The Times of Israel liveblogged Wednesday’s events as they unfolded.
1 in 5 Republicans want Trump to drop out — poll
Almost one fifth of Republicans (19 percent) want party nominee Donald Trump to drop out of the race for US president, a new Reuters poll finds.
According to the survey of 396 registered Republicans, held August 5-8, a sizable majority — 70% — believe Trump should stay in the race, while 10% say they “don’t know.” The poll has a margin of error of 6%.
Reuters also finds that 44% of all registered voters want the real estate magnate to step down as the Republican nominee. The news agency surveyed 1,162 registered voters, in a poll with a 3% margin of error.
Israel thwarts bid to smuggle knives to Hamas in Gaza
Israel says it has foiled a plan to smuggle commando knives into the Gaza Strip for Hamas.
A statement from the Government Press Office says that Defense Ministry and Shin Bet officials yesterday intercepted two boxes of tools that contained professional grade 30-centimeter commando knives at the Kerem Shalom Crossing.
The officials also intercepted a shipment destined for the Palestinian electric company, which contained hidden graphite, a material used to make rocket fuel.
The materials were confiscated and the security services are conducting an investigation into the incident.
In exception, Israel allows entry of horse from Gaza
The Agriculture Ministry allows the return of a horse from Gaza to an Israeli dealer, in an unusual move due to the heath of the animal.
The ministry says the warmblood racing horse named Ohio was injured in Gaza due to the use of tack unsuitable for riding. He was brought into Israel several days ago, and met by officials from the veterinary service as he crossed the normally sealed border between Israel and Gaza.
Ohio is now stabled at an Israeli community close to the Gaza border. He is currently in quarantine and undergoing health checks and blood tests before he is allowed to return to his old home.
NATO says Turkey membership ‘not in question’
Turkey’s membership of NATO is “not in question” following the failed coup in July, the alliance says, reiterating its support for Ankara.
“Turkey’s NATO membership is not in question,” spokeswoman Oana Lungescu says in a statement issued in response to “speculative press reports.”
“NATO counts on the continued contributions of Turkey and Turkey can count on the solidarity and support of NATO,” Lungescu says.
12 newborn babies die in Baghdad hospital blaze
At least 12 newborn premature babies have died in a fire that tore through the maternity ward of one of Baghdad’s largest hospitals, medical and security officials say.
Jassem Lateef al-Karkh, from the Baghdad health directorate, says only seven babies could be saved and were taken to another ward in the Iraqi capital.
Health ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Rudeini says the blaze at the Yarmuk hospital in west Baghdad was started by an electrical fault just after midnight.
“Twenty-nine women patients who were in the same ward were evacuated to other hospitals,” he says.
Security services sealed off the area as forensic teams searched the gutted ward and angry relatives massed outside, waiting for information from the authorities. Charred incubators could be seen outside one of the entrances to the hospital, access to which was strictly controlled by the police.
Assange hints slain DNC staffer was WikiLeaks source
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hints that Seth Rich, a Jewish Democratic Party staffer murdered in Washington last month, was the source of emails published by his organization in the run-up to the DNC in Philadelphia last month.
“Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks,” Assange tells Dutch TV show Nieuwsuur. “As a 27-year-old works for the DNC was shot in the back, murdered just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington.”
“What are you suggesting?” the interviewer asks.
“I’m suggesting that our sources takes risks and they become concerned to see things occurring like that,” Assange replies.
When pressed, Assange declines to confirm that Rich was a WikiLeaks source.
WikiLeaks yesterday offered a $20,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest of Rich’s killer.
WikiLeaks Offers $20K Reward for Information in Murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich https://t.co/c0YARaemzL
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 9, 2016
Vandals scrawl ‘Jew’ on rats in DC art display
Vandals repeatedly scrawl the word “Jew” on images of rats that appear in an outdoor Chinese Zodiac art display in Washington, DC’s Chinatown.
Maintenance crews employed by DowntownDC, a private non-profit that encourages business in the city center, cleaned the graffiti from the Zodiac artwork, the DCist news website says.
Michael Villafranca, a passerby, notified police when he saw the defaced Zodiac animals, which are stenciled among the crosswalk lines at 8th and H Street in Washington’s northwest quadrant. He posted a photo on Twitter and tagged the mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser.
— Michael Villafranca (@MCVillafranca) August 8, 2016
It is the third time in a week that the installation has been defaced with the word “Jew.”
“I am so disturbed and sickened to see this walking into work, and in DC of all places,” Villafranca says in an Aug. 3 tweet, which also includes an image of the vandalism taken by another passerby.
There is no damage to the rest of the animals in the Zodiac display.
— Michael Villafranca (@MCVillafranca) August 3, 2016
Russia says it foiled Crimea ‘terrorist attacks’ by Kiev
Russia’s security service says it has thwarted “terrorist attacks” in Crimea by Ukrainian military intelligence and beaten back an armed assault by Kiev’s forces.
The FSB says in a statement that one of its agents was killed in armed clashes while arresting “terrorists” on the night of August 6-7 while a Russian soldier was killed in clashes with “sabotage-terrorist” groups sent by the Ukrainian defense ministry on August 8.
After 24 hours, IDF catches Gaza man who sneaked into Israel
A Palestinian man who sneaked into Israel from the Gaza Strip evaded capture for nearly 24 hours before he was eventually picked up by security forces this morning, the army says.
Soldiers monitoring the closed circuit cameras along the southern border with Gaza noticed the man cross into Israeli territory in the Eshkol region yesterday afternoon, an army spokesperson says.
“Forces located the unarmed suspect earlier today,” the spokesperson says.
Troops were called to the scene yesterday, but were unable to locate the man. It is not immediately clear why, the official says.
Once the man was caught, he was handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning, which should help shed some light on the incident, the army says.
— Judah Ari Gross
Israel’s judoka Linda Bolder wins first round in under-70kg comp
Israeli judoka Linda Bolder wins her first round in the women’s under-70kg competition in Rio, beating Congolese-born Yolande Bukasa Mabika, who is competing on the Refugee Olympic Team.
Bolder will fight Kim Seong-yeon of South Korea in the next round later today.
Turkey arrests (another) Israeli bird for spying
A Turkish farmer comes across a kestrel with a tag from the University of Tel Aviv on its leg and comes to the conclusion that it is an Israeli spy, Yedioth Ahronoth reports.
He calls in Turkish intelligence officials, who catch the bird and inspect it, ultimately determining that it is not connected to Israeli spying efforts, but rather an innocent animal that has apparently lost its way. The kestel is then released back into the wild.
The incident, which took place last month, is given widespread coverage in the Turkish media, which runs images of the bird after it was trapped.
This is not the first time that Turkey believed it exposed Israeli avian espionage. An almost identical incident took place in 2013, when Turkish authorities X-rayed a kestrel that had also a tag from Tel Aviv.
Trump as president is ‘frightening’ prospect — German FM
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier believes Donald Trump becoming US president would be a “frightening” prospect for the world, his spokeswoman says.
Steinmeier “is not neutral” on whether the Republican candidate is fit to occupy the Oval Office, Sawsan Chebli tells reporters.
“He is of the opinion that it is frightening, if you follow Trump’s remarks, what could become of this world if Trump actually became president,” she says. “The foreign minister is calling attention to that and that is his right.”
Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman tells the same news conference that the chancellor will stand by her policy of not commenting on the US election campaign.
Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, has already compared Trump last week to a “hate preacher,” saying he has much in common with “fear-mongers” in Germany’s right-wing populist AfD party as well as advocates of Britain’s exit from the EU.
French President Francois Hollande also said recently that Trump makes “you want to retch,” following the Republican’s “hurtful and humiliating comments” against the Muslim parents of a slain US soldier who criticized him.
Court extends detention for rabbi accused of sexual assault
Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court approves an eight-day remand extension for a rabbi accused of sexually assaulting women in his flock, Army Radio says.
Rabbi Eliezer Berland, 79, was extradited from South Africa last month and arrested upon his arrival in Israel. He is accused of several counts of sexual assault, including that of a teenage girl.
He denies the allegations against him.
Aly Raisman helps power US women’s gymnastics team to Olympic gold
The United States women’s gymnastics team, led by its Jewish-American captain Aly Raisman, wins the Olympic gold medal in Rio.
The Americans finish with a total of 184.897 points to easily outdistance silver medalist Russia, on 176.688 points. China takes the bronze.
It is the second consecutive Olympic team gold for Raisman and the US, whose team members call themselves the “Final Five.” Rio is the last Olympics to have five-member gymnastics teams. Starting in 2020 in Tokyo, each team will have four members.
After the final score is announced, the US women huddle together and cheer, led by Raisman, “We are the Final Five!”
Raisman, at 22, is the veteran of the group and nicknamed “Grandma” by teammates Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian.
— USWNTPride (@FemaleSccrProbs) August 10, 2016
Mourners flood Jerusalem streets for rabbi’s funeral
Thousands of black-clad ultra-Orthodox men fill the streets of Jerusalem for the funeral of Rabbi Aryeh Finkel, the head of the Mir Brachfeld yeshiva in Modiin Illit.
Finkel died last night at the age of 85.
The funeral procession began at his yeshiva in Modiin Illit, before moving to the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem and ending at Har Hamenuhot cemetery in the capital.
Israeli judoka Linda Bolder falls to UK opponent in under-70kg quarterfinal
Israeli judoka Linda Bolder loses her quarterfinal match in the women’s under-70kg competition at the Rio Olympics.
She is beaten with an ippon from Britain’s Sally Conway.
Like Yarden Gerbi yesterday, Bolder still has a chance of a bronze medal in the runners-up knock-out, which will take place later tonight.
At least 50 said hurt in blast on Turkey’s Syria border
At least 50 people are reportedly wounded in an explosion at a hospital on Turkey’s border with Syria.
The blast apparently occurred next to a vehicle at the entrance to the hospital.
Israeli NGO for families of fallen troops joins White House briefing
Israeli and US nonprofits that offer counseling to survivors of troops killed during military service attend a briefing by the White House initiative for military families.
Shlomi Nahumson, youth director for the Israel Defense Forces’ Widows and Orphans Organization, joins representatives from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS, in briefing staff assigned to the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative.
“Grief is a universal language,” says Lynda Davis, the executive vice president of TAPS, in a statement released by both groups. “It means so much for our surviving military families to share their grief journey with those family members who are from allied countries.”
TAPS also conducts joint programs with similar groups from Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The Joining Forces Initiative, founded in 2011 by first lady Michelle Obama and second lady Jill Biden, advocates on behalf of military families.
Archaeologists find Roman frescoes in Galilee
A team of archaeologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem uncover rare Roman frescoes at Zippori National Park in the Galilee.
The university says the frescoes adorned a building that dates back to the start of the second century CE, and include “figurative images, floral patterns and geometric motifs.” The exact purpose of the building is unclear, but the artifacts found there signal it was a structure of some importance.
The images on frescoes include a lion’s head; a horned animal, possibly a bull; a bird; and a tiger’s hindquarters and tail.
The university says the discovery reveals details about life in Zippori, which was a thriving Jewish center during the Roman and Byzantine eras.
Second blast reported in Turkey, moments after explosion at hospital
A second explosion is reported in Turkey, moments after an explosion at a hospital along the Syrian border left at least 50 people wounded.
It is unclear who is behind the suspected attacks.
— NO Turkey/Azerbaijan (@StopTurkishGov) August 10, 2016
Israeli swimmer Yakov Toumarkin makes backstroke semifinals
Israeli swimmer Yakov Toumarkin squeaks into the men’s 200m backstroke semifinals at the Rio Games, ranking 16th in the qualifying heats.
He will compete in one of the two semifinals tomorrow afternoon.
Turkish official says PKK behind twin blasts
A Turkish official says rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are behind two explosions, apparently targeting police, which wounded dozens of people.
UK judge hits back at neo-Nazi with expletive-laden retort
A British judge fires back at a neo-Nazi who calls her “a bit of a c**t” in her courtroom.
According to the Sun newspaper, Patricia Lynch QC replies: “You are a bit of a c**t yourself. Being offensive to me doesn’t help.”
The defendant, John Hennigan, then tells Justice Lynch to ““Go f**k yourself.” She replies: “You too.”
Hennigan then starts hammering on the glass panel of the dock, performs a Nazi salute, shouts “Sieg Heil,” and begins to sing “Jews, gas them all.”
An apparently unflustered Lynch then orders him to be taken away.
Hennigan was sentenced to 18 months in jail for making racist remarks to a black woman — his ninth violation of an anti-social behavior order.
Nisman files to feature in new probe of Iranian role in AMIA bombing
A federal judge in Argentina agrees to transfer the case file of late prosecutor Alberto Nisman to a judge presiding over a new investigation into an alleged Argentine government plan to whitewash Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing at a Buenos Aires Jewish center.
Judge Daniel Rafecas will send Nisman’s information to Judge Claudio Bonadio, who is looking into the country’s Jewish former foreign minister, Hector Timerman, for his alleged role in the plan. Bonadio also is investigating ex-president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner for an alleged 2015 government securities fraud scheme.
Rafecas, the judge who originally rejected the Nisman accusations, ruled in March that no new evidence has come to light and that the case should remain closed due to the absence of a proven criminal offense. But prosecutor Eduardo Taiano ruled a week ago that the accusations made by Nisman against Argentina’s previous government must be reopened in response to a request made by two fathers of the AMIA center bombing victims, who were accepted as plaintiffs in the case by Bonadio.
Reports: Bomb threats for 2 incoming flights to Belgium
Local media say two planes due to land at Belgium’s Brussels airport have been warned that there are on bombs on board.
Belgium minister says plane bomb threats being taken seriously
Belgian’s interior minister says the threat of bombs on board two Brussels-bound planes is serious enough to implement extra security measures at the city’s airport, local media report.
Official says 7 killed in twin blasts in Turkey
A Turkish security source says at least seven civilians were killed in two separate bomb attacks earlier today that were blamed on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Four people died in a car bomb attack in the center of the city of Diyarbakir, while another three civilians lost their lives in a near simultaneous bombing in Kiziltepe in Mardin province to the south, says the source, who asked not to be named.
Both bomb attacks had been aimed at passing police vehicles, the Dogan news agency says. NTV television says 25 people were wounded in the Mardin attack and 13 people wounded in Diyarbakir.
Belgium bomb-threat planes said landed safely
Two planes involved in a bomb threat shortly before arriving at Brussel’s airport have both landed safely, reports say.
According to media reports, one of the planes was diverted to Toulouse, France and the other landed in Brussels. Passengers have reportedly been safely removed from both aircraft.
One of the planes apparently departed from Olso in Norway and the other from Stockholm in Sweden.
Turkish FM says parliament to ratify Israel deal before recess
Turkey’s foreign minister says parliament will approve a deal to normalize ties with Israel before it goes into its summer recess later this month, the Anadolou news agency reports.
“I think we will finalize this work before the parliament goes into the summer recess,” Mevlut Cavusoglu is quoted as telling the state-run agency.
Turkey and Israel signed a deal in June to restore their ties that hit an all-time low after a May 2010 raid by Israeli commandos on a Gaza-bound aid ship left 10 Turks dead.
Israel has already offered compensation and an apology over the raid, but with the agreement it also eases the naval blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza, allowing Ankara to deliver humanitarian aid for Palestinians there.
Cavusoglu acknowledges parliament has so far not taken up the deal with Israel, because of time pressure created by the July 15 coup attempt by rogue elements in the military.
“Israel has lived up to our conditions. We said ‘if the conditions are fulfilled we’ll normalize ties.’ So we must implement it as soon as possible,” he says.
Only once the deal is ratified by parliament will Turkey and Israel begin the process of exchanging ambassadors to fully restore their diplomatic ties.
Construction workers uncover unexploded WWI mortar shell
Construction workers in the central city of Yehud uncover an unexploded mortar shell dating back to World War I, police say.
A bomb disposal unit is dispatched to the building site on Ashkenazi Street in the city to remove the shell.
Police seal off the surrounding area as a precaution until the ordnance is safely removed. The closed-off streets are then reopened.
— Judah Ari Gross
Haniyeh: Claims that Gaza aid workers helped Hamas are false
Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh reiterates the group’s denial that it recruited staff of foreign charities in Gaza.
“Israeli claims that international organization employees are affiliated with Hamas are completely false,” Haniyeh tells a Norwegian diplomat, according to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an.
Israel has accused three employees of different international aid agencies operating in Gaza of assisting the terror group, which has ruled Gaza since 2007.