In Iran, earthquakes killed hundreds and injured over 4,500. Relief workers tried desperately to free trapped citizens from the rubble and Tehran, after initially rejecting help, called for international aid.
In Syria, fierce fighting in Aleppo raged on, and defected Prime Minister Riyad Hijab made his first public appearance since leaving the government, referring to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime as an “enemy of God.” A Shi’ite Muslim clan in Lebanon abducted a Turkish businessman and several Syrians it says are rebel fighters in retaliation for the kidnapping of a relative by the rebel Free Syrian Army in Damascus.
In Israel, a rare breed of cat had kittens, providing hope for the breed’s future. Hundreds of North American Jewish immigrants were welcomed into Israel this week, and 127 of the 350 newcomers said they planned to join the Israeli Defense Force.
In a landmark decision, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi asserted his power over the military, firing seven top commanders, including Defense Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.
In Iraq, bombings and shootings killed more than 70 people on Thursday alone. The desert nation also struggled with import shortages due to unrest in Syria, as it imports 95 percent of its consumer goods from its neighbors.
In London, Tunisia’s Oussama Mellouli won the gold medal in the men’s 10-kilometer swimming marathon, and in Qatar, Al-Rayyan won the Sheikh Jassim Cup, concluding the soccer season.
Delaney Chambers is a junior reporter and intern at Voice of America. A graduate student in Political Communication at American University, her interest in the Middle East stems from a year spent in Egypt and Syria, where she witnessed the beginnings of the two countries' respective revolutions. With over eight years of journalism experience in the US and UK, she is contributing her regional and linguistic expertise to VOA, Middle East Voices and our social media outlets.