Every Friday, we bring to you the top five international stories of the week, with a particular emphasis on religious liberty, justice issues, and geopolitical issues that impact liberty and justice.
- Major bombing in Istanbul airport kills 41, wounds 230. The attack has not yet been claimed by any terrorist network, but many analysts argue that the attack contains “the hallmarks” of an ISIS attack. The three attackers are from former Soviet states: Dagestan in the Caucuses region of Russia (the same region where the Boston Marathon bombers were from), Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Fox News is reporting that mastermind of the attack appears to be a one-armed Chechen who was formerly a rebel against Russia but joined ISIS as early as 2014.
- U.S. State Department releases Trafficking in Persons Report. The Trafficking in Persons report ranks every country in the world, including the United States, on its record of and commitment to combatting human trafficking. A startling 27 countries were downgraded this year, compared to only 20 upgrades, a bad sign for global efforts to combat human trafficking. Haiti, Myanmar, Djibouti, Papua New Guinea, Suriname, Turkmenistan, and Sudan were downgraded to the Tier 3 list, reserved for those countries where human trafficking is most prevalent and where the government is doing the least to combat it.
- In Egypt, a mob of over 1,000 radical Islamists attacked Christian homes near Alexandria. The attack occurred over rumors that a Christian man was planning to use his house as a church. In Egypt, it is illegal to construct a church without express approval from the President, a law that dates back to the rule of President Hosni Mubarak. This kind of mob violence is not uncommon in Egypt, and often occurs with tacit approval from the government. The victim, Naim Aziz Moussa, told the World Watch Monitor, “The police chief could see me bleeding from my wounds. I complained to him about what happened to me. He said I deserved this, and more.”
- Palestinian kills 13-year-old Israeli-American girl in her sleep. The attacker, a 19-year-old Palestinian, was killed by Israeli security forces responding to the attack. The attacker broke into the family’s home, which is located in Kiryat Arba, an Israeli settlement near Hebron. The attack is part of an uptick in violence during Ramadan, which is expected to end July 5.
- Turkey moves to normalize relationship with Russia and Israel. Turkey has had strained relationships with both countries: Russia because Turkish forces downed a Russian jet last year; Israel because Israeli forces attacked a flotilla headed for Gaza, killing 10 Turkish activists. Turkish President Erdogan issued a surprise apology to Russia over the downing of the Russian plane. Israel, for its part, has agreed to transfer $20m to Turkey in compensation and receive 10,000 tons of aid to Gaza, ending a 6-year rift.
Matt Mihelic contributed to this post. Have suggestions for a top 5 article this week or think there’s an issue we should be covering? Email me at [email protected].