Israel has resumed strikes on the Gaza Strip after a cease-fire proposed by Egypt collapsed. Israel said the military struck 39 targets overnight. According to witnesses, the homes of several Hamas leaders were hit, and the headquarters of the interior ministry was destroyed. Additionally, the Israeli military sent out warnings to about 100,000 residents of northern and eastern Gaza to evacuate their homes by 8 a.m. Wednesday before planned strikes. According to Gaza's health ministry, 205 Palestinians have been killed and 1,530 wounded in nine days of fighting. The Israeli military reported 150 rockets were fired into Israel on Tuesday and one civilian was killed after being hit by a mortar shell near the Erez border crossing. Additionally, four rockets were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome Wednesday morning.
Iraqi parliamentarians have broken a political deadlock to elect a new speaker, in the first step toward forming a new government. Moderate Sunni politician Salim al-Jubouri won 194 out of 272 votes to become speaker, and a Shiite and Kurd have been selected as the two deputy speakers. The parliament had failed in two other sessions to elect a speaker. According to the constitution, the speaker must nominate a president within two weeks, and then the president has four weeks to nominate a prime minister. Meanwhile, Iraqi troops and allied Shiite forces withdrew from Tikrit Tuesday as their offensive to retake the city met heavy resistance from militants led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been sworn in for a third seven-year term in office after winning re-election in June amid the country's civil war.
- Iran and six world powers are likely to extend nuclear talks though U.S. Secretary of State Kerry said there are still "very real gaps" insisting Tehran cut its capacity to produce nuclear fuel.
- Militants from the Libyan town of Zintan are tightening control of Tripoli's airport after two days of fighting with rival militias.
- Two days of clashes between and Houthi forces and tribesmen, backed by an army unit, in Yemen's northern Jouf province have killed at least 35 fighters.
Arguments and Analysis
'Expendable Egypt' (Benedetta Berti and Zack Gold, Foreign Affairs)
"The similarities between this month's hostilities between Hamas and Israel and those during their last major confrontation, in November 2012, are striking. Hamas and other Palestinian groups fire rockets deep into Israel, and the Iron Dome defense system knocks the projectiles out of the sky. Israel launches aerial strikes on densely populated areas of the Gaza Strip, and militants there shoot rockets back at Israeli civilians.
Yet one thing has changed: the relationship between Hamas and Egypt. In the fall of 2012, Hamas was able to count on the political support of the Egyptian government of President Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader. The rise of the Brotherhood in Egypt earlier that year had simultaneously provided Hamas with a new regional ally and redefined relations between the group and Egypt, moving from the mutual deep-seated suspicion and antagonism of the Mubarak years to a relationship built on shared political ideals and respect."
'New Poll: A Large Majority Of Americans Favor Making A Nuclear Deal With Iran' (Ben Armbruster, ThinkProgress)
"A new poll has found that a majority of Americans favor a final nuclear deal with Iran that provides sanctions relief and a limited civilian nuclear program coupled with a strict verification and monitoring component to assure that Iran does not produce nuclear weapons.
According to the survey - conducted by the Program for Public Consultation and the Center for International & Security Studies at the University of Maryland - 61 percent of respondents favor making the deal, including '62 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of independents.'"
-- Mary Casey
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