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‘Trump rapped Obama’s nuke deal with Russia in chat with Putin’

Palestinian suspect arrested after Petah Tikva market attack injures 5; hundreds protest draft dodger's arrest in Jerusalem, 24 arrested

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Police officers clash with ultra-Orthodox Jewish protesters during a demo against the arrest of Jewish seminary student who failed to comply with a recruitment order in Jerusalem on February 9, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Police officers clash with ultra-Orthodox Jewish protesters during a demo against the arrest of Jewish seminary student who failed to comply with a recruitment order in Jerusalem on February 9, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Times of Israel live blogged Thursday’s events as they unfolded.

Blast at facility in southern Iran kills at least 4

A large explosion is reported at an underground facility in southern Iran.

The blast near Bandar Abbas reportedly killed at least four and injured nine others.

The cause of the blast wasn’t immediately clear, nor was the facility’s function. Some reports identified it as an agriculture research facility.

Safed mayor held amid corruption allegations

The mayor of the northern town of Safed, Ilan Shohat, arrested this week on suspicion of a slew of corruption charges, sees his detention extended until Sunday by the Haifa Magistrate’s Court. Three other municipality workers were arrested along with Shohat, including the mayor’s personal assistant.

Amona residents protest for new settlement

Amona residents have set up a protest tent outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, calling on Netanyahu to set up a new West Bank settlement for them following the illegal outpost’s evacuation last week. Amona residents decided last night to have the new settlement founded next to Shilo in the northern West Bank, where the Geulat Tzion outpost is located.

5 Turkish troops killed in Islamic State attack in northern Syria

Five Turkish soldiers are reportedly dead and 10 others injured after the Islamic State attacked troops in northern Syria’s El Bab, the Dogan news agency reports.

Five other Turkish troops were killed Wednesday in northern Syria.

Egypt closes offices of key anti-torture organization

The Egyptian authorities on Thursday closed the offices of a prominent human rights group that helps victims of violence and torture, the organization and a police official said.

El Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture and Violence in Cairo offers psychological rehabilitation to victims of abuses including sexual assault.

“About 15 policemen in official uniform with a group of civilians sealed three apartments in the building belonging to El Nadeem,” co-founder Aida Seif Elldawla told AFP by phone.

“We didn’t violate any rules and the government has not provided any reasons for its closure decision,” said Seif Elldawla, adding that the center had filed a lawsuit against the order.

— AFP

5 ultra-Orthodox demonstrators arrested

Police arrest five ultra-Orthodox protesters for blocking traffic at Jerusalem’s Bar Ilan intersection as dozens demonstrate against the arrest of a man arrested for draft dodging.

Hundreds protest arrest of draft dodger in Jerusalem

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Israelis are protesting right now in Jerusalem the arrest of a Haredi man for dodging the draft.

The demonstration at on Bar Ilan Street in the capital is blocking a major intersection and at least five people have been arrested so far.

Police are scuffling with protesters in an effort to clear the intersection for traffic.

Protesters block Route 1, snarling traffic to Tel Aviv

Ultra-Orthodox protesters are now blocking Route 1 near Latrun, entangling cars in a major snarl.

Meanwhile police have brought out fire hoses to break up a Jerusalem protest as officers grapple with demonstrators.

2 injured in Petah Tikva shooting

Two people are injured in a shooting at a market in Petah Tikva, and a suspect from the West Bank was arrested by police at the scene. The two victims, both men in their 50s, suffered moderate injuries. Initial reports indicate that the shooting was criminal in nature, not terrorism.

Meanwhile, at least 12 protesters have now been arrested in protests across the country, 10 in Jerusalem and two in Beit Shemesh.

Russian airstrike accidentally killed 3 Turkish troops in Syria

Three Turkish soldiers were accidentally killed and 11 wounded on Thursday when a Russian war plane struck a building in Syria where the troops were deployed, the Turkish army said.

The plane had been seeking to hit targets of Islamic State (IS) jihadists but “by accident three of our soldiers were martyred when a building was bombed where our units were,” it said.

The army said Russian President Vladimir Putin had already reached out to Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to express his “sadness and condolences.”

— AFP

At least 4 injured in suspected Petah Tikva terror attack

Four people are now said lightly injured following an attack in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva.

A man and a woman in their 50s, as well as an approximately 30-year-old woman, are being treated for gunshot wounds to the legs, the Magen David Adom ambulance service says.

Also, another man in his 40s suffered a stab wound to the upper body, the medical service says.

All four are being taken to Petah Tikva’s Beilinson hospital for treatment.

Police say the shooting and stabbing attack in an outdoor market in Petah Tikva is being considered a terror attack.

The suspect, a resident of the West Bank, was captured by officers with the gun used in the attack still in his possession, police say.

— Judah Ari Gross

Palestinian suspect sprayed bystanders with bullets

The Palestinian suspect in a shooting in Petah Tikva reportedly sprayed bullets from an improvised rifle at bystanders before stabbing other victims in what police described as a terror attack.

The man was described as a 19-year-old West Bank Palestinian from a town near Nablus who illegally entered Israel. He was arrested by police at the scene.

Mr. Trudeau to go to Washington

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit the White House on Monday.

Man shot in Yavne, attacker flees

Initial reports are coming in of a shooting in the central city of Yavne. One person was shot in the back and his assailant fled the scene.

Police are investigating the incident.

The shooting comes quick on the heels of a terror attack in Petah Tikva.

Trump knocked nuke scale-back deal in chat with Putin

US President Donald Trump criticized a nuclear stockpile reduction deal struck between Washington and Moscow during his chat with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, Reuters reports.

Trump reportedly told Putin the treaty was one of several bad agreements his predecessor Barack Obama had inked, and talked about his popularity.

Israel envoy calls on UN to condemn Petah Tikva attack

Israel’s UN ambassador calls on the UN secretary-general to condemn today’s terror attack in Petah Tikva, and for the UN Security Council to discuss Palestinian incitement.

“An eighteen-year-old Palestinian filled with hatred attacked innocent Israelis today. This terror attack is a direct result of ongoing incitement from the Palestinian leadership,” Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement. “The international community must take immediate and decisive action against this incitement before it leads to any further bloodshed.”

Rivlin hails citizens who helped stop Petah Tikva attack

President Reuven Rivlin wishes the victims of the Petah Tikva terror attack a speedy recovery, and praises the citizens who halted the suspected attacker.

“The resourcefulness and courage of the citizens of Israel once again prevented a serious attack in Petah Tikva,” he says.

Trump to host Sheldon Adelson at White House

President Donald Trump will host Sheldon and Miriam Adelson for a White House dinner.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Adelson, a casino magnate who is a major backer both of Republicans and of pro-Israel groups, and his wife will join other associates of the new president for a meal.

Adelson did not commit to a candidate until May of 2016 when he endorsed Trump at a time when it was clear Trump would be the Republican nominee.

He subsequently donated tens of millions to Trump’s election campaign and to his inauguration; he and his wife were on the dais for Trump’s inaugural oath-taking, a rare honor for campaign funders.

— JTA

Israeli Arab beaten during terror attack files police complaint

An Israeli citizen from Kafr Qassem files a complaint with police today after he was assaulted by a mob of bystanders in Petah Tikva in the midst of last week’s terror attack.

Muad Amar was beaten because he was mistaken for a suspected terrorist in last week’s shooting. Amar was released from the hospital today after Thursday’s incident, Israel Radio reports.

Meretz MK Issawi Freij called on police to do their work to bring the perpetrators to justice, saying that otherwise it would be a clear message that it’s permissible to assault innocent Arab citizens of Israel in the heat of a terror attack.

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