Top news: The Syrian government charged Sunday that an overnight airstrike that targeted what is believed to be a military research center in Damascus was carried out by Israel, a development that marks the most significant international military action in the ongoing Syrian conflict and raises the specter that the conflict will spread beyond Syrian borders.
The Israeli government has neither confirmed nor denied the attack, which caused a massive explosion in the hills above Damascus, but it is the second such attack believed to have been carried out by Israel in recent days. On Thursday, Israeli jets are believed to have targeted a shipment of rockets bound for Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. "Israel cannot allow weapons, dangerous weapons, to get into the hands of terror organizations," said Danny Danon, a deputy defense minister.
Both Syria and Iran issued statements that hinted at the possibility of retaliation, but given the scale of the explosion in Damascus, the statements were rather muted in tone. As a preventive measure, Israel moved units of its Iron Dome system to the northern part of the country to guard against possible retaliatory rockets strikes.
In separate news in Syria, a U.N. human rights investigator said that she has gathered evidence indicating that Syrian rebels have used sarin gas. In an interview with Swiss television, Carla del Ponti described the evidence as "strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof" that the rebels used sarin. The news threatens to upend a debate being carried out in Washington and European capitals over whether reported use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime constitutes sufficient reason for a limited military intervention in Syria.
Malaysian elections: Malaysia's governing coalition extended its 56-year hold on power after fending off the strongest challenge from the country's political opposition in its history.
- The Libyan parliament passed a sweeping law banning anyone who had served as a senior official under Muammar al Qaddafi from serving in the current government.
- A series of attacks in and around Baghdad killed nine and wounded dozens.
- A 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck a region near Iran's main nuclear reactor.
- Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that he has been assured by the CIA station chief in Kabul that deliveries of cash from the agency to his office will continue.
- Seven U.S. troops and a member of the NATO coalition were killed Saturday in Afghanistan, one of the deadliest days in recent months for U.S. troops there.
- The death toll in the collapse of a Bangladeshi garment factory reached 645.
- Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is accused of cozying up to anti-Semitic groups, told the World Jewish Congress that his government has "zero-tolerance" for anti-Semitism.
- Tens of thousands of leftists marched through the streets of Paris to express their disappointment with President Francois Hollande's first year in office.
- A high-profile murder trial of a group of neo-Nazis began in Munich.
- Reneging on a promise that he would not run again, Madagascar's president, Andy Rajoelina said that he will stand for reelection in July.
- A Kenyan court sentenced two Iranian men to life on prison on charges they planned to carry out terrorist attacks.
- A suicide car bomber targeting a government convoy killed seven people in Mogadishu, Somalia.
- President Barack Obama prodded Central American leaders to take a more aggressive stance in fighting drug-related violence.
- President Barack Obama dismissed as "ridiculous" charges that an American filmmaker held by the Venezuelan government is a spy.
- Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said that he would take Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to court after he accused Uribe of being complicit in the killing of a Venezuelan journalist.