Outgoing UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay giving  an interview  in her office in Geneva earlier this month. Photograph: Ruben Sprich/Reuters.

Outgoing UN rights chief Navi Pillay last night rebuked the UN security council for putting short-term geopolitical concerns and narrowly-defined nati(...)

A refugee camp for Yazidis near the town of Zakho, Iraq. The United Nations refugee agency today said it was launching a major aid operation to get supplies to more than half a million people displaced by fighting in northern Iraq. Photograph: EPA.

Iraqi forces launched an offensive today to drive Islamic State fighters out of Tikrit, home town of executed dictator Saddam Hussein, while the milit(...)

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, walk in Bajed Kadal refugee camp south west of Dohuk province. Photograph: Youssef Boudlal/Reuters

Tribal leaders and clerics from Iraq’s Sunni heartland have offered their conditional backing for a new government that hopes to contain sectarian blo(...)

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, whose group has been helping Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad fight a Sunni Islamist-dominated insurgency, said Islamic State could easily recruit in other areas where its hardline ideology exists. Photograph: Jamal Saidi/Reuters

The leader of Lebanese Shia group Hizbullah described the radical Islamist movement that has seized territory in Iraq and Syria as a growing “monster”(...)

A Palestinian flag flies over the destroyed home of Ismail Haniya, deputy chief of the Hamas movement, in Gaza City, on July 29th. A new coalition of Arab states has in effect lined up with Israel in its fight against Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip.Photograph: Sergey Ponomarev/The New York Times

Battling Palestinian militants in Gaza two years ago, Israel found itself pressed from all sides by unfriendly Arab neighbors to end the fighting. Not(...)

 Palestinians react shortly after an airstrike in Gaza City today. At least 10 Palestinians are killed and more than 40 are injured in two Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, medics say, adding that most of the casualties are children. Photograph: Oliver Weiken/EPA 1:22

A huge explosion in a public garden in northern Gaza killed eight children and two adults, and wounded 40 others, Palestinian doctors said today. Loca(...)

A relative of Palestinian man Mohammed al-Araj, whom medics said was killed by Israeli troops, mourns during his funeral at Qalandia refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah yesterday. Photograph: Reuters/Mohamad Torokman

Palestinian factions in the West Bank declared a “day of rage” yesterday after three demonstrators were killed in some of the worst clashes between Pa(...)

Palestinians stand on rubble from a home destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza city today. Amid mounting diplomatic pressure for a cease-fire, the reported death toll among Palestinians reached 500, and thousands of people have fled the northern Gaza Strip for Gaza city. Photograph: New York Times 1:48

The Palestinian death toll in an Israeli offensive in the Gaza strip jumped to more than 500 today, as the US, alarmed by escalating civilian bloodshe(...)

A medic helps a Palestinian man in the Shejaia neighbourhood, which was heavily shelled by Israel today leaving at least 60 people dead. Photograph: Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters.

The Arab League has described Israeli attacks on Gaza that killed at least 60 Palestinians today as a “war crime”.Palestinian witnesses and officials (...)

Iraqi security forces pull down a flag belonging to Sunni militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Photograph: Reuters

An extremist group’s declaration of an Islamic state in territory it has seized in Iraq and Syria is a threat to the entire region, Iraq’s prime minis(...)