The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded Thursday.
MK walks back comments on razing Supreme Court
Knesset member Moti Yogev from the right-wing party Jewish Home backtracks on comments made earlier this week seemingly calling for the destruction of the Supreme Court building in Jerusalem.
In the wake of a High Court of Justice ruling Wednesday morning upholding the court’s own demolition order against two illegal buildings in the West Bank settlement of Beit El, Yogev, a vocal advocate of the settlement movement, railed against the decision, saying: “We have to take the blade of a D-9 [bulldozer] to the High Court of Justice.”
In an interview with Israel Radio today, Yogev said his comments were unnecessary and that it’s possible he shouldn’t have made them.
His controversial statement drew criticism from across the political spectrum on Wednesday.
‘IDF may preemptively strike IS in Sinai’
A senior IDF officer says Israel could attack IS-affiliated militants in neighboring Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, if they were poised to attack Israeli soldiers or civilians.
The “threat of terror from Sinai” has grown in recent years, Brigadier General Royi Elcabets said at a ceremony marking the end of his two years as commander of the Edom division that controls the border with the Sinai.
Elcabets says IS’s Egypt affiliate could attempt to attack Israel.
“It is our duty to preempt it and strike at it, if and when this happens,” he said in remarks relayed by the military.
Jihadist militants have killed hundreds of Egyptian security forces in the Sinai since the overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.
Israel and Egypt have been closely following developments and are said to be cooperating to counter the terror threat.
— AFP contributed
Firefighters battle fire near Jerusalem
Four firefighting teams and two aircraft are working to extinguish a brush fire in the Sha’ar Hagai area near Jerusalem.
At the moment, nearby communities are not in any danger, according to Israel Radio.
3rd suspect indicted in Church of Multiplication arson
A third suspect has been indicted in the arson attack last month on a church commemorating Jesus’ miracle of multiplication along the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Authorities accused Moshe Orbach 24, from Bnei Brak, of writing and distributing a document detailing the “necessity” of attacking non-Jewish property and people as well as laying out practical advice to do so, the justice ministry said. The document was part of the evidence found during the investigation over the arson attack.
On Wednesday, Yinon Reuveni, 20, and Yehuda Asraf, 19, were also indicted for the arson attack. Two other suspects were arrested but have yet to be charged.
The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes, a new house of worship built on the site where Jesus is believed to have performed the miracle of feeding 5,000 men, women, and children with only five loaves of bread and two fish, was set on fire at 3:30 a.m. on June 18, causing severe damage to the church and lightly wounding two people on the premises.
The perpetrators of the crime scrawled graffiti on the church walls. It read, “False idols will be smashed” – a quote from the daily Aleinu prayer and an indication of the anti-Christian animus that motivated the crime.
Nusra Front abducts leader of US-backed Syrian group
The al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, the Nusra Front, has abducted the leader of a US-backed and trained Syrian militant group, according to opposition sources and a monitoring group cited by Reuters.
In a statement released by the group, the US-backed “Division 30” accuses the Nusra Front of having kidnapped Nadim al-Hassan and a number of others from the group near Aleppo. It called for their immediate release.
The development comes as a blow to US efforts to train and arm Syrian fighters to battle the Islamic State and other jihadist group, including Nusra.
The US launched the program in May to train over 5,000 moderate Syrian militants but the plan has suffered several setbacks as vetting has proved difficult and some insurgents were deemed ineligible.
US to deliver 8 F-16s jets to Egypt
The US embassy in Cairo announces that Washington will deliver eight F-16 fighter jets to Egypt today and tomorrow.
Cairo will also receive four additional jets in the coming months.
US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected in Cairo next month for bilateral talks. He will co-chair the US-Egypt Strategic Dialogue, a forum that “reaffirms the United States’ longstanding and enduring partnership with Egypt,” the State Department said.
Court frees far-right activist accused of attacking cop
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court has released Baruch Marzel, a radical right-wing activist and candidate for the Yachad party in this year’s Knesset elections, who was arrested this morning on suspicion of attacking a Border Police officer in Hebron on Saturday night outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
The court rejected a request by the police that Marzel post a NIS 5,000 bail, Israel Radio reports.
Taliban elects new leader
The Taliban has elected a new leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, following the Afghan government’s announcement Wednesday that the previous Islamic fundamentalist group’s leader, Mullah Omar, died in a Karachi hospital in 2013, according to Al Jazeera.
3rd suspect in church arson released to house arrest
The third suspect in the attack on the Church of the Multiplication of Fishes and Loaves has been released to house arrest, Ynet reports.
Moshe Orbach, 24, from Bnei Brak stands accused of with holding materials that incite to violence or terror. Charges were filed against Orbach at the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court, but Orbach’s attorney claimed the court had no jurisdiction in the case, so new charges will be filed against him Sunday in the central district court.
Police find missing baby dead in Negev well
The body of a 19-month old baby was found in a well near a Bedouin village in southern Israel, hours after his family report him missing. Police have taken the mother and uncle in for questioning, Ynet reports.
A police search and rescue team dispatched to find the missing child discovered his body and a paramedic pronounced him dead at the scene. A police officer says there were no signs of violence on the body. While it’s unclear how the child made it to the well, police say it’s impossible for him to have got there on his own.
Piece of bag washes up near plane wing on Indian Ocean isle
Part of a bag was found Thursday on the French island of La Reunion not far from plane debris which has fueled speculation it may be from missing flight MH370.
“The piece of luggage was here since yesterday but nobody really paid attention,” said Johnny Begue, a member of a local clean-up association who found the long piece of wreckage believed to be a part of a plane wing.
The fragment of material includes the closed zip.
“It is really weird, it gives me the shivers,” said Begue.
Local air transport police who have been studying the plane debris also picked up the piece of luggage on Thursday.
The Malaysia Airlines plane — a Boeing 777 — was traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it mysteriously turned off its route and vanished on March 8 last year with 239 people on board.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the debris, believed to be a part of a wing, was “very likely to be from a Boeing 777 but we need to verify whether it is from flight MH370.”
He said the wing component was being sent to Toulouse in southwestern France for further examination.
Streets close for Jerusalem Pride Parade
Police are preparing to close a number of streets in the capital in anticipation of the Jerusalem Pride Parade, which begins at 6 p.m. The march will proceed from Independence Park in downtown to Liberty Bell park, and streets along the route will be closed to vehicular traffic.
Senator: ‘IAEA chief declined to testify on Iran deal’
Republican Senator Bob Corker says IAEA chief Yukiya Amano turned down an invitation to testify before the Foreign Relations Committee about the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers reached earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon reports.
— Jay Solomon (@WSJSolomon) July 30, 2015
The nuclear watchdog agency is key to verifying Iran’s adherence to the deal and monitoring its nuclear facilities. Amano said earlier this week that Tehran would be able to provide its own soil samples from nuclear sites for inspection.
Iran has refused to give IAEA experts access to people, documents and sites allegedly linked to the suspected weapons work for nearly a decade. But in its quest for an end to nuclear-related sanctions, it agreed earlier this month to work with the agency, and Amano has said he expects to be able to deliver a report by December on Iran’s alleged nuclear site at Parchin.
Abbas a source of stability in West Bank, IDF officer says
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas contributes significantly to stability in the West Bank, a senior IDF official tells Ynet, and “has a clear agenda that’s good for us.”
The senior officer in central command says that “he’s also a source of stability in places where there’s friction, because security coordination for him is a red line.”
“I believe him when he says that he doesn’t want violence like another intifada or firing at [cars on] roads,” he says.
He says that Abbas’s actions speak louder than his words, and that his public declarations are less important than his security cooperation with Israel.
Turkish plane makes emergency stop in Warsaw
The spokesman for Warsaw’s main international airport says a Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300 with 332 people on board safely made an emergency landing at the airport.
Przemyslaw Przybylski said Thursday that the passengers were evacuated at Frederic Chopin airport and airport services were checking the plane. He would not say what caused the emergency landing of the passenger jet that had been en route from Istanbul to San Francisco.
TVN24 said a suspicious package was spotted on board.
Lehava protests Jerusalem Pride Parade
Several dozen members of the radical right wing group Lehava, which opposes relations between Jews and non-Jews in Israel, are protesting the Jerusalem Pride Parade as it sets out from the city’s Independence Park.
עשרה פעילי להב"ה מפגינים, נגד מצעד הגאווה בירושלים. האוטובוסים נועדו להסתיר את המצעד. אפילו לא יראו את המצעד pic.twitter.com/wdUQDMjN4x
— idan avni עידן אבני (@idanavni75) July 30, 2015
Pride parade marches through Jerusalem
Thousands of participants in the 13th annual Jerusalem Pride Parade are making their way down the capital’s Keren Hayesod Street, accompanied by hundreds of police officers guarding the route.
Among the many songs chanted by the demonstrators is a chant “The people demand social justice for gays, lesbians and children.”
Man stabbed at Jerusalem pride parade
A man was reportedly stabbed at the Jerusalem pride parade and the suspected perpetrator detained by police. There’s no immediate report on his condition.
Four stabbed at pride parade, police say
Police say four people were stabbed at the Jerusalem pride parade. The suspect has been arrested, and initial reports indicate the attacker was Jewish. Their conditions are not yet known.
Ultra-Orthodox man said to be stabber
The suspected assailant in a stabbing at the Jerusalem gay pride parade is an ultra-Orthodox man who was protesting against it, Walla news reports.
At least four people were injured in the incident and paramedics are at the scene providing treatment.
Police decline comment about stabbing
Police decline to comment on the incident moments ago, telling a Times of Israel reporter on the scene that the investigation is ongoing.
Two said to be seriously hurt in attack on gay parade
Two of the four victims of a stabbing at the Jerusalem gay pride parade are reported to be in serious condition.
Today’s incident wasn’t the first case of violence at a Jerusalem pride parade. Ten years earlier, at one of the first gay pride parades in Jerusalem in 2005, four people were also stabbed.
After the attack moments ago, demonstrators chanted “Jerusalem for all” and slogans against homophobia and violence.
Six stabbed in Jerusalem gay pride parade
Paramedics at the scene say the number of victims in a stabbing at the Jerusalem gay pride parade is six, with two in serious condition.
Eyewitness recounts moment of stabbing at pride parade
Zoe Schochet, 18, a participant in the parade, tells The Times of Israel that she was talking to a man when the attacker stabbed him in the back, then shoved her and her friend to try and escape. She described him as a bearded, ultra-Orthodox man dressed in black.
“It was really scary,” she says. Immediately thereafter, several police officers pulled the suspected attacker to the ground, screaming, she says.
Police initially thwarted attacker’s approach to pride parade
Another eyewitness, Dan, 22, says he saw the suspected attacker approach the parade by France Square, when a policewoman told him to stay away. He apparently took a side street around the parade, then ran at the crowd wielding a large knife and stabbing at least six.
Photos from the scene show police detaining an ultra-Orthodox man believed to have attacked the gay pride parade.
Suspect in stabbing perpetrated gay pride attack in 2005
Police say that the man suspected in the stabbing at the gay pride parade in Jerusalem today is Yishai Schlissel, the same person who committed the attack on the Jerusalem gay pride parade 10 years ago.
According to Walla news, Shlissel was released recently from prison after serving a prison sentence for the 2005 attack.
Before the 2005 incident, Shlissel reportedly shouted, “I came to kill in God’s name.”
Netanyahu: Gay parade stabbing ‘most grave incident’
After the attack on the gay pride parade steps away from his official residence, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives a briefing from Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan about the attack.
“It’s a most grave incident,” he says in a statement. “We will mete out justice to those responsible for the act. In the state of Israel freedom of choice of the individual is one of the basic values. We must ensure that in Israel every man and woman will live in security with whichever way they choose to live.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the right wing nationalist Jewish Home party, says in response to the attack that “the stabbing at the gay pride parade is a moral crime that cannot be forgiven.”
“Whoever committed this crime harmed Jewish values and ethics and needs to get the most severe punishment,” he says.
Jerusalem mayor says city will fight all attempts at violence
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat condemns the stabbing at the gay pride parade, saying it was “an attempt to harm the fabric of life in the city and prevent the basic right of freedom of expression.”
“We won’t allow a single excuse for violence of any kind. Jerusalem is a place for all, and we will continue to fight together with the Israel Police against all who attempt violence to harm another,” he says. “We will continue to support all groups and communities in Jerusalem and won’t be deterred by those who try perverse ways to prevent this.”
Ultra-Orthodox minister calls for ‘all-out war’ against violence
Among the public figures condemning today’s attack is Economy Minister and ultra-Orthodox Shas party leader Aryeh Deri, who says that “we must condemn and denounce all instances of violence and need to wage an all-out war against all who behave with violence against any person because he’s a person.”
Haredi paper reports on stabbing at ‘Abomination March’
The ultra-Orthodox news site Kikar Hashabbat reports on the stabbing at the Jerusalem gay pride parade in which six were injured, but refers to the event as the “Abomination March” in its headline and reporting. It also includes a label quoting the biblical edict “Thou shalt not kill.”
— Ilån Bεn Zıon (@IlanBenZion) July 30, 2015
Jerusalem police chief says no intel preceding attack
Jerusalem District police chief Moshe Adri says police knew Schlissel was released from prison, but didn’t have any concrete intel he was in the area or planning an attack. He says the investigation is in its early stages.
A reporter for Channel 2 says Schlissel didn’t hide his intention, and that he had written on the Internet that he would continue his efforts against the LGBT community.
When asked whether the police had been aware of rumors on WhatsApp claiming Schlissel was planning an attack, Adri says the police weren’t aware of such rumors.
Rivlin: ‘Lack of tolerance will lead to disaster’
President Reuven Rivlin joins a chorus of condemnation from across the political spectrum against the attack on the Jerusalem pride parade earlier this evening.
“We came together today for a festive event, but the joy was shattered when a terrible hate crime occurred here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” he says at a celebration marking 30 years of the Israeli Opera.
“People celebrating their freedom and expressing their identity were viciously stabbed. We must not be deluded, a lack of tolerance will lead us to disaster. We cannot allow such crimes, and we must condemn those who commit and support them. I wish the injured a full and speedy recovery.”
Israel’s chief rabbis condemn attack on pride parade
Israel’s chief rabbis condemn the attack on the pride parade. Sephardic chief rabbi Yitzhak Yosef says “the sentence of the stabber in the streets of Jerusalem today should be the sentence of any murderer or even more serious than that, it’s unacceptable that a man will rise supposedly in the name of religion and raise his hand against Israeli lives.”
Ashkenazi chief rabbi David Lau says that “the Torah of Israel forbids any act of violence and harming a person, and all the more so a man who harms others and attempts to kill.”
Firsthand report of attack by Times of Israel reporter
Eric Cortellessa, an intern reporting with the Times of Israel, happened to be at the scene in Jerusalem when today’s attack took place. He reports:
Along the stone sidewalks on Keren Hayesod Street in Jerusalem’s city center, a long line of people — mostly families and teens, a low-key crowd unlike the stereotype of most gay pride parades — marched in solidarity with Jerusalem’s LGBTQ community.
Standing a few hundred yards from The Times of Israel’s Washington Street office, watching what seemed to be a jovial procession I heard screams coming the center of the crowd. Upon turning my shoulder, looking southbound, I saw a young girl lying face down on the street covered in blood.
Lapid: Gay pride parade attacker ‘must die in prison’
Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid says the perpetrator of the Jerusalem pride parade attack “must die in prison.”
‘I ask forgiveness in Torah’s name,’ rabbi tells pride parade
Rabbi Benjamin Lau gets up to speak before the participants in the Jerusalem pride parade and says “I ask forgiveness in the name of the Torah” for the attack earlier in the day in which six were injured.
Stabber told Haredi radio weeks ago ‘I need to stop this parade’
Several weeks ago, an ultra-Orthodox radio station, Kav HaNeues, interviewed Schlissel after his release from prison, referring to him as a “Haredi terrorist.”
Schlissel told the station, “If a single person comes and wants to hold the [gay pride] parade, then therefore in order to do something, something extreme is necessary.”
Referring to members of the LGBT community, Schlissel also said that “these impure people want to defile Jerusalem,” and “the objective — I need to stop this parade.”
ADL ‘shocked and horrified’ by gay parade attack
The Anti-Defamation League comes out in condemnation of the attack on the Jerusalem gay pride parade, saying it’s “shocked and horrified by this heinous attack on a parade that is widely attended and includes government representatives and political leaders.”
“Jerusalem’s pride parade celebrates the city’s diverse and vibrant LGBT community. That celebration has once again been violated with violence and hatred,” it says, alluding to the attack 10 years ago.
“The perpetrator must be brought to justice, and law enforcement must ensure that this never happen again.”
Condition of 17-year-old victim of attack stabilizes
The condition of one of the victims injured in today’s stabbing has stabilized, Ynet reports. The 17-year-old girl arrived at Jerusalem’s Shaare Tsedek Medical Center in critical condition, though doctors say her life’s still in danger.