A three-day cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza is holding as of Monday morning, with negotiations for a longer-term truce set to begin later that day in Cairo.
The cease-fire agreement began midnight in Gaza, BBC News reported, following days of mediation by Egypt, whose previous endeavors for truce between the two sides had been rejected by Hamas.
A senior Palestinian human rights activist and political commentator writes in an opinion article for an Israel-based television channel that Palestinians are not for bloodshed, but Hamas refuses to consider people's needs due to its own political interests.
"The majority of Palestinians has opposed firing rockets into Israel," says activist Bassem Eid in his article published on the website of i24 News.
"The Palestinians have understood that these rockets will achieve nothing. Palestinians have called on Hamas to stop firing on Israel and to try to negotiate with the Israeli occupation. But Hamas has never considered Palestinian needs – only its own political interests," writes Eid, who has been a human rights activist for 26 years. more >>
U.S. forces continued to attack ISIS targets in Iraq Saturday, but analysts argue that the military's limited involvement may not help much. Meanwhile, Kurdish forces, who control the northern region where the militants are being fought, say they cannot push back the Islamists without American equipment.
The U.S. military launched airstrikes Saturday targeting two ISIS armored personnel carriers that were firing on members of the Yazidi religious minority, according to the U.S. Central Command.
Two more rounds of airstrikes followed when more ISIS vehicles moved into the area. And yet another round of airstrikes destroyed another ISIS armored vehicle. more >>
National spokesman for Iraqi Christians and Chaldean-American businessman Mark Arabo said the "evil" being carried out by ISIS militants in Iraq now includes shocking beheadings of children, and he praised President Barack Obama for authorizing an intervention in the crisis Thursday.
"They are systematically beheading children, and mothers and fathers. The world hasn't seen an evil like this for a generation. There's actually a park in Mosul that they've actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick," Arabo told CNN's Jonathan Mann last week.
"And they have them in the park. This is crimes against humanity. The whole world should come together. This is much broader than a community or faith. This is crimes against humanity and they are doing the most horrendous, the most heartbreaking things you can think of," he explained. more >>
As talks to extend the 72-hour ceasefire stalled, Israeli soldiers said they hit dozens of Hamas sites in response to more than 57 rockets that were fired from the Gaza Strip since the truce ended Friday morning.
Three Palestinians were killed in an attack on a mosque, two others travelling on a motorcycle died when they were struck by a bomb and two more were shot dead by soldiers, according to Sky News. Those killed included a 10-year-old Palestinian boy in Gaza City.
Israel says Hamas fired at least 57 rockets into southern Israel on Friday and the "Iron Dome" interceptor system was used against some of them, according to Reuters, which said at least two Israelis were injured by mortar fire from Gaza. more >>
As U.S. warplanes and drones hit ISIS militants in Iraq Friday, hundreds of women from the Yazidi religious minority, which is seen as "Satan worshipers" by the Islamists, were abducted and thousands remained trapped in the Sinjar mountains in the north with little food and water.
Most of the Yazidi women taken captive by militants from ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, are below the age of 35 and are being held in schools in the city of Mosul, according to The Associated Press.
"We think that the terrorists by now consider them slaves and they have vicious plans for them," Kamil Amin, the spokesman for Iraq's Human Rights Ministry, was quoted as saying. "We think that these women are going to be used in demeaning ways by those terrorists to satisfy their animalistic urges in a way that contradicts all the human and Islamic values." more >>