U.N. report says Israeli settlements violate rights of Palestinians
A Palestinian man points toward a home demolished by Israeli bulldozers in Arab East Jerusalem on January 15.
January 31st, 2013
11:28 AM ET

U.N. report says Israeli settlements violate rights of Palestinians

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.

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Filed under: Israel • Palestinians • World
Work begun to exhume Arafat's body
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat salutes during a meeting with supporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah in September 2004.
November 13th, 2012
07:21 AM ET

Work begun to exhume Arafat's body

Editor's Note: Work began Tuesday to exhume the body of Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat amid an investigation of his 2004 death.

[Update 8:48 a.m.] The process of removing the marble tombstone on Arafat's grave to allow for exhumation of the body is under way, a Palestinian source said.  The glass surrounding the mausoleum has been removed.


November 11th, 2012
12:53 PM ET

Israel strikes rocket sites after Hamas 'escalation'

[Update 12:44 p.m.] The Israeli military says more than 85 rockets from Gaza have hit Israel since yesterday.  "In the past two days, Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip have dramatically escalated their attacks against Israel — firing an anti-tank missile at an IDF jeep as well as launching barrages of rockets at Israeli civilians," the Israel Defense Forces says.

The Palestinian official news agency WAFA posted this photo, saying it was taken in Gaza today after an Israeli strike.  WAFA did not give an exact location.  Israel has said it targeted a rocket-launching squad in Gaza.

This photo shows Israelis running for cover as a siren wailed in the city of Ashkelon in southern Israel, warning people of more rocket attacks coming in from Gaza, on Saturday night.


Israel returns fire into Syria in warning over spillover violence
On Nov. 7, smoke rose after an explosion in Syria close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria.
November 11th, 2012
10:25 AM ET

Israel returns fire into Syria in warning over spillover violence

[Update 10:22 a.m.] Today's firing of warning shots into Syria - in response to apparent spillover violence from the internal conflict in Syria - marks the first time since 1973 that Israel has fired into Syria across the Golan Heights.  After the Yom Kippur War, an international agreement was established between Syria and the Israel, mandated by the United Nations, establishing a demilitarized zone in the region.

Israel's move today came after the fourth time in ten days that the Syrian conflict spilled over into Israel, the Israeli military said.

The complaint Israel filed with the United Nations is the third in the past 10 days.

Syrian tanks entered the Golan Heights demilitarized zone last week and fired into Syria; bullets fired at the tanks in response struck an Israeli military vehicle in part of the Golan Heights that Israel claims as its own. Mortars also fell in part of the Golan that Israel considers its territory.  No one was injured, the Israeli military said.

"“We interpret it as pinpoint leaks into Israel territory," said Avital Leibovich, spokeswoman for the Israeli military.  "It’s totally internal conflict in Syria. We believe that Israel is not the target here. We are looking at either stray bullets or stray mortars."

[Posted 8:05 a.m.] Israel fired warning shots toward Syria today after a mortar shell hit an Israeli military post, the Israel Defense Forces said.


Emir of Qatar becomes first head of state to visit Gaza since blockade
October 23rd, 2012
12:21 PM ET

Emir of Qatar becomes first head of state to visit Gaza since blockade

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, visited Gaza Tuesday and became the first official head of state to visit since Egypt and Israel instituted a blockade in 2007.

Qatari aid to the Palestinians in Gaza will increase from $250 to $400 million per year, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya announced at a news conference in Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

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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Filed under: Israel • Palestinians
March 12th, 2012
09:54 AM ET

Gaza-Israel violence enters 4th day

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.

October 18th, 2011
07:25 AM ET

Hamas frees Israel's Gilad Shalit in prisoner swap

[Updated at 7:25 a.m. ET] The mission to bring home captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has been accomplished, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday, saying Israel was united in joy at his release and in pain for the price that Israel had to pay for it.

[Updated at 7:17 a.m. ET] Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was reunited with his family after more than five years in Hamas captivity, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced Tuesday.

Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

[Updated at 7:15 a.m. ET] Gilad Shalit walked into Israel a free man after more than five years in Hamas captivity on Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Israeli television showed him in the company of IDF soldiers minutes after the announcement, sparking joy in Israel.

He is in good health and is now en route to see his family and top Israeli leaders, the military announced.

Shalit learned about a week ago that he was going to be released, though he "felt it for the last month," he told Egyptian television after his release.

"I missed my family. I missed going out and meeting people," he said in the emotional interview, where he appeared pale, tired, tense, and sometimes out of breath, although he was seated in a chair.

Israel is releasing more than 1,000 prisoners in exchange for Shalit.

"I hope this deal will move the peace process forward," he told Shahira Amin of Egyptian TV, saying he would be glad if the remaining Palestinian prisoners are released "as long as they do not go back to fighting Israel."

The interview came shortly after Egyptian television showed a short clip of Shalit walking unaided with an escort of about half a dozen people. He looked thin and dazed, wearing a dark baseball cap and collared shirt.

Shalit came via Egypt because it acted as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, which do not have relations.

Shalit's father told Israeli television earlier it was the happiest day of his life.

Israel freed 477 Palestinian inmates from Israeli jails shortly before Shalit was released, the first group of a batch of more than 1,000 Palestinians being swapped for Shalit's freedom.

Rebels say Gadhafi holed up; broadcast tells Libyans to stay in Tripoli, fight
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, seen here in November, is surrounded at an apartment complex in Tripoli, rebels say.
August 25th, 2011
02:13 PM ET

Rebels say Gadhafi holed up; broadcast tells Libyans to stay in Tripoli, fight

[Updated at 4:54 p.m.] An agreement has been reached in the U.N. Security Council to release $1.5 billion in frozen Libyan assets to the country's fledgling rebel government, diplomats said Thursday.

[Updated at 2:13 p.m.] Gadhafi loyalists have destroyed an empty Libyan airline passenger plane parked at the international airport in Tripoli.

[Updated at 11:54 a.m.] A message purportedly from Moammar Gadhafi was aired Thursday on a loyalist radio station.

The speaker urged people not to leave Tripoli "for the rats." It further implored listeners to "Go out into the streets and fight."

CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the recording. Gadhafi has previously described his adversaries before as rats.

[Updated at 10:49 a.m.] The main source of the opposition's supplies is coming from fighters loyal to Gadhafi. As the rebels win battles, they gather up the enemy's weaponry and equipment to add to their own arsenal.

In Ras Lanuf, home to an oil refinery capable of producing hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a day, a long line of trucks awaited refueling. Most of the trucks had been taken from Moammar Gadhafi's loyalists and been retrofitted with heavy weaponry, including anti-aircraft guns and a rocket launcher.

Ras Lanuf is about 125 miles from Sirte, Gadhafi's hometown and one of the Libyan leader's last strongholds.

Gadhafi has a $1.4 million bounty on his head, but despite claims that he is holed up in an apartment complex in Tripoli, observers are skeptical because of a past rebel assertion that they knew where the Libyan leader was hiding and another announcement that they had captured his son, Saif al-Islam. Neither were accurate.

[Updated at 10:15 a.m.] There has been sporadic but intense artillery fire throughout day near Tripoli International Airport as rebels try to capture the highway connecting the airport and the capital. The airport is about 17 miles south of the capital.


July 28th, 2011
11:29 AM ET

Libyan rebels claim successes in offensive near Tunisia

Rebels in western Libya are claiming big successes after a major offensive was launched early Thursday.

Rebel commanders say their forces have captured five towns and surrounded a sixth in the plains below the Nafusa mountain range.

Hundreds of rebels moved from their mountain positions at dawn, heavier weapons leading the way with lighter armed fighters following, initially encountering fierce resistance from the loyalists of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Col. Jumma Ibrahim, spokesman for the Military Council for the western mountain region, said several major battles had taken place before the towns were secured.

July 28th, 2011
08:18 AM ET

Libyan rebels kick off offensive near Tunisia

Rebel fighters in Libya on Thursday launched an offensive in the western mountains near the Tunisian border, a rebel spokesman said.

Hundreds of fighters kicked off the push on the town of Ghazzaia, west of the Libyan city of Nalut, according to Col. Jumma Ibrahim. He said they are also targeting the town of Al-Josh.

The fighters shot rockets and mortars as they moved toward Ghazzaia from east of the town, Ibrahim said.

Rebel fighters last month suffered heavy casualties in a failed attempt to wrest control of Ghazzaia from forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Last week, rebel fighters manning hilltops in the western mountains overlooking Ghazzaia told CNN that they had been watching the government forces reinforcing their weapon stocks with heavy military machinery and rocket launchers.

Rebels have been battling government troops in a fight to oust Gadhafi, who has ruled the North African nation for nearly 42 years.


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November 25th, 2010
04:48 PM ET

Residents: Mosque destroyed in Palestinian village

A mosque and other structures were demolished by bulldozers in a Palestinian village in the West Bank early Thursday, according to village residents.

The Israeli Civil Administration said the demolished structures did not have "the required permits in a fire area, risking the lives of the population."

Residents of the village of Khirbet Yarza said they awoke Thursday to the sounds of bulldozers as Israeli personnel moved into the area. A mosque, seven metal structures, a tent and three animal sheds were demolished, residents said.

"Almost 200 military personal and 20 military jeeps and three bulldozers arrived this morning around 5:30 to the village and started demolishing structures and the village's sole mosque," Ahmad Abu Sa'ed, a Palestinian official and resident of the area, told CNN.

The village is home to some 200 Palestinians who largely depend on livestock and farming for their livings, he said.


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April 24th, 2010
08:55 AM ET

3 shot during Gaza demonstration

Israeli forces shot and wounded two Palestinians and a Maltese activist during a protest in Gaza on Saturday, medical officials and activists said.


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Filed under: Gaza • Israel • Malta • Middle East