Israel announced a seven-hour humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza following an airstrike near a U.N. school that killed 10 Palestinians and wounded an estimated 35 others. State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said the United States was "appalled" by the shelling of the school, which was being used as a shelter for around 3,000 displaced persons, while U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Sunday's strike "a moral outrage and a criminal act." The Israeli military said it was targeting three militants riding past the school on a motorcycle. Following the strike, Israel announced a "temporary humanitarian window" which would begin at 10:00 a.m. local time on Monday to allow for the entry of aid into Gaza. An Israeli defense official said it would apply everywhere except the southern town of Rafah, where three Israeli soldiers were killed in an ambush Friday while they were destroying tunnels, including Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, who was originally believed to have been seized by militants. Palestinians have accused Israel of breaking its own cease-fire after the military bombed the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, killing a young girl and wounding 29 others. Prior to the cease-fire, an Israeli airstrike reportedly killed senior commander of Islamic Jihad Danyal Mansour. In nearly four weeks of fighting, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported 1,822 Palestinians, mostly civilians have been killed and 9,370 others have been wounded. Additionally, Israel has lost 64 soldiers and three civilians. Israel reported 55 rockets were fired from Gaza on Sunday.
The United Nations has warned that about 200,000 people, mostly from the minority Yazidi community, have been forced to flee as militants led by the Islamic State seized three Kurdish-majority towns in northern Iraq. Sunni militants overtook Sinjar, Zuma, and Wana, as well as an oil field and the Mosul Dam, the country's largest dam, which provides most of Mosul's electricity. Fighters from the Islamic State were reportedly also involved in clashes with the Lebanese army in and around the Lebanese town of Arsal, near the border with Syria. Fighting erupted Saturday between the Lebanese army and fighters from the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front after soldiers detained a suspected Syrian Islamist rebel commander. Meanwhile, tribesmen forced Islamic State fighters out of three villages in Syria's oil rich Ashara region.
- An estimated 22 people were killed Sunday as clashes between rival militias continued over control of the international airport in Libya's capital of Tripoli.
- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan staged his last major rally in an Istanbul suburb Sunday one week before presidential elections, which he is widely expected to win.
Arguments and Analysis
'Hamas's Chances' (Nathan Thrall, London Review of Books)
"The current war in Gaza was not one Israel or Hamas sought. But both had no doubt that a new confrontation would come. The 21 November 2012 ceasefire that ended an eight-day-long exchange of Gazan rocket fire and Israeli aerial bombardment was never implemented. It stipulated that all Palestinian factions in Gaza would stop hostilities against Israel, that Israel would end attacks against Gaza by land, sea and air - including the 'targeting of individuals' (assassinations, typically by drone-fired missile) - and that the closure of Gaza would essentially end as a result of Israel's 'opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods, and refraining from restricting residents' free movements and targeting residents in border areas'. An additional clause noted that 'other matters as may be requested shall be addressed,' a reference to private commitments by Egypt and the US to help thwart weapons smuggling into Gaza, though Hamas has denied this interpretation of the clause."
-- Mary Casey
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