A Civil Defense member extinguishes a fire at the site of an explosion outside Syria's highest court
A Civil Defense member extinguishes a fire at the site of an explosion outside Syria's highest court in central Damascus on June 28, 2012. Photo by Reuters
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Three powerful explosionsrocked central Damascus on Thursday, Syrian state television reported. Witnesses reported smoke rising from an area near the city's Palace of Justice, Syria's highest court. State-run Syrian news agency SANA reported that three people were wounded in the blast, with about 20 cars damaged.

Is Israel killing off Hamas operatives on the streets of Damascus? Senior Haaretz analysts Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel write that the Syrian regime is too busy fighting for its existence to worry about the security of Hamas operatives.

Dozens of artists, musicians and performers have joined a Facebook campaign calling for a boycott of the Tel Aviv municipality's annual White Night event on Thursday, to protest police violence against social justice demonstrators last week. While museums, clubs, and dozens of galleries are still planning to run as scheduled, a number of events have been canceled due to participants' refusal to take part in a festival sponsored by the municipality.

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Polish authorities are investigating graffiti reading "I miss you, Jew" that was painted on a gallery near Warsaw's Academy of Fine Arts earlier this week, with investigators unsure as of yet whether it was meant as an anti-Semitic attack.

Turkey deployed anti-aircraft guns and other weapons alongside its border with Syria, state television reported on Thursday, days after the downing of a Turkish military jet by Syrian forces heightened the tensions between the two countries.

Ra'anana Mayor Nahum Hofree and the organizers of the city's planned gay pride parade reached a compromise under which the event scheduled for Friday will not be canceled. Instead it will be a stationary event in a department store parking lot. City hall explained that it decided to change the plans in order to spare the feelings of a large proportion of the city's residence, who found the prospect of a gay pride parade in their city offensive.

Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Wednesday that there is no choice but to raise taxes, just a day after he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced they were doubling the deficit target in the 2013 budget by NIS 15 billion, to 3% of GDP.

Prosecutors dropped all charges against a group of Brooklyn men who were accused of sexually abusing a young ultra-Orthodox woman for eight years. A Brooklyn judge dismissed the case after questions arose about whether prosecutors withheld evidence suggesting the men were not guilty.