October 27th, 2012
08:05 PM ET

Israeli airstrike hits Hamas target

An Israeli airstrike east of Khanunis City in Gaza early Sunday left a 25-year-old man dead and another militant seriously injured, according to medical sources and the military wing of Hamas.

The two belonged to Hamas’ Izzedine al Qassam brigade, which three hours earlier fired mortars into Israel.

The airstrike reportedly occurred after an Israeli incursion into Palestinian territory.

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Sudan angry, defiant after attack that it blames on Israel
Fire rages at the state-owned Al-Yarmuk Industrial Complex in southern Khartoum, Sudan, on Wednesday.
October 25th, 2012
04:56 PM ET

Sudan angry, defiant after attack that it blames on Israel

Sudan remained defiant and angry Thursday after a fatal late-night bombing of a weapons factory in that east African country - a sophisticated attack a Sudanese official continued to blame on Israel.

"This cowardly act makes Sudan now a confrontation state," said the government's information minister, Ahmed Bilal Osman.

Israel has declined comment on that attack, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Two people were killed when warplanes struck the weapons factory around midnight Tuesday, according to Osman.

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October 24th, 2012
11:30 AM ET

Sudan blames Israel for weapons factory blast

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.

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October 24th, 2012
09:02 AM ET

Israel vows punishment for rocket attacks

[Updated at 12:40 p.m.] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel "neither chose nor initiated this escalation, but if it continues we are prepared for much more extensive and deeper action. In any case, we will continue with preventative operations. Whoever intends to attack Israeli citizens needs to know that he will bear the consequences."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak toured areas hit by rockets in southern Israel and said the military "is working efficiently against all the terror elements.  Since the beginning of the month, 15 active terrorists have been killed in the act, and more have been injured."  He wished a speedy recovery to those injured by rockets fired from Gaza.  "Hamas will receive its punishment for what has happened here," he vowed, promising that Israel will "work with patience and level-headedness."

"There is no way to eliminate the hatred or hostility entrenched in Hamas. But the IDF will act on the border, from the air, and in any other necessary way in order to strike down those who attempt to cause us harm," he said.

[Updated at 9:02 a.m. ET] As dozens of Palestinian rockets rained down on southern Israel, the country's air force carried out new raids on positions in Gaza on Wednesday. Two days of air strikes have so far killed four Palestinians.

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October 22nd, 2012
06:12 AM ET

Israeli airstrikes target militants, kill 3 in Gaza

[Updated at 10:35 a.m. ET] A third Israeli airstrike targeted a militant group and killed one person, according to security and medical sources in Gaza.

No other injuries were reported. The strike comes a day ahead of the expected visit of Qatar's emir to Gaza.

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FC Barcelona invites Palestinians to Madrid match after Gilad Shalit row
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is sidetracking "El Clásico," a game normally known for featuring the world's biggest stars.
September 28th, 2012
03:46 PM ET

FC Barcelona invites Palestinians to Madrid match after Gilad Shalit row

It's not often a sporting event can stoke the tensions of one of the world's longest-running conflicts, but news that an ex-prisoner and Israeli soldier would attend a Spanish soccer match next month did just that.

Gilad Shalit, who was freed in October 2011 after more than five years as a Palestinian prisoner, is expected to attend next month's "El Clásico," a match between Spanish powerhouses FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. This game, which will be played at Barcelona's Camp Nou on October 7, is one of the world's biggest rivalries.

Despite several reports that Barcelona had extended the invitation to Shalit, the club announced in a Thursday statement that wasn't the case.

Gilad Shalit is expected to attend next month's soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

"The Club did not invite Mr. Shalit to the game, but accepted a request to watch a match during his visit to Barcelona," the statement said.

Barcelona said it also accepted a Palestinian Embassy request that three of its delegates - Palestinian Authority Ambassador Musa Amer Odeh, Palestinian Football Union President Jibril Rajoub and soccer player and activist Mahmoud Sarsak - be invited to the game.

Though the club statement said the three would attend, the Palestinian-run blog, The Electronic Intifada, cited two reports saying that Sarsak would reject the invitation.

Sarsak was freed from an Israeli prison in June following a three-month hunger strike. The player's refusal to eat prompted Amnesty International to issue a statement saying Sarsak should be released or provided with medical treatment.

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September 6th, 2012
02:32 PM ET

Comments: 'Love him or hate him,' but Clinton fires up Democrats at convention

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. Here are some comments we noticed Thursday:

As former President Bill Clinton took to the stage at the Democratic National Convention, readers took to their cameras and keyboards to let us know what they thought about his speech Wednesday night and how the convention is going so far.

Five things we learned from Day Two of the DNC

Clinton has been a controversial figure not only for his politics but for his personal life and resulting impeachment. David P. Kronmiller of Burbank, California, alluded to this past, asking "does he help or hurt Democrats?" and referring to "mixed messages" even as he gave the former president good marks for his words.

"He's an excellent storyteller," Kronmiller said. "He's very good at telling the story of an event - in this case, Barack Obama's successes."

And then there's Mark Ivy, a CNN iReporter who says he leans toward Mitt Romney but was keeping an eye on "classic Bill Clinton" on Wednesday night. The Farmersburg, Indiana, resident said that although many people "love (Clinton) or hate him," he also felt that "no one knows how to reach out and touch the common folk better than the man from Hope," or exhibits better skills to "play to the base of the Democratic Party."

"Bill Clinton was vintage Bill Clinton tonight as he formally nominated President Barack Obama to carry the torch for yet another four years for the Democratic National Party. That included the fact that as customary, Bill was not short-winded... ."

Some of the reaction came directly from Charlotte, North Carolina, site of the DNC events. The following two iReporters won a CNN contest to attend the DNC, just as others had gone to the Republican National Convention.

Omekongo Dibinga of Washington noted in his video commentary that he felt the speech was effective despite some controversy surrounding the convention's second day. FULL POST

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August 28th, 2012
04:32 AM ET

Israeli court: American protester Rachel Corrie's death an accident

Nine years after an American activist was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer, an Israeli civil court ruled Tuesday that Rachel Corrie's death was an accident.

Corrie, 23, was killed in 2003 while trying to block the bulldozer from razing Palestinian homes.

On Tuesday, a judge in Haifa said the family has no rights to damages.

Corrie, an American peace activist and human rights defender, was nonviolently protesting the demolition of Palestinian civilian homes in Rafah, Gaza, when she was fatally struck. She was working with the Palestinian-led International Solidarity Movement when she died.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense said in 2010 that it regrets Corrie's death. "But she was in a known combat area, so the (Israeli Defense Forces) does not have responsibility," a spokesman told CNN. "The case is with the court, and they will make their decision."

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August 21st, 2012
07:28 AM ET

False alarm declared in Dublin bomb scare

[Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET] An Irish army bomb squad searched the Israeli Embassy in Dublin after a suspicious device was reported Tuesday, but declared the incident a false alarm, police said.

Police said the embassy was evacuated, but Israel's Foreign Ministry said it wasn't.

[Posted at 7:28 a.m. ET] Israel's embassy in Ireland contacted police about a suspicious device at the diplomatic mission in Dublin, Irish police said Tuesday.

An Irish Army bomb disposal team is at the scene, police said.

The embassy had been evacuated, a police spokesman said.

 

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August 1st, 2012
02:15 PM ET

Police release composite image of Bulgaria bus bomber

Bulgarian police released a composite image Wednesday of the man accused of carrying out a suicide bomb attack on a bus at Burgas airport last month, in which five Israeli tourists and the Bulgarian bus driver died.

The image shows the face of a clean-shaven young man with short dark hair, a pale complexion and brown or green eyes.

It was created by applying "modern technologies and techniques" to the data collected, the police said in a statement.

Anyone with more information about the man pictured is urged to contact the authorities.

More than 30 other Israelis were injured, some seriously, in the terror attack two weeks ago. The Israelis had arrived from Tel Aviv to take a vacation at a resort on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast.

The bomb is believed to have been concealed in a backpack the suicide bomber placed on a bus in a parking lot outside the airport.

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July 21st, 2012
05:36 AM ET

Possible 2nd suspect in Bulgaria bus blast, source says

[Updated 7:20 a.m. ET] Bulgarian police have been alerted to the possibility of a second suspect in a bomb attack that killed five Israeli tourists in Burgas, a high-level source within Bulgaria's Interior Ministry told CNN.

Investigators have determined that the bomb was detonated by a man caught on airport security videos about an hour before Wednesday's attack at Burgas International Airport. But they are now looking at the possibility that he had help.

According to the source, investigators have spoken to several eyewitnesses in attempt to identify the bomber.

They describe a man with short hair who spoke English with a "distinct" accent.

This is different from the man seen on the security video who has long hair, however, leading investigators to look into the possibility that a second person may be involved, a source said.

Police in Burgas have been given an identikit photo of the man and told to look out for anyone matching this description.

Earlier, a lower-level source at the Interior Ministry told CNN that police were looking for a second suspect, possibly an American.

That was later corrected by a higher-level source, who said a second suspect was a possibility, but had not been confirmed.

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Official: Six dead, 30 injured in explosion on Israeli tourist bus
Smoke rises over Bulgaria's Burgas Airport on Wednesday after an explosion on a bus carrying Israeli tourists.
July 18th, 2012
11:45 AM ET

Official: Six dead, 30 injured in explosion on Israeli tourist bus

[Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET] Six people were killed and 30 injured in an explosion on a bus carrying Israeli tourists at a Bulgarian airport, Vania Valkova, director of the Bulgarian interior ministry press office, said Wednesday.

She said Bulgaria's interior minister was considering all scenarios, including a terror attack.

[Posted at 11:45 a.m. ET] At least three people were killed in an explosion on a bus outside Burgas airport in Bulgaria, an interior ministry spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The Israeli foreign ministry said that the explosion occurred on a bus carrying Israeli tourists from the airport on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast and that there were a number of casualties.

It is not clear whether the explosion was the result of an attack, the foreign ministry said.

Vania Valkova, director of the Bulgarian interior ministry press office, was not able to confirm the nationalities of those killed.

The tourists' plane landed in Bulgaria at 5 p.m., the Israeli foreign ministry said. Valkova said the bus was in the parking zone when the blast occurred.

Israel's Channel 10 station reported that there had been a combined attack of gunfire and explosives outside Burgas airport.

Guy Ailer of Israel, who said he was on a nearby bus, told Channel 10 he saw bodies and injured people at the scene after the explosion.

- CNN's Stephanie Halasz and Jennifer Deaton contributed to this report.

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Mosaic in Israel shows biblical Samson
Mosaics found in an ancient synagogue include images of women, as well as the biblical figure Samson.
July 4th, 2012
12:47 PM ET

Mosaic in Israel shows biblical Samson

Archaeologists are reveling in the discovery of an ancient synagogue in northern Israel, a "monumental" structure with a mosaic floor depicting the biblical figure of Samson and a Hebrew inscription.

The synagogue - dating to the fourth and fifth centuries in both the Talmudic and late Roman periods - is in Huqoq, an ancient Jewish village in the country's Galilee region, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said.

Jodi Magness, a professor of early Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the building was found in a recent excavation.

She called the find "exciting" and described the "very high quality of the artwork" in the mosaic, crafted with "tiny colored stone cubes." Only a few late Roman period synagogues contained mosaics with biblical scenes, she said.

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July 4th, 2012
07:46 AM ET

Arafat belongings test high for radioactivity, scientist says

Scientific tests have found unusually high levels of the radioactive substance polonium-210 in some of the personal effects of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, one of the scientists involved in the study said Wednesday.

The results do not mean that Arafat suffered radiation poisoning, François Bochud told CNN.

Some details in Arafat's medical records are not consistent with polonium poisoning, he explained.

"We have evidence there is too much polonium, but we also have hints from the medical records that this may not be the case. The only way to resolve this anomaly would be by testing the body," said Bochud, director of Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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Jews, Muslims slam German circumcision ruling as assault on religion
A German court has sparked a furor by ruling that religious-based circumcisions are not in a child's best interests.
June 27th, 2012
02:15 PM ET

Jews, Muslims slam German circumcision ruling as assault on religion

Jews and Muslims are joining forces in outrage over a German court's decision that could prohibit parents from having their children circumcised for religious reasons. The court deemed the oft-religious procedure an act of "bodily harm" to children, according to German media reports.

The Tuesday ruling says doctors who perform the procedure for religious reasons could be charged with committing bodily injury, sparking a debate that pits parents' religious freedom against a child's right to self-determination. The court essentially ruled that circumcision is not in a child's best interests, according to the German newspaper Der Spiegel.

"The body of the child is irreparably and permanently changed by a circumcision," the court said. "This change contravenes the interests of the child to decide later on his religious beliefs."

While the ruling is expected to influence other courts, it is not legally binding, Der Spiegel noted.

The procedure, which is relatively common in the United States (roughly six in 10 newborn boys are circumcised), is not so prevalent in Europe. In Germany, only 11% of boys are circumcised, according to 2007 figures. However, many of Germany's 4 million Muslims and its 100,000 Jews consider circumcision a religious rite.

The case began in Cologne in 2010 after a doctor performed a circumcision on a 4-year-old Muslim boy. His parents took him to a hospital two days later because he was bleeding heavily, the Medical Daily website reported. When prosecutors learned of the emergency room visit, they brought criminal charges against the doctor.

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Malaysian court: Iranian can be extradited to Thailand over Bangkok blasts
Bangkok bombs crime scene on Wednesday, February 22, 2012.
June 25th, 2012
04:16 AM ET

Malaysian court: Iranian can be extradited to Thailand over Bangkok blasts

A Malaysian court has ruled that an Iranian man suspected of being involved with a series of bombs that went off in Bangkok in February can be extradited to Thailand.

Masoud Sedaghatzadeh is wanted by the Thai authorities for his alleged involvement in the Bangkok blasts along with several other Iranians.

It is not yet clear when Sedaghatzadeh will be extradited, as he plans to file an application to a higher court in Malaysia, seeking his release from prison.

The explosions in Bangkok did not cause any deaths, but the Thai authorities have said they were intended for Israeli diplomats. The devices used explosive materials that are not available in Thailand and were most likely smuggled in, the police have said.

The Bangkok blasts came a day after a device attached to an Israeli Embassy van in New Delhi exploded, and another device, found on an embassy car in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, was safety detonated.

Israeli officials blamed Iran for the attacks, but Tehran has denied the accusations.

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Hamas says military wing agrees to cease-fire with Israel
The remains of a rocket launched from Gaza are embedded in the ground Tuesday near the kibbutz of Yad Mordechay.
June 20th, 2012
04:33 PM ET

Hamas says military wing agrees to cease-fire with Israel

[Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET] The Palestinian group Hamas says its military wing has agreed to an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Israel following a sharp increase in violence between the two sides.

In a statement posted early Wednesday, Hamas - which controls the Palestinian territory of Gaza - says it will observe the cease-fire as long as Israel remains committed to the agreement.

There was no immediate response to the cease-fire announcement from Israel, which said more than 75 rockets had been fired into its territory from Gaza in the past three days. Six Palestinians and one Israeli died between Sunday and Tuesday in a spate of rocket attacks and Israeli airstrikes, officials on both sides reported; Israel also said a Palestinian child was killed when a rocket launch attempt by militants backfired.

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May 14th, 2012
12:45 PM ET

Israel reaches deal with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike

A group representing Palestinian prisoners has reached a deal with Israel to end a hunger strike.

The agreement, brokered by Egypt, involves Israel taking steps to ease conditions, Palestinian officials said.

Yigal Palmor, spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry, confirmed that an agreement was reached and said the hunger strike will end.

"I am glad it's over. I am glad nobody died," he said.

Ziad Abu Ein, the Palestinian deputy minister of detainees and ex-detainees, said Israel agreed that all Palestinian prisoners who are currently in solitary confinement will be moved out and into other jail cells.

Also, Israel will allow families from the West Bank and Gaza to visit inmates, he said.

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April 17th, 2012
07:59 AM ET

1,500 Palestinian prisoners start hunger strike

About 1,500 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli detention began an open-ended hunger strike Tuesday as Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza gathered in various events to observe the annual Prisoners' Day, marking solidarity for the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

The Palestinian Prisoner's Association Club, an inmate advocacy group, said there were 1,500 prisoners taking part in the hunger strike and suggested that more from a range of Palestinian political factions were expected to follow.

"The Palestinian detainees who are on hunger strike are protesting Israel's treatment to prisoners inside the Israeli prisons," said Amani Sarahna, a club spokeswoman. "They are protesting Israel's policy of administrative detention and solitary confinement for prisoners for months at a time. They are protesting the arbitrary fines imposed on prisoners by the Israeli authority, the prevention of families especially of those from Gaza."

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New Israeli law bans use of too-skinny models in ads
Israel has passed a new law banning the use of underweight models in advertising.
March 20th, 2012
11:50 AM ET

New Israeli law bans use of too-skinny models in ads

Israel has passed a law banning the use of underweight models in advertising. The legislation, known as the "Photoshop Law," also requires that agencies tell their audience if they've digitally altered pictures to make models look thinner.

"This is such a happy day for me, and it should be for everyone in the modeling business," said Israeli modeling agency owner Adi Barkan, who has been working in fashion for more than 30 years. He said he lobbied Knesset members for years to get a law like this passed.

"All over the world, 20 years ago, we saw girls who were skinny, but today we see girls who are too, too skinny," he said. "They are dying. The business only wants the skinny girls. So the girls, they stop eating. It's terrible. We must be more responsible and say to them that it doesn't have to be that way."

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