The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they unfolded.
One person was shot and killed at a Miami-Dade Jewish center in what police and the center said appeared to be an act of “domestic violence.”
The suspect is in custody, says Alvaro Zabaleta, a spokesperson for the Miami-Dade police, identifying the victim as the suspect’s wife.
“Earlier today, there was a shooting at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center with one fatality,” the JCC says in a statement.
“Miami-Dade Police have confirmed it is being investigated as a domestic issue. The suspected gunman has been arrested, and police have indicated there is no known threat to the Jewish community.”
Sacramento’s police chief says there were multiple shooters in the mass shooting that killed six people and injured 12.
Police Chief Kathy Lester also tells reporters Sunday that three of the victims who died were women and three were men. She said all were adults.
The shots were fired early Sunday morning as people filed out of bars and nightclubs. A video posted to Twitter showed people running through the street amid the sounds of rapid gunfire.
Serbia’s leader Aleksandar Vucic claims a landslide victory in general elections paving the way for another term as president and extending his decade-long rule in the Balkan nation.
“I have won 2,245,000 votes in the first round,” Vucic announces during a televised victory speech, saying he secured roughly 60 percent of the vote.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban declares victory in Hungary’s national elections, claiming a mandate for a fourth term as a partial vote count predicted a strong lead for his right-wing party.
In a 10-minute speech to Fidesz party officials and supporters at an election night event in Budapest, Orban addresses a crowd cheering “Viktor!” and declares it was a “huge victory” for his party.
“We won a victory so big that you can see it from the moon, and you can certainly see it from Brussels,” says Orban, who has often been condemned by the European Union for democratic backsliding and alleged corruption.
“The whole world has seen tonight in Budapest that Christian democratic politics, conservative civic politics and patriotic politics have won. We are telling Europe that this is not the past, this is the future,” Orban says.
While votes were still being tallied, it appeared clear that the question was not whether Orban’s Fidesz party would take the election, but by how much.
Ukraine’s prosecutor-general says the bodies of 410 civilians have been removed from Kyiv-area towns that were recently retaken from Russian troops.
Iryna Venediktova says on Facebook that the bodies were recovered Friday, Saturday and Sunday. She says 140 of them have undergone examination by prosecutors and other specialists.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says the mayor of the village of Motyzhyn in the Kyiv region was murdered while being held by Russian forces. Vereshchuk adds that there are 11 mayors and community heads in Russian captivity across Ukraine.
In a video address Sunday, Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounces the allegedly targeted killings of civilians in towns that the Russians occupied, calling the killers “freaks who do not know how to do otherwise.” He warns that more atrocities may be revealed if Russian forces are driven out of other occupied areas.
International leaders have condemned the reported attacks in the Kyiv-area towns after harrowing accounts from civilians and graphic images of bodies with hands tied behind their backs.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has rejected the claims of atrocities against civilians in Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv.
The party of nationalist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has taken the lead in partial results from the country’s general election, the national election office says.
With 63 percent of the votes counted, Orban’s Fidesz party had gained 55.16% of the vote versus 33.09% for the six-party opposition coalition in the national party list vote which determines 93 seats out of the 199-seat chamber.
Fidesz also enjoys a clear lead in the results for individual constituencies, which determine the rest of the seats.
Police say undercover officers from the Yamam counterterrorism unit arrested a Palestinian man suspected of planning a terror attack on the Route 6 highway near the Nahshonim Junction.
The suspect was illegally in Israel, police say. He has been taken for further questioning by the Shin Bet security agency.
The highway was briefly closed during the arrest operation.
It is not immediately clear what kind of attack the suspect was planning, or where.
*דוברות המשטרה (מג"ב):*
לוחמי הימ"מ ושב"כ פעלו לפני זמן קצר עפ"י מידע שהתקבל מהשב"כ בכביש 6 סמוך לצומת נחשונים ועצרו חשוד בכוונות לביצוע פעילות טרור.
החשוד, שוהה בלתי חוקי הועבר לחקירה בשירות הביטחון הכללי.
הכביש שנסגר בעקבות המעצר נפתח לתנועה. pic.twitter.com/NYR9qdrQ4T
— Or Heller אור הלר (@OrHeller) April 3, 2022
The Foreign Ministry is distancing itself from the condemnation by Israel’s ambassador in Ukraine of the alleged killing of Ukrainian civilians by Russian forces as a war crime.
Asked if that is the ministry’s official position, a spokesman tells Haaretz, “No. It’s a tweet by the ambassador regarding the photos. He didn’t blame Russia.”
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi told commanders today that the military is gearing up to be on heightened alert for a month or more, following several recent attacks and the start of Ramadan, Channel 13 news reports.
The network says Kohavi made the remarks in Tel Aviv, where he was visiting soldiers sent to to reinforce police.
According to the report, Kohavi told the commanders they should be ready for a second “Operation Guardian of the Walls,” referring to the fighting last year between Israel and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, and accompanying violence in ethnically mixed Israeli cities.
He also reportedly said that Palestinian Islamic Jihad could fire rockets from Gaza, after three of the terror group’s operatives were killed in a shootout with security forces in the West Bank, while allegedly headed to carry out an attack.
הרמטכל אביב כוכבי בסיור כעת אצל חיילי צהל בחוף הים ליד בניין האופרה בתל אביב pic.twitter.com/ETYeUtOO6L
— Or Heller אור הלר (@OrHeller) April 3, 2022
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry condemns “the Israeli escalation in the Palestinian territories in recent days,” especially recent visits by Jews to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site. Muslims revere the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located at the compound, as the third-holiest site in their tradition. A fragile status quo prevails on the flashpoint hilltop, as a part of which Jews are allowed to visit, but not to worship.
Israeli authorities have continued to allow Jewish visitors to spend time at the site during the Ramadan holy month, which began yesterday. Far-right Jewish Israeli MK Itamar Ben Gvir visited the site on Thursday, angering Palestinians.
Cairo condemns in a statement the “continued incursions by Israeli settlers into the Al-Aqsa Mosque area under the protection of the Israeli police.”
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry adds that “escalation must be avoided — especially during the holy month of Ramadan and Christian and Jewish holidays — so as to not slip into cycles of violence.”
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Polls have closed in Hungary’s national election in which pro-Putin nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban us seeking a fourth consecutive term.
The contest is expected to be the closest since Orban took power in 2010, thanks to Hungary’s six main opposition parties putting aside their ideological differences to form a united front against his right-wing Fidesz party. Voters were electing lawmakers to the 199-seat parliament.
There are no exit polls, but the first results are expected later this the evening. Opinion polls in the last days of the race gave Orban’s Fidesz a slight advantage over the Western-looking coalition of opposition parties.
Opposition parties and international observers have pointed out structural impediments to defeating Orban, highlighting pervasive pro-government bias in the public media, the domination of commercial news outlets by Orban allies, and a heavily gerrymandered electoral map.
The Organization For Security and Cooperation in Europe sent a full observation mission to Hungary to monitor today’s election, only the second time it has done so in a European Union country.
The three Palestinian Islamic Jihad members killed in a shootout with Israeli forces early Saturday planned to cross into Israel through a gap in the West Bank security barrier, as the Bnei Brak terrorist had done on Tuesday, according to Channel 12 news.
The network says the Islamic Jihad operatives switched out the vehicle’s license plate for an Israeli one and that Shin Bet forces were deployed to three different sites in central Israel, in case police commandos did not manage to intercept the cell.
The network says the commandos set up an “obstruction” between and Jenin and Tulkarm, after being tipped off that the cell was on the move. After apparently spotting the troops, the Islamic Jihad members reportedly tried turn around and flee, leading the soldiers to fire toward the vehicle’s tires.
The unsourced report says the main suspect then took out his M-16 and started spraying bullets toward the Israeli force, which returned fire and killed the assailants while they were still in the car.
Several commandos were injured, included the commander of the force, who was seriously wounded.
LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Russian troops are guilty of war crimes in Ukraine after Kyiv retook control of areas around the capital and discovered mass graves and apparently executed civilians.
“Russia’s despicable attacks against innocent civilians in Irpin and Bucha are yet more evidence that Putin and his army are committing war crimes in Ukraine,” he says.
“No denial or disinformation from the Kremlin can hide what we all know to be the truth — Putin is desperate, his invasion is failing, and Ukraine’s resolve has never been stronger.”
Johnson added that the UK was supporting the International Criminal Court’s investigation into atrocities committed in Ukraine.
“The Justice Secretary has authorized additional financial support and the deployment of specialist investigators — we will not rest until justice is served,” he added.
BUCHA, Ukraine — Residents of the Ukrainian town of Bucha near the capital of Kyiv have given harrowing accounts of how Russian troops shot and killed civilians without any apparent reason.
Bodies of civilians lay strewn across the northern town, which was controlled by Russian soldiers for about a month.
At a logistics compound that residents say was used as a base by Russian forces, the bodies of eight men could be seen dumped on the ground, some with their hands tied behind their backs.
Residents say Russian troops would go from building to building, take people out of the basements where they were hiding from the fighting, check their phones for evidence of anti-Russian activity and take them away or shoot them.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has rejected the claims of atrocities against civilians in Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv as a “provocation.”
The ministry says that “not a single civilian has faced any violent action by the Russian military“ in Bucha.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, told a US television interview Sunday that Russian attacks in Ukraine amount to genocide.
New images emerge from the aftermath of the shootout between security forces and members of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad cell, allegedly on their way to carry out a terror attack in Israel.
The photos, first published by the Ynet news site, show the bullet-riddled car used by the three Islamic Jihad operatives killed in the gun battle.
כוח מיוחד שהה בעומק שטח a ביממה שקדמה לחיסול;
במרדף השתתפו מס' רכבים מסוערבים שאחד מהם התנגש במכוון במאזדה של החוליה;
אחד המחבלים ירה 52 כדורים ליד עמדה צבאית כבר בליל חמישי;
והמחבל הרביעי העז להגיע לזירת הקרב, הבחין בלוחמי גולני וברח עד שנלכד ע"י דובדבןhttps://t.co/R9HuYOd04Z pic.twitter.com/KKGGZZ4Gh3
— יואב זיתון (@yoavzitun) April 3, 2022
The news site also says one of the gunman fired over 50 bullets at a military post near the northern West Bank city of Jenin last week, following a similar report yesterday from Channel 12 news.
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine has recovered 410 civilian bodies from areas it recently retook from the Russian army in the wider Kyiv region, its prosecutor general Iryna Venediktova says today.
Venediktova tells national television: “410 bodies of dead civilians were evacuated out of the liberated territories of the Kyiv region. Forensic experts have already examined 140” of them.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tours the area around the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, with Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai and lawmakers from his Yesh Atid party, as security forces are on high alert following several recent terror attacks and the start of Ramadan.
Lapid, who also holds the post of alternate prime minister, says, “We give you full backing,” as he is given a security briefing by Shabtai and other senior officers, including Jerusalem District Commander Turgeman.
“This is a difficult, tense period, but we have a police [force] that can be relied on to get us through this complex period,” he says.
Lapid is also joined by Economy Minister Orna Barbivai and Deputy Public Security Minister Yoav Segalovich.
According to a statement from Lapid’s office, Shabtai says police are at “peak readiness,” citing Ramadan and the recent attacks.
The Damascus Gate is a frequent site of clashes between police and Palestinians, four of whom were arrested during rioting last night.
KYIV, Ukraine — More than half a million people have returned to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion in February, the Ukrainian interior ministry says.
“During the past week, 144,000 people left Ukraine and 88,000 arrived. In total… around 537,000 of our compatriots have returned to Ukraine,” the ministry says, citing data from the national border service.
The High Commissioner for Refugees yesterday said 4,176,401 Ukrainians have left their country since Russia launched its invasion on February 24.
Tens of thousands have been leaving Ukraine daily since the start of the war in what has become Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.
The UN’s International Organization for Migration said around 205,000 non-Ukrainians have also fled the country.
In total, more than 10 million people have either left their homes, either to neighboring countries or being displaced within Ukraine.
Before the war, 37 million people lived in territories controlled by Kyiv. That figure does not include the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014 or two eastern regions controlled by pro-Moscow separatists.
MOSCOW — Russia’s defense ministry says today its forces did not kill civilians in Bucha, a town outside Ukraine’s capital Kyiv recently retaken by Ukrainian forces from Moscow’s troops.
“During the time this settlement was under the control of Russian armed forces, not a single local resident suffered from any violent actions,” the ministry says.
Photo and video of corpses strewn across the streets of Bucha were “another production of the Kyiv regime for the Western media,” it adds.
AMMAN, Jordan — The half-brother of Jordan’s king relinquished his princely title today, a year after a rare palace feud saw him placed under house arrest.
Prince Hamzah posts a letter on his official Twitter account saying he gave up his title because his values “are not in line with the approaches, trends and modern methods of our institutions.”
King Abdullah II and Hamzah are both sons of King Hussein, who ruled Jordan for nearly a half-century before his death in 1999. Abdullah had appointed Hamzah as crown prince upon his succession but stripped him of the title in 2004.
The prince apologized last month for his role in an alleged plot, the Royal Palace said. He was accused last year of involvement in a plot to destabilize the Western-allied kingdom and was placed under house arrest last April. In a video statement at the time he denied the allegations, saying he was being punished for speaking out against official corruption.
The Royal Court has no immediate comment.
WASHINGTON — White House chief of staff Ron Klain says the US remains fully committed to providing a full range of economic and military support to Ukraine in its war against Russia, which he describes as “far from over.”
Klain credits Ukrainians for fighting off Russian troops in the northern part of Ukraine and says the US and its allies are sending weapons into the country “almost every single day.”
But he also tells ABC’s “This Week” that there are signs that Russian President Vladimir Putin is redeploying Russian troops to the eastern part of Ukraine.
Klain says while it will be up to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to decide if the political endgame is to allow Russia to occupy the eastern part of Ukraine, from the US standpoint the “military future of this attack has to be push back.”
He says regarding a potential Russian occupation of eastern Ukraine: “I will tell you, as President Zelensky has said, that’s not acceptable to him, and we are going to support him with military aid, with economic aid, with humanitarian aid.”
Jordan’s royal court releases its own statement on today’s phone call between King Abdullah II and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, saying the Jordanian leader wished to “prevent any tension or escalation in the Palestinian territories.”
“During the call, His Majesty stressed the need to stop any actions that might cause violence, aggravate the conflict and subvert the chances of achieving peace,” the statement says.
The Jordanians say Abdullah also called for Israel to ensure access to the Temple Mount during Ramadan. The flashpoint compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is the holiest site in Judaism and third holiest in Islam.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke today with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the latest in a recent series of high-level contacts between Israeli leaders and the Jordanian monarch amid concerns of tensions over Ramadan.
According to Bennett’s office, the premier wished the king a happy Ramadan, which began yesterday, and thanked him for his condemnation of several recent terror attacks in Israel.
“They also discussed the importance of cooperation between the countries and the continuation of the relationship and continuous discourse,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office says.
WASHINGTON — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says in an interview due to air in the US later today that Russian forces are committing genocide in Ukraine.
“This is genocide. The elimination of the whole nation and the people,” Zelensky tells the CBS program “Face the Nation,” according to a transcript provided by the network, a day after new evidence of atrocities by Russian invasion forces emerged.
“We are the citizens of Ukraine. We have more than 100 nationalities. This is about the destruction and extermination of all these nationalities,” Zelensky says.
“Is this genocide?” @margbrennan asks Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“Indeed. This is genocide,” Zelenskyy says, adding that Ukraine is being “destroyed and exterminated” by Russian forces.
Tune in at 10:30a E.T. to hear more. pic.twitter.com/VyI246euAH
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) April 3, 2022
PARIS — French and German leaders have joined in growing international condemnation of alleged war crimes and civilian killings committed by Russian forces in Ukrainian towns including Bucha near Kyiv.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed shock about the “terrible and horrifying footage that has reached us this weekend from Ukraine.”
“Dozens of shot civilians have been discovered in Bucha … Streets littered with bodies. Bodies buried in makeshift conditions. There is talk of women, children and the elderly among the victims,” he says. He adds that international organizations should be given access to the areas to independently document the atrocities.
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian condemns “in the strongest terms” the alleged “massive abuses.” He says France will work with Ukrainian authorities and the International Criminal Court “to ensure these acts don’t go unpunished and that those responsible are being sent to trial and convicted.”
Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman announce they have agreed on a plan to allow Israelis over 75 to use public transportation free of charge.
They say other senior citizens — women over 60 and men over 65 — will continue to get half off.
The measure, part of a reform package they unveiled at a press conference, is expected to take effect over the summer.
WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says today that the sight of multiple civilian bodies strewn along the streets of Bucha in Ukraine is “punch to the gut.”
“You can’t help but see these images as a punch to the gut,” Blinken tells CNN a day after horrific footage was widely aired of the town retaken from Russian forces.
“This is the reality of what’s going on every single day as long as Russia’s brutality against Ukraine continues,” Blinken says.
BUCHA, Ukraine — Fifty-seven people were buried in a mass grave in Bucha, a town outside Kyiv recently retaken by Ukrainian forces from Russian troops, a local official says as he shows AFP the slit trench where the bodies lay.
“Here in this long grave, 57 people are buried,” says Serhii Kaplychnyi, who identifies himself as head of the rescue services in Bucha and who was organizing the recovery of the bodies.
The mass grave is behind a church in the town’s center. Some of the bodies were either unburied or partially buried in the earth.
The Agriculture Ministry announces it has approved egg imports from Poland, as the government seeks to prevent a possible shortage ahead of the upcoming Passover holiday amid the Ukraine war.
Poland joins a list of approved countries that also includes Bulgaria, Portugal, Spain and Italy.
“We promised to do everything possible to prevent a shortage of eggs during Passover,” Agricultural Minister Oded Forer says in a statement. “The ministry is working on the matter day and night.”
VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania says it has cut itself entirely off of gas imports from Russia and that it’s the first of the European Union’s 27 nations using Russian gas to break its energy dependence upon Moscow.
“Seeking full energy independence from Russian gas, in response to Russia’s energy blackmail in Europe and the war in Ukraine, Lithuania has completely abandoned Russian gas,” Lithuania’s energy ministry says in a statement, adding that the measure took effect at the beginning of April.
Lithuania reduced imports of Russian gas to zero yesterday, a move seen as a milestone in achieving energy independence in the former Soviet republic of 2.8 million, the ministry says.
“We are the first EU country among Gazprom’s supply countries to gain independence from Russian gas supplies, and this is the result of a multi-year coherent energy policy and timely infrastructure decisions,” Minister of Energy Dainius Kreivys says.
Lithuania’a president posts an upbeat tweet on his account and urges other European nations to do the same.
SACRAMENTO, California — Police in Sacramento say six people are dead and at least nine others have been injured after a shooting in downtown Sacramento.
The Sacramento Police Department says the shooting happened early this morning.
Video posted on Twitter shows people running through the street as the sound of rapid gunfire can be heard in the background. Video shows multiple ambulances had been sent to the scene.
Police provide few details about the circumstances surrounding the shooting but say in a tweet that a “large police presence will remain and the scene remains active.” Phone messages seeking comment were left with the Sacramento police.
Residents are asked to avoid the area, which is packed with restaurants and bars that leads to the Golden One Center, where the Sacramento Kings play basketball.
The condition of a senior police commando seriously wounded in a gunbattle with members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group yesterday has improved, the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa says.
The hospital says Chief Superintendent S. is communicating with his family and able to breathe on his own, while still making use of a ventilator.
“The medical staff is optimistic about his condition, with hopes to release him from intensive care in the coming days,” Rambam says in a statement.
Following requests from multiple Knesset remembers, the Knesset will break its current recess to open for a special plenum session this coming Wednesday, says Knesset secretary Dan Marzuk.
Four topics are scheduled for discussion: The recent wave of terror attacks; a sentencing floor for illegal weapons offenses; government decisions regarding the Negev; and expected upcoming moves regarding Homesh, an illegal West Bank outpost.
With the close of winter session on March 13, the Knesset began one of its two annual recesses, which will end with the opening of the summer session on May 8.
The Israeli Air Force hosted the British Royal Air Force and Cyprus Air Command for a joint training exercise at the Palmachim airbase and over the Mediterranean last week.
The military says the drill “allowed the participating forces to learn from each other and drill maritime Search and Rescue missions.”
“This is unparalleled mutual enrichment, and a great source of pride. It is an exercise that requires great skill and professionalism,” says the commander of the IAF’s 124th Squadron.
The IAF hosted a joint training exercise with the British Royal Air Force and Cyprus Air Command last week at Palmachim AFB. The exercise, allowed the participating forces to learn from each other and drill maritime Search and Rescue missions in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. pic.twitter.com/aZxEQd9FTM
— Israeli Air Force (@IAFsite) April 3, 2022
New Health Ministry figures show the so-called coronavirus transmission rate dipping below 1 for the first time in two weeks, signaling that the virus’s spread is back in retreat.
The R number, currently at 0.98, represents how many people each coronavirus carrier infects on average and is used as measure for gauging how much the virus is spreading. Any reading above 1 means the spread of the virus is accelerating, and any below 1 means it’s slowing.
The ministry reports 7,338 new cases were confirmed yesterday, with 22.78 percent of tests coming back positive.
There are 58,749 active infections, including 277 hospital patients in serious condition, of whom 102 are on ventilators.
The death toll stands at 10,518.
Ridership on public transportation ridership is down by 25 percent in Bnei Brak and 17% in Hadera following deadly terror attacks last week in the two cities, Army Radio reports.
Throughout the country, ridership is down 10%.
“We are all concerned about the security situation,” Michal Frank, the Transportation Ministry’s director general, says in response.
While acknowledging that “we are more vulnerable on public transportation,” she says security teams are on alert.
“We need to be vigilant,” she adds.
TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says an agreement is “close” in paused negotiations to restore the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
Iran has been engaged in negotiations to revive the deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China directly, and the United States indirectly.
“We are close to an agreement in the negotiations,” Amir-Abdollahian says during a phone conversation with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, according to a statement by the ministry.
Iranian and US delegations in Vienna do not communicate directly, but messages are passed through other participants and the European Union, the talks’ coordinator.
“We have passed on our proposals on the remaining issues to the American side through the EU senior negotiator, and now the ball is in US court,” Iran’s top diplomat adds.
According to the Iranian statement, Guterres stressed the importance of the Vienna talks and expressed hope that the parties would reach an agreement as soon as possible.
Nearly a year of negotiations have brought the parties close to renewing the landmark 2015 accord.
Visiting Shin Bet security agency’s northern West Bank headquarters, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says Israel is entering a period of “vigilant routine” as security forces work to prevent further terror attacks.
“Terrorists have all kinds of ideas, so we are on high alert, both the Shin Bet and the Israel Police, to identify any hint of an idea or plan for an attack, and thwart it in advance,” Bennett says, after troops killed three gunmen allegedly en route to an attack in Israel yesterday morning.
Bennett says the Israel Defense Forces are also on high alert along the West Bank security barrier, after a gap in the fence was used by a Palestinian who killed five people in a shooting attack in Bnei Brak last week.
“Our goal is to break the wave” of attacks, Bennett says.
“We are now entering a period of ‘vigilant routine,’ where we want the citizens of Israel to return to [their daily] routine and the security forces to be on high alert,” he says.
Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar says the security agency is operating “in many theaters” — Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
He says the Shin Bet is “a sharp, determined, skilled organization that learns while on the move and under fire.”
“On Saturday we were under fire together with our brothers from the Yamam. We thwarted a significant attack,” Bar says of the incident near Jenin, during which an elite officer was seriously hurt.
Russia’s lead negotiator in peace talks with Ukraine says it is too early for a top-level meeting on ending the conflict.
“The Ukrainian side has become more realistic in its approach to issues related to the neutral and non-nuclear status of Ukraine but the draft agreement is not ready for submission to a summit meeting,” Vladimir Medinsky writes on Telegram.
He says he does not share the “optimism” of Ukraine’s negotiators on the possibility of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Ukraine’s top negotiator David Arakhamia said yesterday that Moscow had “verbally” agreed to key Ukrainian proposals, raising hopes that talks to end fighting were moving forward.
He raised the possibility of a meeting between Putin and Zelensky in Turkey, without saying when it might be possible.
Medinsky says that Russia’s position on Crimea and the Donbas “remains unchanged” and that talks are slated to resume by video conference tomorrow.
The mayor of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, expresses shock at what he calls “cruel war crimes” committed by Russian soldiers in the town of Bucha northwest of the capital.
Referring to reports of executed civilians, Klitschko tells German daily Bild that “what happened in Bucha and other suburbs of Kyiv can only be described as genocide.”
An AP crew today saw the bodies of at least nine people who appear to have been executed. At least two of them had their hands tied behind their backs. They were all in civilian clothes and at least three were naked from the waist up. One appeared shot in the chest from close range.
Klitschko says Russian President Vladimir Putin is responsible for these “cruel war crimes,” adding that civilians have been “shot with tied hands.”
He calls on the the whole world and especially Germany to immediately end gas imports from Russia.
He says that “especially for Germany, there can only be one consequence: Not a penny should go to Russia anymore, that’s bloody money used to slaughter people. The gas and oil embargo must come immediately.”
EU chief Charles Michel pledges further sanctions on Moscow as he condemns “atrocities” carried out by Russian forces outside Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.
“Shocked by haunting images of atrocities committed by Russian army in Kyiv liberated region #BuchaMassacre,” European Council head Michel writes on Twitter. “EU is assisting Ukraine & NGO’s in gathering of necessary evidence for pursuit in international courts.”
A tanker carrying badly needed fuel arrives in Yemen’s blockaded port of Hodeida, as a ceasefire meant to stop the fighting in the war-torn country for two months enters its first full day.
The truce agreement, which took effect last night, allows for shipments of fuel to arrive in Hodeida and for passenger flights to resume from the airport in the capital of Sanaa. Both Hodeida and Sanaa are held by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
The agreement comes after a significant escalation in hostilities in recent weeks that saw the Houthis claim several attacks across the country’s borders, targeting the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Essam al-Motwakel, spokesman for the Houthi-run oil corporation, says the Saudi-led coalition allowed the vessel — carrying mazut, a low-quality fuel oil — into the port at Hodeida. The port handles about 70% of Yemen’s commercial and humanitarian imports.
He calls on UN envoy Hans Grundberg, to work with the coalition and accelerate the arrival of other vessels to ease a longtime fuel crisis in Houthi-held areas.
KYIV, Ukraine — The regional governor in Kharkiv says Russian troops have continued shelling the city in northeast Ukraine.
Kharkiv regional Gov. Oleh Synyehubov says that Russian artillery and tanks carried out over 20 strikes on Kharkiv and its outskirts over the past 24 hours.
Synyyehubov says four people were wounded in a Russian missile strike on Lozova in the south of the Kharkiv region.
He says that in the town of Balakliia Russian tanks hit a local hospital, damaging the building and prompting the authorities to evacuate patients.
The Russian defense ministry says it hit an oil refinery and three fuel and lubricant storage facilities in Odesa.
Moscow says the site is used to supply Ukrainian troops.
Photos from Odesa show huge columns of thick, black smoke over an industrial area.
“This morning, high-precision sea and air-based missiles destroyed an oil refinery and three storage facilities for fuel and lubricants near the city of Odessa, from which fuel was supplied to a group of Ukrainian troops in the direction of Mykolaiv,” the Russian defense ministry says,
Ukraine says there are no casualties in the attack.
Ahead of Ukraine trip, Israeli health minister says help must be given to those under ‘brutal attack’
Ahead of his departure for Ukraine, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz says the people of Ukraine are under “brutal attack” by Russia.
Horowitz’s trip will be the first visit to Ukraine by an Israeli government minister since Russia’s invasion began late February.
“Our humanity is measured in moments like this. We must continue to help the people who are under brutal attack by Russia,” he says in a video recorded at the airport.
“I am going to support our medical team there, which has already cared for over 1,000 people. It is a source of great pride,” Horowitz says.
The minister is expected to meet his Ukrainian counterpart and tour Israel’s field hospital in Mostyska, near Lviv.
The Health Ministry says a second cohort of staff has departed for Ukraine to staff the Israeli field hospital in western Ukraine.
The ministry says around 80 medical staff from across a number of disciplines and from hospitals across Israel will take over from the current team operating the hospital.
So far, the ministry says over 1,500 Ukrainians have been treated at the facility.
The medical center, located in the grounds of an elementary school in Mostyska, is called “Kochav Meir” (“Shining Star”), after former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, who was born in Ukraine and was the founder of the Foreign Ministry’s Agency for International Development Cooperation aid program, which is leading the field hospital project.
Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine condemns the apparent massacre of civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.
“Deeply shocked by the photos from Bucha. Killing of civilians is a war crime and cannot be justified,” tweets Michael Brodsky.
The statement comes amid reports of dozens of dead bodies, all in civilian clothing, left in the streets of the Ukrainian town after Russian troops retreated.
The mayor of the town said that 280 other bodies had been buried in mass graves.
A regional administration spokesman says Russian missiles hit one of Odesa’s “critical infrastructure facilities.”
“We hope there will be no casualties,” Sergey Bratchuk tells Ukraine’s public broadcaster, according to the Reuters news agency.
The blasts earlier this morning sent up at least three columns of black smoke with flames visible apparently in an industrial area.
“Odessa was attacked from the air,” Anton Herashchenko, adviser to the interior minister, writes on his Telegram account. “Fires were reported in some areas. Some of the missiles were shot down by air defense.”
One British journalist said it appeared that fuel storage units were hit in the strikes.
LVIV, Ukraine – President Volodymyr Zelensky says Ukrainian troops retaking areas around Kyiv and Chernihiv are not allowing Russians to retreat without a fight, but are “shelling them. They are destroying everyone they can.”
Zelensky says Ukraine knows Russia has the forces to put even more pressure on the east and south of Ukraine.
“What is the goal of the Russian troops? They want to seize the Donbas and the south of Ukraine,” he says. “What is our goal? To defend ourselves, our freedom, our land and our people.”
He says a significant portion of the Russian forces are tied up around Mariupol, where the city’s defenders continue to fight.
“Thanks to this resistance, thanks to the courage and resilience of our other cities, Ukraine has gained invaluable time, time that is allowing us to foil the enemy’s tactics and weaken its capabilities,” Zelensky says.
He appeals again to the West for more modern weaponry, such as anti-missile systems and aircraft.
There are reports of explosions in the port city of Odesa in Ukraine’s south.
In an online post, the city’s council says Odesa has been hit with missiles and there are reports of some fires, according to the Reuters news agency.
The United Kingdom says it is working with “others” to collect evidence of war crimes in Ukraine.
“Appalled by atrocities in Bucha and other towns in Ukraine. Reports of Russian forces targeting innocent civilians are abhorrent,” tweets Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. “The UK is working with others to collect evidence and support the International Criminal Court war crimes investigation. Those responsible will be held to account.”
The statement comes as evidence emerges of possible civilian killings in areas the invading Russian forces have been occupying.
Reporters saw at least 20 bodies, all in civilian clothing, strewn across a single street in the town of Bucha near the capital and the body of a missing photographer was discovered in a nearby village.
One had his hands tied behind his back with a white cloth, and his Ukrainian passport left open beside his corpse.
“All these people were shot,” says Bucha Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk, adding that 280 other bodies had been buried in mass graves in the town.
“These are the consequences of Russian occupation,” says Fedoruk.
The International Criminal Court has already opened a probe into possible war crimes committed in Ukraine, and several Western leaders, including US President Joe Biden, have accused Russia’s Vladimir Putin of being a “war criminal.”
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