either the government or rebels to lay down their arms. This means that similar massacres will likely take place in the coming weeks and months. The death tally is expected to rise.
Shiite and Sunni Muslims have been killing each other for years over trivial differences in the way they interpret the Koran. The violence took a turn for the worse in 2006 when the two sects began fighting for control over the Askariya Shrine in Samarra, a site that has been deemed holy. Since then, retaliatory attacks have been exchanged and left hundreds of civilians dead.
A recent attack by a suicide bomber who rammed his car into a Shiite religious building killed 18 and left 125 wounded. Later that day, a bomb was found lodged in the back of a Sunni Endowment office. The area was cordoned off where police safely detonated it.
Sunni and Shiite endowment offices are the logistical centers for religious matters regarding mosques and cultural locations. The two authorities have been disputing over how the Askariya shrine and surrounding perimeter should be reconstructed and developed.
While violence in Iraq has quelled in recent months, sectarian attacks remain a serious epidemic. Just a few days before, a series of bombings took place at a Shiite neighborhood market, killing 17 and injuring scores of others.
Some locals suspect that some of the attacks are orchestrated by government officials, as it is believed that some who hold office have ties to militia.
Following the 2006 bombing, an army brigade was dispatched to seize control of the shrine from the Sunni locals. This began a steady transition where rights to the shrine were given to the Shiite endowment. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, however, has taken measures to prevent full control from being granted to the Shiites. Sunni officials from Sumarra have vowed to take legal action to limit Shiite authority over the shrine.
Though Sunni Muslims are the minority, they held control over most of Iraqi policy and law. That is, until the U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Husseinâ€™s reign. Since then, the tide has shifted to the Shiite majority. This has created embitterment that led to the back and forth violence that has resulted in nothing other than countless civilian deaths.