Live updates (closed)Latest: Iran media says two ‘terrorists’ killed in border clash

NGO says Israel banning Gazans from traveling with laptops

Al Jazeera ‘deplores’ Israeli moves to close broadcaster; Hebron shooter Elor Azaria asks to delay prison sentence; Arab Israeli’s citizenship revoked over 2015 terror attack

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

  • Palestinians prepare to cross from Israel into the Gaza Strip at the Erez Crossing, September 3, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)
    Palestinians prepare to cross from Israel into the Gaza Strip at the Erez Crossing, September 3, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)
  • Workers at the al-Jazeera offices in Jerusalem on June 13, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Workers at the al-Jazeera offices in Jerusalem on June 13, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on August 6, 2017.  (AFP PHOTO / AFP PHOTO AND POOL / GALI TIBBON)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on August 6, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / AFP PHOTO AND POOL / GALI TIBBON)
  • Former IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a supine, injured Palestinian attacker in 2016, waits before the start of his appeal sentencing hearing in the Kirya military base, Tel Aviv, July 30, 2017. (Avshalom Sasoni/Flash90)
    Former IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead a supine, injured Palestinian attacker in 2016, waits before the start of his appeal sentencing hearing in the Kirya military base, Tel Aviv, July 30, 2017. (Avshalom Sasoni/Flash90)
  • Suspect Alaa Raed Ahmad Zayoud at Haifa Magistrate's Court (Basel Awidat/Flash90)
    Suspect Alaa Raed Ahmad Zayoud at Haifa Magistrate's Court (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they unfolded.

Arab Israeli stripped of citizenship over 2015 terror attack

In a rare move, the Haifa Magistrate’s Court strips the citizenship of an Arab Israeli who carried out a car-ramming and stabbing attack in 2015.

Alaa Raed Ahmad Ziwad, 20, was indicted on terrorism charges later in 2015 for the attack, in which he seriously wounded a soldier and moderately injured three others near Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, northeast of Hadera.

“The respondent breached his duty towards his own country and very much harmed the security of the state and its citizens in a terror attack carried out for nationalistic motives,” the court said in the decision.

The ruling comes in response to a petition filed by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri who demanded Ziad be stripped of his Israeli citizenship.

Australian police release man in foiled plane attack plot

Australian police release a second man arrested during counter-terrorism raids, days after two others were charged with terrorism offences over an alleged plot to bring down a plane.

The 39-year-old man, named by his lawyer as Khaled Merhi, was among the four arrested during raids across Sydney last Saturday, which also led to tightened security at all major Australian airports.

“This investigation remains ongoing,” Australian Federal Police and New South Wales state police say in a statement. “A 39-year-old man, detained in relation to allegations regarding a potential terrorist attack, has been charged with one count of possession of prohibited weapon and released from police custody.”


Syrian forces take last IS stronghold in energy-rich Homs province

A Syrian war monitoring group says pro-government forces have captured the last Islamic State group stronghold in the energy-rich Homs province in central Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group says 30 IS militants were killed in the last 24 hours of battle for the town of al-Sukhna. It says the Russian air force provided air support and bombed the town.

The Observatory said al-Sukhna fell to pro-government forces yesterday.

Syrian military media reported capturing the town earlier today. The advance puts pro-government forces 68 miles (110 kilometers) from reaching companion forces trapped in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour. IS militants have held the city under siege since 2015. It has depended on risky supply flights and air drops for relief and weapons.

— AP

Hebron shooter requests delay of prison sentence

The former IDF soldier convicted of manslaughter for killing a Palestinian assailant files a request to the Military Court of Appeals asking to delay the beginning of his prison sentence until the IDF chief of staff responds to his request for leniency.

Elor Azaria last week asked IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot to commute his 18-month sentence, which he is scheduled to begin on August 9.

In January, Azaria was convicted of manslaughter for shooting dead an incapacitated Palestinian assailant after an attempted attack on Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron in 2016.

Iranian soldier reportedly opens fire at air base, wounds 10

An Iranian soldier opened fire on his colleagues, wounding 10 of them at a military air base in south Tehran, the semi-official Mehr news agency reports.

The report offers no motive for the attack. State media did not immediately report the shooting, which Mehr said took place in Kahrizak, which is on the southern outskirts of Tehran.

All injured soldiers were taken to an Air Force hospital in southeast of the city, the report says.

— AP

Bennett says Jewish Home ‘committed’ to Netanyahu government

Chairman of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett expresses support for Benjamin Netanyahu as the prime minister faces increased pressure in the two corruption cases against him.

“Israel needs stability and we need to support the national government, and we are committed to its continuation,” Bennett says in a statement.

“The prime minister is presumed innocent and I hope that the investigation will conclude without an indictment,” he says.

2 injured in Tel Aviv stabbing, paramedics say

Two people are wounded in a stabbing in central Tel Aviv, paramedics say.

One of the victims is in serious condition, the Magen David Adom spokesperson says in a statement.

Twelve killed in Nigeria church shooting, hospital says

Gunmen stormed a Catholic church in a town in southeast Nigeria early Sunday, killing 12 worshipers, hospital sources say.

The attack took place at around 6am at St. Philip’s church in Ozubulu, near the port city of Onitsha on the Niger River, according to witnesses.


Top Likud minister defends Netanyahu against ‘media offensive’

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan joins other coalition lawmakers defending Netanyahu amid increased pressure from the corruption investigations against him.

In a statement, Erdan says Netanyahu should be supported in light of the “media offensive against him.”

He says the prime minister is innocent until proven guilty, and claiming otherwise “has no place in a democratic state.”

“We must trust the attorney general and the law enforcement to do their jobs,” he says.

Israeli man said killed in Namibia car crash

An Israeli man was killed in a car accident in the southwestern African nation of Namibia, according to reports in Hebrew-language media.

The victim’s wife was reportedly injured in the crash.

The Israeli embassy is working with local authorities to determine the cause of the accident.

Hospital says Yavneh stabbing victim regains consciousness

An Israeli man seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in the central Israeli city of Yavne last week regained consciousness, the hospital says.

Niv Nehemiah was stabbed and critically wounded by a Palestinian teenager at a supermarket last Wednesday morning in a terror attack.

The Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot confirms that Nehemiah is awake and his condition is improving.

Actor Moshe Ivgy to be indicted for sex crimes

Haifa prosecutors announce they will file sex crime charges against actor Moshe Ivgy.

Prosecutors say they found sufficient evidence Ivgy exploited his status to commit indecent acts and sexually harass four women in 2012-2013, some of them in his workplace.

The charges will be lodged against the prominent stage and TV star during an upcoming court hearing, the prosecutors add.

Of his six original accusers, four women were willing to cooperate with the police investigation.

Israel moves to close Al Jazeera’s offices over ‘support for terrorism’

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara announces he will move to permanently close the Israel offices of Qatari television station Al Jazeera over its “support for terrorism.”

Kara at a press conference says he will revoke the press credentials of Al Jazeera journalists and has asked cable and satellite networks to block the broadcaster’s transmissions.

“Recently, almost all the countries in our region have determined that Al Jazeera supports terrorism and radicalization,” Kara says. “And when we see that all these countries have determined that Al Jazeera is a tool of the Islamic State, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, and we are the only one who have not determined that then something delusional is happening here.”

Al Jazeera, Kara adds “caused us to lose the lives of the best of our sons.”

He gave no timetable for the measures.

Walid al-Omari, the broadcaster’s bureau chief in Jerusalem, says on air that his office has not been informed by Israeli officials of any possible measures the government might take.

— with AP

Four dead, eight injured as soldier opens fire on Iran military base

At least four soldiers are killed and eight injured when one of their colleagues opened fire on a military air base in southern Tehran earlier today, the Iranian military says in a statement.

The incident was “probably related to psychological problems of the soldier who suddenly started firing on his comrades,” the statement says.

It took place on a shooting range, and could also have been the result of a gun misfiring, the statement adds. “The injured were transported to a medical center and an investigation has been opened.”

Knifeman arrested at Eiffel Tower ‘wanted to kill soldier’

A man arrested at the Eiffel Tower after brandishing a knife in front of tourists and security forces has told investigators he wanted to kill a soldier, sources close to the case tell AFP.

The intruder, who is aged around 19 and has a history of psychological problems, was arrested late on last night at the Paris monument after bursting past security and shouting “Allahu Akbar.”

In custody, he said he wanted to commit “an attack against a soldier and had been in contact with a member of the jihadist group Islamic State who encouraged him to take action,” a separate source tells AFP.


FBI investigators seek suspects in Minnesota mosque bombing

FBI investigators are seeking suspects after an explosive device tore through part of a suburban Minneapolis mosque as people were preparing for morning prayers, damaging a room but not causing any injuries, authorities and witnesses said.

The blast happened at around 5 a.m. yesterday at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, according to Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts. Windows of the imam’s office were shattered, either by the blast or by an object thrown through them, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Investigators will try to determine whether the incident was a hate crime and who may have been behind it, according to Richard Thornton, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis Division.

Thornton says during an afternoon news conference that the explosion was caused by an “improvised explosive device,” and that investigators have recovered components of the device to figure out how it was put together.

But he didn’t take questions and declined to provide details about the device, citing the ongoing investigation, which is being led by the FBI.

— AP

Baby injured in West Bank rock throwing attack

A 1-year-old baby is lightly wounded by rocks that were thrown at the bus he was riding in with his mother near the Karmei Tzur settlement in the central West Bank.

Fragments of glass cut his arm. A Magen David Adom ambulance took him to Shaare Zedek Medical Center for further care, the medical service says.

The army says they are aware of the incident and troops have been deployed to locate the rock throwers.

— Judah Ari Gross

Netanyahu welcomes ‘practical steps’ in banning Al Jazeera

Netanyahu welcomes Kara’s plans to ban Qatar’s flagship Al Jazeera news network from operating in Israel, saying the move was a “practical step” in eradicating incitement.

“I praise Kara, who, following my guidance, took a series of practical steps to stop Al Jazeera’s incitement in Israel,” the prime minister posts on Twitter.

Palestinians say Egypt’s Sissi nearly reconciled Hamas, Fatah

Hamas last month agreed to a reconciliation deal with the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party brokered by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, but the initiative was met by a counteroffer by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, according to reports in Arab media.

Sissi presented Abbas with the deal when the two met in early July in Cairo amid spiraling tensions between the terrorist group and its West Bank-based rival, Fatah.

The deal included Hamas dissolving a committee it formed to administer tasks historically carried out by the PA, as well as a commitment by Abbas to end harsh measures he has levied against Gaza in recent months, which include reductions in electricity supply, medical aid and governmental salaries for residents of the Strip.

Unnamed Palestinian sources tell the London-based al-Hayat daily that Abbas initially accepted Sissi’s offer, but quickly reneged and instructed his intelligence Majid Faraj to present Hamas with a counteroffer.

The Gaza-based new site Safa also quoted unnamed Palestinian officials who confirmed the report.

Hamas responded to Faraj’s offer by publicly announcing its own demands for any reconciliation deal.

— Dov Lieber

High Court strikes down apartment tax in blow to finance minister

The High Court of Justice strikes down a Knesset law imposing a special tax on homeowners who own more than two pieces of real estate, in a blow to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.

The top court rules that legislators failed to comply with Knesset procedures in hastily approving the law in December 2016. It sent the legislation back to the Knesset’s Finance Committee for revisions and additional plenum votes.

The legislation is dear to Kahlon, who threatened in October 2016 to topple the government if the coalition rejected the legislation.

The proposal has been touted as a way to drive down housing prices.

Al Jazeera slams ‘dangerous’ Israeli plans to close broadcaster

Al Jazeera “deplores” Israel’s decision to close the broadcaster’s offices in the Jewish state and will pursue the matter through legal channels, says an official at the Doha-based news channel.

“Al Jazeera deplores this action from a state that is called the only democratic state in the Middle East and considers what it has done is dangerous,” says the official who declined to be named.

He says the broadcaster “will follow up the subject through appropriate legal and judicial procedures.”


Veteran prosecutor to quit UN Syria probe that ‘does nothing’

Veteran former war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who is on a UN commission probing rights abuses in Syria, says she intends to resign because the body “does absolutely nothing.”

“I am frustrated, I give up,” she told the Swiss newspaper Blick in an interview published on Sunday. “I have written my letter of resignation and will send it in the next few days.”

Del Ponte, a 70-year-old Swiss national, who came to prominence investigating war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, has been part of the four-member UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria since September 2012.

The commission has been tasked with investigating human rights violations and war crimes in Syria since shortly after the conflict erupted in March 2011, with anti-government protests that have evolved into a complex proxy war.

The continued violence has left more than 330,000 people dead and displaced millions.


Police request public’s help locating missing US tourist

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a 26-year-old American tourist who has been missing for over a week.

Authorities say Thomas Benjamin was last seen on July 29. His bag was found near the Perazim stream in the Negev.

The police are asking anyone with any information on Benjamin’s whereabouts to contact the Arad search and rescue team at 054-745-9847.

Handout photo of missing US tourist Thomas Benjamin who was last seen in the Negev on July 29, 2017.
Handout photo of missing US tourist Thomas Benjamin who was last seen in the Negev on July 29, 2017.

Harow says he has ‘nothing to be ashamed of’; denies turning on PM

Ari Harow, Netanyahu’s former chief of staff turned state’s witness in the corruption investigations into the prime minister, told friends this week the move did not amount to him turning on his former boss.

“This isn’t like Shula Zaken,” he said according to Channel 2, referring to the aide of ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert who incriminated her former boss in a 2011 corruption trial. “Its not like I broke the law together with Netanyahu and I’m looking to take him down to escape punishment.”

“I didn’t think at the time it could be a criminal offense, and even now I hesitate to call it that. That’s why the phrase ‘turning on Netanyahu’ is not true at all,” he added.

“I’m proud of the time I served under Netanyahu and I have nothing to be ashamed of,” Harow added.

66% of Israelis want Netanyahu to resign if indicted for corruption

Some 66 percent of the Israeli public believes that Netanyahu should resign if he is indicted in either of the corruption cases against him, a new poll by Channel 10 reveals.

According to the survey, 51%, just over half, say they don’t believe the prime minister’s assertions of innocence, according to a poll published on Sunday.

According to the TV station’s survey of 751 respondents, Netanyahu’s Likud leads the other political parties.

The Likud’s Gideon Sa’ar is best poised to be elected to the premiership if Netanyahu was out of the running, the poll finds.

Israeli rights group says Gazans banned from traveling with laptops

A rights group says Israel has imposed new travel restrictions on Palestinians, preventing them from leaving the Gaza Strip with laptops.

The ban also applies in the opposite direction — an Associated Press reporter was barred yesterday from taking his laptop into Gaza.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) referred questions to the Shin Bet security service. The Shin Bet says it is not aware of a laptop ban and will look into the matter.

The Israeli group Gisha, which advocates for greater freedom of movement for Gazans, says it was informed by COGAT last week that Gazans can no longer carry electronic devices, except mobile phones, when leaving the territory.

— AP

Iran media says two ‘terrorists’ killed in border clash

Two “terrorists” were killed and four wounded on Iran’s northwestern border, a Revolutionary Guards commander says.

“The counter-revolutionary terrorist cell, which was attempting to enter Iran, was dismantled at the border in western Azerbaijan province,” says General Mohammad Pakpour, commander of the Guards land forces, according to the Mehr news agency.

“Two of the armed rebels were killed and four others injured,” he adds, without specifying if they were members of a known group.

Iranian security forces frequently clash with separatist rebels and jihadist insurgents along the restive borders with Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.


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