Israeli al-Aqsa violations
In Palestine, the city of al-Quds is on edge. Dozens of Israeli settlers protected by security forces have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound ahead of a controversial flag march. Israeli forces deployed to the area have already attacked Palestinian worshippers. Reports say they've also made several arrests. Since early this morning, the Israeli military has been restricting Palestinians' access to the mosque. Nevertheless, hundreds of worshippers have already gathered inside and outside the compound. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups have warned the Israeli marchers against passing through the al-Aqsa compound. And Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said the march will proceed along the planned route, despite warnings from Palestinian groups to keep the parade out of Muslim neighborhoods. Israelis hold the annual event to mark the occupation and annexation of the eastern part of al-Quds in 1967. Last year, a similar rally led to an eleven-day Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.
War in Ukraine
The Russian military has stepped up its campaign to take over the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk. Local officials say the city is under heavy shelling, with no estimate of the damage and number of casualties available. They say at least two people were confirmed dead and 13 buildings were destroyed in the city on Saturday. This comes after Russian military said it has taken control of the nearby rail hub of Lyman in Donetsk. Ukrainian officials, however, say that the city is yet to fall to Russian forces. Russia is pushing to seize the entire eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, where it says it wants to protect local pro-Russian population. Russia is also hitting farther areas including the Ukrainian capital Kiev with airstrikes.
Iran national mourning
Iran is observing a day of national mourning for the victims of a building collapse in the southern city of Abadan. The government has declared the national mourning to condole with the bereaved families. Seven days after the incident, emergency crews are still at the site, clearing up the debris. Abadan's governor says another body was dragged from under the rubble this morning, raising the number of confirmed deaths to 29, so far. Rescue workers have also pulled dozens of people alive from the site. The unfinished Metropol building, located on Abadan’s busiest street, crumbled last Monday, leaving dozens trapped in the ruins. Officials are blaming faulty construction practices for the incident. Iran's President Ebrahim Raeisi has given assurances that whoever is responsible for the tragedy will be held accountable.