- Posted August 1, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The Mideast Watch - Overnight Edition - July 31/August 1
A powder keg waiting to explode is the way many perceive the Mideast. The events in the region could set off in many people's estimates a cascade that could emesh the US of A in more military action.
Syria: A new offensive erupted on Tuesday morning when rebels launched an assault before dawn on a major air force intelligence unit in Aleppo's Zahraa district.
Rebels armed with rocket propelled grenades attacked Aleppo's main military court as well as a police station and a branch of the ruling Baath Party in the city's southern Salhin district.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported that government troops bombarded Aleppo’s districts of Firdoss, Al-Mashhad and Ansari were bombarded through the night by, the watchdog said.
Fighting also flared in the district of Salaheddin, the rebels' main bastion in Aleppo, which was strafed by government helicopter gunships, according to the Syrian Revolution General Committee, a network of activists on the ground.
A security official in Damascus told AFP on Monday that the army had regained some of Salaheddin but it was facing “a very strong resistance”. The rebels, however, denied that the army had advanced even “one metre”.
The Syrian government's assault on Aleppo appeared to have stalled on Tuesday night as rebels claimed new victories against the increasingly demoralised troops of Bashar al-Assad.
Rebels now believe they can capture the country's biggest city within days despite being outgunned. On Tuesday they stormed a number of bases including police stations in Aleppo suburbs, killing as many as 40 members of the security forces, following their capture of a key checkpoint on the road to the Syrian border the day before.
State media meanwhile said troops were still "pursuing terrorists" in the suburb of Salaheddin, which on Monday it claimed to control, as well a list of other districts.
Egypt: Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood president has made a key overture to its neighbour Israel, writing its president a letter in the Islamist leader's first official contact with the Jewish state.
The unexpected gesture was seen as a response to critics who predicted that the Muslim Brotherhood would abandon Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel in pursuit of a policy of Islamic radicalism.
President Mohammed Morsi replied to a letter of congratulations on his election by the Israeli president, Shimon Peres.
Significantly, he also referenced Israeli security concerns in a conscious attempt to address an issue that Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has repeatedly emphasised must be the hinge on which a peace deal with the Palestinians is built.
“I am looking forward to exerting our best efforts to get the Middle East peace process back to its right track in order to achieve security and stability for all peoples of the region, including (the) Israeli people,” he said.
Iraq: Bombings and clashes killed 23 people in Iraq on Tuesday, security and medical officials said, after al-Qaeda's Iraq front group announced a new offensive in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The latest violence brings the number of people killed in attacks across the country in July to at least 280, according to an AFP tally based on security and medical sources.
An interior ministry official said two car bombings in Baghdad's central Karrada area, one of them a suicide attack, killed 12 people, among them seven police, and wounded 47, among them 10 police.
A medical official put the toll at 19 killed, including five police, and 50 wounded, among them 10 police.
The interior ministry official also reported another suicide bombing as well as armed clashes.
A health ministry official at the scene of that attack, which was also in central Baghdad, said he saw the bodies of seven interior ministry special forces personnel and two civilians.
The interior ministry meanwhile said in a statement on its website referring to one of the Baghdad attacks that its "forces thwarted a terrorist attack targeting the anti-terrorism directorate," which was aimed at freeing detainees.
Three attackers entered the directorate after setting off a bomb followed by a car bomb at the gate, but guards killed two of them and no detainees were freed, it said, adding that a lieutenant colonel was killed and two guards wounded.
From the Cornfield, the US of A presidential election may very well be decided on what happens in The Mideast.