Netanyahu: Same radical Islam behind Israel, Paris attacks
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Netanyahu: Same radical Islam behind Israel, Paris attacks

3 killed in Etzion Bloc shooting and at least six wounded; earlier, Palestinian man stabs 2 people to death in Tel Aviv

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

  • Security officers stand next to a car used in a shooting attack in the West Bank on Thursday, November 19, 2015 (Gush Etzion municipality)
    Security officers stand next to a car used in a shooting attack in the West Bank on Thursday, November 19, 2015 (Gush Etzion municipality)
  • Police at the scene of a shooting attack in the Etzion bloc in the West Bank on November 19, 2015 (Etzion Regional Council)
    Police at the scene of a shooting attack in the Etzion bloc in the West Bank on November 19, 2015 (Etzion Regional Council)
  • Police at the scene of a shooting attack near the Gush Etzion junction on Thursday, November 19, 2015 (Gush Etzion municipality)
    Police at the scene of a shooting attack near the Gush Etzion junction on Thursday, November 19, 2015 (Gush Etzion municipality)
  • The scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on November 19, 2015. (Judah Ari Gross/ Times of Israel)
    The scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on November 19, 2015. (Judah Ari Gross/ Times of Israel)
  • The scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on November 19, 2015. (Judah Ari Gross/ Times of Israel)
    The scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on November 19, 2015. (Judah Ari Gross/ Times of Israel)
  • The scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on November 19, 2015. (Screen capture: Channel 2)
    The scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on November 19, 2015. (Screen capture: Channel 2)
  • Members of the independent emergency service ZAKA cleaning blood at the scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on November 19, 2015. (Judah Ari Gross/ Times of Israel)
    Members of the independent emergency service ZAKA cleaning blood at the scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on November 19, 2015. (Judah Ari Gross/ Times of Israel)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s developments as they unfolded.

12 indicted for hurling stones, Molotov cocktails

The Central District Prosecution files indictments with the Lod District Court against twelve people ranging from the age of 15 to 20 on suspicion that they manufactured weapons and hurled Molotov cocktails and stones at drivers on Route 6 several weeks ago.

The Shin Bet security service says the young men, from the Arab Israeli towns of Bir Alascha and Baqa al-Gharbiyye, carried out two Molotov cocktail attacks.

Teenager caught with knife at Hebron checkpoint

A 16-year-old Palestinian is caught with a knife concealed in his clothes at a checkpoint near the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The teenager was taken in for questioning at a nearby security facility.

France says it has destroyed 35 IS targets

The French military says it destroyed 35 Islamic State targets in Syria since last week’s attacks on Paris.

Military spokesman Col. Gilles Jaron says that French planes dropped about 60 bombs on six sites, and all the targets were Islamic State command centers or training sites.

He tells reporters the strikes were aimed at weakening and disorganizing IS.

France, taking part in the US-led coalition against Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq, sharply increased its airstrikes in Syria after Friday’s attacks, which killed at least 129.

The Charles de Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier left Wednesday for the eastern Mediterranean, tripling France’s airborne forces in the fight against Islamic State.

— AP

Belgium vows extremism crackdown

Belgium’s prime minister calls for changes to the country’s constitution to combat extremists, and promises hundreds of millions of euros to boost the security forces.

Addressing the federal parliament as security forces were conducting raids around the capital Brussels, Charles Michel pledges to use changes to the constitution to extend preventive detention times for suspects from 24 hours to 72 hours.

He also affirms that Belgium would move forward alone on a system of airline passenger information sharing that European Union nations have been incapable of agreeing in four years.

“The risk before us is the collapse of the entire European project if we don’t take our responsibilities,” he tells the lawmakers.

“All democratic forces have to work together to strengthen our security,” he says .

Military police soldiers patrol the Brussels Airport on November 18, 2015 in Zaventem, eastern Brussels following a series of coordinated attacks by Islamic State jihadists in Paris on November 13 that killed at least 129 people. (AFP PHOTO / BELGA / DIRK WAEM / AFP / BELGA / DIRK WAEM)

Military police soldiers patrol the Brussels Airport on November 18, 2015 in Zaventem, eastern Brussels following a series of coordinated attacks by Islamic State jihadists in Paris on November 13 that killed at least 129 people. (AFP PHOTO / BELGA / DIRK WAEM / AFP / BELGA / DIRK WAEM)

Michel says 400 million euros ($427 million) would be earmarked to boost the security forces, and said special attention would be paid to eradicating messages of hate inspiring young people to fight in places like Syria and Iraq, or back at home later in Europe.

“For jihadis who return, their place is in prison,” says Michel.

— AP

2 people stabbed in Tel Aviv

Two people are stabbed on a bus near Tel Aviv’s Ben Zvi street.

Police are investigating the incident and security forces are on their way to the scene.

2 critically wounded in Tel Aviv stabbing

The two people who were stabbed on Tel Aviv’s Ben Zvi street are reported to be in critical condition.

Initial reports suggest the stabbing was a terrorist attack carried out by two people.

Several other people are reported wounded as well, but their conditions are not yet known.

One of TA stabbers arrested by police

One of the attackers in the stabbing in southern Tel Aviv is caught and arrested by police, Israel Radio reports.

One killed, another critically wounded in Tel Aviv stabbing

One of the people who was stabbed in an attack in south Tel Aviv is pronounced dead after succumbing to wounds sustained.

A second person is severely wounded.

One attacker is caught by police.

More details to come.

Police searching Tel Aviv for second stabber

Police are searching for a second stabber in Tel Aviv’s attack, Israel Radio reports.

One attacker was caught following the stabbing.

Ben Zvi street blocked off following stabbing

Ben Zvi street is blocked off following the stabbing attack in Tel Aviv. Dozens of police officers rush to the area.

The Panorama office building, where the attack occurred, is evacuated. The attack took place at a synagogue at the site, eyewitnesses say.

One person has been reported killed in the attack. Three people are reported wounded — two are in moderate to severe condition, and one is lightly
injured.

One attacker is in police custody, while security forces are reportedly searching for a second possible suspect.

Mastermind of Paris attacks said killed in yesterday’s police raid

The body of the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, has been identified among those killed in a police raid in a Paris suburb on Wednesday, the Paris prosecutor says.

“Abdel Hamid Abaaoud has just been formally identified, after comparing fingerprints, as having been killed during the (police) raid,” the prosecutor says in a statement.

This undated image taken from a jihadist website on Monday Nov. 16, 2015 shows Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of the Paris terror attacks on November 13. (Jihadist video via AP)

This undated image taken from a jihadist website on Monday Nov. 16, 2015 shows Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of the Paris terror attacks on November 13. (Jihadist video via AP)

Abaaoud, 28, is accused of orchestrating Friday’s bombings and shootings.

“It was the body we had discovered in the building, riddled with bullets.”

No indications of second attacker

Police say there is no indication that a second attacker is on the loose in Tel Aviv, Israel Radio reports.

One suspected stabber, a 24-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank village of Dura, was arrested by police earlier.

Second person pronounced dead in TA stabbing

A second man dies of his wounds after being stabbed in Tel Aviv’s Ben Tzvi street. The man was rushed in serious condition to the nearby Ichilov hospital for emergency treatment, but medical teams were unable to stabilize him, a police spokeswoman says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Hamas ‘welcomes’ stabbing attack in Tel Aviv

Hamas says it “welcomes” the stabbing attack that occurred in Tel Aviv which killed two people.

“We welcome the heroic operation in Tel Aviv that killed two people,” a tweet on the Gaza-based group’s official account reads, according to the Walla news site.

“We call on the Palestinians to continue such activities.”

Police say suspected attacker is 39-year-old Palestinian

Police say the suspected attacker in today’s Tel Aviv stabbing is a 39-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank village of Dura, near Hebron.

The man does not have a criminal record, police say.

Police questioning Palestinian workers in Tel Aviv

Police are questioning Palestinian workers at a Tel Aviv restaurant where the suspected assailant in today’s stabbing attack had been employed.

The suspected attacker, a 36-year-old from the West Bank village of Dura, near Hebron, worked at the Samarkand restaurant, near Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium.

— Judah Ari Gross

Condition of man wounded in stabbing improves

The condition of a man stabbed in Tel Aviv’s suspected attack stabilizes, doctors say.

Suspected stabber had Israeli working permit

The stabbing attack outside of a makeshift prayer room in a Tel Aviv office building, which comes almost exactly a year after a massacre at a synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof, is suspected to have been carried out by a Palestinian with an Israeli residence permit who had been employed at a restaurant in the area.

The suspected assailant, a 36-year-old father of five from the West Bank village of Dura, near Hebron, has no previous criminal or security record, Hebrew media reports. The man, who worked at the Samarkand restaurant in southern Tel Aviv, was subdued by a civilian following the attack, and was later arrested by police.

Two Israelis were killed and at least two others wounded in the stabbing next to the parking lot of the Panorama office building, as afternoon prayers were taking place, according to reports from the scene.

One victim was declared dead at the scene and a second died after being rushed to a hospital with serious injuries.

One more person suffered moderate injuries but was in stable condition, according to officials.

The Palestinian Hamas group said it welcomed the attack. “We welcome the heroic operation in Tel Aviv that killed two people,” read a tweet on the Gaza-based group’s official account read. “We call on the Palestinians to continue such activities.”

Eyewitness accounts of Tel Aviv stabbing attack

Shimon Vaknin went to attend an afternoon prayer gathering along with 20-30 other people when the services were interrupted as one of the victims staggered into the room seeking help and collapsed.

“We were praying the Mincha [afternoon] services,” he recalled. “In the middle of the prayers suddenly we saw a man fall down wounded at the entrance to the synagogue and behind him a man with a knife who was trying to get inside.

“Someone shouted ‘there is a terrorist!’.”

As some of the worshipers tried to assist the injured man the rest quickly closed the doors to the room, he said.

“We managed to close the doors and he tried to force them open. If he would have managed to get inside he would have slaughtered the worshipers. We used all of our strength to not let him inside and then he went on to the nearby shops to try and hurt someone there.”

The men inside armed themselves with bars and went out looking for the stabber and as they emerged they saw another man on the floor also badly injured.

The Panorama office building in Tel Aviv. (Screen capture: Google Street View)

The Panorama office building in Tel Aviv. (Screen capture: Google Street View)

“It was a big miracle; it is a terrible disaster but it could have been much worse.”

Yisrael Bahar, who works in a shop close to the building heard the commotion outside and ran to investigate.

The scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on November 19, 2015. (Judah Ari Gross/ Times of Israel)

The scene of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv on November 19, 2015. (Judah Ari Gross/ Times of Israel)

“We heard screams. I saw someone on the floor as the terrorist stabbed him. I had a bar in my and I threw it at him. The terrorist started to run after me, I ran back to the place where I work and I closed the doors. The terrorist realized that he can’t get in and went downstairs. Afterwards we ran to the wounded man and attended to him. He died in my arms.”

Another eyewitness, identified by the Hebrew-language NRG website only as Paz, was in the building during the attack.

“We were upstairs in a clothes shop. We saw people covered in blood. One of them had been stabbed in the throat. The police caught the terrorist. The person who was murdered was going to prayers and was stabbed in the neck.”

Double shooting attack reported in West Bank’s Etzion Bloc

A double shooting attack is reported near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Gvaot, in the Etzion Bloc.

Six people are initially reported injured — one in severe condition, according to Channel 2.

The shooter may have been killed, Channel 2 reports.

One reported killed in Etzion Bloc shooting

One person is killed and ten people are reported injured in a shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut, in the Etzion Bloc.

One person is in critical condition, while several of the wounded individuals are reported to be foreign nationals who were apparently touring the area.

According to initial reports, a single suspected assailant opened fire from inside his vehicle at an Israeli car, wounding at least 10 people.

The suspected assailant then crashed his car into oncoming traffic, and attempted to shoot at other Israelis in the area.

At that point, Israeli security personnel apparently shot back at the suspect, critically wounding him.

More details to follow.

18-year-old Israeli killed in Etzion shooting

An 18-year-old Israeli citizen is killed in the Etzion Bloc shooting. A 50-year-old man is rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition.

At least six more people are wounded.

Two assailants are suspected to have carried out the attack.

3 killed in Etzion Bloc drive-by shooting

A total of three people are reported killed in the drive-by shooting near the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut, in the Etzion Bloc.

One of those killed is an 18-year-old Israeli, another is reported to be a US national, and the third is a Palestinian man.

Pictures from the scene of a shooting attack in the Etzion bloc in the West Bank on November 19, 2015. (Magen David Adom)

Pictures from the scene of a shooting attack in the Etzion bloc in the West Bank on November 19, 2015. (Magen David Adom)

A 50-year-old man is in critical condition at the Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem. At least five more people are wounded in the attack.

Two suspects are subdued by security forces and detained by police.

IDF raids West Bank home of suspected TA stabber

Army forces raid the home of 36-year-old Raed al-Masalame in the West Bank Palestinian village of Dura near Hebron.

Masalame, a father of five, is suspected of carrying out a deadly stabbing attack in Tel Aviv which killed two people and injured one more.

Hopes for Syria peace dim after Assad, Obama remarks

Hopes for a quick political transition in war-ravaged Syria dim as embattled President Bashar Assad threw cold water on an ambitious timetable agreed at international talks in Vienna.

At the same time, the US holds firm to its calls for Assad’s departure, with President Barack Obama insisting that the war could not end unless the Syrian leader steps down.

“I do not foresee a situation in which we can end the civil war in Syria while Assad remains in power,” Obama says on the sidelines of a trade summit in Manila.

Top diplomats from 17 countries met in Vienna Saturday to discuss a way out of Syria’s nearly five-year conflict, which has left more than a quarter of a million people dead.

They produced a two-year timetable: a transitional government would be formed and a new constitution written within six months, to be followed by internationally monitored elections within 18 months after that.

— AFP

Paris mastermind tried to recruit women in Spain

Spain’s interior minister says Abdel Hamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of the Paris attacks, used Internet social networks to try to recruit women from Spain to join the Islamic State group.

Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz, speaking on Spain’s Antena 3 television, says Abaaoud “had tried to recruit through social networks Spanish people, especially women, to join and travel to fight” for IS in combat zones.

He says this matched the extremists’ campaign to recruit women to “repopulate” its self-declared caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.

Diaz said Spanish intelligence services had no information indicating the Belgian extremist had tried to recruit people to carry out attacks in Spain. French officials say Abaaoud died during the police raids Wednesday on an apartment in Paris.

— AP

Highest death toll in single day since round of violence began

Today’s two suspected terrorist acts resulted in five individuals killed, the highest death toll from alleged Palestinian attacks in a single day since the current round of violence began.

Three people were killed in a shooting near the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut. Earlier, two people were killed in a Tel Aviv stabbing.

No Birthright participants among those killed in shooting

An earlier report indicating that one of the individuals killed in a suspected shooting attack near Alon Shvut was a Birthright participant is untrue.

There are currently no Birthright trips taking place in Israel.

One TA stabbing victim named as Aharon Yesiab

Aharon Yesiab, a rabbi from Tel Aviv, is named as the first victim of a stabbing in the city earlier today.

Yesiab worked at the Panorama building, where the suspected terrorist attack occurred, and was stabbed when he exited a prayer service at the site.

A second man whose name was not yet cleared for publication was killed in the stabbing as well.

Netanyahu: Same radical Islam behind Israel, Paris attacks

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says in a post to his Facebook page that radical Islam extremism is the common link connecting Thursday’s attack to the terror attacks in Paris last week.

“The murderous terror has struck Gush Etzion and Tel Aviv,” he writes. “My heart is with the families of the murdered and I send my wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded. Behind these terrorist attacks stands radical Islam, which seeks to destroy us, the same radical Islam that struck in Paris and threatens all of Europe. Whoever condemned the attacks in France needs to condemn the attacks in Israel. It’s the same terror. Whoever does not do this is a hypocrite and blind.

“There is no immunity for terrorists: We will hold them to account, we will exact a price from their families, we will destroy their homes, and we will cancel their citizenship. This campaign didn’t start yesterday, and won’t end tomorrow. We have been wrestling with terror for 100 year already and the fight will continue with determination.”

4 Palestinians indicted over Henkin couple’s murder

Four Palestinians are indicted at the Samaria Military Court for the murderer of Eitam and Naama Henkin, residents of the West Bank settlement of Neria, on October 1.

According to the indictment, Yehia Haj Hamad, Ziad Amr, Karem Rezek and Samir Mussa, also revealed that they had originally planned to kidnap the couple.

Two of the Palestinian terrorists fired multiple shots at the Henkins in their car, killing Eitam and Naama. Their four young sons, including a four-month-old infant, were in the backseat of the car during the shooting but were unharmed.

Second TA stabbing victim named as Aviram Reuven

Aviram Reuven, 51, is the second victim of a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv to be named.

Earlier, Aharon Yesiab, a rabbi from Tel Aviv, was named as a victim of the attack in the city.

Yesiab worked at the Panorama building, where the suspected terrorist attack occurred, and was stabbed when he exited a prayer service at the site.

A second man whose name was not yet cleared for publication was killed in the stabbing as well.

Stones hurled at vehicle near Hebron

Palestinians hurl stones at a vehicle on the West Bank’s Route 60 between the Etzion Bloc and Hebron, near the village of Beit Ummar.

No injuries are reported, but some damage is caused to the vehicle.

Palestinian media names suspected Etzion Bloc shooter

Palestinian media reports that 24-year-old Mohammed Abdel Basset al-Kharoub, from the West Bank village of Dir Smat near Hebron, carried out a suspected shooting attack near the Etzion Bloc earlier today.

EU meeting to focus on anti-terror measures

France and Belgium will urge their European partners to tighten gun laws, toughen border security, and choke off funds to extremist groups after at least 129 people were killed in attacks in Paris.

But at an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels, European Union interior and justice ministers will not agree on any new measures that could be immediately introduced to restore calm among countries rattled by the strikes in the French capital.

Indeed, documents prepared for their talks show the ministers will merely try to push forward on priorities already identified, but not acted on, following deadly attacks in Paris in January.

The measures include better airline passenger name records and stepping up intelligence sharing.

— AP

Palestinian stabs IDF soldier in north West Bank

An IDF soldier is lightly wounded in a stabbing attack by a Palestinian at the northern West Bank checkpoint of Reihan.

The Palestinian pulled a knife on the solider after he was requested to step aside when he aroused the IDF serviceman’s suspicion.

The attacker was subdued, Channel 2 reports.

Clinton: US must push Arab leaders to confront Islamic State

Hillary Rodham Clinton says America must lead the effort to fight the Islamic State, but calls on Arab nations to increase their involvement in the wake of deadly attacks in Paris.

In a sweeping address in New York, the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination lays out her vision for how to heighten pressure on the Islamic State and combat terrorism at home. Clinton vows to keep American troops out of Syria. And she says the US must accept refugees from the war-torn region even as the nation toughens its defenses and increases intelligence capabilities.

Americans, Clinton adds, must overcome partisan battles and rise above personal fear to combat the threat of jihadism across the globe.

“Islam is not our adversary,” she says, arguing that demonizing the religion, “gives these criminals, these murderers, more standing than they deserve.”

— AP

Yaakov Don named as victim in Etzion Bloc shooting

Yaakov Don, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut, is named as a victim in a shooting near his hometown.

A Palestinian man and a US national studying at a yeshiva in Beit Shemesh were killed in the suspected attack as well.

IDF says north West Bank incident was not stabbing attack

A Palestinian that had been arrested by the IDF in the northern West Bank was cut by cable tie that the soldiers had placed on him when he attempted to release himself.

Earlier reports indicated that the Palestinian stabbed a soldier, but those reports are untrue, the IDF says.

President Rivlin comments on day’s terror attacks

President Reuven Rivlin’s comments on today’s suspected terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv and Etzion Bloc.

“Our hearts are pained and broken. The pain is the same pain. The mourning is the same mourning in Tel Aviv, in Paris, in Gush Etzion, and in the Sinai. The pornography of death is striking across the world,” he says in a statement.

“Fundamentalist Islamism is a danger to all free nations everywhere, and we must fight against it unequivocally. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and the injured at this terrible time.”

Ya’alon comments on terror attacks

“Terror is terror everywhere, if it happens on the streets of Israel, in a concert venue in Paris or in any other place where radical Islam infiltrates in order to harm normal daily life. This is a fight the West cannot compromise on,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon says in a statement in response to the day’s terror attacks.

“Security forces are working day and night in order to foil terror networks and arrest the attackers and those who send them, and in the vast majority of cases, they prevent attacks against Israeli citizens. Unfortunately, incited individuals do succeed in hurting us,” he says.

“I wish to express my sympathies to the families of the murdered in the attacks today and wish a speedy recovery to the injured,” Ya’alon adds.

PM holds urgent security meeting

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds an emergency security consultation with military officials, as well as police and Shin Bet representatives, following the terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv and the West Bank’s Etzion Bloc today.

Kuwaiti cell that sold IS weapons uncovered

Kuwaiti authorities uncovered an Islamist network that supplied rockets, weapons and funds to the Islamic State, the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry says.

The group includes a Lebanese man, a Syrian, a Kuwaiti national and two Australians.

House votes to curb Syrian refugees, snubs Obama veto threat

In a stinging rebuke to President Barack Obama by Republicans as well as members of his own party, the House ignores a veto threat and overwhelmingly approves Republican legislation erecting fresh hurdles for Syrian and Iraqi refugees trying to enter the United States.

Dozens of Democrats join Republicans as the House passed the measure 289-137. That margin exceeded the two-thirds majority required to override a veto, and it came despite a rushed, early morning visit to the Capitol by top administration officials in a futile attempt to limit Democratic defections for the measure.

Thursday’s vote came six days after a burst of bombings and shootings in Paris killed 129 people, wounded many more and revived post-9/11 jitters in the US and Europe. The attacks have turned the question of admitting people fleeing war-torn Syria and Iraq into a high-stakes political issue in both the United States and Europe, and many congressional Democrats were willing to vote against their party’s lame duck president for fear of angering voters nervous about security at home.

— AP

Palestinian injured in clashes with IDF dies of wounds

A Palestinian who was injured in clashes with Israeli security forces near the Beit El checkpoint in the West Bank several days ago dies of his wounds.

The Palestinian is Mahmoud Alyan, a 22 year-old from the village of Anata near Jerusalem.

US yeshiva student killed in Etzion shooting named

Ezra Schwartz, an American student at the Ashreinu Yeshiva in Beit Shemesh originally from Massachusetts, is named as a victim of a shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut, in the Etzion Bloc.

Along with a group of his friends, Schwartz, 18, was on his way to deliver food and candy to IDF soldiers in the area when he was shot.

Ezra Schwartz, 18, an American yeshiva student killed in a terrorist shooting near the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut, November 19, 2015 (Facebook screen cap)

Ezra Schwartz, 18, an American yeshiva student killed in a terrorist shooting near the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut, November 19, 2015 (Facebook screen cap)

Several of Schwartz’s friends are hospitalized in the Shaare Tzedek hospital with light wounds.

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