U.N. officials have reported multiple Israeli shells hit a U.N. school in Gaza's Jabaliya refugee camp, killing at least 15 people Wednesday morning. The Israeli military said, from its initial inquiry, it appeared as if soldiers responded to militant fire "from the vicinity of the [UN] school." Around 3,300 Palestinians had taken refuge in the school, fleeing fighting and Israeli strikes in other areas of the Gaza Strip. UNRWA says more than 200,000 Palestinians have sought shelter in 85 of its schools. On July 24, a strike on a U.N. school, which was also being used as a shelter, in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun killed 15 Palestinians and injured 200 others. On Tuesday, the United Nations reported it had discovered a cache of rockets at a U.N. school in Gaza, for the third time since recent hostilities began. An estimated 1,250 Palestinians, mostly civilians, as well as 53 Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed in over three weeks of fighting.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported opposition fighters detonated bombs in tunnels under the northern city of Aleppo killing at least 13 pro-government forces. The bombs were placed in two or three tunnels under historic parts of the city. The coalition of rebel brigades, the Islamic Front, claimed responsibility for the attack, which was not reported in Syrian state media. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch released a statement saying the Syrian government has continued using barrel bombs against civilians, despite a February U.N. Security Council resolution. The group documented 650 new damage sites that appeared to be hit by barrel bombs since the resolution was passed. The Security Council is scheduled to meet Wednesday for its fifth report on the resolution.
- Militias have seized a Libyan army special forces base in the eastern city of Benghazi that had been held by forces allied with the former general, Khalifa Heftar.
- A U.S. judge, who had ordered marshals to seize the cargo of a tanker holding $100 million worth of Kurdish oil, said the order could not be enforced because the vessel, at 60 miles offshore of Texas, was outside her jurisdiction.
- Hundreds of people protested in several Yemeni cities Wednesday after the government raised fuel prices.
Arguments and Analysis
'Did Libya Prove War Hawks Right or Wrong?' (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic)
"I am struck by the willingness of prominent interventionists to have publicly declared their instincts in Libya vindicated when the country's future remained very much in doubt, as if they couldn't conceive of an intervention that would result in more lives lost than the alternative even as the possibility of that outcome was extremely plausible. As in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Washington, D.C. foreign-policy establishment seemed to perform no better at foreseeing how events would unfold than non-expert commentators who simply applied Murphy's Law. At the very most charitable, the common interventionist claim that Libya vindicated them in their dispute with non-interventionists was wildly premature. Perhaps the lesson to take from the NATO campaign is that even the most thoughtful interventionists have no idea how geopolitical events will unfold."
'The regime's new clothes' (Ursula Lindsey, Mada Masr)
"The new regime has its accomplices and plenty of supporters, relieved to see the state reassert its authority, and 'the people' back to a state of appropriate passivity and silence. But the authorities' hypersensitivity to dissent reveals a deep unease. Otherwise, how to explain the need to criminalize hand gestures, hunt down flyers, investigate telephone ads, and treat comedy shows as threats to national security?
The government is rightly paranoid, because it is a regime, like the Emperor of Hans Christian Anderson's tale, with no clothes. A castle of cards built on fake confessions, fake miracle cures, fake trials, fake crack-downs and clean-ups."
'Rouhani Goes to College' (Reza H. Akbari, The Majalla)
"Rouhani continues to promise more academic freedom in Iran, but the opposition to his plans has been strong. The ultimate acceptance or rejection of the Science Minister's proposed changes by the SCRC will certainly be an indicator of the fate of attempts to grant more independence to the country's universities in the future.
Thus far, the administration's opponents are doing what they can to hinder the reform process by delaying the nomination of candidates, threatening to impeach the Science Minister, and accusing the administration of breaking laws. The outcome of the conflict is not certain, but a rejection of the Science Minister's proposed changes would decrease any hope for short-term improvements in academic freedom in Iran."
-- Mary Casey
MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images