The Syrian government is using chemical weapons against rebel forces, the head of the Israel Defense Forces' intelligence research departments said Tuesday.
"In all likelihood they used sarin gas," Brig. Gen. Itai Brun said Tuesday in a speech at a conference in Tel Aviv. This comes as a civil war between the government and rebels rages across Syria - which borders Israel.
Analysts believe the Syrian government may have one of the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world. The supply is believed to include sarin, mustard and VX gases, which are banned under international law. Syria has denied the allegation.FULL STORY
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.FULL STORY
Hamas, the Palestinian movement that runs Gaza, has re-elected Khaled Meshaal as its political leader, several sources inside Hamas confirmed to CNN Tuesday.
Meshaal (pictured) was re-elected as chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau in Cairo on Monday. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya will continue to lead the movement internally inside Gaza.FULL STORY
[Updated at 2 p.m. ET] Israel has amended its statement on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's apology to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan over the 2010 Israeli commando attack that killed nine people on a Gaza-bound flotilla. The new statement removes a previous mention of Netanyahu and Erdogan agreeing to normalize relations between the two countries and dispatch ambassadors.
[Updated at 12:46 p.m. ET] Israel and Turkey also have decided to normalize their fractured diplomatic ties, agreeing to return ambassadors to their posts, the office of Israel's prime minister said Friday in a statement confirming the flotilla raid apology.
[Posted at 11:28 a.m. ET] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan on Friday to apologize for an Israeli commando raid in 2010 on a Gaza-bound flotilla that killed eight Turks, two U.S. senior administration officials told reporters traveling with President Barack Obama in the Middle East.
Netanyahu made the call during an airport meeting with Obama before the U.S. president departed Israel after his first visit to the Jewish state since taking office in 2009.FULL STORY
U.S. President Barack Obama visited the West Bank on Thursday, stressing the need for direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians for a two-state solution.
"The Palestinian people deserve an end to occupation and the daily indignities that come with it," Obama said at a news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
"Palestinians deserve a future of hope," he said. "Palestinians deserve a state of their own."
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.FULL STORY
President Barack Obama is visiting Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank for the first time since he became president. He and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a joint news conference Wednesday evening in Jerusalem.
[Update 3:16 p.m.] The news conference has concluded.
[Update 3:15 p.m.] Netanyahu said the United States and Israel have a "common assessment" on Iran's progress in developing a nuclear weapon.
[Update 3:09 p.m.] Obama said that he "purposely did not want to come here and make some big announcement that might not match up to the reality" on the ground regarding the Middle East peace process.
[Update 3:04 p.m.] "I think there is time to resolve this issue diplomatically," Obama said about tension over Iran's nuclear program.
[Update 2:56 p.m.] Obama said that "all options are on the table" regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions, adding that "we will do what is necessary in preventing Iran from getting the world's worst weapons."
Netanyahu said he was "absolutely convinced" that Obama is "determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."
[Update 2:52 p.m.] Obama said he has ordered an investigation of whether the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people, adding he was "deeply skeptical" of any claim the opposition had used them.
"Once we have established the facts, I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game-changer," Obama said, stopping short of saying what he would do if Syria had crossed his "red line" for stronger action.
[Update 2:49 p.m.] Obama said the Syrian government's "use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people would be a serious and tragic mistake," adding that Damascus "will be held for accountable for the use of chemical weapons or their transfer to terrorists."
[Update 2:45 p.m.] Obama said he and Netanyahu discussed extending U.S. assistance for Israel beyond the 2017 deadline of the current agreement between their countries.
[Update 2:42 p.m.] Netanyahu said Wednesday that he hoped the visit by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry can "help us turn a page in relations" with Palestinians seeking their own state.
[First post 2:38 p.m.] Netanyahu said Wednesday that diplomacy and sanctions have not stopped Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear weapon so far, adding that a peaceful solution also requires a clear and credible threat of military action.
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni says "it is clear for us here in Israel" that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and an international response to the crisis should be "on the table in the discussions between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama" during the president's trip to Israel.
When pressed during an interview in her Tel Aviv home, Livni wouldn't say whether there is evidence that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has directed the use of any chemical weapons.
But she said this development poses a direct threat to Israel, which shares a border with Syria. Livni told CNN that "the appearance is that it's not going to be only in Syria, but that Hezbollah can reach all these chemical weapons and use them against Israel in the future."FULL STORY
For the first time as president, Barack Obama is visiting Israel as concerns about Iran's nuclear progress percolate.
The trip is part of his sweep across the Middle East, which will include visits to the West Bank and Jordan.
Obama's first stop Wednesday will be a visit to an Iron Dome missile defense launcher in Tel Aviv.FULL STORY
President Barack Obama departed Joint Base Andrews Tuesday evening aboard Air Force One for his first visit to Israel and the West Bank since he became president in 2009.
Iran is the top issue as Obama heads to Jerusalem for meetings with Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The prime minister has at times voiced concerns Washington has a less urgent view than Israel of Iran's progress toward developing a nuclear warhead. But Netanyahu has welcomed the administration's more muscular language of late that "all options" are on the table and that its policy is to prevent - not contain - a nuclear Iran.FULL STORY
Israeli politicians have reached an agreement on a new government that excludes ultra-religious parties, which have almost always been a part of the ruling coalition.
The main ultra-orthodox Shas Party will join the Labor Party in the opposition rows of the Knesset, Israel's parliament. It leaves the governing coalition with no party that traditionally trumpets the concerns of the poor.FULL STORY
A statement by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has caught the attention of the U.S. State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry plans to express his strong concerns on Friday about the Turkish prime minister's remarks equating Zionism with crimes against humanity, a senior State Department official said.
"Obviously we strongly disagree with that notion," the official said, calling the statement "offensive and wrong." He was referring to Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks Wednesday at a forum in Vienna, Austria. This comes as the once-extensive cooperation between Turkey and Israel on trade and tourism and even military issues has broken down.FULL STORY
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.FULL STORY
Israel completed a successful test flight of its Arrow 3 interceptor system on Monday, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
The system is designed to defend against medium-range missiles that could be fired from countries such as Iran.
"The successful test is a major milestone in the development of the Arrow 3 Weapon System and provides further confidence in future Israeli defense capabilities to defeat the developing ballistic missile threat," the statement said.FULL STORY
After a week of international controversy, Israel says it will investigate the case of an Australian-Israeli citizen known as 'Prisoner X' - a man whose detainment and death in an Israeli cell remain cloaked in mystery.
A parliamentary committee announced the inquiry Sunday, saying it will look into all aspects of the case involving the prisoner, who died in December 2010.
The announcement came the same day Israel's prime minister said an "overexposure of security and intelligence activity" could harm state security.
The case of Prisoner X has sparked widespread debate in Israel over government censorship and the country's prison system.
The prisoner's name has never been revealed by Israel.FULL STORY
Israeli settlements have taken a "heavy toll" on the rights and sovereignty of Palestinians, a U.N. report said Thursday.
The U.N. Human Rights Council report ticked off a range of rights it says have been consistently violated in the West Bank and East Jerusalem during what it calls "creeping annexation" by Israel.FULL STORY
Syria's has the right to a "surprise retaliation" after Israel's airstrike, its ambassador to Lebanon is quoted as saying, and Syria's foreign ministry has summoned the head of the United Nations mission in the Golan Heights over the attack, Syria's state news agency reports.
Ambassador Ali Abdul Karim Ali said Israel's airstrike Wednesday was on a research center, according to the Hezbollah official website Moqawama.
A senior U.S. official on Wednesday, however, said Israeli jet fighters hit a Syrian convoy suspected of moving weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
It was not certain whether the U.S. and Syrian accounts referred to the same incidents.FULL STORY
Doctors in Israel said Monday that they had detected "significant brain activity" during tests on former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma since he suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2006.
The tests on Sharon were carried out late last week by brain scientists, the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev said in a statement.FULL STORY
The pundits in Israel, the United States and the West Bank have pretty much forecast the winner of today's Israeli national elections.
Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing political coalition with former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman– Likud Beitenu - will prevail. He'll trot to the finish line in an easy horse race, analysts say, citing poll after poll.
But this is just the first stage in forging a new government. After the election for Knesset seats, the arduous government coalition-building begins.FULL STORY
Israeli authorities said Thursday there had been an explosion in Tel Aviv near a bus and possibly inside a car. Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CNN the incident appears to be the work of organized crime, not a terror attack.FULL STORY