The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded on Sunday.

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President condemns Old City violence

After rioters clash with Israeli forces on the Temple Mount, President Reuven Rivlin condemns the reported plans to attack Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall below.

Rivlin calls the stockpiling of homemade explosives, firecrackers and wooden boards inside the al-Aqsa Mosque, with the intention of attacking thousands of Jewish worshipers gathered nearby for prayers on Tisha B’Av, “violence and terrorism.”

I express my support for the security forces, and for their determination to prevent any harm or interference to the prayers at the Western Wall, the remnant of our Temple. Such acts of hatred cannot be tolerated and we will not allow any disturbances to prevent Jews from praying at this holy site,” he says, according to a statement released by his spokesman.

Sinai bomb wounds 18, emergency extended

Egypt has extended its state of emergency in parts of the Sinai Peninsula for three months, as a roadside bomb wounded 18 policemen earlier Sunday, security officials say.

The attack happened near El-Arish, the capital of North Sinai province where the army is battling Islamic State group loyalists, according to the officials, who said the policemen were on leave.

Health ministry official Tarek Khater said the wounded were in stable condition in a military hospital in the city.

The state of emergency was originally declared in parts of the peninsula in October following the death of 30 soldiers in an attack close to El-Arish.



Police fire at car near Tour de France finish

Police in France are searching for the driver of a car that smashed through a security barrier in central Paris close to the finishing line of cycling’s Tour de France.

Officials said police shot at the car in an attempt to stop it after it sped away from a nearby checkpoint as officers tried to redirect traffic away from roads closed for the end of the epic race.

The incident occurred at the Place de Concorde at the end of the famous Champs Elysees, where the world’s greatest cycling race is to finish later Sunday.

No one is believed to have been hit, and police stressed there had been no exchange of fire.

Security in the French capital has been heightened for months following jihadist attacks which claimed 17 lives that began with the massacre at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.


Rouhani: Table with ‘all options’ is broken

Speaking in Iranian Kurdistan, President Hassan Rouhani calls on US officials to stop threatening Tehran… or find a good carpenter.

Referring to Western and Israeli assurances that “all options are on the table,” meaning military force is still being considered to thwart the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, Rouhani claims that “the table they are talking about has broken legs,” according to Iranian state media reports.

Rouhani also says remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry in which he told US lawmakers not to directly threaten Iran means “Iran has been the winner since square one.”

“The US should know that it has no other option but respecting Iran and showing modesty towards the country and saying the right thing,” he says.

Police attacked in East Jerusalem

A Border Police patrol in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya comes under attack from rioters throwing firebombs, according to the police Twitter account.

The attackers scatter after forces use “riot dispersal methods,” according to the police.

No injuries are reported.

Nile party boat crash toll rises to 36

Rescuers have recovered seven more bodies from the Nile after a party boat collided with a cargo ship earlier this week, raising the death toll to 36, Egyptian officials say.

The accident, the deadliest such incident on the Nile in years, occurred late Wednesday when the victims were celebrating an engagement on a vessel that was struck by a cargo ship.

The previous death toll was 29.

The captain of the cargo boat and his assistants were arrested following the accident in the Warraq district north of Cairo. They have been charged with manslaughter.

Rescuers are still searching for more bodies, an official says.


Zarif in Gulf to discuss bilateral ties

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrives in Kuwait where he is beginning a three-nation regional tour aimed at deepening ties with Arab neighbors following the conclusion of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Zarif receives a red-carpet airport greeting from his Kuwaiti counterpart, Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah, before holding talks with the ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah.

At the start of the visit, Zarif called on the Gulf States to work with Iran in fighting extremists in the region.

After Kuwait, Zarif is scheduled to visit Qatar and Iraq. Iranian state-linked media say he will brief officials in all three countries on the nuclear accord and discuss ways to improve cooperation and fight terrorism.

Iran shares control of a vast underwater natural gas field with Qatar, a wealthy nation rapidly being transformed by its hydrocarbon riches.

In Iraq, Tehran has close ties with senior government leaders and Shiite militia groups, and it is playing an active role in fighting Islamic State militants who have seized a third of the country.

— with AP

Yemen rebels turn down ceasefire

The leader of Yemen’s Houthi rebels says they will not respect a ceasefire.

On Saturday a Saudi-led coalition fighting the insurgents declared a five-day truce Saturday so aid can reach a country the UN says is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster.

Announcing the unilateral truce to begin from midnight Sunday, a statement on the official Saudi Press Agency said the coalition also reserved the right to respond to “military activity or movement” by the rebels during the ceasefire.

Coalition airstrikes earlier Saturday hit a residential area in a quiet Red Sea town in Yemen, killing at least 120 people in the deadliest strike against civilians since the March offensive began.

— AFP and AP

Jordan condemns Jewish visits, clashes on Temple Mount

Jordan has condemned Jewish visits to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and a clash between Israeli forces and Muslim rioters earlier Sunday as a “violation.”

Some 1,200 Jewish visitors ascended the Temple Mount on Sunday, in which Jews around the world marked Tisha B’av, a fast and day of mourning that commemorates the destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples.

Israeli forces also clashed with Muslims atop the mount who they said had been stockpiling firecrackers and boards to hurl at Jewish worshipers at the nearby Western Wall.

Police at the entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque on July 26, 2015 after security forces clashed with dozens of masked protesters. (Jerusalem police)

Police at the entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque on July 26, 2015 after security forces clashed with dozens of masked protesters. (Jerusalem police)

“The violation of the sacredness of Haram al Sharif or holy sanctuary, and the assault against its guards and the worshipers are a violation of the feelings of all Arabs and Muslims and are designed to ignite further hostility,” Jordanian minister Mohammad Momani said, according to state-run media.

Momani blamed Israel for the violence and said it should work to prevent other disturbances.

Bomb hits Mogadishu hotel, 6 said killed

A suspected bomb has exploded at a hotel in the center of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, a heavily guarded building housing diplomatic missions frequented by government officials and international workers, an AFP reporter says.

A huge blast shook the area, with a thick plume of smoke rising high into the air. The African Union force, which is fighting the Shebab insurgents, confirms the explosion at the Jazeera Hotel.

At least six people have been killed according to an unconfirmed report by al-Jazeera.

— with AFP

Temple Mount clash ‘dangerous escalation’ — Hamas

Palestinian terror group Hamas calls Jewish visits to the Temple Mount and clashes between Israeli forces and rioters on the holy site “a dangerous escalation.”

Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri threatens that Palestinians “will not stand idly by while the Israeli assaults on sanctities continue,” according to the Hamas website.

Homes in settlement evacuated as fire rages

Parts of the settlement of Alon Moreh in the northern West Bank are being evacuated as a brush fire threatens homes, the Ynet news website reports.

Four firefighting aircraft are being used to fight the blaze.

Three killed in suspected hit-and-run crash

Three men in their 30s have been declared dead after a traffic accident in Israel’s north.

The accident occurred on Route 70 near the town of Tamra.

Police say they suspect the accident may have been a hit and run.

Route 70 closed off after accident

Police say they have closed Route 70 in both directions after the fatal accident near Tamra in the north.

Pictures from the scene show a taxi with its front smashed in and a broken windshield.

Death toll in crash rises to four

The death toll in the crash in northern Israel has been raised to four.

Officials say the crash occurred when a truck collided with two cars.

The driver of the truck left the scene but was caught soon after, according to Channel 2 news.

The reasons for the crash are not yet clear.

The scene of a crash in northern Israel on July 26, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)

The scene of a crash in northern Israel on July 26, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)

Iraqi forces retake university from Islamic State

Iraqi forces have retaken Anbar University, near Ramadi, from the Islamic State group, Iraqi officials say.

Iraqi forces had recaptured parts of Anbar University in May, shortly after losing the provincial capital to the jihadists, but later pulled back.

The university has been retaken by elite forces from Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), known as the “Golden Brigade.”

“The Golden Brigade managed to liberate Anbar University with backing from the army as well as air support from the coalition and Iraqi aircraft,” says Brigadier General Abdelamir al-Khazraji, deputy commander of CTS forces in Anbar.

“Our forces liberated the university early Sunday and now have full control of it, following a week of fierce clashes,” he tells AFP.

“The Iraqi flag is flying above the university presidency once again,” he says.

A statement from CTS announces the Iraqi special forces had “inflicted heavy human and material losses on the enemy.”

— AFP and AP

Two police injured in East Jerusalem clash

Two officers have been injured in a clash with protesters in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah, police say on Twitter.

Masked rioters hurled rocks and firebombs at Border Police in the area, before being dispersed by Israeli security forces.

The incident is the second clash between police and protesters in Isawiyah Sunday.


Ancient fragment of Book of Lamentations put on display

Benjamin Netanyahu examining a 2,000-year-old scroll fragment from the Book of Lamentations. (Kobi Gideon, GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu examining a 2,000-year-old scroll fragment from the Book of Lamentations. (Kobi Gideon, GPO)

A 2,000-year-old scroll of the Book of Lamentations, a biblical tale of sorrow and mourning for Jerusalem traditionally read on Tisha B’Av, has been put in display in the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.

On Sunday, the day Jews mark the loss of the two ancient Holy Temples with fasting and mourning, the scroll was brought to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a private viewing.

The scroll was discovered in Qumran as part of the Dead Sea Scrolls and was written between 30 and 70 CE, making it the oldest remnant of the biblical passage known, according to Israel Antiquities Authority Dead Sea scholar Pnina Shor.

Police said to rule out hit-and-run in crash

Israeli news outlets are now reporting three people were killed in the crash in northern Israel, and not four as was reported earlier.

According to Channel 2 news, police have ruled out that the crash was a hit-and-run after stopping the driver of a truck involved in the accident.

Court orders work to stop on settlement neighborhood

The High Court has issued a temporary stop-work order against a building project in the Dreinoff neighborhood of the settlement of Beit El, following a petition by left-wing human rights group Yesh Din.

The court had earlier ruled that the army must clear out the neighborhood by the end of the month, but instead officials had begun the process of retroactively approving it, according to the Ynet news website.

Firefighters tamp down blazes

Firefighters have gained control over a fire that broke out near the settlement of Elon Moreh, as well as a second fire that broke out in the Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem.

The fire near Elon Moreh caused damage to two mobile homes, according to the NRG news website.


Turkey calls NATO meeting over IS threat

NATO announces that the North Atlantic Council will meet Tuesday for consultations at Turkey’s request.

The alliance said Sunday that Turkey requested the meeting, which includes ambassadors of all 28 member countries, “in view of the seriousness of the situation after the heinous terrorist attacks in recent days.”

It said in a statement that Turkey would also seek to inform allies of the measures it is taking following an IS suicide bombing near Turkey’s border with Syria that left 32 people dead, and an IS attack on Turkish forces, which killed a soldier.

Democratic senator says no Iran deal means war

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia says he is leaning toward supporting the Iranian nuclear deal because the alternative would be war.

Manchin is the latest Democrat to speak favorably of the agreement. Members of his party have started lining up to support the pact as the Obama administration works to sell it to lawmakers. Secretary of State John Kerry argued the case last week on Capitol Hill.

“I’m leaning very strongly towards that because of the options that I have,” Manchin says on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” ”The only other option is go to war, and I’m not ready to send our people into harm’s way again until people in that part of the world want to clean up their own mess.”

Manchin said he has spoken to leaders in four of the five countries that negotiated the Iran nuclear deal, and he said if Congress rejects it, the US will be on its own and faced with going to war against Iran.

“And they all believe that this is a pathway that they should be taking; it’s one they support,” he says. “If we pull out, we pull out by ourselves. So I’m looking at all of the information I have to make a decision by September.”


Cruz on Tisha B’Av: Iran deal threatens Israel’s survival

In a message to Jewish supporters marking the fast of Tisha B’Av, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz compares the Iran nuclear deal to the same threats that destroyed the ancient Jewish temples.

Republican presidential candidate US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition spring leadership meeting at The Venetian Las Vegas on April 25, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP)

Republican presidential candidate US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition spring leadership meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 25, 2015. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP)

“Especially today, with stakes so high, we can never allow there to be a threat to Israel’s destruction,” he says in the statement. “We must furiously fight the Iran deal that puts Israel in jeopardy so that we may never again mourn the destruction of the Jewish State.”

Investment in Arab states shrinking

Foreign direct investment into Arab states dropped 8.0 percent last year with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia attracting close to half the total funds, a report says.

Arab states attracted foreign direct investment, or FDI, worth $43.9 billion in 2014 compared with $47.5 billion the previous year, the Kuwait-based Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corp says in its report.

The figure is still way below the $66.2 billion attracted in 2010 before the start of the Arab Spring uprisings in several countries.

UAE topped the list of countries receiving FDI with $10.1 billion — 23% of the total — followed by Saudi Arabia with $8 billion, or 18.3%. Egypt came third with $4.8 billion.