Israel conducted two airstrikes inside Gaza on Tuesday night, security sources in Gaza told CNN. Israel Defense Forces confirmed the strikes, saying they were launched in retaliation for rocket attacks.
The Gaza sources told CNN this was the first Israeli airstrike there since a truce that ended eight days of fighting between the Israelis and Hamas last November.
Medical sources said there were no initial reports of casualties.
Four suspects have been arrested in Benghazi, Libya, following the alleged rape and kidnapping of two British-Pakistani women who were part of an aid convoy bound for Gaza, the Libyan Ministry of Interior said Thursday.
Two rockets from Gaza slammed into southern Israel on Thursday morning, as U.S. President Barack Obama prepared to leave Jerusalem for Ramallah for meetings with top Palestinian Authority officials.
One of the rockets landed in the courtyard of a house in the city of Sderot, but no casualties were reported, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
A rocket fired from Gaza landed in southern Israel on Tuesday in the first such attack since a cease-fire took hold in November.
Israeli police said it did not receive any reports of injuries from the rocket, which landed on a road outside the town of Ashkelon, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Gaza.
A fragile truce between Israel and Hamas appeared to hold amid reports Friday that Israeli troops opened fire near the Gaza border, killing at least one Palestinian and wounding 19, Hamas security and health officials said.
The shooting happened east of Khan Younis, a border city in Gaza, when a group of protesters and farmers approached the 300-meter "no man's land" between Israel and Gaza, according to Hamas security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Editor's note: CNN has crews in Israel, Gaza and around the region reporting on the hours-old cease-fire and fallout from the upsurge in the Gaza-Israel conflict, which extended eight days. Here are some of their stories:
[Updated 6:17 p.m. ET Wednesday]
#Gaza victory party petering out, people going home. I can hear the drones again.— benwedeman (@bencnn) November 21, 2012
#Gaza victory party petering out, people going home. I can hear the drones again.
now that it seems most residents have gone home & streets quieted down, can hear the drones again #gaza— Arwa Damon (@arwaCNN) November 21, 2012
now that it seems most residents have gone home & streets quieted down, can hear the drones again #gaza
Editor's note: CNN has crews in Israel, Gaza and around the region reporting on the latest attacks, talks and fallout from the upsurge in the Gaza-Israel conflict. Here are some of their stories:
[Updated 8:35 a.m. ET Wednesday]
A bomb exploded on a bus in Tel Aviv as it passed by Israeli army headquarters around noon local time Wednesday. The attack, which police said left at least 22 people injured, shook up the Israeli public and threatened to complicate efforts to achieve a cease-fire on the eighth day of violence between Israel and Gaza.
At the scene of the bus bombing, police cordoned off the street as ambulances arrived. CNN's Sara Sidner said there is a hospital nearby. Sidner said the injured included people on the bus and people who were on the street.
[Updated 9:21 p.m. ET Tuesday]
[Updated 9:17 p.m. ET]
Massive strike right behind Shurouq building...multiple hits. Broke quiet of several hours #gaza— benwedeman (@bencnn) November 20, 2012
Massive strike right behind Shurouq building...multiple hits. Broke quiet of several hours #gaza
[Updated 5:14 p.m. ET Tuesday]
Ministry of health spokesman in #gaza tells cnn that casualties now 137 dead and more than 1,100 injured— Arwa Damon (@arwaCNN) November 20, 2012
Ministry of health spokesman in #gaza tells cnn that casualties now 137 dead and more than 1,100 injured
Editor's note: CNN has crews in Israel, Gaza and around the region reporting on the latest attacks, talks and fallout from the upsurge in the Gaza-Israel conflict, which has lasted nearly a week. Here are some of their stories:
[Updated 8:40 a.m. ET Tuesday]
resident: leaflets dropped by #israel warn residents in some areas of #gaza close 2 border to leave immediately and go to #gaza city— Arwa Damon (@arwaCNN) November 20, 2012
resident: leaflets dropped by #israel warn residents in some areas of #gaza close 2 border to leave immediately and go to #gaza city
Moments after we saw rocket fired from #gaza our Jerusalem bureau reported hearing sirens followed by a thud— Arwa Damon (@arwaCNN) November 20, 2012
Moments after we saw rocket fired from #gaza our Jerusalem bureau reported hearing sirens followed by a thud
Pressure is mounting for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian violence that has left dozens dead and hundreds wounded, with the U.N chief flying to the region to appeal for a cease-fire.
Meanwhile, the head of Egyptian intelligence has given an Israeli delegation a letter for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu containing Hamas conditions for a cease-fire, a general in Egyptian intelligence told CNN. There was no immediate confirmation from Israel.
Sudan says Israel bombed a weapons factory overnight, killing two people.
Sudanese officials originally said the explosion took place inside the facility near a residential area in southern Khartoum. But by afternoon, officials announced that the blast came after four airplanes flew overhead. A resident told CNN he saw two planes and a flash of light coming from them, followed by the sounds of rockets being fired.
An Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed two militants from Al-Qassam group, the military wing of Hamas, and wounded two other militants, medical and security sources in Gaza told CNN late Tuesday.
A human rights watchdog has documented "serious abuses" in the criminal justice system of Hamas, the political movement that runs the Palestinian territory of Gaza.
A 43-page Human Rights Watch report notes arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions, torture and unfair trials in the territory since Hamas took control in 2007.
"After five years of Hamas rule in Gaza, its criminal justice system reeks of injustice, routinely violates detainees' rights, and grants impunity to abusive security services," Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director for Human Rights Watch, said in an online posting Wednesday. "Hamas should stop the kinds of abuses that Egyptians, Syrians, and others in the region have risked their lives to bring to an end."
In a bullet-point statement on its website, Hamas' Interior Ministry disputed the report's accuracy and called it biased and political.
Gaza City (CNN) - Five people were killed Monday in Gaza, the latest deaths in days of airstrikes that marked the worst escalation of violence in the coastal territory in months, Palestinian officials said.
Israel has said its airstrikes have targeted militant rocket launching sites across the Palestinian territory in response to more than 100 rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel since Friday.
At least 23 people have been killed in strikes since Friday, while at least 75 people have been wounded.
Three civilians and two militants were killed in what Palestinian medical officials said were Israeli airstrikes Monday.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad announced an immediate cease-fire with Israel on Sunday following a sharp rise in violence in the past several days.
Islamic Jihad "will cooperate with the cease-fire, but maintains our right to resist the aggression," a spokesman for the military wing of the group told CNN, adding that calm "will depend upon the behavior of the occupation," a reference to Israel.
The deal was brokered by Egypt, said Abu Ahmed, as the Islamic Jihad representative refers to himself.
Israel did not immediately confirm there had been a deal, which Islamic Jihad announced hours after the Israeli Air Force struck several sites that it suspected were "terror centers" Sunday.
The air force said the Sunday attacks targeted three suspected rocket launching sites and one "terror tunnel" in northern Gaza; and two "terror activity" sites in southern Gaza, as the wave of back-and-forth attacks between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants continued.
No one was hurt in the attacks, security forces in Gaza said.
On Saturday, at least 10 people were killed in Gaza and southern Israel.
At least 10 people are dead in Gaza and southern Israel, in a wave of back-and-forth attacks between the Israeli military and Palestinian militants, according to medical and military officials.
The violence began when two Islamic Jihad commanders were among seven militants killed Saturday by Israeli strikes targeting a training camp in Rafah, Gaza, a spokesman for the militant group and medical sources reported.
The Israel Defense Forces said that more than 20 mortars and rockets were subsequently fired into their territory. A 55-year-old man was killed in the rocket attacks and 20 others were injured, according to Zaki Heler, an emergency services spokesman in Israel.
A tentative cease-fire between the different militant factions in Gaza and Israel seemed to be holding on Monday.
A Hamas official said Sunday that the different factions had agreed to join a truce which, according to them, went into effect on Sunday at 9 p.m. local time. The Popular Resistance Committee, which refused to join the cease-fire Sunday, said in a news conference on Monday that "they have agreed to a temporary cease-fire for the sake of our people".
Since 9 p.m. hours on Sunday around 14 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, the last one landing at 8 a.m., according to the Israel Defense Forces. As of 8 a.m. local time the Israeli military reports no rockets .
The last Israeli airstrike in Gaza was on Sunday night when the IDF targeted a rocket launching device.
One person was killed and at least 12 were injured Saturday when more than two dozen rockets fired by Gaza militants slammed into Israeli cites.
It's the latest in the ongoing tit-for-tat violence between Israel and militants over the past three days.
The fatality occurred in Beer Sheva, according to Eli Bin, an emergency official in the region. Four people were seriously injured and two suffered moderate wounds when rockets struck a house and car. An unknown number of trauma injuries were being transported to the hospital, Bin said.
Three things you need to know today.
Heat warnings: The dangerous heat wave baking the central United States is expected to extend to the East Coast by the end of this week, the National Weather Service says.
The weather service on Tuesday declared "excessive-heat" warnings in 13 states - Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin - through Friday.
Parts of six other states - Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas - are under heat advisories through at least Wednesday, the weather service said.
Cities already are under heat watches for the rest of the week include Grand Rapids, Michigan; Memphis, Tennessee; Taunton, Massachusetts; Wilmington, Ohio; Detroit and Pontiac, Michigan; State College, Pennsylvania; New York City; Baltimore and Washington.
"Heat-index values" - how hot it feels outside - have been running more than 125 degrees in the worst-hit areas. The scale designed to describe how intense the heat feels takes relative humidity into account along with temperature.
Israeli deportations: Fifteen foreigners aboard the Gaza-bound boat Dignite were being deported out of Israel on Wednesday, Israeli officials said.
"Some of them have already left this morning and the rest will fly out during the day," said Sabin Hadad, spokeswoman for the Israeli Interior Ministry.
The Dignite - carrying 10 activists, three crew members and three journalists - is affiliated with the Free Gaza Movement.
Israeli naval forces Tuesday successfully took over the boat, which was intent on breaking what the activists call the "siege of Gaza," without violent resistance.
Somalia famine: The United Nations on Wednesday declared a famine in parts of southern Somalia amid the worst drought in 60 years, which has sent thousands walking for days to neighboring countries in search of food.
About 5,000 Somalis have been fleeing weekly in scorching temperatures to refugee camps in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.
"Nearly half of the Somali population - 3.7 million people - are now in crisis, of whom an estimated 2.8 million people are in the south," said Mark Bowden, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia.
The United Nations declared a famine in southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle.
Across the Middle East and North Africa, CNN's reporters and iReporters are covering protests, many of them inspired by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt that toppled those countries' longtime rulers. Check out our story explaining the roots of the unrest in each country. Have a story to tell from the scene? Click here to send an iReport.
Developments on unrest in the Middle East and North Africa:
LIBYA 11:45 p.m. ET, 6:45 a.m. local: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on Libya to immediately stop the "unacceptable" attacks on anti-government demonstrators.
"Like you and many others around the world, I have seen very disturbing and shocking scenes, where Libyan authorities have been firing at demonstrators from warplanes and helicopters," Ban said from Los Angeles. "This is
unacceptable. This must stop immediately. This is a serious violation of international humanitarian law."
LIBYA, 11:22 p.m. ET, 6:22 a.m. local: At the request of Libya's deputy ambassador to the United Nations - who earlier today called the crackdown in Libya a "genocide" - the U.N. Security Council scheduled a Tuesday morning meeting on Libya. This will be the first time the council has held consultations over any of the revolts that have swept Arab nations since January.
LIBYA, 11:09 p.m. ET, 6:09 a.m. local: A Libyan woman, speaking on condition of anonymity to CNN's Anderson Cooper, recounts a massacre near her home in Tripoli:
BAHRAIN, 8:51 p.m. ET, 4:51 a.m. local: CNN's Tim Lister reports from Bahrain, where he walked among protesters in the capital's Pearl Roundabout. Thousands of demonstrators were in the roundabout on Monday, preparing for a massive demonstration on Tuesday. Lister says the demonstrators' encampment has taken on an air of permanence, with tents, makeshift kitchens, even a rudimentary field hospital.
More on the Bahrain protests:
LIBYA, 7:40 p.m. ET, 2:40 a.m. local: About 15,000 of Libya's 2 million to 3 million Egyptians returned Monday across the border, border officials said.
The Egyptian military has set up refugee camps near its border with Libya and set up two mobile hospitals at the Salloum border crossing to assist Egyptians fleeing the protests in Libya, Egypt's state-run news website EgyNews
reported late Monday.
LIBYA, 7:33 p.m. ET, 2:33 a.m. local: Here is more on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's 40-second appearance - in which he said he still was in Libya - on state-run TV Tuesday morning:
"I want to have some rest," the embattled Libyan leader told a reporter in front of what Libyan television said was his house as he pulled out an umbrella in the rain. "Because I was talking to the young man at Green Square,
and I want to stay the night with them but then it started raining. I want to show them that I am in Tripoli, not in Venezuela. Don't believe those dogs in the media."
Green Square is where pro-government demonstrators in Tripoli have been located.
LIBYA, 6:49 p.m. ET, 1:49 a.m. local: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said Tuesday morning on state-run television that he is not in Venezuela as rumored, but in Tripoli.
Earlier today, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told Reuters that Libyan leader Gadhafi may have been on his way to Venezuela.
Here is video of Gadhafi's comments to Libyan state-run TV:
LIBYA, 6:46 p.m. ET, 1:46 a.m. local: CNN's Cairo bureau chief Ben Wedeman has entered eastern Libya and is the first western television reporter to enter and report from inside Libya during the current crisis. He says much of eastern Libya appears to be in opposition control.
"What we saw as we were driving in is that this part of eastern Libya is clearly under the controls of the rebels - the forces that are opposed to Col. Gadhafi," Wedeman by phone on CNN's "The Situation Room."
"We saw along the road a lot of groups of men with shotguns - with machine guns - in civilian clothing. They call themselves basically the popular committees that are trying to maintain some sort of order along the way.
"Clearly the situation is very unstable. What we saw was that there are a lot of people – mostly Egyptians – who are leaving Libya at the moment. At the Egyptian border we were told by Egyptian officials that 15,000 Egyptian s left Libya, returning to Egypt."
"There are some signs of normal life. Gas stations are open. Stores are open. We saw … what looked like kebab shops that are functioning. There is a fair amount of traffic on the road, although I was told that was mostly Egyptians leaving the country."
The wife of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is "China's most dazzling folk singer," according to a profile in Newsweek.
Peng is arguably more famous than her husband. She has millions of fans, thanks to frequent appearances on China Central Television over many years. She is a major general in the People's Liberation Army and is China's AIDS ambassador to the United Nations.
When Xi succeeds Hu Jintao as president next year, as most observers expect, China's first couple "will approach the glamour of the Kennedy administration," Kent Ewing writes in Asia Times.
"China will have a first family that mixes fame and beauty with power and privilege," Ewing observes.
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