The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.
Turkey: Normalized ties won’t stop us condemning Israel on Gaza
Turkey’s foreign ministry says the newly restored relations between Jerusalem and Ankara will not stop it from criticizing Israel for its actions in Gaza.
“Normalization of ties with Israel does not compel us to remain silent on the attacks against the Palestinian people in Gaza,” says the ministry, according to the Anatolia news agency.
The statement comes hours after five people are arrested for trying to break into the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, following Israel’s massive bombardment of Gaza in response to a rocket strike.
“We will continue to protect the Palestinians from Israeli actions that violate the law and human conscience,” the statement says.
Turkey vows to fight IS after attack kills 53, many children
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says his country is determined to fight Islamic State group extremists both inside Turkey and in Syria, after a youth blew himself up at a Kurdish wedding party, killing at least 53 people, many of them children.
Cavusoglu adds that Turkey will provide every kind of support that may be necessary to “cleanse” Turkey’s border with Syria of the extremists.
Police bust human trafficking ring, detain 6
Police uncover a human trafficking ring involving forced begging by hearing- and speech-impaired people from Eastern Europe. Six Israelis are taken in for questioning and 10 people are rescued from an apartment in Netanya and taken to a safe house.
The six are suspected of human trafficking, false imprisonment, forced labor, assault, rape, withholding passports and conspiracy to commit a crime. Among the six are three residents of Netanya, a resident of Ashkelon and another who lives in Rishon Lezion.
The police believe the 10 victims came from Eastern Europe on tourist visas that have since expired. They were allegedly forced to beg for money, with the alleged traffickers using violence, blackmail and threats.
The operators of the ring are also suspected of housing the victims in apartments while illegally holding their passports, performing violent crimes against them and taking a significant part of their money. One of the suspects is accused of sexually assaulting one of the victims.
Egyptian court frees Israeli arrested at Taba
An Egyptian court orders the release of an Israeli contractor arrested at the Taba border crossing with dozens of bullets in his possession.
Fuad Kiser, 40, from northern Israel, was arrested 18 days ago by Egyptian border police as he and his family were returning to Israel at the end of a vacation, Ynet reports. His wife and two children were forced to continue into Israel without him.
Kiser denies the ammunition was his and claims someone placed it in his car.
Amal Kiser, Fuad’s wife, contacted Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara upon her return, asking for help in freeing her husband. Two days later, Kara called her to say the Egyptians had accepted Fuad’s version of events and were not going to extend his detention.
IDF video: Even Usain Bolt couldn’t shelter from Gaza rockets in time
A new video from the IDF shows that even multiple gold medal-winning runner Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, would not be able to reach a bomb shelter in time if he were in southern Israel during a rocket strike from Gaza.
The video juxtaposes images of Israelis running for shelter as sirens sound and explosions caused by rocket fire from Gaza, with footage of Bolt winning races.
“During a rocket attack Israelis living near Gaza only have 15 seconds to reach a bomb shelter,” says the text accompanying the footage. “Even the world’s fastest man wouldn’t make it on time.”
The video is released shortly after a rocket strike from Gaza on Sderot, which was met with a massive Israeli aerial response.
Rain delays search for Nazi ‘gold train’ in Poland
Explorers searching for a legendary Nazi “gold train” say rain has delayed digging in southern Poland.
The excavation work, using heavy machinery, began last week in the city of Walbrzych, in southwestern Poland. No train has been detected. Two explorers claim they have located a train in a hidden tunnel there. A local legend says it could be a World War II Nazi treasure train.
The spokesman for the explorers, Andrzej Gaik, tells Polish news agency PAP that more digging was planned no sooner than Wednesday to allow the terrain to dry after heavy rains.
Israel’s tackle football team to compete in Europe
Israel’s national tackle football team will next month head to Italy to compete in the qualifying tournament for the 2018 European Championship.
The Israeli team will play two games against Italy on September 2, while Serbia faces Switzerland at the same time. The tournament winner will then face either Denmark or Sweden next year, and the victor of that game will qualify for the six-team European Championship. Germany, Austria, France and Finland have already qualified.
The Israeli delegation consists of 45 players, as well as 18 coaches, trainers and officials.
Police prepare for Celtic-Hapoel soccer match in Beersheba
Israel Police complete security preparations for tomorrow’s Champions League playoff between Scottish soccer team Celtic and Hapoel Beersheba.
Special police units and Border Police officers will be present around the stadium before and during the game at the Turner stadium in Beersheba.
Thousands of Hapoel fans and some 250 Celtic supporters are expected at the match. Police say they will respond to any incidents involving the displaying of Palestinian flags.
Celtic is under investigation from UEFA after hundreds of Palestinian flags were displayed during the first leg of the qualifiers in Glasgow.
UEFA threatened fines. Police threatened arrests. Celtic fans ignored both and showed solidarity with Palestinians. pic.twitter.com/H4veEmWJ5i
— Liam O'Hare (@Liam_O_Hare) August 18, 2016
Turkey says Syria border region must be ‘cleansed’ of IS
Turkey says the Syrian border region must be “completely cleansed” from the Islamic State group, after a weekend suicide bombing in Gaziantep blamed on the jihadists left at least 54 dead.
In a sign of a key battle to come, Syrian rebel fighters amass on the Turkish side of the border in preparation for an offensive on the town of Jarablus, IS’s last major transit point on the Syrian side of the border.
“Our border must be completely cleansed from Daesh,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says in televised remarks, using an Arabic acronym for IS.
“It is our most natural right to fight at home and abroad against such a terrorist organization.”
A child suicide bomber, aged “between 12 and 14,” is suspected of having carried out the Saturday night in the southeastern city of Gaziantep near the Syrian border on the orders of the IS jihadist group, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Venezuelan Jewry slams anti-Semitic magazine cover
Venezuela’s umbrella Jewish organization slams a local weekly magazine whose recent cover blamed “rabbis”and “Israelites” for an illegal money exchange scheme at a governmental agency.
The Confederation of Jewish Associations of Venezuela, or CAIV, sends a letter to the editor of “Las Verdades de Miguel” (“The Truths of Miguel”) condemning the magazine, which pictured on its cover a caricature of an Orthodox Jew speaking on a cellphone with a Star of David made of dollar bills at the side, says Radio Jai news service.
The headline on the cover of the magazine, released on August 12, reads in Spanish: “Foreign exchange to Israel: The rabbis of CADIVI.” CADIVI is Venezuela’s Foreign Exchange Administration Commission, from which billions in cash may have been swindled in a wide-ranging corruption scheme.
“According to our obligation to combat any anti-Semitic expression, we point out the cover is a replica of anti-Semitic pamphlets and lampoons,” CAIV says in its letter.
“The use of the term ‘Israelite’ referring to the alleged Jewishness of people and companies is simply defamatory and anti-Semitic,” the letter continues. “The misuse of terms associated with the Jewish people such as ‘rabbis,’ ‘Israelites’ and ‘Israel’ has been dangerous and historically tragic and perverse. They reveal an anti-Semitic bias that we should note and denounce without hesitation for they can put at risk the physical integrity of our community’s members.”
Odeh: New poll shows Israeli-Palestinian peace is possible
Joint (Arab) List leader MK Ayman Odeh says a new poll showing a slim majority of Israelis and Palestinians support a two-state solution proves that peace is possible, and slams the Israeli government for what he calls its “objectionist” stance.
“The results of the survey show that although the Israeli government is trying to create total despair regarding the possibility of reaching a political agreement, the majority of Israelis and Palestinians still support a peace deal and a two-state solution,” Odeh says.
“Furthermore, this survey again shatters the notion that there is no [Palestinian] partner, and shows that despite fifty years of brutal occupation, most Palestinians still support a peace agreement with Israel,” he adds.
“The entire world already supports the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, apart from the government of Israel, which will become a pariah in the world as a result of its objectionist positions.”
Russia says all planes have left Iran base
Russia’s ambassador to Tehran Levan Dzhagaryan says all Russian jets have left the base in Iran that they used to carry out airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria.
Russia first announced last week that its planes had flown combat missions from Iran, a move that represented a historic rapprochement between Moscow and Tehran.
The Russian news agency Interfax quotes Dzhagaryan as confirming that all warplanes have been withdrawn. He says, however, that he does “not see any reason” why the Russians can’t use the base again.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry also hints at a Russian return, saying Moscow will stop using the base for the time being.
Voting underway in bitter UK Labour leadership race
Voting begins in the UK to decide if hard-left leader Jeremy Corbyn stays in charge the Labour party, with an ill-tempered campaign deepening divisions that threaten the party’s future.
Ballots and online voting forms are sent to party members, who have until September 21 to decide whether to replace Corbyn with MP Owen Smith, previously little known outside parliament.
Corbyn, 67, is favorite and retains the backing of most trade unions and many grassroots supporters who signed up last year to propel him to a shock leadership election win. But he has failed to win over many of the party’s MPs, 80 percent of whom backed a recent vote of no-confidence in Corbyn. Under Corbyn, the party has also become embroiled in a series of members’ suspensions for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments.
London mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour’s leader in Scotland, Kezia Dugdale, are among those backing Smith over Corbyn.
Aides: Sarkozy to stand in French presidential primary
Aides to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy say he will announce in his new book his intention to stand in the upcoming French presidential primary.
Sarkozy, a member of the right-wing Republican party, became president in 2007 and was beaten by the incumbent Francois Hollande of the Socialist Party in 2012.
The French presidential elections are set to take place in April and May of next year. Hollande is running for his second term.
Trump tells Clintons to shut down their charity
Donald Trump calls on Hillary and Bill Clinton to shut down their charitable foundation “immediately,” calling it “the most corrupt enterprise in political history.”
The foundation “must be shut down immediately,” he says.
The Clinton campaign has defended the foundation’s work, insisting it is saving lives around the globe through vaccine work. Trump donated to the foundation himself in the past.
The foundation said recently that it would not accept donations from foreign contributors if Hillary Clinton were elected president.
Unidentified powder found near Jerusalem undergoing tests
The Ministry for Environmental Protection is investigating the appearance of an unidentified powder in the Jerusalem suburb of Mevasseret Zion.
Small amounts of the power were found at various locations around the area, the Hebrew-language media says. Samples are currently undergoing lab tests for identification purposes before any further course of action is decided upon. The results are expected in the coming days.
Woman attacks 3 with machete in Brussels, is shot by police
Police shoot and wound a woman in Brussels after she attacks three people with a machete at a bus stop.
All three are wounded in the attack, one lightly and the others more more seriously, according to Belgian website RTBF.
The report says the attacker is suffering from a psychological disorder and has been arrested.
— Geoffrey Hulsens (@GHulsens) August 22, 2016
Hamas: We won’t let anyone disrupt the calm in Gaza
Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri says Hamas is not interested in an escalation with Israel in the south, and will not tolerate independent actions from within the coastal enclave it controls.
“We will not let anyone disrupt the calm and act on his own initiative,” Zuhri says, according to Israel Radio. He says that Israel would be accountable for any escalation.
The radio also quotes an unnamed Hamas source as saying that Israel passed a message to the terror group via a third party, warning it will not show restraint in the face of yesterday’s rocket fire from Gaza. But, the source said, Israel also appears reluctant to see an escalation following a rocket strike on Sderot and the subsequent Israeli response.
Ryan Lochte loses Speedo sponsorship over fabricated robbery
US swimmer Ryan Lochte loses his first major sponsor when Speedo USA announces it is dumping him over a drunken incident during the Rio Olympics that he initially described as an armed robbery. He has since apologized for embellishing his version of events.
In a brief statement, Speedo USA says it would donate $50,000 of Lochte’s fee to Save The Children to benefit needy youngsters in Brazil.
“While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for,” the swimsuit giant says. “We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience.”
Hungarian honorees return award given to ‘racist’ journalist
Several dozen recipients of a Hungarian state honor return their awards to protest a decision to bestow it on a prominent journalist accused of racism.
Zsolt Bayer is one of several Hungarian citizens handed an Order of Merit of the Knight’s Cross by President Janos Ader in a ceremony in Budapest on Saturday. But by this evening, 40 previous recipients of the decoration — including scientists, artists, and academics — had posted messages on social media saying they were returning their own awards in protest.
The head of Hungary’s largest Jewish organization Maszihisz, Andras Heisler, says he is also handing back his award as he does not want to belong to the same “group of people” as Bayer.
The journalist “is a racist, an anti-Semite, who pollutes Hungary with his incandescent Gypsy-hatred and nation-destroying ideas,” Heisler writes in a Facebook message.
Bayer, who is close to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, is a founder of a civil group that organizes massive pro-government street demonstrations. He also writes an occasional column in the right-wing Magyar Hirlap daily.
He has in the past compared the Roma people, Hungary’s 600,000- to 700,000-strong largest minority group, to “animals,” and written remarks seen as anti-Semitic.
Police: We’ll seize Palestinian flags at Celtic-Hapoel match
The police say they will seize any Palestinian flags waved by Celtic fans at the Scottish club’s decisive Champions League play-off in Israel against Hapoel Beersheba tomorrow.
Any flags seen at the second leg game in the southern city will be “confiscated immediately,” says police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
“Police units will respond in order to ensure that the game will be a professional game and not a political one,” he says.
He does not specifically mention Palestinian flags, but dozens of Celtic fans waved them during last week’s first leg play-off in Glasgow against.
Celtic now faces disciplinary proceedings by European football’s governing body UEFA.
UEFA says the flag display constituted an “illicit banner,” under a rule which bans “messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature.”
Anthony Weiner says NY Post set him up for new sex scandal
Disgraced former New York congressman Anthony Weiner says the New York Post set him up for another online sex scandal.
The Jewish former pol tells a radio show in Miami that he was a “target” of the newspaper after his admitted suggestive online messaging to someone he thought was a female college student was first reported by the Post more than a week ago.
Weiner had told the student, who turned out to be a young man posing as a woman named “Nikki” by using a friend’s Twitter account, that he was “deceptively strong … like a mongoose” as he boasted of what the newspaper called his “animal prowess.”
The text conversation between the two went on for days, ending with Weiner giving out his cellphone number in an attempt to meet up, according to the Post.
After the messaging was revealed, Weiner told the Post, “I can confirm that I am indeed deceptively strong like a mongoose,” and added his messages were just a “playful joust with an obvious catfish.”
A catfish is one who attempts to trap a public figure into a flirtatious online chat in order to ruin his or her reputation.
Israel hits back at Turkey over Gaza: We will defend ourselves
Israel rejects criticism from Turkey about its heavy response to yesterday’s rocket fire from Gaza, saying newly restored ties with Ankara were not a consideration in its reaction and vowing to protect its population.
“The normalization of our relations with Turkey does not mean that we will remain silent in the face of its baseless condemnations,” says a statement from the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.
“Israel will continue to defend its civilians from all rocket fire on our territory, in accordance with international law and our conscience,” statement said, echoing the language used earlier today in a condemnation from Ankara.
“Turkey should think twice before criticizing the military actions of others,” the statement continues.
Iraqi police foil suicide bombing by teenage boy
Iraqi police say a juvenile would-be suicide bomber was apprehended in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk before he was able to detonate his explosive belt.
Local television footage aired on Kurdistan 24 TV shows a group of police officers holding the young boy while two men are seen cutting off a belt of explosives. After they remove the belt, the boy is seen being rushed into a police truck and driven away.
The would-be boy bomber in Kirkuk was apprehended last night, less than an hour after a suicide bomb attack on a Shiite mosque in the city, Kirkuk police department spokesman Col. Avrasiya Kamil Wais says.
“The boy claimed during interrogation that he had been kidnapped by masked men who put the explosives on him and sent him to the area,” says Kirkuk intelligence official Brig. Chato Fadhil Humadi.
According to Humadi, the boy was displaced from the Islamic State-held city of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, by recent military operations in the area. He arrived in Kirkuk a week ago, Humadi says. The boy’s name is known to the police.
The equation has changed on Gaza, Israel warns Hamas
Israel sends Hamas a strong message regarding its response to any rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, saying: “The equation has changed.”
“The IDF’s equation for its responses on Gaza has changed — and everyone has to get used to this change,” a senior defense source says, according to Channel 2 television.
“[Rocket] fire into Israeli territory will be met with a particularly harsh and powerful response,” the defense official adds, a day after Israel launched dozens of airstrikes in Gaza in response to rocket fire on the southern city of Sderot.
Turkish PM: ‘No clue’ who bombed Gaziantep wedding
Turkey has “no clue” about who was behind the attack on a Kurdish wedding in a city close to the Syrian border that left 54 people dead, the prime minister says, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had claimed the suicide bomber was a child aged between 12-14 acting on orders of Islamic State.
“We do not have a clue about who the perpetrators behind the attack were. Early information on who did the attack, in what organization’s name, is unfortunately not right,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim tells reporters in Ankara.
Stray mortar from Syria hits Golan minefield
A mortar strikes a minefield on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, causing no damage or injuries.
The explosion was likely caused by a stray shell fired as part of the conflict in Syria, Channel 2 says.
The IDF says the shell struck the central Golan Heights, close to the security fence with Syria.
In response, the IAF targets a Syrian army launcher on the Syrian side of the Golan.
Foreign Press Association ‘concerned’ by Hamas restrictions in Gaza
The Foreign Press Association expresses concern over Hamas restrictions on journalists working in the Gaza Strip.
In a statement published on its website, the FPA says it has had several complaints about “intrusive questioning” undergone by journalists trying to enter Gaza or while applying for residency permits.
“We urge [Hamas] to uphold their stated commitment to allowing the foreign press to work freely in Gaza, where until recently reporters were allowed to work with relatively few restrictions,” the statement says.
It ends with a reminder for journalists “to exercise caution when working in Gaza because of the volatile security environment there.”
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