The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as the occured.

Iran foreign minister: US embassy move affront to entire Muslim world

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says that the United States’ decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem is an “affront to the entire Muslim world.”

“I think what the US has followed in the region including one of the flashpoints which will be the opening of the embassy in Jerusalem is an affront to the entire Muslim world, it is an affront to international law,” Zarif tells CBS.

“And I believe the United States would be much better served if they followed a more, a wiser, more prudent policy outreach.”

Iran’s top diplomat also says that his country has “many options” if US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal in May, though he stressed that Tehran would not be bound by the agreement if Washington was no longer committed to it.

“If the benefits of the deal for Iran start to diminish then there is no reason for Iran to remain in the deal,” he asserts.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is interviewed by the Associated Press in New York on September 27, 2017. (AP/Richard Drew)

Zarif: I don’t believe we’re headed toward regional war

The Iranian foreign minister predicts that despite escalating tensions in the Middle East, a regional war is not on the horizon.

“I do not believe that we are headed toward regional war but I do believe that unfortunately, Israel has continued its violations with international law, hoping to be able to do it with impunity because of the US support and trying to find smokescreens to hide behind.”

Toll from Kabul bombing climbs to 48 dead

Afghan officials say the toll from a suicide bombing in Kabul claimed by the Islamic State group has risen to 48 dead and 112 wounded.

Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro confirms the toll from Sunday’s attack, in which the bomber targeted a voter registration center in the capital. IS claimed the attack, saying it targeted Shiite “apostates.”

Both IS and the more well-established Taliban have stepped up attacks across Afghanistan in recent years.

The US and NATO formally concluded their combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014, shifting to a focus on counterterrorism, training and support.

— AP

A woman cries at a hospital after she lost her son in a suicide attack on a voter registration center in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, April 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

Liberman rejects claim that Mossad behind killing of Hamas rocket engineer in Malaysia

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman rejects Hamas claims that the Mossad was behind the death of a Palestinian electrical engineer, which the Gaza-based terror group asserted was one of its key members.

“We heard about it in the news. The terrorist organizations blame every assassination on Israel.  We’re used to that,” Liberman tells Israel Radio.

“The man was no saint and he didn’t deal with improving infrastructure in Gaza. He was involved in improving rocket precision,” the defense minister continues.

“We are constantly seeing a settling of accounts between various factions in the terrorist organizations and I suppose that is what happened here,” he adds.

Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh, 35, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, according to Malaysian authorities.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a Holocast Remembrance Day ceremony in the kibbutz of Yad Mordechai, on April 12, 2018, (Flash90)

Iraq says it killed 36 ‘IS terrorists’ in Syria raid

Iraq says its forces had killed “36 terrorists” belonging to the Islamic State jihadist group, including senior members, in air raids this past week in Syria.

A video of Thursday’s operation showed two F-16 fighter jets destroying a house in eastern Syria.

“The Iraqi air raids, carried out by several F-16s in Syria on April 19, targeted IS terrorists who represented a danger to Iraq,” says General Yahya Rasool, spokesman for the Joint Operations Command (JOC), which coordinates the fight against IS in Iraq.

“According to our information, the raids took place while there was a meeting of terrorist leaders and it achieved its goal with the death of 36 of them,” he says.

The US-led coalition battling IS jihadists confirmed the raid, which took place near the town of Hajin in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, about 30 miles from the Iraqi border.

“These raids prove Iraq’s commitment to destroy the remnants of IS that continue to threaten citizens,” Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office said on Thursday, adding that the operation was planned and executed by JOC, with support from the coalition.


Two Polish men detained for Hitler birthday concert

Two men have been detained in Poland on suspicion of spreading fascism by organizing a concert to mark Adolf Hitler’s birthday, a prosecutor tells AFP.

The men, who have not been identified, were detained during a series of raids in Dzierzoniow on Saturday evening by around 300 policemen and agents from Poland’s Internal Security Agency.

“The Polish men, the main organizers of the concert in question, were detained on Saturday. Tomorrow they will be questioned by prosecutors,” says Tomasz Orepuk, spokesman for the district prosecutor’s office in Swidnica, southwestern Poland.

Around 100 people showed up for the concert, according to Orepuk, and police confiscated neofascist paraphernalia including flags and banners.

The public propagation of totalitarian ideologies like fascism or communism and ethnic or racial hatred is banned in Poland, a country still grappling with the memory of Nazi occupation, and carries a penalty of up to two years behind bars.

The raids in Dzierzoniow came as hundreds of neo-Nazis massed on Friday, Adolf Hitler’s birthday, just over the border in the eastern German town of Ostritz for a weekend festival.

Citizens and anti-fascist groups staged spirited counterprotests.



Jewish Home MK: Ahed Tamimi deserved bullet to the kneecap

Jewish Home lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich asserts that Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi deserved a bullet to the kneecap, “at the very least.”

Responding to a tweet from former Jewish Home MK Yinon Magal, the right-wing politician says he was saddened that the 17-year-old only received prison time for slapping and shoving IDF soldiers.

Magal, who stepped down in 2015 amid sexual harassment allegations, had posted an old video uncovered Sunday by the right-wing Ad Kan organization showing Tamimi assailing soldiers.

“I see the new video and am so happy that this Tamimi is still in custody. Sometimes it is good that the justice mills grind slowly,” Magal wrote.

But Smotrich takes a different opinion in his response to the former Jewish Home lawmaker.

“I am actually very sad that she is under arrest, Yinon. I think she had to get a bullet, at the very least, to the kneecap. It would have placed her under house arrest for the rest of her life,” he tweets.

Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich at his party’s weekly faction meeting at the Knesset, December 25, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Ten arrested as southern US neo-Nazi rally clash with protests

Ten people were arrested Saturday when a rally attended by a handful of neo-Nazis was met with hundreds of counter-protesters in a usually quiet Georgia town, local media reports.

Hundreds of police officers were deployed in Newnan, Georgia — around 40 miles southeast of Atlanta — ahead of the event organized by the National Socialist Movement, one of the US’s largest neo-Nazi groups.

There were fears the event could escalate into a repeat of the violence that stemmed from a white supremacist rally last August, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

However, only a few dozen far-right members showed up, among them the movement’s leader Jeff Schoep.

“We’re against illegal immigration. We’re standing up on a pro-white platform. And we’re trying to get our message out,” he says.

The event came a day after neo-Nazis in Germany, which is witnessing a revival of far-right and ultra-nationalist groups, marked Adolf Hitler’s birthday with the start of a two-day festival.


Members of the National Socialist Movement, one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the US, hold a swastika burning after a rally on April 21, 2018 in Draketown, Georgia. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

DC politician under fire for anti-Semitic statements also gave $500 to Nation of Islam

Washington, DC, councilman Trayon White, Sr. says a $500 donation to the Nation of Islam was meant to show his appreciation for local black men who have helped him to reach and help local youth.

White, already under fire for saying on Facebook that rich Jews control the weather and for leaving an organized tour of the U.S. Holocaust museum, says he donated $500 to the Nation of Islam’s Saviors’ Day gathering in Chicago from his constituent services fund because two local members asked him to.

He had initially said he did not know about the donation, though his treasurer told the Washington Post, which first reported the donation, that the councilman had ordered him to cut the check. The constituent services funds is made up of private money raised by lawmakers to help the residents of their districts.

At the convention, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan made anti-Semitic comments, including calling “powerful Jews” his enemy and blaming Jews in Hollywood for the existence of transgender people.

White made a Facebook Live video on Saturday to defend himself against the fallout from recent events. “I’m under constant attack,” White said at the beginning of the 35-minute video.


Trayon White speaks his truth….

Posted by Trayon White on Saturday, 21 April 2018

Trump: US has conceded ‘nothing’ to North Korea

US President Donald Trump asserts that North Korea has agreed to “denuclearization” and a halt to testing while the United States had so far conceded “nothing” in return.

North Korea pledged this week to halt nuclear and missile tests as the two countries prepare for a summit between Kim Jong Un and Trump, but has not committed to giving up its nuclear weapons — which Pyongyang views as a shield against the Western overthrow of its government.

“We haven’t given up anything & they have agreed to denuclearization (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!” Trump writes on Twitter, apparently responding to remarks made by an NBC news host.

“We are a long way from conclusion on North Korea, maybe things will work out, and maybe they won’t – only time will tell….But the work I am doing now should have been done a long time ago!”

Kim said Saturday that his country would halt testing and close a nuclear test site, which Trump hailed as “big progress.”

— AP

Police arrest members of trigger-happy Bedouin wedding party

Police say they are making progress combating illegal weapons trafficking inside Israel after a video emerged online over the weekend showing participants in a Bedouin wedding procession firing their guns celebratorily in the air as they zoomed down a highway just outside Beersheba.

In a statement, police say several members of the wedding party have been arrested and questioned. The groom was also among those detained.

Shin Bet: ‘Price tag’ attacks on sharp rise from previous year

The Shin Bet security service releases statistics showing far-right activists’ attacks on Palestinians have increased significantly since the beginning of 2018.

Through the first nearly four months of the current calendar year, the Shin Bet documented 13 “price tag” attacks. This was opposed to eight such incidents in the entirety of 2017.

“Price tag” refers to violence and other hate crimes carried out by Jewish ultra-nationalists ostensibly in retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies perceived as hostile to the settler movement.

Attacks characterized as “at least as serious as arson” are also on pace to eclipse those from last last year. Thus far in 2018, two such attacks have been carried out; while in 2017 the final tally for them was five.

While last year saw 105 indictments filed against the far-right activists, this year has seen 23 to date.

The Shin Bet statistics show that Israeli authorities have continued in their practice of employing administrative orders in response to the violence, largely carried out by young settlers known as hilltop youth.

Administrative orders can include detention, bans from entering the entire West Bank, and bans on contacting certain individuals, as well as nightly curfews.

In 2017, 63 administrative orders were issued by Israel Police. Thus far in 2018, 13 such orders have been employed.

Illustrative: A member of the “hilltop youth” rides a donkey at an illegal outpost in the northern West Bank. (Credit: Zman Emet, Kan 11)

Toll from Kabul bombing climbs to 57 dead

Afghan officials say the toll from a suicide bombing in Kabul claimed by the Islamic State group has risen to 57 dead and 119 wounded.

Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro confirms the toll of Sunday’s attack, in which the bomber targeted a voter registration center in the capital. IS claimed the attack, saying it targeted Shiite “apostates.”

Both IS and the more well-established Taliban have stepped up attacks across Afghanistan in recent years.

— AP

Image of Edelstein as Hitler posted on Likud Facebook page

The administrators of a Likud-affiliated group condemn an offensive image of Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein as Adolph Hitler that had been posted on their page.

The image has been posted as a comment on the Likud Youth Movement’s page by a user called Asher Yaku, who also called the speaker “Hitlerstein.”

Yaku was responsible for images of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin as Nazis in 2015.

PM: There’s a big difference between Zarif’s ‘moderate’ words and Iran’s actions

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserts that there’s a “huge gap” between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s “moderate” words and Iranian actions.

Speaking at a toast in honor of Israel’s 70th Independence Day with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, Netanyahu responded to Zarif’s assertions that the Jewish state violates international law.

The prime minister pointed out that “this is the foreign minister of a country that sends armed drones into Israel and fires missiles at Saudi Arabia.”

“I also heard his moderate words. There is a huge gap between his words and the actions of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which advances an army against Israel with the stated goal of destroying the State of Israel,” Netanyahu says.

“I’m not impressed by the words,” he continues.

“I rely on this forum (military officials) and on the Israel Defense Forces that is prepared for every possibility and scenario. I raise a glass to the State of Israel and the IDF.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (c) speaks at a toast in honor of Israel’s 70th anniversary with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (L) and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Dimona mayor named as official probed for sexual harassment

Police reveal the identity of the public official probed for sexually harassing a municipal employee as Dimona Mayor Benny Biton.

Authorities say they interrogated Biton for several hours before releasing him.

The Likud mayor’s lawyer’s release a statement asserting that opponents “are trying to use the police as a tool for political bashing” ahead of municipal elections.

Biton was interrogated on suspicion of having sexually harassed a subordinate, municipal council member on several occasions, Hebrew media reports.

Dimona Mayor Benny Biton at the Knesset’s Finance Committee meeting discussing sports and gambling budgets on November 30, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Germany’s Merkel to visit Israel for first time time in 4 years

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will soon visit Israel for the first time since February 2014.

In an exclusive interview with Israel’s Channel 10 news just weeks ahead of US President Donald Trump’s decision on whether to pull Washington out of the Iranian nuclear accord, Merkel asserts that Germany still prefers the existing deal, despite Israeli opposition.

The German chancellor says that Berlin is “very worried” about the Iranian missile threat and accordingly is holding talks with Washington to address the issue.

Satellite photos show precision of raid on Iranian military facility in Syria

Channel 10 reveals satellite photos taken before and after the air raid on an Iranian facility in Syria that has been attributed to Israel, showing the strike to have been very limited and precise.

The photos show a hangar on the base barraged with fire, but the surrounding area avoided the barrage.

Channel 10 says the attack carried out earlier this month only targeted the arsenal of Iranian weapons found in the area.

The strike on the T-4 Air Base near Palmyra in central Syria came after Iran launched an explosives-laden drone into Israeli airspace in February. The strike reportedly targeted Iran’s entire attack drone program at the base. The drone incident was “the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel — not by proxy,” the official said. “This opened a new period.”

US Treasury chief, Jared and Ivanka to attend embassy opening — report

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump are to attend the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14 as part of a massive delegation of some 250 guests from Washington, Channel 10 reports.

The delegation is said to include some 40 members of Congress, as well as the leaders of various American Jewish organizations.

The US State Department declines to comment on the report.

Last week, The Times of Israel reported that Jared and Ivanka were mulling making the trip to Israel for the ceremony.


Police planning on indicting Deri for tax fraud, not bribery — report

Police are planning on recommending Interior Minister Aryeh Deri be indicted on tax fraud charges, but not on more severe allegations of bribery, due to lack of evidence.

Channel 10 reports that police are close to completing the corruption probe against Deri, who has been questioned nine times as part of the investigation.

Deri is suspected of diverting hundreds of thousands of shekels in state funds to NGOs run by members of his immediate family, as well as suspected tax fraud linked to the sale of apartments to his brother.

US police hunt shirtless suspect, as Waffle House shooting kills four

Police hunt for a shirtless gunman on the run after a pre-dawn shooting at a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville, in the southern US state of Tennessee left four people dead.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department write on Twitter that the shooting occurred in an area southeast of the city at 3:25 a.m. (0825 GMT).

Three of the victims died at the scene and a fourth at a hospital, while two other people were being treated for injuries, police say.

“A patron wrestled away the gunman’s rifle. He was nude and fled on foot. He is a white man with short hair,” the department said then.

Having twice identifying the shooter as “nude,” police later tweeted that the gunman had shed his coat and was last seen wearing black pants, but no shirt.

Police say that “murder warrants are now being drafted against Travis Reinking,” a 29-year-old from Morton, Illinois, who was earlier identified as a person of interest.

Hamas member said killed in Gaza tunnel collapse

A member of the Hamas terror group has been killed during a tunnel collapse near  Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, Ynet reports.

It is not yet clear whether the underpass was an attack tunnel leading into Israel.

Footage shows police disguised as religious settlers in order to nab minor

Footage shot by residents of the northern West Bank settlement of Yitzhar shows police officers dressed up as religious settlers dragging a 15-year-old boy into a vehicle.

The minor was interrogated on suspicion of “obstructing police officers,” and was released after hours of questioning, but not before giving an administrative order banning him from the West Bank, the Honenu legal aid organization says.

The right-wing NGO says officers were dressed up wearing religious garb, including tzitzit and head coverings.

Pictures from the scene show the car used by police sporting a bumper sticker that reads “No Arabs. No terror attacks,” in an effort by cops to ostensibly blend in with the ultra-nationalist residents of Yitzhar,

Honenu says that one of the cops involved in the “brutal” operation is currently under investigation for assaulting a minor in an earlier West Bank arrest.

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