The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they unfolded.
A relative of an unarmed Palestinian woman who was shot dead by Israeli troops earlier this week tells the Haaretz daily that a soldier at the scene told her he was sorry for the incident.
Ghada Sabateen, a widowed 47-year-old mother of six, was shot dead after lunging at troops and ignoring calls to halt. She was not armed, however.
“I tried to get there and the soldier pointed a weapon in my direction and told me it was forbidden. I told them she was my sister’s daughter, how should I stay away?” Sabateen’s aunt, Muna, tells Haaretz.
“I asked the soldier if there was anything on her and he said no. If she did anything, and he said no. The soldier told me, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry,'” she recalls according to the newspaper.
A senior Biden administration official has called the family of an unarmed Palestinian woman who was shot dead by Israeli troops earlier this week to express his condolences.
The call by George Noll, who heads the Palestinian Affairs Unit in the US Embassy to Israel, to the family of Ghada Sabateen represents a relatively rare decision by the Biden administration to weigh in on the killing of a Palestinian who is not an American citizen. The widowed 47-year-old mother of six does have American relatives though.
“The United States welcomes Israel’s decision to investigate her shooting death,” the Palestinian Affairs Unit tweets. The IDF has yet to announce a formal investigation into the matter.
Sabateen, who was partially blind, can be seen in footage of the incident raising her hands as she quickly runs at a makeshift checkpoint in her West Bank village of Husan when soldiers shoot at her, causing her to fall down.
PAU Chief George Noll spoke to the family of Ghada Sabteen yesterday to express our condolences. The United States welcomes Israel’s decision to investigate her shooting death.
— US Palestinian Affairs Unit (@USPalAffairs) April 14, 2022
ALEXANDRIA — El Shafee Elsheikh, a member of the notorious Islamic State kidnap-and-murder cell known as the “Beatles,” is found guilty of all charges in the deaths of four American hostages in Syria.
A jury convicted Elsheikh, 33, a former British national, of all eight counts after a two-week trial, the most significant prosecution of an IS member in the United States.
Police say officers are searching for a suspect who fled after security guards attempted to question him near a mall in the northern city of Hadera.
At the scene, a kitchen knife he apparently left behind was found, police say.
Large forces are scanning the area for the man, it adds.
Army announces closure of West Bank, Gaza borders for Palestinians during first day of Passover holiday
The Israeli army announces it is imposing a closure on border crossings between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the first day of Passover.
The closure will begin Friday, starting at 4 p.m., and last until 12 a.m. Saturday, April 16.
On Saturday night, officials will examine extending the closure during the entirety of the holiday.
Such closures are standard practice during festivals and holidays, in what the military says is a preventative measure against attacks at those times, which are seen as periods of increased tension. But during the holiday of Purim in March, the military skipped the usual closure, for the first time in five years.
Exceptions will be made for humanitarian and other outstanding cases, but will require the approval of the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.
Passover begins on Friday evening and ends next Friday night.
The IDF also announces that the border crossing in the northern West Bank — closed following several terror attacks committed by Palestinians from the area — would reopen on Saturday, pending final approval.
A 5-year-old boy is seriously hurt after being hit by a car in the central Orthodox city of El’ad, medics say.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says it is taking the boy to the Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikvah.
There is no immediate comment from police on the incident, but it is expected to investigate the matter.
KYIV — Ukraine’s parliament on Thursday backed a resolution recognizing the actions of the Russian military in the country as “genocide.”
“The actions committed by the armed forces of Russia are not just a crime of aggression, but pursue the goal of the systematic and consistent destruction of the Ukrainian people, their identity and the deprivation of their right to self-determination and independent development,” the text approved by a majority of the 363 lawmakers says.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz has signed administrative arrest orders — a controversial practice allowing security forces to hold suspects without charging them — against six Palestinians from East Jerusalem and Arab Israelis from towns in northern Israel.
His office does not say what they are suspected of, but recent weeks have seen similar orders against individuals suspected of terror activities or affiliation with terror groups.
In the last three weeks, Gantz has signed off on 19 such orders, including two against Jewish Israelis.
The detentions come following recommendations by the Shin Bet security service.
KYIV — Ukraine rejects claims by Moscow that its forces carried out attacks along the border between the countries, including a strike Russia said left seven injured.
Ukraine’s national security and defense council in a statement on social media instead accuse Russia of staging “terror attacks” on its own territory to stir up “anti-Ukrainian hysteria” in the country.
US Vice President Kamala Harris calls President Isaac Herzog to wish Israelis a happy Passover and to condemn a recent string of deadly terror attacks in the country, Herzog’s office says.
Harris condemns the recent wave of attacks, “on behalf of US President Joe Biden and herself, and by sending her and President Biden’s condolences to the bereaved families,” Herzog’s office says in a statement.
“Vice President Harris expressed her support for steps taken by Israel during the month of Ramadan and its efforts to confront the wave of terrorism,” the statement says.
According to Herzog’s office, Harris wished him “his family, and all citizens of Israel a happy and peaceful Passover.”
She adds that this year the VP’s Residence will host a traditional Seder night for the first time.
Herzog’s office says he expresses his thanks to Harris and on behalf of the Israeli people for the condolences, “noting that it is especially significant and important coming from the State of Israel’s greatest ally.”
“The President also thanked Vice President Harris for her holiday wishes and wished her and her family a Happy Passover,” the statement adds.
Victoria Zeinin, an Israeli woman from Hadera, and her husband rescued her elderly mother from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, as shown in extraordinary footage published by the Haaretz daily.
Zeinin set out to rescue both her parents, but her father had been killed in Russian attacks a day before she arrived.
Footage published by the newspaper showed Zeinen and her husband rolling her 75-year-old mother in a shopping cart out of a semi-destroyed building in the port city, last month.
The report says they eventually managed to reach Poland, where they are now awaiting approval for Zeinin’s mother — who is not Jewish — to enter Israel.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has called an emergency leadership meeting against the backdrop of escalating tensions in the West Bank.
Fifteen Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli troops using live fire in the last two weeks alone.
Some Palestinian social media users mocked Abbas for scheduling the “emergency” meeting for Sunday morning, three days from now.
NEW YORK — The man accused of committing a mass shooting on a subway train in Brooklyn is expected to make his first court appearance today on federal terrorism charges. Frank James, 62, was arrested in Manhattan a day after the attack in which 10 people were wounded by gunfire.
James didn’t respond to shouting reporters yesterday as he was led from a police precinct into a car waiting to take him to a federal detention center.
Authorities say a trove of evidence connects James to the attack. His credit card and a key to a van he’d rented were found at the shooting scene. Officers also recovered the handgun used in the shooting, which tracing records show James purchased legally in Ohio in 2011.
Investigators are examining many hours of videos that James posted on social media, including one a day before the attack, in which he delivered profanity-laced diatribes about racism, society’s treatment of Black people, homelessness, and violence. He also talked about his history of psychiatric treatment.
A lawyer appointed to represent James didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
James was born and raised in New York City, but had moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’d recently left Wisconsin and had briefly lived in Philadelphia.
MOSCOW — The governor of a region in southern Russia bordering Ukraine says two villages had been evacuated after one was shelled by Ukrainian forces.
The governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, writes on Telegram that the village of Spodaryushino close to the border “came under shelling from the Ukrainian side.”
No one was injured, but the authorities had “temporarily removed residents” from the village and another nearby “to ensure security.”
— Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) April 14, 2022
MOSCOW — Russian officials accuse Ukraine of sending helicopters to bomb a town in the southern Bryansk region about 10 kilometers (six miles) from the border, after reporting several injured in the shelling.
“Two military helicopters… carried out at least six airstrikes on residential buildings in the settlement of Klimovo,” Russia’s Investigative Committee says in a statement, without giving a reason why the small town was targeted.
#Bryansk Region Governor Alexander Bogomaz blamed the #Ukrainian Armed Forces for the shelling of the village of #Klimovo. #Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case, reported that 7 people were injured and at least 6 residential buildings were damaged. pic.twitter.com/yQ42kr4aa7
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) April 14, 2022
Yossi Cohen, the former head of the Mossad intelligence agency, has returned an illicit gift worth $20,000 he received from an Australian businessman, the Haaretz daily reports.
Cohen received the gift from billionaire James Packer for his daughter’s wedding back when he was still the head of the Mossad.
Last June, he claimed to have accepted the funds after consulting the Mossad’s legal adviser, and said he is committed to returning the gift.
The newspaper reports that he recently returned the funds, while the State Prosecutor’s Office is still probing the matter.
“The matter is under examination and a decision has not yet been made,” the Justice Ministry tells Haaretz.
The leader of an ultra-Orthodox party recently spoke to Defense Minister Benny Gantz in an effort to prevent elections amid Israel’s political instability, and to form a new government with him, the Walla news site reports.
Gantz, who leads the Blue and White party, reportedly rejected United Torah Judaism leader MK Moshe Gafni’s proposal, the report said.
The site quotes a source as saying “Gafni initiated the talks with Gantz with the knowledge of senior Likud members, but not with their approval.”
Likud sources in turn accuse Gafni of thwarting moves aimed at replacing the government, the report says.
Gantz’s office tells Walla he hasn’t spoken to Gafni in the past two weeks and “an alternative government is irrelevant and boring.”
Gafni’s office denies the report.
WASHINGTON — The war in Ukraine has undercut the global recovery and slowed expected economic growth in most countries in the world, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva says.
The war hit as the economy was struggling to recover from the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including accelerating inflation, which also endangers the gains, Georgieva says.
“We are facing a crisis on top of a crisis,” she says in a speech ahead of the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank.
FRANKFURT — Russia’s war against Ukraine is “severely” impacting the eurozone economy, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde says, with surging energy costs, supply chain disruptions, and weaker consumer confidence weighing on growth.
“The war in Ukraine is severely affecting the euro area economy and has significantly increased uncertainty,” Lagarde says in a virtual press conference. “The impact of the war on the economy will depend on how the conflict evolves, on the effect of current sanctions, and on possible further measures.”
KYIV — Ukraine says 30 prisoners of war are being returned to the country as part of the most recent exchange of captives with Russia, following an order from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Five officers and 17 servicemen were exchanged. Also eight civilians, including one woman, were released. In total, 30 of our citizens are going home today,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says in a statement on social media.
MOSCOW — The governor of Russia’s southern Bryansk region accuses the Ukrainian army of shelling a Russian town about 10 kilometers (six miles) from their joint border, injuring civilians.
“Today the Ukrainian Armed Forces fired at the town of Klimovo. As a result of the shelling, two residential buildings were damaged and some of the residents are injured,” governor Alexander Bogomaz says on Telegram.
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) April 14, 2022
The Palestinian Authority’s health ministry says a man wounded in clashes with Israeli troops near Nablus yesterday died of his wounds at a hospital in the West Bank city.
Palestinian media identifies the man as Fawaz Hamayel. He was shot by Israeli soldiers during clashes in the town of Beita, south of Nablus.
He was taken to a hospital in Nablus, where he later died of his wounds.
Hamayel’s death marks the sixth Palestinian to be killed by Israeli troops in the past day and a half.
— Newpress | نيو برس (@NewpressPs) April 14, 2022
BERLIN (AP) — Four people were arrested in Germany and weapons were seized in an investigation into suspected anti-government extremists who allegedly planned to cause a long nationwide blackout and kidnap well-known figures including the country’s health minister, authorities say.
Prosecutors in Koblenz and Rhineland-Palatinate’s state criminal police office say raids were carried out at 20 properties across the country yesterday, following an investigation that was launched in October. The suspects are members of a chat group called “United Patriots” on the Telegram messenger service.
Investigators say the suspects they identified were associated with the protest movement against coronavirus restrictions and with the Reich Citizens movement, which disputes the legitimacy of the post-World War II German constitution and, by extension, the current government. In all, 12 people are under investigation.
Investigators say in a statement that the group’s declared aim was to destroy Germany’s electricity supply facilities and cause a long blackout, with the goal of producing “conditions similar to civil war” and ultimately overthrowing the country’s democratic system.
Police seize 22 firearms, including a Kalashnikov rifle, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, thousands of euros in cash, and numerous gold bars and silver coins.
The group allegedly planned to kidnap well-known public figures. Investigators say those included Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, the German news agency dpa reported.
Elon Musk is offering to buy Twitter, just days after the Tesla CEO said he would no longer be joining the social media company’s board of directors.
Twitter Inc. says in a regulatory filing that Musk — who currently owns slightly more than 9% of its stock and is the company’s biggest shareholder — provided a letter to the company yesterday that contained a proposal to buy the remaining shares of Twitter that he doesn’t already own. Musk has offered $54.20 per share of Twitter’s stock.
He calls that price his best and final offer, although the billionaire provided no details on financing.
“I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk says in the filing. “However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz says he congratulates police and the Shin Bet security agency over the arrest of Wasim a-Sayed, 34, a Palestinian from Hebron, for allegedly murdering three people in Jerusalem in recent years.
“I congratulate the police and the Shin Bet security agency who got their hands on the despicable murderer of the couple Yehuda and Tamar Kaduri, who were murdered three years ago in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem,” Gantz says on Twitter, without mentioning the murder of a Moldovan foreign worker in Jerusalem last month.
“We will persecute anyone who harms the citizens of Israel and bring them to justice — anytime, at any hour, anywhere.”
The Russian defense ministry says its Black Sea flagship Moskva, which was involved in Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, is still afloat after a fire set off ammunitions explosions onboard.
“There is no open fire. The ammunitions explosions have stopped. The Moskva cruiser remains afloat,” the ministry says in a statement.
It adds that the warship’s “main missile armaments” are not harmed and its crew has been evacuated to nearby ships in the Black Sea.
“Measures are ongoing to tow the cruiser into port,” the ministry says.
The Ukrainian military says earlier it had struck the Russian warship. The Russian defense ministry, however, says the cause of the fire was still being established.
The Moskva — which with other vessels in Moscow’s Black Sea fleet has been blockading the southern city of Mariupol — gained notoriety early in the war when it called on Ukrainian border troops defending the strategic Snake Island to surrender, only to be defiantly refused.
Wasim a-Sayed, 34, a Palestinian from the West Bank city of Hebron was arrested by officers shortly after the murder of Ivan Tarnovski on March 22 in Jerusalem. Just four days earlier he had been released from two-year administrative detention over his affiliation with Islamic State.
Police say a-Sayed murdered Yehuda and Tamar Kaduri in their Jerusalem apartment in January 2019, a day after he also stabbed a teenage girl nearby.
The case was previously regarded by officials as “one of the hardest to solve in Jerusalem over the past few years.”
When he was arrested in March, police did not know he was responsible for either of the murders. At the time he was detained for being in Israel illegally.
A-Sayed was also under administrative detention between 2015 and 2018 over Islamic State ties.
Police say the murders stemmed from his support of Islamic State. He will be formally indicted in the coming days.
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