Iron Dome intercepts rocket fired into Israel from Gaza Strip
US secretary of state calls for ‘urgent steps’ to restore calm in Israel, Palestinian territories
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem alongside Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, expressed his condolences for the “horrific terrorist attack” that killed seven Israelis in Jerusalem on Friday, reiterated US support for a two-state solution as “the best way” to bring security to the two sides, and called on all sides to “take urgent steps to restore calm, to de-escalate” in order to “create the conditions where we can start to restore a sense of security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
Palestinan Authority announces end of security coordination with Israel
Nabil Abu Rudainah, spokesperson for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, announced at a press conference in Ramallah Thursday evening that the PA had suspended security coordination with Israel in response to a raid on Jenin by Israeli forces Thursday morning that killed 10 Palestinians. “We consider the security coordination to no longer exist,” Abu Rudainah said. He added that the PA would turn to the UN Security Council and International Criminal Court to hold Israel responsible and called for a delegation from a UN Human Rights Council to investigate the matter.
At least 9 Palestinians killed during Israel Defense Forces operation in Jenin
At least 9 Palestinians have been killed and several others injured during an Israel Defense Forces operation in Jenin in the West Bank. The Kan public broadcaster reports that the operation was mounted to arrest a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative who was allegedly preparing an imminent major terror attack.
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets with King Abdullah II in Jordan
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flew to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II, his office announced this afternoon. “The two leaders discussed regional issues, especially strategic, security and economic cooperation between Israel and Jordan, which contributes to regional stability,” according to a statement. “They also praised the long-standing friendship and partnership between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom,” the statement also said. Relations between Israel and Jordan have been strained over the Jordanian Waqf’s stewardship of the Al Aqsa Mosque compound/Temple Mount, including the recent visit there by Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.
Israel’s Netanyahu removes Deri from ministerial posts on order of High Court
Ultra-Orthodox Shas Party leader Aryeh Deri was removed from his positions as minister of health and interior during Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting. In a letter read at the meeting and then made public, Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu noted that the Supreme Court ordered him to remove Deri from his positions, but added, “I intend to look for any legal way in which you can continue to contribute to the State of Israel from your many experiences and skills, in accordance with the will of the people.” Deri can continue to serve as a Knesset lawmaker.
Israel’s new government sworn in during special Knesset session
Israel’s new government, the 37th, and the sixth headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, has been sworn in after several hours of debate. The government was approved by a vote of 63 to 54, after it voted to approve the new Knesset Speaker, Likud’s Amir Ohana, the first openly gay minister. Netanyahu’s speech introducing his new government ministers was punctuated by raucous shouting from the opposition. The new ministers w
Special Knesset session begins to swear in Israel’s new government
Israel’s new government, the 37th, and the sixth headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, has begun meeting and, after several hours of debate, will swear in the new government ministers. Netanyahu’s speech introducing his new government ministers was punctuated by raucous shouting from the opposition.
Tunisia opposition coalition calls for president’s resignation after low election turnout
The “Salvation Front” opposition coalition in Tunisia called for President Kais Saied to “immediately” resign a day after parliamentary elections in which voter turnout was reported to be 8.8%. The leader of the coalition called Saied an “Illegitimate president” and called the election a “fiasco.” Most of the country’s political parties had announced that they would boycott the election.
Iran abolishes morality police, prosecutor general says
Iran has abolished its morality police, the country’s prosecutor general said Sunday, after more than two months of protests sparked by the death of a young woman in the organization’s custody.
Mahsa Amini, 22, died in a Tehran hospital in September, three days after her arrest by the morality police for improperly wearing a hijab. Her death led to mass protests across the country, which the regime has struggled to contain despite brutal crackdowns.
Afghanistan: At least 16 killed, 24 wounded in madrassa explosion
At least 16 people were killed and 24 injured Wednesday by a blast at a madrassa in Afghanistan’s northern city of Aybak, the capital of Samangan province, a doctor at a local hospital said. “All of them are children and ordinary people,” AFP quoted a doctor, who asked to remain anonymous, at a hospital in Aybak as saying.
1 dead, at least 19 injured in 2 explosions at bus stations near entrance to Jerusalem
A 16-year-old Israeli was killed and at least 19 people injured in two explosions at bus stations near the entrance to Jerusalem during the busy rush hour. The attack near the Central Bus Station reportedly was caused by a bomb in a bag placed near a bus. The second bombing was reported near a bus at the Ramot Junction in Jerusalem. The bombs are believed to have been detonated remotely and were packed with nails to increase the number of casualties. The bombings came hours after the body of a Druze high school student, an Israeli citizen, who was killed in a West Bank car crash, was stolen by armed Palestinian gunmen from a hospital in Jenin.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev wins reelection with 81.3% of vote
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has won Sunday’s election with 81.3% of the vote, Kazakstan’s Central Election Committee announced citing preliminary data. It is Tokayev’s second election to office, after calling early elections in the wake of deadly protests in January that began over fuel prices, which rocked the Central Asian country and left more than 230 people dead. Voter turnout was 69.4%.
Oil tanker connected to Israeli billionaire attacked off coast of Oman
An oil tanker operated by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, a company owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer, was attacked by a bomb-carrying drone on Tuesday night off the coast of Oman. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, though Iran is suspected.
3 Israelis killed, 3 in serious condition in West Bank gas station stabbing attack
Three Israelis were killed and an unknown number injured, including three in serious condition, in a stabbing attack Monday morning at a gas station in the Ariel industrial zone in the northern West Bank.
It was first reported that the attack was carried out by two assailants. But the Israeli military’s current assessment is that only one attacker was involved. It is thought that he first stabbed a security guard at the entrance to the industrial zone and then proceeded to the gas station, where he stabbed a number of additional people. He then fled in a vehicle, crashed into several cars on Highway 5, exited his car, and stabbed another man before he was shot by security forces.
FBI opens probe into death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
The FBI has opened an investigation into the death of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a reporter for Al Jazeera. Abu Akleh was shot and killed while she was reporting on an Israel Defense Forces arrest raid in Jenin in the West Bank on May 11. The Palestinian Authority claims that Israeli troops deliberately shot Abu Akleh. The US Justice Department informed Israel’s Justice Ministry that the FBI would open the investigation, Axios reported, citing five sources briefed on the issue. It was first reported on Israel’s Channel 14.
At least 11 hurt in Istanbul explosion
An explosion Sunday afternoon in the center of Istanbul, Turkey has injured at least 11 people. According to Israel’s Channel 13 News, at least one Israeli was among the injured.
Lapid congratulates Netanyahu on election success, calls for ‘orderly transfer of power’
Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement issued by his office on Thursday evening that he called Opposition Leader Binyamin Netanyahu and “congratulated him on his victory in the elections.” The statement also said: “The State of Israel is above all political consideration and I wish Netanyahu success for the sake of the people of Israel and the State of Israel. I informed the chairman of the opposition that I had instructed all branches of the Prime Minister’s Office to prepare an orderly transfer of power.” Lapid placed the call after the unofficial final results of the counting of the ballots in Tuesday’s election showed Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc with 64 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, or Parliament.
Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan shot in leg at political rally; suspect shot dead
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was shot in the leg while giving a speech at a political rally in Wazirabad on Thursday. He is in stable condition, Raoof Hasan, a senior Khan aide, told AFP. A suspect in the shooting was reportedly shot dead.
Israeli gov’t approves Lebanon maritime border deal
The Israeli government approved the maritime demarcation deal with Lebanon on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s office said in a statement, setting a border between the two countries for the first time since 1948.
Palestinian man, 18, killed by gunfire from Israeli troops; IDF says he was throwing rocks at Israeli cars
A Palestinian man, 18, was killed by gunfire from Israel Defense Forces troops during clashes near the al-Aroub refugee camp in the West Bank. The IDF said in a statement that the man was part of a group of people throwing stones at Israeli cars and that its troops responded by firing at them. The Palestinian Health Ministry said that Usama Adwai was hit in the stomach with live gunfire.
Israel’s Security Cabinet approves maritime border agreement with Lebanon
Israel’s Security Cabinet approved the US -brokered maritime border agreement with Lebanon on Wednesday. All of the security cabinet members voted in support of Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s summary of the deal, with the exception of Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who abstained. The agreement now moves to the full cabinet.
At least 92 killed in Iran’s crackdown on protests over death of Mahsa Amini
At least 92 people have been killed in Iran’s crackdown on protests following the death of Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the country’s morality police for wearing her hijab incorrectly, the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) non-governmental agency reported on Sunday. Another 41 people were killed in the city of Zahedan in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, according to IHR, during protests on Friday over accusationsthat a police chief in the province’s port city of Chabahar had raped a 15-year-old girl from the Sunni Baluch minority.
Israeli forces kill Palestinian man in West Bank raid
A Palestinian man was killed during an Israeli raid in the West Bank on Wednesday. The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry identified the man as Yunis Ghasan Tayeh, 21, and said he was shot in the heart in clashes at the Far’a refugee camp, about 20 kilometers south of Jenin on the West Bank.
Several killed, injured, including 2 diplomats, in suicide attack on Russian Embassy in Kabul
Several people have been killed and injured in a suicide bomb attack near the entrance to the Russian embassy in Kabul, according to reports. The attacker was shot and killed by armed Russian guards in front of the embassy as he approached the front gate. Two Russian diplomats are among the dead, according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry.
6 people injured in attack on bus carrying Israeli soldiers in the West Bank
A bus transporting Israeli soldiers on Route 90 in the Jordan Valley came under gunfire near the Israeli settlement of Hamra in the West Bank on Sunday. One soldier was injured seriously; five soldiers and the driver sustained light injuries. According to reports, the assailants opened fire toward the bus from a moving vehicle. When the bus stopped, the attackers attempted to pour gasoline on the bus and ignite it but ignited their own car instead. Two suspects were found injured near their burned car, in which weapons were found. The suspects were arrested and the Israeli military is searching for additional attackers.
Israel’s prime minister, US president discuss negotiations on reviving Iran nuclear deal
Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid and US President Joe Biden had a “long” phone conversation Wednesday evening about the negotiations between Iran and the world powers on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and about efforts to stop Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office. The call comes days after a report that the White House rejected an Israeli request for an emergency phone call between the two leaders because Biden was on vacation.
Ex-Mossad boss: Israel struck Iran nuclear program ‘on Iranian soil itself’
Sadr supporters storm Iraq’s Republican Palace: security source
Pakistan climate change minister: Third of country underwater
Pakistan’s climate change minister says one third of her country is currently underwater due to flooding caused by record rain.
Minister Sherry Rehman tells AFP that the rains have created a crisis of “unimaginable proportions.”
Iraqi Shiite cleric al-Sadr announces withdrawal from politics
Prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr tweeted on Monday that he decided to withdraw fully from politics. “I’ve decided not to meddle in political affairs. I therefore announce now my definitive retirement,” he said in his tweet.
US says airstrikes in east Syria hit areas run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards; Iran denies link to groups targeted
The US military carried out airstrikes in eastern Syria in areas controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to “protect and defend US personnel” in response to an attack earlier this month targeting US forces, the US Central Command said in a statement early Wednesday morning. The airstrikes “took proportionate, deliberate action intended to limit the risk of escalation and minimize the risk of casualties,” according to CENTCOM. Syria so far has not acknowledged the attacks; Iran’s Foreign Ministry denied any link with the groups targeted by the US airstrikes
Iran denies tie to Rushdie attacker
At least 35 worshippers killed in fire at Egyptian church
At least 35 people were killed and 45 injured in a fire inside a church in the Egyptian city of Giza on Sunday, Reuters is reporting. Some 5,000 people were attending mass on Sunday when the electrical fire broke out.
Terrorist who injured 8 in attack near Jerusalem’s Western Wall turns himself in
Israel, Islamic Jihad truce goes into effect but exchange of fire continues
Eight minutes after the Egyptian-mediated cease-fire between the Israeli military and Islamic Jihad forces officially went into effect, rocket fire was reported on Sderot, an Israeli city just outside the Gaza Strip. Israel was expected to respond with renewed airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
The exchange of fire continued right up to the last minute before the 11:30 cease-fire, including a large-scale Israeli strike against Islamic Jihad targets across the Gaza Strip and Palestinian rocket fire into Israeli border communities and the city of Beersheba.
Israel, Islamic Jihad cease-fire to take effect at 11:30 pm
Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group have finalized a cease-fire agreement, which is to take effect at 11:30 pm local time.
Cease-fire between Israel, Islamic Jihad imminent: media reports
Reports widely broadcast in the Arab media but unconfirmed by spokesmen on either side say Israel and Islamic Jihad have agreed to an Egyptian-brokered truce, to take effect at 8 pm.
Israel carrying out airstrikes on Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza
Israel is carrying out pre-emptive airstrikes against Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip in a campaign it has codenamed “Operation Rising Dawn.” An emergency situation has been declared on the Israeli homefront and Iron Dome air defense batteries have been deployed throughout Israel. Residents of the Gaza border area have been instructed to remain near bomb shelters.
US President Joe Biden tests positive for COVID-19
US President Joe Biden has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing very mild symptoms, the White House announced on Thursday.
6 Iraqi police killed in attack blamed on Islamic State: army source
Israel says will legalize status of thousands of Palestinians
Israel will legalize the status of 5,500 undocumented Palestinians and foreigners living in the West Bank and Gaza, paving the way for family reunifications in Israel, according to the office of Hussein Al-Sheikh, Secretary General of the Executive Committee of the PLO. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) also announced the move, as well as an additional 1,500 permits for workers from Gaza, ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region. The moves were approved by Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz after his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last week.
Putin to travel to Tehran for Raisi-Erdogan summit on July 19: Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet Ebrahim Raisi and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the presidents of Iran and Turkey, respectively, at a summit in Tehran next Tuesday, the Kremlin said. It will be Putin’s second foreign trip since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. In late June, he visited Central Asia.
Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz, PA President Mahmoud Abbas Meet in Ramallah
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas received Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz at PA headquarters in Ramallah in the West Bank on Thursday night. Abbas stressed the importance of creating a political horizon, and called for respecting the signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, according to Hussein Al-Sheikh, secretary-general of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Gantz said in a statement that he traveled to Ramallah to discuss security and civil coordination.
Israel’s Knesset dissolves, Lapid will be interim prime minister
Israel’s Knesset voted 92-0 to dissolve itself and head to the country’s fifth elections in 3.5 years. November 1 has been set as the date of the upcoming election. Yair Lapid will become interim prime minister at midnight.
Israel’s Prime Minister Bennett announces he will not run in upcoming election
Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced Wednesday night that he would not run in the upcoming parliamentary election. Bennett initiated the dissolution of the current Knesset after several members of his coalition joined forces with the opposition, leaving his government without a majority in parliament. In his announcement, he said that as the country heads to the polls, most likely in late October or early November, his right-wing Yamina party would be headed by Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked.
Ukrainian ambassador to Israel tells The Media Line: Leftist parties are most sympathetic to Ukraine
Ahead of an address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Media Line’s Debbie Mohnblatt asked Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk what Israeli party in the anticipated upcoming parliamentary election is best for Ukraine. Korniychuk initially demurred, saying that he “could not intervene on your internal politics.”
Nevertheless, he observed that “historically, more leftists were more sympathetic to Ukraine – sympathetic to the countries that are in difficult situations like us. But I would not say that we are not working with the rightists or centrists – we do work with everyone.”
Korniychuk continued: “We are currently acting like a political party at the embassy during the war period. We are very active with the media, we talk with politicians a lot, we speak to the people, we do appreciate all of the assistance of the Israeli people and Israeli companies that donated support a lot to the NGOs, but definitely we could do more with the government.”
Israel headed back to elections, Lapid to be interim PM
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid will announce at 8 pm local time that next week, they will submit a bill to voluntarily dissolve Israel’s 36th government, sending the country back to elections, which will probably be held in late October. In the interim period, Lapid will serve as prime minister.
Israeli FM Yair Lapid says Biden’s visit to Israel, Saudi Arabia will have ‘lasting impact’
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid says that Israel’s government “look(s) forward to welcoming next month the president (of the United States). He has been true friend of Israel all his life. I’m sure the president’s visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia will have a lasting impact.” Lapid was speaking to reporters to mark his first year as foreign minister. He also said in response to a question from The Media Line that Israel has “mutual interests with Saudi Arabia among them Iran.”
US President Biden to meet Saudi crown prince during July 15 visit to kingdom, Saudi media says
US President Joe Biden will meet with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s de facto ruler, during a visit to the kingdom on July 15, according to the Saudi Press Agency. The White House also released a statement announcing the trip but did not mention a meeting between President Biden and the crown prince. The US president will attend a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia the following day, on July 16. Prior to visiting Saudi Arabia, President Biden will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories beginning on July 13.
Israeli prime minister makes surprise visit to United Arab Emirates
Jordan’s FM asks PA President Abbas to delay withdrawal of Israel recognition
The Media Line has learned from a top Palestinian Authority official that the reason behind the unscheduled visit of Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi to Ramallah on Tuesday was to persuade PA President Mahmoud Abbas to delay a decision to withdraw recognition of Israel and sever ties with Israel. The source told TML that Safadi asked Abbas and Palestinian officials he met with on Tuesday to hold off on any announcement until US President Joe Biden’s expected visit at the end of June.
Jordanian foreign minister travels to Ramallah for meetings with top Palestinian leaders
Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi traveled to Ramallah in the West Bank on Tuesday for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential compound. He is also scheduled to meet Hussein Al-Sheikh, who was recently named secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee. and will hold a press conference with his Palestinian counterpart, Riad Malki.
Lawmaker resigns from Israel’s government coalition, putting its future in doubt
Lawmaker Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, from the left-wing Meretz party, has resigned from Israel’s ruling government coalition. The coalition now has the support of only a minority of Knesset members, leaving its future uncertain. Zoabi, an Arab Israeli, wrote in her resignation letter that she “cannot support a coalition that is disgracefully harassing the society I come from.”
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan dies at 73
Sheikh Khalifa’s half-brother, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the crown prince and de facto leader of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi since 2014, will become the new president.
Assailant shot after stabbing border policeman in Jerusalem
A border policeman was stabbed at Damascus Gate, outside Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday evening. Security forces responded, opening fire on the attacker. The policeman was evacuated to Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital in moderate condition.
At least 3 dead, 3 injured in terror attack in central Israel
At least three people are dead and three injured in a terror attack in the central Israel city of Elad, committed as Israel’s Independence Day comes to a close. Police are searching for two attackers, one a shooter and one who was wielding an axe.
Security for family of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett increased after death threat
Following a letter with a death threat and a live bullet inside that was addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his family, security officials in the Prime Minister’s Office will reinforce the security of the unit responsible for protecting Bennett’s family, a spokesman for the prime minister announced.
Biden accepts Israeli PM’s invitation to visit Israel
US President Joe Biden has accepted an invitation from Israeli Prime Minister Naftali to visit Israel. The US president intends to arrive in the coming months, an official Israeli statement said on Sunday.
Rocket launched from Gaza Strip toward Israel intercepted by Iron Dome
A rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip toward the Eshkol Regional Council in Israel. It was intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system.
Terrorist shot dead after stabbing border police officer in Hebron
An Israeli Border Police officer stationed at the entrance to the Cave of the Patriarchs holy site in Hebron was stabbed and lightly wounded Sunday evening. Security forces opened fire on the attacker, killing her.
Israel launches manhunt on streets of Tel Aviv after terrorist kills 2
Over 1,000 soldiers and police officers are searching street by street, house by house, to find the perpetrators of an attack on Dizengoff Street in central Tel Aviv Thursday night that killed at least two people and injured several others.
The gunman, described as wearing black pants and a black short-sleeve T-shirt with a blue backpack and carrying a pistol, remains at large. Security officials have asked the public living in the area to remain indoors.
Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center said 10 people arrived at the hospital with wounds of varying severity. At least four of them were rushed into emergency operations to treat their injuries.
The Islamic Jihad organization has taken responsibility for the attack, which was also praised by Hamas.
At least 5 killed in shooting attack in Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan in central Israel
At least five people were killed in a shooting attack on Tuesday night in Bnei Brak and Ramat Gan in central Israel. The shooter reportedly opened fire with a rifle while driving a motorcycle, in what is a suspected terror attack. Another person reportedly is in critical condition. The shooter, identified as a 27-year-old resident of the West Bank who was in Israel illegally and had previously spent time in an Israeli prison, got off of his motorcycle and continued his attack on foot until he was shot and killed by a police officer, who was also shot by the assailant and later died. Police reportedly are investigating whether there was a second shooter. Residents of the two cities have been instructed to remain in their homes. It is the third attack on Israelis in one week.
Some 40 Israeli schoolchildren went missing during trip to Dead Sea
About half of some 40 Israeli schoolchildren in 5th grade through 8th grade who went missing after being separated from the group during a school trip in Nahal Og in the Dead Sea on Monday have been rescued after a search by drones and the Israel Police’s Megilot Dead Sea Search and Rescue team. The rest have been identified and are in the process of being rescued.
2 killed in terrorist attack central Israeli city of Hadera
Two people were killed and at least six people were injured when two terrorists opened fire Sunday night in the central Israeli city of Hadera, about 40 kilometers south of Haifa. Police returned fire and the terrorists were killed.
Israeli foreign minister to host summit next week with US secretary of state, foreign ministers of UAE, Morocco, Bahrain
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced on Friday that he would host US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Bahrain at a “historic summit” in Israel on Sunday and Monday.
4 killed in stabbing and car-ramming attack in southern Israel
Four people were killed and a number of others injured in a terrorist attack at a shopping center in Beersheba in southern Israel. Magen David Adom head Eli Bin said that the attacker stabbed three people to death and that a fourth victim, who was riding a bicycle, was hit by a car driven by the assailant. The alleged attacker, named as Muhammad Alab Ahmed Abu Alkiyan, was shot and killed by a passerby. Alkiyan was an Israeli citizen from the Negev town of Hura. He reportedly was a teacher who served time in prison for promoting the Islamic State group to his students. Islamic Jihad spokesperson Tariq Silmi praised the attack, saying, “Acts of resistance shall deter the occupation,” but did not explicitly say his organization was responsible for the attack. Hamas spokesperson Abd al-Latif al-Qanou said on official Hamas radio, “We salute the executor of the heroic operation in occupied Beersheba.”
UAE crown prince, Israeli prime minister arrive in Egypt for ‘tripartite meeting’ with President el-Sisi
Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, traveled today to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula hours after Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett arrived for a previously unannounced meeting, in what a senior Israeli official described as a “tripartite meeting” with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Foreign instructors working at Lviv military base attacked by Russia: Ukrainian defense minister
Russian missiles overnight between Saturday and Sunday struck a military base where foreign instructors were working, close to Lviv, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Polish border, the Ukrainian defense minister said. The minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said in a tweet: “russia has attacked the International Center for Peacekeeping&Security near Lviv.Foreign instructors work here.Information about the victims is being clarified.This is new terrorist attack on peace&security near the EU-NATO border.Action must be taken to stop this.Close the sky!”
After Putin meeting, Israeli PM speaks with Zelenskyy, en route to Berlin to meet German chancellor
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett left Moscow a short time ago for Berlin, where he will meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Bennett spoke earlier this evening with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy following an unscheduled three-hour meeting on Saturday between the Israeli prime minister and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Israeli PM Naftali Bennett meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow
Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow to discuss the Russo-Ukraine war, Bennett’s office reported. Bennett flew to Russia early on Saturday morning, the Jewish Sabbath, despite being an Orthodox Jew, since it is permissible to break the laws of the Sabbath to save lives. Government minister Ze’ev Elkin accompanied Bennett in order to assist with translating.
Israel condemns Russian attack, says protecting Jewish communities abroad is its top concern
Israel condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine Thursday as a “violation of the international order” but underlined its close ties with both Moscow and Kyiv. “The Russian attack on Ukraine is a serious violation of the international order,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said, adding that Israel “condemns” the assault. But Lapid also noted that “Israel has deep, long-lasting and good relations with Russia and with Ukraine,” and that hundreds of thousands of Jews live in both countries. “Maintaining their security and safety is at the top of our considerations,” Lapid said.
Turkish President Erdoğan: Russian invasion of Ukraine is a ‘heavy blow’ to peace
Turkey ‘won’t recognize any step against Ukraine’s territorial integrity’: presidency
Israel expresses concern, support for Ukraine, omits explicit criticism of Russia
Israel expressed concern about Russia’s incursion into eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, without mentioning Russia in its statement. “Israel is a partner to the international concerns about the steps taken in eastern Ukraine and hopes a diplomatic solution will be found that will bring calm and is willing to enlist to do so if asked,” the Foreign Ministry stated. The statement also expressed support for “Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”
Russia recognizes breakaway regions in Ukraine as independent
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an official decree recognizing the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as independent entities. The move is seen as a possible pretense for a Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Ukraine on Monday requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council in an effort to de-escalate the crisis.
Iranian fighter jet crashes, 3 killed: state TV
An Iranian fighter jet crashed Monday in a residential area of Tabriz, killing three people, including two crew, state television reported. The head of the local Red Crescent organization said the plane smashed into a school and that one of the dead was a neighborhood resident.
Rocket alerts sound in northern Israel
Code Red rocket alerts sounded Friday at noon in the northern Galilee and southern Golan Heights. Local residents report hearing an explosion, which the IDF announced was the downing of a hostile drone. The incident occurs a day after the leader of Hizbullah in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah said that it has the ability to convert rockets into precision missiles and that it has been producing drones for “a long time.”
Turkish media: Israeli President Isaac Herzog will visit Turkey March 9 and 10.
Ukraine’s president calls for day of national unity ahead of feared Russian invasion
Russia could invade Ukraine this Wednesday, February 16, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, in a video address to the nation posted on his Facebook page on Monday evening. Zelenskyy said that the country will make Wednesday a day of national unity. “We are told that February 16 will be the day of the attack. The decree has already been signed. This afternoon we will hang national flags, put on blue-yellow ribbons and show the world our unity,” Zelenskyy said. He called on state officials, politicians and business leaders who fled the country ahead of the impending Russian invasion to return in order to show their solidarity.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announces Bahrain trip
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will leave Monday evening for a visit to Bahrain, his office announced just hours before the scheduled take-off. It is the first-ever trip made to Bahrain by an Israeli prime minister. Bennett is scheduled to meet Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and its prime minister, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa during the 24-hour visit.
PLO Central Council votes to suspend security coordination with Israel
The PLO’s Palestinian Central Council, currently meeting in Ramallah in the West Bank, decides to suspend recognition of Israel and to stop security coordination with it until it recognizes a Palestinian state. A similar resolution was passed by the body four years ago, though it was never implemented.
Israeli soldiers kill 3 Palestinians in West Bank
Israeli troops shot and killed three Palestinians on Tuesday afternoon in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health. They have been identified as Adham Mabrouk, Mohammed al-Dakhil and Ibrahim al-Nabulsi. The three men were responsible for several recent shooting attacks against Israel Defense Forces and Israeli civilians, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency reported.
PLO Central Council elects Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh to Executive Committee
5 Pakistani troops killed by gunfire from Afghanistan
At least five soldiers from Pakistan’s military were killed by gunfire from over the border in Afghanistan Sunday afternoon, in an attack that was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, or Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, AFP reported.
Islamic State leader dies in US counterterrorism raid in northwest Syria
US President Joe Biden announced Thursday morning that US Special Forces carried out a “successful” counterterrorism operation and have “taken off the battlefield” Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. A senior administration official said al-Qurayshi died at the beginning of the operation when he exploded a bomb that killed him and members of his own family, including women and children, the New York Times reported. The operation took place on a building in northwest Syria near the Turkish border in Syria’s rebel-held province of Idlib. At least 13 people, including six children, were killed in the raid, that also destroyed a building, according to reports.
US Special Forces raid Syrian site in ‘counterterrorism mission,’ reportedly against ISIS leader
An operation by US Special Forces was carried out overnight Thursday in northwest Syria near the Turkish border in Syria’s rebel-held province of Idlib, which is home to several top al-Qaida leaders. The Pentagon said in a statement that “US Special Operations forces under the control of US Central Command conducted a counterterrorism mission this evening in northwest Syria. The mission was successful. There were no US casualties. More information will be provided as it becomes available.” The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said US troops used helicopters to land in the area and attacked a house, clashing with fighters on the ground.
Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz makes surprise visit to Bahrain
Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz landed in Bahrain on Wednesday afternoon for an unannounced visit. Gantz will sign Israel’s first Memorandum of Understanding with Bahrain, formalizing defense cooperation and other defense-related relations between the two countries, during what is reported to be a two-day visit. The MOU is also reported to include several arms agreements.
Turkey says 12 migrants ‘pushed back’ by Greece die at border
Turkey’s interior minister said on Wednesday that 12 migrants froze to death after Greek border guards stripped them of their clothes at their land border. “Twelve of the 22 migrants pushed back by Greek border units, stripped off from their clothes and shoes, have frozen to death,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in a tweet showing blurred photographs of bodies lying by the side of a road.
Israeli energy minister: US-sponsored maritime border talks with Lebanon will resume next week
President Aoun: Lebanon ready to resume indirect maritime border talks with Israel
Israel’s President Isaac Herzog to make official visit to UAE next week
Israel’s President Isaac Herzog will conduct an official visit to the United Arab Emirates at the invitation of the de facto ruler of the UAE, Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on January 30-31, his office announced. Herzog, who will travel with his wife, Michal, will visit Abu Dhabi and Dubai and will hold official meetings with Sheikh Mohammed and other Emirati officials as well as representatives of the UAE Jewish community. He also will open Israel’s national day at Dubai Expo 2020.
Former Israel Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor dies at 74
Former Israel Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor died on Monday at the age of 74. Naor, who served on the Supreme Court from 2003 to 2017, the final three years as chief justice, was at the time of her death serving as head of the state commission of inquiry into the 2021 Lag BaOmer crowd crush at Mount Meron.
Saudi-led Arab coalition launches retaliatory airstrikes on Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital
The Saudi-led Arab coalition supporting Yemen’s government launched airstrikes on the Houthi-controlled capital of Sanaa on Monday night, including what it described as “terrorist leaders,” in response to a drone attack earlier in the day on the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) storage facility, which left three people dead. Countries throughout the region and around the world condemned the attack and expressed support for the UAE in the wake of the attack, including the United States.
3 killed, 6 injured in suspected drone attack on Abu Dhabi
UAE authorities said Monday that three people were killed and six injured when three fuel trucks exploded near an oil storage facility in Abu Dhabi. In addition, a fire broke out at a construction site in Abu Dhabi’s main airport. The police in Abu Dhabi said both events were likely caused by drone attacks. Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they were responsible for the attacks.
German court hands life sentence to former Syrian colonel for crimes against humanity
A German court sentenced a former Syrian colonel to life in jail for crimes against humanity. The trial of Anwar Raslan, a senior official in the Syrian army that supports the regime of President Bashar Assad, is the first global trial over state-sponsored torture in Syria. Raslan was convicted for complicity in at least 4,000 cases of torture, dozens of murders and three cases of sexual assault and rape.
Aura Herzog, mother of Israeli President Isaac Herzog and wife of the late President Chaim Herzog, dies at 97
Aura Herzog, the mother of President Isaac Herzog and wife of the late sixth president, Chaim Herzog, died overnight at age 97. She was a prominent public figure and social activist for many years and the founder of the Council for a Beautiful Israel. She will be buried next to her late husband at Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem.
Committee approves 3,500 new homes in Jewish east Jerusalem neighborhoods
A Jerusalem municipal committee has approved plans to build around 3,500 new homes in primarily Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem. Palestinians, who claim the eastern portion of the city as the intended capital of a future Palestinian state, consider such neighborhoods to be Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. Around 1,500 of the homes would be built in a location that would cut off Arab neighborhoods from the southern West Bank, including Bethlehem. The plans will be considered by a district committee on January 17.
Jordan’s King Abdullah, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz meet in Amman
Jordan’s King Abdullah II met Wednesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Amman, to discuss several bilateral issues and ways to enhance security and stability in the region, official Jordanian media reported. Israel’s Defense Ministry also announced the meeting after it concluded. During the meeting, Abdullah stressed the need to maintain a comprehensive calm in the Palestinian territories and to take all necessary steps in order to find a way to achieve a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution.
2 armed drones targeting anti-IS forces in Iraq shot down
The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq shot down two armed drones targeting coalition forces at Al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq on Tuesday. It was the second thwarted drone attack in 24 hours; on Monday, two armed drones targeting the anti-IS coalition forces at Baghdad airport were shot down.
Iranian president vows revenge for Soleimani assassination if Trump not put on trial
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that if former US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are not put on trial for the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani, leader of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, that “Muslims will take our martyr’s revenge.” He made the statement Monday on the second anniversary of the US drone strike ordered by Trump that killed Soleimani during a diplomatic visit to Iraq.
Israeli civilian shot, lightly injured, on Gaza border
An Israeli civilian contractor who was working on the Israel-Gaza Strip border was shot and lightly injured in the leg Wednesday morning. He was transferred to the hospital for treatment. The Israeli military responded with tank fire at Hamas outposts along the border.
Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz hosts PA’s Mahmoud Abbas at his home
Israel’s Minister of Defense Benny Gantz hosted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at his home in central Israel. The men met in Rosh Haayin for 2.5 hours on Tuesday evening, and discussed security and civilian issues, according to the Defense Ministry. It is the first time Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, has held an official meeting in Israel since 2010. Gantz met with Abbas in August in Ramallah in the West Bank.
Terrorists open fire on Israeli car in West Bank, killing 1, injuring 2
Gunmen shot at an Israeli car in the West Bank Thursday night, killing one person and wounding two others – one moderately and the other lightly. Israeli forces are searching for the perpetrators of the attack, which took place on Route 60 near the Shavei Shomron settlement.
US freezes efforts to reopen Jerusalem consulate
Responding to strong opposition from Israel, the Biden Administration has shelved its plan to reopen the US Consulate in Jerusalem as a diplomatic mission to the Palestinian Authority. However, reports say that the Palestinian Affairs Unit that operates out of the US Embassy to Israel, has for several months operated independently, bypassing the authority of the US ambassador to Israel and reporting directly to the State Department in Washington.
Israel to require Green Pass to shop at malls
Green Passes proving coronavirus vaccine or recovery status will be required to enter malls in Israel beginning on Friday, following a decision by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, and health professionals taken at a meeting on Tuesday evening. Shoppers will be issued a colored bracelet to enter the mall and enter stores freely. People who do not hold a Green Pass will be permitted to enter a mall to receive an essential service, without receiving a bracelet, and then will be required to leave. Mall owners and businesses have vowed to challenge the decision.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leaving on 1st visit to UAE
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is leaving Sunday for his first official visit to the United Arab Emirates, his office announced on Sunday. He is expected to meet on Monday with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed. “The leaders will discuss deepening the ties between Israel and the UAE, especially the economic and regional issues that will contribute to prosperity, welfare and strengthening the stability between the two countries,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
UAE moves to 4.5-day week, with a Saturday-Sunday weekend
The United Arab Emirates will move to a four-and-a-half day work week, and with a weekend beginning on Friday afternoon and running through Sunday, state media reported. The announcement touted the fact that the UAE is the first country in the world to introduce a national work week that is shorter than five days. Federal government entities will adopt the new schedule beginning on January 1, 2022.
At least 8 killed in car bomb targeting UN convoy in Somali capital
At least eight people were killed and 17 injured, including 13 Somali school children, in a car bomb attack targeting a United Nations security convoy as it traveled past a school in Mogadishu. The Islamist Al-Shabab group claimed responsibility for the attack. It is not yet known if any UN personnel were killed in the attack.
Turkey releases Israeli couple accused of being spies
Mordi and Natali Oknin, Israeli bus drivers from the center of the country, flew home to Israel early Thursday morning after being released from a Turkish prison where they were held for a week, accused of being spies after taking a photograph of the president’s palace in Istanbul. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issued a statement in which they thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government “for their cooperation.” They also thanked Israel’s President Isaac Herzog for his efforts. The couple arrived back in Israel on Thursday morning on a plane sent by the Foreign Ministry,
Explosion at pipeline in southern Iran spawns tremors
An explosion at an Iranian oil pipeline in the country’s south has “created small tremors” felt in the surrounding areas, local media is reporting. The pipeline infrastructure is reported to be outdated, Reuters reported. Last year, explosions at other pipelines and Iranian nuclear sites, that were covered up by Tehran, were blamed on Israel.
Gadhafi’s son Saif al-Islam reportedly has registered to run for Libya presidency
Saif al-Islam al-Gadhafi, son of Libya’s former leader Moammar Gadhafi, registered on Sunday as a presidential candidate, according to media reports citing an unnamed official from the electoral commission.
Israel’s Mansour Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah meet in Amman with Bennett’s approval
The leader of the Israeli political party Ra’am-United Arab List, Mansour Abbas, met in Amman with King Abdullah II of Jordan, Jordanian television reported. The two leaders discussed a number of issues related to Israeli-Jordanian relations, the Middle East and the Palestinian issue during the four-hour meeting. The visit was carried out in full coordination in advance between the Kingdom of Jordan and the government, and with the approval of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Channel 12 News reported.
Israel’s government narrowly passes 1st state budget in 3.5 years, avoiding early elections
Iran says it thwarts US attempt to seize oil tanker in Gulf of Oman
US forces tried to block an Iranian oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman, Iran’s state-run Press TV said on Wednesday. The tanker is now back in Iranian territorial waters. The incident was described as a failed attempt to “steal” oil.
Historic meeting: 1st between an Israeli prime minister and Bahraini crown prince
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, with the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. It is the first meeting between an Israeli prime minister and the Bahraini crown prince.
Clashes escalate between Palestinians, Israel Police at Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate
At least 22 people have been arrested and 17 injured during clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police officers near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. Palestinians threw rocks at buses while police threw stun grenades and used other riot dispersal methods, including shooting foul-smelling skunk water from water cannons. The escalation in violent riots has been ongoing for some two weeks.
Gunfire kills 2, wounds 12 in march against Beirut blast investigator
Unknown gunmen fired on protesters, killing two and wounding 12, at a Beirut demonstration by supporters of the Shiite Hizbullah and Amal organizations that called for the removal of Judge Tarik Bitar, the lead investigator into the August 2020 port blast.
EU announces 1 billion euros in emergency aid to Afghanistan and neighbors
The European Union has announced new emergency aid of 1 billion euros to Afghanistan and its neighboring countries. The pledge was announced by the European Commission in advance of the Group of 20 Afghan summit on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
Iraqi PM announces arrest of deputy ISIS leader wanted by US
Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said on Twitter that Iraqi forces have captured Sami Jasim, who was in charge of the finances for the Islamic State group and a deputy of slain ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Power back on in Lebanon after army provides diesel fuel
Electricity has been restored in Lebanon after the army provided fuel to the Deir Ammar and Zahrani power plants, which had run out of diesel fuel, ending a day of total blackout.
Explosion outside Kabul mosque kills 2
At least two civilians were killed in an explosion outside of a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to reports. The explosion on Sunday afternoon occurred during a memorial service for the mother of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. There has been no claim of responsibility yet.
Israel’s FM Yair Lapid arrives in Bahrain in first high-level visit
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid arrived in Bahrain, becoming the first high-level Israeli official to visit the country since Bahrain and Israel signed the Abraham Accords and normalized relations last year. Lapid is scheduled to inaugurate Israel’s embassy in Manama and meet with his Bahraini counterpart, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani.
5 dead, dozens injured in bus-car crash in Israel’s Northern Galilee
Five people are reported dead and dozens of people were injured in a crash between a bus and a private car in Israel’s Northern Galilee. A truck also was involved in the crash. Four people who were trapped inside the car were found to be dead, a man riding on the bus who reportedly jumped out to help the injured also died, with at least three others reported to be in serious and moderate condition. Israel’s Channel 12 reported that the bus was full of children returning from a day trip. The cause of the accident is not known.
Iran resumes commercial flights to Afghanistan
Iran on Wednesday resumed regular commercial flights to neighboring Afghanistan, where the Taliban took control last month, Iranian state media reported. “Today Mahan Airlines carried passengers between Mashhad and Kabul airport,” Fars news agency reported, referring to Iran’s second-largest city, in the northeast, and the Afghan capital.
2 moderately wounded in stabbing attack at Jerusalem central bus station
Two people were moderately injured in a stabbing attack at the central bus station in Jerusalem; the stabber was “neutralized,” according to officials. The attack comes hours after an attempted stabbing attack by a Palestinian assailant at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank.
Egypt’s Sisi, Israel’s Bennett to meet in Sharm el-Sheikh
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will meet Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet today in Sharm el-Sheikh, Arab and Israeli media is reporting.
Israeli foreign minister: Israel isn’t interested in collapse of PA
Israeli foreign minister: Lebanon has become a country ruled by a terrorist organization
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told foreign reporters at an English-language briefing on Wednesday at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem that “Lebanon has turned into a country ruled by a terrorist organization.”
Palestinians to get 4G service
Palestinians are set to get 4G service, part of several understandings reached during Sunday’s meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Israel has withheld frequencies for the Palestinians for over a decade.
Israel, Palestinian Authority, reach family reunification agreement, PA civil affairs minister tells The Media Line
Hussein Al-Sheikh, the Palestinian Authority’s civil affairs minister, has told The Media Line that the PA has reached an agreement with the Israeli government on family reunification for Palestinians. Initially, the arrangement will apply to 5,000 Palestinians “as a first batch on the road to finalizing the issue entirely in a prearranged time frame,” Al-Sheikh said.
Islamic State claims responsibility for rocket attack on Kabul airport
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the rocket attack on the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. The rockets were fired at the airport on Monday morning as the drawdown of US forces continues. The group made the claim of responsibility for the attack with six Katyusha rockets via its Telegram channel. An anti-missile defense system installed at the airport intercepted some of the rockets. There are no reports of casualties.
Up to 5 rockets fired at Kabul airport
Up to five rockets were fired at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, according to reports. The rockets were fired on Monday morning as the drawdown of US forces continues. An anti-missile defense system installed at the airport intercepted the rockets, CNN reported citing a US official. There are no reports of casualties.
Kabul explosion reported to be US revenge attack on ISIS-K operatives
A US missile strike in Kabul on Sunday has targeted suspected operatives of the ISIS-K. ISIS-K has claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack last week outside of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, that left 13 US servicemen and servicewomen and dozens of Afghan citizens dead. The airstrike comes as the last US and allied evacuation flights leave the country ahead of the August 31 deadline. The rocket strike reportedly hit a vehicle carrying ISIS-K suicide bombers. A second airstrike hit a house located on the northern side of the airport, Reuters reported, though the two strikes may not be related.
Report: Explosion heard in Kabul
An explosion has been heard in Kabul near the Hamid Karzai International Airport, AFP journalists are reporting. The report comes hours after US officials warned of a possible attack in the area.
Iran’s new foreign minister lands in Damascus for official visit to Syria
Iran’s newly appointed foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has arrived in Damascus, Syria for meetings with Syrian officials. On Saturday, Amir-Abdollahian attended the Baghdad regional summit.
12 US servicemen killed, at least 15 injured in Kabul bomb attacks
Twelve US servicemen were killed and at least 15 others injured in the twin suicide bombing attacks outside of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, on Thursday evening, the Pentagon announced. Dozens of Afghans also reportedly were killed and injured in the blasts blamed on Islamic State jihadists, which occurred as thousands of foreign nationals and Afghans massed outside the gates of the airport in an attempt to be evacuated from the country.
Bennett, Biden meeting at White House postponed after Kabul explosions
A meeting between US President Joe Biden and Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett scheduled for Thursday morning at the White House was postponed after twin explosions outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, which caused a number of US and civilian casualties. Biden reportedly was in the White House situation room at the time that the meeting was supposed to begin. It is not known when the meeting will be held; Israeli media on hand to report on the meeting were told to leave the White House.
Explosion reported outside of airport in Kabul
There has been an explosion outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, according to multiple reports. Injuries are being reported among Afghans. The explosion, and a second outside the Baron Hotel near the airport, was confirmed by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. The explosion comes as thousands of people remain on the streets near the airport, trying to enter its gates in an attempt to leave Afghanistan. The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom had been on people to move further away from the airport in light of threats of an attack by the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, or ISIS-K, a Taliban rival.
Firefight at Kabul airport involving Afghan guards, US and German forces leaves 1 dead
At least one Afghan guard was killed and three injured in a firefight at the north gate of the Kabul airport, where some 20,000 Afghans and foreigners are still awaiting transport out of Afghanistan. A sniper outside the airport reportedly fired at Afghan guards inside the airport leading to them to return fire, as US forces fired at the Afghan guards. German military forges also were involved in the incident.
Kuwait to allow passage of 5,000 Afghans evacuated by US
Kuwait’s foreign ministry said the country will allow the passage of some 5,000 Afghans evacuated from Kabul by the United States. The subject of relocating Afghan interpreters for the US military and media outlets came up during meetings US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held in Kuwait last month.
UAE confirms Afghan president, family ‘welcomed’ on ‘humanitarian grounds’
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, who fled his country when the Taliban overran the capital, Kabul, is in the United Arab Emirates, the country’s foreign ministry confirmed. “The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds,” it said in a statement.
Taliban announce ‘general amnesty’ for gov’t officials
The Taliban Tuesday declared a general amnesty for all Afghanistan government officials and urged them to return to work, two days after taking power following a lightning sweep through the country. “A general amnesty has been declared for all … so you should start your routine life with full confidence,” said a statement from the Taliban.
Commercial flights out of Kabul canceled as Afghans crowd airport
All commercial flights out of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul have been canceled, the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority announced. The announcement comes as crowds of Afghan civilians gathered at the airport in Kabul, attempting to get on any flight leaving the country. Scenes caught on camera showed the Afghans storming the tarmac and clambering up gangplanks leading to the airplanes.
Taliban reportedly has seized presidential palace in Afghanistan
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is seen leaving the country as a group of high-level politicians is negotiating a transfer of power with the Taliban, which reportedly has seized the presidential palace. At the same time, the US reportedly has completed the evacuation of its embassy in Kabul and has taken down its flag.
Taliban surround Kabul, poised to take control of Afghan capital
Taliban forces have surrounded the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul. There are currently no reports of Taliban fighters entering the capital, but a spokesman for the organization, Suhail Shaheen, said on the BBC: “We are awaiting a peaceful transition of power. … We seek inclusive Afghan government where all Afghans will have participation.” Meanwhile, the US is rushing to pull all personnel out of its embassy over the next three days.
Israeli education minister’s adviser on Arab society shot dead
Sahar Ismail, Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton’s adviser on Arab society, was shot dead by unknown assailants in his car in the town of Rameh on Sunday morning. Ismail, a member of the Druze community in Israel, was a veteran Likud activist, close to New Hope party leader and Justice Minister Gideon Saar, and No. 17 on the New Hope slate of candidates for the Knesset.
3 rockets fired from Lebanon toward Israel
Two of the rockets landed in open areas in northern Israel, while one fell short and landed in Lebanon.
Smoke and a small fire were reported as a result of one of the rockets, which landed near Kiryat Shmona.
6 ships off UAE coast reported ‘not under command’
Six ships in international waters off the coast of the UAE emirate of Fujairah have broadcast signals indicating they are “not under command,” meaning that they have lost control of their steering in what could be an attack or hijacking. Unconfirmed reports have identified the ships as Asphalt Princess, Kamdhenu, Queen Ematha, Golden Brilliant, Jag Pooja and Abyss. The flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.com showed an Oman Royal Air Force maritime patrol aircraft flying over the area where the ships were thought to be located, and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations has advised other ships in the area to exercise extreme caution.
Miami-Tel Aviv flight makes emergency landing due to flat tire
American Airlines flight AA052 from Miami to Tel Aviv safely landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport after it was discovered that the plane had a flat tire. The flight was carrying 190 passengers and crew.
UAE opens embassy in Israel
Mrs. Anwar Sadat dead at 87
Jehan Sadat, widow of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, died Friday in Egypt at the age of 87. She had been battling cancer. Mrs. Sadat will receive a military funeral in Cairo. Despite her withdrawal from public life after her husband’s assassination in 1979, she was a supporter of incumbent President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.
All victims in Surfside, Florida disaster will be accounted for in matter of days, head of Israeli search team tells The Media Line
Col. Golan Vach, commander of the Israeli military’s Home Front Command National Search & Rescue Unit, has told The Media Line that all the people still missing in the condominium collapse at Surfside, Florida, will be found in the coming days. To date, 60 people have been confirmed dead and 80 remain missing.
Explosion felt across Dubai, reportedly due to ship fire
A huge blast rocked Dubai, shaking buildings across the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates, witnesses reported. Authorities say the explosion was caused by a fire on a ship in Jebel Ali seaport.
PFLP-GC leader Ahmed Jibril dies at 83
Ahmed Jibril, founder of the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command organization, died in a Damascus hospital Wednesday at the age of 83. Jibril founded the PFLP-GC in 1968 after splitting from the PFLP.
US Secretary of State Blinken, in Berlin for Libya talks, urges withdrawal of all foreign forces
Iran foils sabotage attack on atomic energy agency building: state TV
Israel’s parliament approves new gov’t headed by Naftali Bennett in 60-59 vote
Lapid announces formation of new Israeli government
Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, informed President Reuven Rivlin, that he has succeeded in forming a new national unity government, more than two years after the first of four parliamentary elections led to an extended deadlock in Israeli politics.
Isaac Herzog elected as Israel’s 11th president
Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, elected Isaac Herzog to the largely ceremonial position of president of Israel. Herzog, the current chairman of the Jewish Agency and a former Labor party chief, will be the country’s 11th president, replacing incumbent President Reuven Rivlin, who retires on July 9 after seven years in office.
Gantz announces last-minute ‘brief trip’ to US
Defense Minister Benny Gantz will leave on Wednesday night for a “brief trip” to Washington DC, his office announced. He will meet US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan for “strategic dialogue on the emerging nuclear agreement with Iran, as well as discussion on maintenance of Israel’s qualitative military edge, and Middle East stability at large,” according to the announcement. They also will further review the Israel Ministry of Defense’s plan for achieving long-term quiet in Gaza and recovering Israel’s MIAs and hostages, according to the statement.
Iran will have nuclear capability in 5-7 years
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told foreign reporters in Jerusalem on Monday that Iran will have nuclear capability in 5 years to 7 years.
Bennett announces intent to enter unity gov’t, ousting Israeli PM Netanyahu
Naftali Bennett, head of the Yamina party in the Israeli parliament, announced on national television Sunday night his decision to enter into a national unity government comprising a number of parties opposed to the continued rule of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. If it is formed, the planned government would end Netanyahu’s record-long stretch in the Prime Minister’s Office and avoid sending the country to a fifth round of elections in just over two years. Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid could meet with President Reuven Rivlin as early as Monday to formally notify the president that he has succeeded in forming a government.
UNHCR creates permanent body to investigate Israel for war crimes
The United Nations Human Rights Council voted to create a permanent commission to investigate Israel for war crimes and human rights abuses. The vote was 24-9, with 14 countries abstaining. It is the first time that the UNHCR has created a permanent fact-finding body to investigate a UN member state. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that “Today’s shameful decision is yet another example of the UN Human Rights Council’s blatant anti-Israel obsession.”
Israel’s AG will indict Yaakov Litzman for obstruction of justice and breach of trust
Israel’s Attorney General Avchai Mandelblit announced that he planned to indict Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman of the United Torah Judaism party on charges of obstruction of justice and breach of trust. The indictment is pending a hearing. The charges are in two separate cases: accusations that he used his position as deputy health minister to prevent the extradition to Australia of the former principal of an Orthodox Jewish girls school accused of sexual assault of minors; and allegations that he used his position to prevent the closure of a restaurant with health violations citations.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister arrives in Ramallah
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrived on Monday afternoon in Ramallah in the West Bank, where he was received by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Shoukry announced earlier on Monday that Egypt would undertake an initiative of $500 million for the reconstruction of Gaza that will take place in coordination with the Palestinian Authority. Egypt is also working to help broker a peace agreement between the PA and Israel. Also on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to leave on a Mideast trip, his first trip abroad, with stops in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Cairo and Amman.
Israel-Hamas cease-fire goes into effect, appears to be holding
A bilateral cease-fire between Israel and Hamas went into effect at 2 am on Friday. At 9 a.m., the Israel Defense Forces announced that nearly all restrictions on movement throughout the country would be removed, though schools will remain closed until Sunday.
Israel’s Security Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas
Israel’s Security Cabinet approved an Egyptian-brokered bilateral cease-fire with Hamas at a meeting on Thursday evening, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office. It is not known exactly when the cease-fire will take effect.
Biden tells Netanyahu he expects de-escalation with Gaza toward cease-fire
US President Joe Biden in a call with Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday “had a detailed discussion on the state of events in Gaza, Israel’s progress in degrading the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist elements, and ongoing diplomatic efforts by regional governments and the United States,” according to a readout from the White House. Biden told Netanyahu that he “expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a cease-fire.” It is the fourth call between Biden and Netanyahu this week.
2 Israeli soldiers reported injured in shooting attack in West Bank
Two Israeli soldiers are reported to have been injured in a shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Beit El, where clashes are taking place between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers. Fourteen Palestinians reportedly also were wounded in the clashes.
1 killed, 2 seriously wounded, when anti-tank missile fires on Israeli vehicle on Gaza border
2 Israelis killed in barrage of rocket fire from Gaza onto Ashkelon
Israel suffered its first fatalities in Operation Guardian of the Walls when two women were killed from rocket fire on Ashkelon. The victims were identified as an 80-year-old resident of the city and her caregiver. Two other people were injured, one of them critically. Hamas fired 137 rockets over the course of five minutes – the “largest-ever barrage” according to the Islamist organization that controls the coastal enclave – in an apparent attempt to overwhelm the Iron Dome missile defense system.
Over 300 rockets fired at Israel, hitting buildings; Israeli retaliatory attacks kill at least 24
At least 60 rockets from were fired at southern Israeli communities over a short period early Tuesday afternoon in what appears to be an attempt to overwhelm the Iron Dome missile defense system; Hamas claimed it fired 137 rockets over five minutes. At least three buildings in Ashkelon and Ashdod were hit in the barrage, including a school and a private home. More than 300 rockets have been fired on Israel since Monday evening. Israeli air strikes on Gaza targets also continued on Tuesday, reportedly including a high-rise building in the upscale al-Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, where two Palestinian Islamic Jihad members live. Over 130 military attacks in Gaza have been targeted with airstrikes, including weapons production sites and military complexes, as well as terror tunnels. At least 24 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in the Israeli attacks, including children, according to reports.
Over 200 rockets fired at Israel, at least 24 Gazans killed in retaliatory attacks
More than 200 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel since Monday evening. The Israel Defense Forces said Tuesday morning that it struck over 130 military targets in Gaza, including weapons production sites and military complexes, and the home of a Hamas battalion commander. Two Gaza terror tunnels also were hit, according to the IDF. At least 24 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in the Israeli attacks, including children, according to reports.
Over 150 rockets fired at Israel, including Jerusalem
Over 150 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on Monday evening, including 7 at Jerusalem. Hamas has claimed responsibility for seven rockets fired at Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh. At least one rocket fired at Jerusalem was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system and some fell in open areas. Hamas had earlier issued an ultimatum, threatening to attack Israel if security forces were not removed from the Temple Mount and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem. Meanwhile, rockets from Gaza also were fired at southern Israel, including Sderot and Ashkelon. Also on Monday evening, the Israel Defense Forces said it fired on and killed eight Hamas operatives in Gaza. Israeli news reports said that the Security Cabinet approved a massive aerial bombardment of Gaza, but not a ground invasion. The Palestinian Health Ministry said 20 Palestinians were killed, including 9 minors, in Israel’s retaliatory air strikes. Israel said the air strikes were aimed at rocket launchers and other military installations. Late on Monday night a home in the southern Israeli kibbutz Nir Am sustained a direct hit from a Gazan rocket, but no injuries were reported. The IDF announced that its strikes against Hamas will be known as Operation Guardian of the Walls.
Qatar’s finance minister arrested over embezzlement allegations
Qatar’s Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi was arrested and held for questioning on Thursday over allegations of embezzlement, abuse of public office and abuse of power. Qatar’s attorney general ordered the arrest of the Minister of Finance Ali Sharif Al-Emadi after reviewing reports related to the alleged crimes, the Qatar News Agency reported. A more extensive investigation has been ordered, according to the report
Yair Lapid given mandate to form Israel’s next government
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin has selected Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, to receive the mandate to form a government, a day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that he could not form a coalition government. Some 56 lawmakers recommended Lapid during consultations with Rivlin on Wednesday.
3 injured in drive-by shooting at West Bank junction
Three people in their 20s were injured, two seriously, in a drive-by shooting attack at the Tapuah junction near the northern West Bank city of Ariel. Several young people were standing at a bus stop when a driver reportedly opened fire either at them or at a passing car, according to reports.
At least 44 dead in stampede at religious festival at Mt. Meron in northern Israel
At least 44 people were crushed to death and more than 100 injured, some seriously, during the annual Lag b’Omer bonfire festival at the tomb of the 2nd century sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai on Mt. Meron in northern Israel. Tens of thousands of mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews arrived on Thursday night for the all-night celebration that includes prayer, song and dance.
US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan underway
The US military has started to withdraw from Afghanistan, CNN is reporting, citing several unnamed US defense officials. Contractors and US government workers are also leaving the country, according to the report. The withdrawal is scheduled to be completed by September 11.
Netanyahu agrees to appoint Gantz justice minister
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agrees to name Benny Gantz as justice minister until a new government is formed, hours ahead of a Supreme Court hearing over whether a Cabinet vote on Tuesday appointing Netanyahu ally Ofir Akunis to the position was done legally.
Saudi Arabia destroys a boat full of explosives in Red Sea
Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday that it intercepted and destroyed a remote-controlled boat filled with explosives near the Yanbu port on the Red Sea. Yemen’s Houthi rebels have used tactics such as booby-trapped boats and drones against Saudi Arabia in the past. There were no immediate claims of responsibility.
Iranian court sentences British aid worker Zaghari-Ratcliffe to year in prison
British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced by Iran’s Revolutionary Court to one year in prison and a one-year ban on leaving the country, her attorney said. She was sentenced on charges of “propaganda against the system,” in part for attending a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in London and being interviewed by the BBC Persian network more than a decade ago. She had already spent nearly five years in an Iranian jail and another year under house arrest before being freed last month.
Houthis appear ready to take control of Marib, some 56 fighters killed
Houthi rebels in Yemen have advanced on Marib over the last two days and appear ready to take control. Some 56 fighters have been killed in the fighting. Marib, the last government controlled pocket in the area, is surrounded by oil fields and is home to some 2 million refugees living in 140 displaced person camps.
Jordan’s King Abdullah orders release of alleged coup conspirators
Jordan’s King Abdullah II has ordered the release of the people arrested for allegedly planning a coup that involved the king’s half-brother Prince Hamzah. The Jordanian Royal Court said in a tweet that Abdullah’s order came in response to “an appeal for forgiveness” for those “who were arrested for sedition.” The king said in an announcement ordering the release that “as a father and a brother to all Jordanians” and because it is the Muslim holy month of Ramadan “in which we all want to be surrounded by out families,” that he was returning those arrested to their families.
Jordan’s foreign minister arrives by helicopter at Palestinian presidential compound
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, flying in a Jordanian military helicopter, has arrived at the Mukataa, the Palestinian Authority’s presidential compound in Ramallah, on the West Bank, in a surprise visit.
Germany to withdraw troops from Afghanistan starting July 4: Defense Ministry
Train derails north of Cairo, injuring passengers
A train on the Cairo-Mansoura line derailed shortly after 2 pm local time in the Banha area, about 50 km north of Cairo. A number of passengers are reported to be injured. This was the second derailment in a week on the same line.
Israel and Greece sign largest-ever defense procurement deal
Israel and Greece signed their largest-ever defense procurement deal, for about $1.65 billion. The deal announced on Sunday will see Israel’s Elbit Systems establish and operate a training center Greece’s air force. Under the deal, Elbit also will supply the Greek air force with training aircraft, and provide maintenance to its traiing fleet for 20 years.
US, Britain, France, Germany to hold talks on Afghanistan: Berlin
NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan likely in September: German minister
NATO will likely join the United States in withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan in September, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said Wednesday.
“We always said: We’ll go in together, we’ll leave together,” she told ARD public television. “I am for an orderly withdrawal and that is why I assume that we [NATO] will agree to that today.”
Somali president signs law extending mandate for 2 years: state media
Iran to start enriching uranium to 60% purity ‘next week’: IAEA envoy
Israeli-owned ship damaged in attack blamed on Iran
The Israeli-owned cargo ship Hyperion Ray sustained minor damage in an attack off the coast of the United Arab Emirates’ Fujairah emirate in an attack that Israeli officials are blaming on Iran, according to Lebanese and Israeli reports. The attack comes a day after Iran threatened to avenge an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility that it blamed on Israel.
Iran’s Zarif: Israel made ‘very bad gamble’ at nuclear plant
Russia expects Iran nuclear deal to be saved, condemns EU sanctions: Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday said Moscow expected the Iranian nuclear deal to be saved and condemned EU sanctions against Iran, saying they could undermine sensitive nuclear talks. “We expect that it will be possible to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” Lavrov said after talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran. He also blasted recent EU sanctions on Iran, saying they sparked “a huge amount of questions.”
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrives in Israel
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin landed on Sunday in Israel, in the first official visit by a member of the Biden administration. Austin is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Austin is scheduled to travel from Israel to Germany, NATO Headquarters in Belgium, and Britain.
Netanyahu tapped to form Israel’s next government
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin nominates sitting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to try to form a new government, saying: “This was not an easy decision.” Netanyahu, who was recommended by 52 lawmakers to head the next government, has 28 days to try to cobble together a coalition of at least 61 lawmakers.
Iran gov’t welcomes ‘promising’ US comments on sanctions: spokesman
Jordanian prosecutor bans publication of information on Prince Hamzah rift
Amman’s prosecutor-general has banned the publication of information on the royal rift involving Prince Hamzah, the half-brother of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, including “all audiovisual media and social networks, as well as the publication of all images or video clips relating to this subject,” according to a statement read on state television.
Iran says it arrested ‘Israeli spy’
Iran announced on Monday that it has arrested an “Israeli spy,” as well as agents of other countries, in its eastern Azerbaijan province, according to reports.
Palestinian Authority President Abbas taken by helicopter to Jordan for unexpected flight to Germany
Three Jordanian helicopters have landed in the Mukataa, the Palestinian Authority’s presidential compound in Ramallah, to fly President Mahmoud Abbas to Jordan. From there, he is expected to fly to Germany for medical treatment.
Jordan’s Prince Hamzah, in audio recording: I will not obey military’s restrictive orders
Report: 2 rockets hit near Iraq airbase where US soldiers based
Two rockets hit near the Balad air base north of Baghdad in Iraq that hosts US soldiers, the AFP news agency reported, citing a security source.
Iran reportedly fired missile at Israeli ship in the Arabian Sea
Israel’s Channel 12 reports that Iran fired a missile at an Israeli-owned container ship traveling in the Arabian Sea between India and Tanzania. The missile hit the ship and damaged it, according to the report.
Rocket fired from Gaza Strip hits Israel, no injuries reported
A rockets was fired Tuesday evening from the Gaza Strip into Israel, landing in an open area near Beersheba, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit. No injuries were reported.
Saudi Arabia offers cease-fire to Houthi rebels in Yemen civil war
Saudi Arabia said Monday it would offer the Houthi rebels a cease-fire to end the nearly eight-year-old civil war in Yemen, The Associated Press reported. The plan would include the reopening of the airport in the capital, Sanaa. The offer comes after the Houthis’ relentless campaign of airstrikes against Saudi oil distribution sites. The Houthis later dismissed the offer as “nothing new” and called for the lifting of air and sea blockades first.
Istanbul stock exchange suspends trading as index falls on central bank fears
Iran TV: One dead, 3 wounded in explosion in SE Iran
Turkey arrests pro-Kurd MP who was expelled from parliament: party
Turkish police detained Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu early Sunday morning, according to the party. A court stripped Gergerlioglu of his position on Wednesday.
Saudi Aramco: 2020 profit slid 44.4% on lower crude prices
Energy giant Saudi Aramco on Sunday posted a 44.4% drop in 2020 net profit due to lower crude prices, reflecting the slump in global demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Aramco achieved a net income of $49 billion in 2020,” the company said in a statement, compared to $88.2 billion in the previous year.
Palestinian Authority to receive COVID-19 vaccine shipment
According to UNICEF Palestine, 61,440 coronavirus vaccine doses arrived today and will be delivered to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah ahead of Sunday’s launch of the National Vaccine Deployment Plan in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
4 more peace agreements on the way, Netanyahu says
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is poised to make four more peace agreements, telling an interview with the Ynet news website that he spoke Monday night to one of the leaders in the region for 45 minutes. “I brought four peace agreements,” Netanyahu said, and “there are another four on the way.” Referencing the normalization agreements with Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates, he said that “I delivered peace for peace.”
Turkey, Egypt resume first diplomatic contacts since 2013: Turkish foreign minister
At least 20 dead in Egyptian clothing factory
At least 20 people are reported dead and 24 injured in a fire that swept through a clothing factory located on the outskirts of Cairo on Thursday afternoon. The cause of the fire is not immediately known.
Netanyahu will travel to UAE 2 weeks before elections
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will travel to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, and will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, Israeli media is reporting. He had originally been scheduled to visit the UAE several months ago in the wake of the signing of a normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE, but the visit has been postponed several times, most recently in February. The visit comes less than two weeks before the country’s 4th national elections in two years.
Syrian president, wife test positive for the coronavirus
Syrian President Bashar Assad and his wife have both tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement issued Monday by the president’s office. The couple are experiencing only mild symptoms of the virus, according to the statement. They have gone into isolation in their home for the next two to three weeks. Syria began a vaccination campaign last week.
Palestinians claim 3 fishermen killed by Israeli Navy; Israel denies report
Palestinian media outlets reported Sunday morning that the Israeli Navy fired on three fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip, near Khan Younis. The Israeli military said it did not fire on anyone this morning, and was investigating the incident.
Civilian contractor who died of ‘cardiac episode’ during rocket attack on Iraq base was US national: Pentagon
First Emirati Ambassador to Israel Mohammad Mahmoud Al-Khajah to present credentials to President Reuven Rivlin
Israeli PM Netanyahu accuses Iran of attacking Israeli-owned cargo ship in Gulf of Oman last week
Syrian TV: Air defenses respond to Israeli attack in vicinity of Damascus
German court convicts Syrian in landmark crimes against humanity trial
Former Syrian intelligence agent Eyad al-Gharib, 44, helped to arrest protesters and deliver them to a detention center in Damascus in the fall of 2011. The German court sentenced him to four and a half years in prison for being an accomplice to crimes against humanity in the first court case over state-sponsored torture by President Bashar Assad’s government.
Israel will compensate families of Yemenite children who went missing in 1950s
Israel’s Cabinet approved a proposal for the state to recognize the over 1,000 children of immigrants from Yemen, as well as from the Balkans, North Africa and other Middle Eastern countries, who are alleged to have been kidnapped and put up for adoption during the 1950s. Known as the Yemenite children affair, the families charge that they were told that their children died in hospital and were immediately buried, and that instead the children were put up for adoption. The Cabinet allocated nearly $50 million in compensation for the family members of a child that died for whom notification – including cause of death – was not delivered to the family in real time, or of a child who died and whose place of burial has not been located, or whose place of burial was located after a long delay. The families will be able to file an application for financial compensation between June 2021 and November 2021.
US President Biden calls Israeli prime minister for first time since entering office
US President Joe Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Wednesday night – the first such call to a Middle Eastern leader since he was inaugurated on January 20. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the long-awaited conversation, which lasted about an hour, included discussions on the continuation of peace agreements and the Iranian threat, as well as the coronavirus pandemic.
Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah says 2,000 COVID-19 vaccines on way to Gaza
After a delay of several weeks, the transfer of doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus to the Gaza Strip began on Wednesday. The transfer through the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel was made at the request of the Palestinian Authority. Israeli reports say that 1,000 doses of the vaccine were transferred, but the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah said that some 2,000 doses were on the way,
White House says Biden call to Netanyahu will be first to Mideast leader
US President Joe Biden will call Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “soon” and it will be the president’s first call to a Mideast leader, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday during the regular briefing. She did not have an exact date for the call.
Palestinian officials accuse Israel of blocking entry of COVID-19 vaccine into Gaza Strip
Saudi Arabia releases jailed activist Loujain al-Hathloul: family
Loujain al-Hathloul, a Saudi women’s rights activist who was sentenced last December to almost six years in prison, has been released, family members say. She and 10 other female activists were arrested in May 2018 as part of a sweeping crackdown on women campaigning for the right to drive. Weeks after her arrest, Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on women driving.
Houthi drone attack sets civilian plane alight at Saudi airport
The Houthis claimed responsibility for a drone attack on the Abha International Airport in Saudi Arabia, that set a civilian airplane alight. The fire, discovered early Wednesday afternoon, was brought under control.
Islamic State ambush kills 26 pro-regime fighters in eastern Syria: monitor
Biden says US will not lift Iran sanctions first to reopen nuclear negotiations
US President Joe Biden told CBS in his first network news interview since inauguration, set to air Sunday before the Super Bowl, that Iran will first have to stop enriching uranium at levels that violate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal before the US will lift crushing sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday that Iran will only return to its commitments under the nuclear accords after the US lifts sanctions.
Israeli PM postpones visit to UAE, Bahrain
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office announced Thursday morning that, due to the closure of Israeli skies in the effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had decided to postpone his planned trip to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
An explosion has been reported near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, India. No casualties reported.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court orders accused killer of US journalist Daniel Pearl freed
Ahmad Saeed Omar Sheikh, who was convicted and later acquitted of the murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter, had remained in jail since his conviction in 2002, pending an appeal by the family of Daniel Pearl. The Pakistan Supreme Court on Thursday ordered Sheikh’s release and dismissed the appeal.
US Reportedly ‘Pausing’ F-35 Sale to UAE
The United States is “temporarily pausing” some foreign arms sales, including the F-35 jets to the UAE and munitions to Saudi Arabia, Bloomberg News defense correspondent Anthony Capaccio reports, citing unnamed State Department official.
Biden Administration will support two-state solution for Israel, Palestinians
Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Mills told the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday that President Joe Biden’s policy for the Israel-Palestinian conflict “will be to support a mutually agreed, two-state solution, in which Israel lives in peace and security, alongside a viable Palestinian state.”
At least 28 reported dead in suicide attack in central Baghdad market
A “double explosion” hit a crowded market in the Bab al-Sharji area near Tayaran Square in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Thursday, in what is being called a rare suicide bomb attack. At least 28 were wounded and more than 70 injured in the attack. As of Thursday afternoon, there was no claim of responsibility for the first suicide attack in Baghdad since 2017.
Death toll from tribal clashes in Sudan’s South Darfur rises to 47: tribal leader
More than 600 protesters arrested, army deployed in Tunisia over riots
The arrests of more than 600 Tunisian protesters, most ages 15-25, were announced on Monday after a third consecutive night of riots over a lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic and to the country’s economic crisis. The lockdown began on Thursday, which also was the decade anniversary of the deposition of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as part of the country’s Arab Spring protests.
Jerusalem Municipal Planning Cmte approves new US Embassy
The Jerusalem Municipality announced on Wednesday night that its Building and Planning Committee had approved plans for a new US Embassy, to be built on Hebron Road in Jerusalem, as well as the extension of the current temporary embassy in the Arnona neighborhood.
Sheldon Adelson, casino magnate, patron of Israeli prime minister, dies at 87
Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp. a major donor to Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and to the Republican Party in the United States, has died after a long battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Adelson was the founder and owner of Israel Hayom, a free daily pro-Netanyahu newspaper in Israel, published by his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson.
Nabil Shaath hospitalized in serious condition
Nabil Shaath, foreign affairs adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, is in a Ramallah hospital in the West Bank in serious condition from an undisclosed ailment. Shaath, 82, served as the PA’s first foreign minister, from April 2003 to February 2005.
Abbas will order Palestinian elections
Palestinian Authority President Mahmood Abbas will issue a decree within days ordering elections to take place in mid-May after Ramadan, Al-Mayadeen reported Thursday night citing senior sources.
Chaos in Washington: Protesters storm Capitol building as Congress debates Electoral College votes
Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani says he will attend GCC Summit
Saudi Arabia opens airspace, borders to Qatar ahead of GCC Summit
Iran resumes enriching uranium to 20% purity
In its most significant breach yet of the 2015 nuclear deal signed with the world powers, Iran on Monday began enriching uranium to 20% purity at its underground Fordow plant, a government spokesman told the Tehran-based Mehr News Agency. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which announced Friday that Iran had informed the nuclear watchdog of its intentions, has not confirmed the report. Weapons-grade uranium is at least 90% enriched. Fordow is reinforced against arial bombing.
Explosions, gunfire rock Yemen’s Aden airport as new gov’t arrives
Witnesses report a large blast and gunfire after a plane carrying the new government landed at the airport, with many dead said to be among the casualties.
Russia, Turkey to develop military ties despite US sanctions: Lavrov
Moscow and Ankara will develop defense industry cooperation despite US sanctions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday following talks with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul sentenced to 5 years, 8 months jail: local media
Saudi Arabian women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was sentenced on Monday to five years and eight months in prison by a court specializing in handling terrorism cases. Hathloul and 10 other female activists were arrested in May 2018 as part of a sweeping crackdown on women campaigning for the right to drive. She was charged with having contacts with foreign diplomats, journalists, and activist groups.
Turkey court sentences exiled journalist Dündar to 27 years jail: media
Can Dündar, the former editor-in-chief of the Turkish opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, who fled to Germany in 2016, was charged with terrorism and espionage and tried in absentia.
In late-night drama, parliamentary vote makes 4th Israeli election in 2 years all but certain
Overnight between Monday and Tuesday, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, defeated a bill the would have postponed the Tuesday-night deadline by which a budget must be passed. As a result, barring any last-minute deals, the Knesset is expected to dissolve itself Tuesday night, sending Israel to the polls on March 23, 2021, for its fourth general election in two years.
Car bomb kills at least 8 in Kabul
A car bomb that exploded on Sunday morning in the Afghan capital Kabul killed at least eight people, including women and children. The attack appeared to be directed at the convoy of lawmaker Khan Mohammad Wardak. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. Similar previous attacks in Kabul have been launched by the Islamic State.
Kabul province deputy governor and aide killed in bombing
Mahbobullah Mohebi, a deputy governor of Kabul province, and his secretary, were killed Tuesday in Kabul when a bomb attached to their vehicle detonated while they drove to Mohebi’s office, the Interior Ministry said. Two bodyguards were wounded in the blast – the latest in a wave of targeted killings in the country.
Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu enters quarantine until Friday
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu entered quarantine after meeting with a confirmed carrier of the coronavirus. The carrier was identified by Israeli media outlets as Michael Kleiner, president of the supreme court of the Likud party. Netanyahu has had two negative tests for the coronavirus since the meeting, but will remain in quarantine until Friday.
Algeria’s president in first TV appearance in almost 2 months
Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said Sunday he was recovering from COVID-19, in his first televised appearance since he was hospitalized in Germany almost two months ago.
Morocco to normalize ties with Israel, US to recognize Moroccan sovereignty in W. Sahara, Trump announces
Morocco normalizes ties with Israel, joining other Arab nations
US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to announce that Morocco will normalize relations with Israel making it the fourth Arab country to do so this year.
The President locked in the deal in a phone call with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI on Thursday, the White House said.
“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!” President Trump wrote on Twitter.
The White House said that President Trump also “recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara territory,” infuriating the Algerian-backed Polisario Front which controls about one-fifth of the vast, arid region.
Morocco joins the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan in beginning to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, under the auspices of the U.S. united in their fear of Iran growing influence in the region.
Mohammed told President Trump that Morocco intends to facilitate direct flights for Israeli tourists to and from Morocco, according to a statement from Morocco’s royal court.
“This will be a very warm peace. Peace has never – the light of peace on this Hanukkah day has never – shone brighter than today in the Middle East,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement, referring to a Jewish eight-day holiday starting on Thursday night.
Hanan Ashrawi confirms resignation from PLO
Hanan Ashrawi confirmed her resignation from the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Ashrawi tweeted a statement about her resignation, effective at the end of the year, and included a photo of the letter, dated Nov. 26. She said that she will “continue to serve the Palestinian people and our just cause in every capacity, albeit outside public office.”
Hanan Ashrawi resigns from PLO executive committee
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi submitted her resignation from the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to Palestinian media reports. Her resignation was submitted several days ago and Abbas has not yet responded to her request.
Pope Francis to visit Iraq
The pope’s visit to four provinces in the Republic of Iraq, scheduled for March 5 to March 8 will be his first international trip in 15 months, the Vatican announced Monday. The Vatican said in a statement that the pope will visit “Baghdad; the plain of Ur, linked to the memory of Abraham; the city of Erbil; as well as Mosul and Qaraqosh in the plain of Nineveh.”
Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Gulf states must be consulted if a US nuclear agreement with Iran is revived , warning it is the only path towards a sustainable agreement
A bill to dissolve Israel’s Knesset passed in a preliminary vote
The bill to call early elections passed Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 61-54. It will now go to committee for discussion and must pass three readings before setting a date for Israel’s fourth election in nearly two years.
Israel poised for new elections, the fourth in two years
Benny Gantz announces Tuesday night that his Blue and White party will vote on Wednesday to dissolve the Knesset and go to early elections due to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s foot-dragging over passing a 2020-2021 budget.
Negotiations between Israel and Lebanon on maritime borders postponed
The US-mediated talks scheduled for Wednesday between the two sides have been postponed until further notice, according to reports, though US negotiators will continue to hold bilateral talks.
Car bomb kills at least 26 Afghan security personnel: officials
‘No doubt’ Israel is headed for elections: PM Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday, in response to a question about the growing rift between his Likud party and its coalition partner, “When agreements are not respected on the part of Blue and White, there is no doubt that we are on the way to elections.”
Canada names human rights activist Irwin Cotler envoy for Holocaust remembrance, combating anti-Semitism
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday the appointment of human rights activist, law professor, and former Justice Minister Irwin Cotler as the country’s first special envoy for promoting Holocaust remembrance and combating anti-Semitism. “We must never forget the painful lessons of the Holocaust, or the memories of those who lived through it, because anti-Semitism has no place in Canada, or anywhere else,” Trudeau said in a media statement.
Iran swaps jailed Australian academic for 3 Iranians: state TV
Iran has released Australian-British academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was serving a 10-year prison sentence for spying, state television in the Islamic Republic reported Wednesday, in exchange for three Iranians. “A businessman and two [other] Iranian citizens detained abroad on the basis of false accusations were freed in exchange for a spy with dual nationality working for” Israel, the website of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting said, also identifying Moore-Gilbert by name.
Sea Mine Damages Tanker off Saudi Coast
The Malta-flagged, Greek-operated oil tanker MT Agrari was damaged by an explosion, believed caused by a mine, in the Red Sea off the coast of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. The incident took place close to the kingdom’s border with Yemen.
Algerian court slashes activist’s prison term for blasphemy
An attorney for Algerian activist Yacine Mebarki, a leader of the Hirak anti-government movement, says an appeals court has reduced to one year his client’s 10-year prison term for “profaning the Quran” and “offending Islam.” It left intact convictions on lesser charges of “offending the precepts of [Islam], incitement to discrimination and unauthorized possession of weapons,” lawyer Hachem Saci wrote on Facebook.
2 bomb blasts kill at least 14 in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan province: officials
Israeli prime minister to visit Bahrain ‘soon’ at invitation of crown prince
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday morning that he spoke on the phone with Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the crown prince of Bahrain, and would soon visit Bahrain at the invitation of the crown prince.
Israeli PM, Mossad chief said to hold secret talks with MbS
An unnamed Israeli official told Hebrew media outlets on Monday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, accompanied by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, secretly traveled to the Saudi Red Sea city of Neom on Sunday, where they held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo is reportedly in Saudi Arabia to coax its leaders into establishing ties with Israel.