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Israeli fire on Gaza town raises war crimes claim

Israeli war crimesThe first of August dawned as a day of promise for the Mahmoum clan and thousands of other Palestinians stuck in United Nations shelters in Rafah — thanks to a temporary cease-fire with Israel they could go home for three days.

But the expected respite quickly turned into one of the deadliest and most controversial episodes in the recent war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. After just two hours, amid fear that Hamas had captured an Israeli soldier, the Israeli military sealed off the Rafah area and began shelling. By the end of the next day, 190 Palestinians were dead, according to a list of names compiled by two Gaza human rights groups, including 14 members of the Mahmoum family.

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US rendition survivors urge Obama to declassify torture report

Rendition survivorsAbou Elkassim Britel can’t sleep, or he sleeps too much; it varies. He backs out of commitments. The Islamic website he wants to publish from his Italian home remains unfinished.

“I would add,” he said through translation, “that I cannot think of the future.”

The doctors tell Britel that he has post-traumatic stress disorder, after a decade-long ordeal of imprisonment without charge or transfer and abuse. It began in 2002, when the United States packed him onto a contractor’s Gulfstream V in Pakistan and flew him to Morocco.

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Israel's attack on neighborhood in Gaza left US officers 'stunned'

Israel's raid stuns PentagonThe cease-fire announced Tuesday between Israel and Palestinian factions — if it holds — will end seven weeks of fighting that killed more than 2,200 Gazans and 69 Israelis. But as the rival camps seek to put their spin on the outcome, one assessment of Israel’s Gaza operation that won’t be publicized is the U.S. military’s. Though the Pentagon shies from publicly expressing judgments that might fall afoul of a decidedly pro-Israel Congress, senior U.S. military sources speaking on condition of anonymity offered scathing assessments of Israeli tactics, particularly in the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City.

One of the more curious moments in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge came on July 20, when a live microphone at Fox News caught U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry commenting sarcastically on Israel’s military action. “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation,” Kerry said. “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation.”

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Seattle protesters aim to block Israeli cargo ship over Gaza siege

Seattle protesters aim to stop Israeli shipPalestinian rights activists in the Seattle area picketed the Port of Tacoma on Monday in an attempt to block a commercial Israeli cargo ship from unloading its merchandise.

The action follows a similar protest last week that managed to prevent the delivery of goods for days from a vessel seeking to dock in Oakland, California.

Block the Boat organizers said the ship, which is owned by Israel's Zim Shipping Services Ltd., one of the world’s largest container shipping companies, was schedule to arrive in the Port of Tacoma on Monday afternoon.

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Civil Rights Groups Sue U.S. Over Deportations Of Mothers And Children Who Fled Violence

Deported women and chidlrenAlleging that the U.S. government unfairly deported mothers and children who have fled violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America, civil rights organizations Friday filed a lawsuit over the policies on their behalf.

The women were held at a detention center in Artesia, New Mexico, which is hours from the nearest major city and makes it difficult for immigration lawyers to work with them, the suit says. ACLU attorney Mitra Ebadolahi called it the “detention equivalent of a black hole.”

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Saudi Arabia beheaded 19 in seven days

Saudis behead 19 Saudi Arabia has executed at least 19 people since August 4, 2014. Local news reports indicate that eight of those executed were convicted of nonviolent offenses, seven for drug smuggling and one for sorcery.

Family members of another man, Hajras bin Saleh al-Qurey, told Human Rights Watch on August 17 that they fear his execution is imminent. The Public Court of Najran, in southern Saudi Arabia, sentenced al-Qurey to death by beheading on January 16, 2013 for allegedly smuggling drugs and attacking a police officer during his arrest.

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Rights groups call on Israel to allow investigators into Gaza

war crimes gazaHuman Rights Watch and Amnesty International renewed a call to Israel on Wednesday to allow the groups access to Gaza via the Israeli-controlled border, saying in a joint press release that the resumption of fighting makes it more important than ever for their investigators to monitor the situation.

“The Israeli authorities appear to have been playing bureaucratic games with us over access to Gaza, conditioning it on entirely unreasonable criteria even as the death toll mounts,” Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty International’s director of Research and Crisis Response, said in the release.

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