AP news: Last night Israeli jets flying sorties around Natanz, Iran, accidentally targeted an orphanage, killing 30 people, 25 of whom were children. Hours later, an Israeli spokesman said that the incident was ‘regrettable’ and a consequence of the threat that the Islamic Republic posed to “both the region and the world”.
Iranian TV stations are broadcasting pictures of the rubble that remains of the orphanage, showing grieving grandparents and local residents. The US has asked Israel to halt air-strikes on Iranian targets for three hours. These started on Friday, when the US started its third phase of the war on terror with its ‘Apocalypse Pow’ campaign. President Ahmadinejad has called the act a “murderous act of imperialist arrogance” and called for the “Iranian nation” to “stay united against the foreign aggressors”.
Last week he ordered dozens of bloggers accused of acting against the interests of national security to be rounded up. Amnesty International has voiced fears that the bloggers, all in their early twenties, may be facing torture or death. Yesterday, the head of the Revolutionary Guard ordered the arrest of 300 writers, artists and academics who signed a petition demanding the resignation of Mr Ahmadinejad.
Earlier today, pepper gas and plastic bullets were used to disperse a large demonstration by students at Amirkabir university, all of whom, the government claims, are “strengthening the enemy” by demonstrating against the war with Israel and the US. Britain’s prime minister has said that if the war lasts for longer than five days, as it has been predicted to, that the UK will be ‘happy to muck in’. The Iranian government has just confirmed that three “subversive elements formerly students” have been shot fatally on Tehran university campus. A spokesman added that a number of policeman were in hospital receiving treatment from words the students had hurled at them.