The Times of Israel liveblogged Saturday’s events as they happened.
NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Florida — A top Miami-Dade fire official tells family members of people missing in the rubble of a collapsed condo building that rescue workers planned to demolish the remainder of the building on Sunday.
Worries have intensified over the past week that the damaged structure could come tumbling down on its own, endangering the crews below and complicating the search for victims.
Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah tells family members during a briefing this morning that the building will be brought down “as soon as possible. First thing tomorrow.”
But he cautions that there “may be some hiccups.” A follow-up meeting this afternoon will be held to finalize details of the demolition, which could be a precarious operation, as experts enter the building to bore into the structure to install explosives.
A fire breaks out near Kibbutz Be’eri in the southern Eshkol Regional Council, with the Fire and Rescue services saying the blaze was sparked by a balloon-borne incendiary device launched from the nearby Gaza Strip.
דיווח ראשוני על שריפה שפרצה באזור בארי. נבדק אם נגרמה מבלוני תבערה.
אתמול פרצה שריפה אחת בעוטף מבלונים.
בישראל בחרו להכיל ולא תקפו ברצועה pic.twitter.com/y6oRJu8Prl
— almog boker (@bokeralmog) July 3, 2021
Russia reports its fifth record for daily COVID-19 deaths in a row, as countries around the world rush to contain the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
The variant has propelled a resurgence of the virus which has already killed nearly four million people, forcing numerous nations to reimpose restrictions, well over a year after the pandemic first swept the world.
Russia has so far ruled out a new lockdown to fight surging Delta cases, even as it reports 697 more deaths today — setting a new nationwide record for the fifth straight day.
The Russian city of Saint Petersburg hosted a Euro 2020 quarter-final between Spain and Switzerland last night, with concern raised after hundreds of cases were detected among spectators attending games across the continent.
Russia had hoped its vaccination campaign would tamp down a new wave, but it has met with widespread skepticism and a sluggish rollout, with only 16 percent of Russia’s 146 million people having been jabbed.
Thousands of troops and police hit the streets in Indonesia to enforce a partial lockdown imposed today, as the country records a record 27,913 new daily cases as well as 493 deaths.
Mosques, restaurants and shopping malls are shuttered in the capital Jakarta, across the main island of Java and on Bali, after the daily caseload quadrupled in less than a month, with the Delta variant blamed.
The overwhelmed healthcare system is teetering on the brink of collapse, as jammed hospitals turn away patients, forcing desperate families to hunt for oxygen tanks to treat the sick and dying at home.
Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Myanmar orders two million people in the city of Mandalay to stay at home Friday, as the coup-hit country struggles to contain coronavirus cases.
New measures are also put into place in Portugal, with an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew entering into force overnight for nearly half the population, in a bid rein in rising Delta infections.
Iran, battling the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus, warns it could be hit by yet another wave of infections.
The Delta variant, first identified in India and now present in at least 85 countries, has driven outbreaks in places that had previously been able to, for the most part, avoid the pandemic’s ravages.
Fiji, which went an entire year without recording any community coronavirus cases until Delta arrived in April, records its biggest-ever infection increase today.
Authorities report two deaths and warn of more to come, as the virus threatens to overwhelm the South Pacific nation’s health system.
Hundreds protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority’s seat of power, over the recent death of prominent opposition figure Nizar Banat while he was in the custody of PA security forces.
The protesters call for those those involved in Banat’s death to be put on trial and call for PA President Mahmoud Abbas to resign, according to the Kan public broadcaster.
מאות פלסטינים מפגינים ברמאללה, דורשים להעמיד לדין את המעורבים במות הפעיל ניזאר בנאת, וקוראים לאבו מאזן להתפטר. על כמה משלטי המחאה נכתב: "הסתלק, יא עבאס"@guy_telaviv @galberger pic.twitter.com/tRFjqisJmd
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) July 3, 2021
SURFSIDE, Florida — Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava says two more bodies were found in the rubble of a collapsed condo building, bringing the number of confirmed dead to 24. The number of people who remain unaccounted for in the collapse is 124.
MARSA MATROUH, Egypt — Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has opened a strategic naval base on the Mediterranean Sea to “secure shipping lines,” the presidency says.
“It is the latest Egyptian military base on the Mediterranean, and will be focused on securing the country’s northern and western front,” Sissi says in a statement.
The ceremony is attended by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
The base lies some 255 kilometers (160 miles) west of Alexandria, towards the border with Libya, a country in which both Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have played a key military role.
State-run newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm reports that the base includes an airstrip and a 1,000-meter (3,280-foot) long pier.
The opening coincides with the eighth anniversary of Sissi leading the military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
افتتاح السيد الرئيس عبد الفتاح السيسي اليوم قاعدة ٣ يوليو البحرية بمنطقة جرجوب علي الساحل الشمالي الغربي لمصر.
A fire has broken out on an Israeli ship in the northern Indian Ocean after it was attacked, the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese TV station al-Mayadeen reports.
The Israeli ship was moving towards the coast of the United Arab Emirates, unnamed sources tell the station.
The sources say the vessel was struck by an unknown weapon, causing the fire.
LARNACA, Cyprus — Cyprus requests emergency assistance of planes from Israel and the European Union to fight a wildfire fanned by strong winds and high temperatures that has forced the evacuation of several villages.
The fire spread from the Limassol district of Arakapa, destroying property in the area. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
With Cyprus sweltering under a week-long heatwave and temperatures rising to 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), some villages in the nearby Larnaca district were also evacuated as a precaution.
Foreign Minister Nikos Christoulides tells the official CNA news agency that Cyprus has requested assistance from neighboring Israel.
“We have requested four aircraft, which will be thrown into the battle to extinguish the fires,” the minister says.
The fire is raging on several fronts, with off-duty personnel called in to help with the firefighting effort.
Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis says the island has also turned to the EU.
“It is difficult, that’s why we’ve asked for help from both Israel and the European Union,” Kadis tells CNA.
“Specifically, four aircraft were requested to be sent to extinguish the fires,” he says, adding planes were also expected from Greece.
Over 20 firefighting vehicles, six helicopters and four planes are already fighting the flames, assisted by British troops and equipment stationed on the Mediterranean island.
Dense smoke cam be seen in the southern resort town of Larnaca, 40 kilometers (25 miles) down the coast from Limassol, with the sun turning a “blood orange” color.
Likud MK Israel Katz says that former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not take up his proposal to give another lawmaker from the right-wing party another crack at forming a government.
“I suggested to Netanyahu at the time, if he is offering the head of every small party to be prime minister, then he could let me be prime minister,” Katz tells Channel 12 news.
Katz asserts that if given the chance to assemble a coalition, he “definitely” would have succeeded in doing so.
“I think I was right on this, and it’s too bad that didn’t happen. But Netanyahu decided that he will go on to be opposition leader and we respect this.”
The former finance minister also says he’ll contend for leadership of the party when Netanyahu decides he will no longer seek back the premiership from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
The ship reportedly struck in an attack in the Indian Ocean used to be partly owned by Israeli shipping tycoon Eyal Ofer, but was sold a few months ago, according to Israeli media reports.
Ofer’s share in the Tyndall, a Liberian-flagged cargo ship, was sold several months ago, according to the Haaretz daily.
There does not appear to be any injuries or significant damage to the vessel.
Iran is suspected of being behind an attack on a formerly Israeli-owned vessel in the Indian Ocean as it headed to the UAE, the Ynet news site quotes unnamed sources in Israel as saying.
Several other Israeli media reports say that the current belief in Israel is that Iran was responsible for the attack.
NEW YORK — A ransomware attack launched hours before the US Independence Day holiday weekend potentially affected 1,000 businesses, researchers say.
Information technology company Kaseya confirmed yesterday that its “VSA” software — used to manage and monitor computers remotely — had been targeted, but said it had limited the attack to “a very small percentage of our customers” who use the tools.
The software, however, was manipulated “to encrypt more than 1,000 companies,” cybersecurity specialist Huntress Labs says today.
New Health Ministry figures show 460 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed this weekend. The figure includes 323 recorded yesterday and another 137 since midnight.
The infections bring the number of active cases to 2,398. Yesterday’s figure is the highest since April 6 and comes amid a recent rise in cases.
The number of people in serious condition with COVID-19 complications ticks up slightly to 31. The death toll remains at 6,429, with only one fatality recorded in the past two weeks.
The ministry says the positive test rate for both today and yesterday is 0.5 percent, similar to the preceding few days.
It also reports that 9,569 people received a first dose of the COVID vaccine, and another 1,390 got a second shot.
According to the ministry, over 5.62 million people — out of Israel’s population of more than 9.3 million — have gotten at least one vaccine shot. Of those, close to 5.2 million received a second dose.
It also reports that 9,569 people received a first dose of the COVID vaccine since midnight, and another 1,390 got a second shot.
The Israel Defense Forces announces it will form a medical investigative committee to probe the death of Colonel Sharon Asman, a commander of the Nahal Brigade, who died this week during fitness training.
“The committee will be led by a senior medical officer who is an expert in the relevant field and it will investigative the metal aspects relating to the officer’s death,” a statement from the military says.
It also says the committee will examine a “broad range of medical issues” relating to Asman’s death, and that it will begin work tomorrow.
Asman, 42, had only started in the post of brigade commander a few days before.
Hamas mouthpiece al-Resalah reports that Israeli aircraft are striking targets in the Gaza Strip, after a balloon-borne incendiary device launched from the coastal enclave sparked a blaze in southern Israel earlier today.
There are no immediate reports of injuries
Zodiac Maritime, a shipping firm led by Israeli magnate Eyal Ofer, says it does not own or operate the vessel attacked today in the Indian Ocean.
“Following reports in the media, we can confirm that the vessel CSAV Tyndall is not owned or operated by Zodiac Maritime, which is a UK ship management company,” it says in a statement.
The attack on the ship was first reported by a Lebanese television station linked to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed terror group, and Israeli media reports have said that the belief in Israel is that the strike was an Iranian operation.
The Health Ministry says over 100,000 people in Israel between the ages of 12 and 16 years old have now been vaccinated, as it pushes to increase immunization rates among that age cohort.
“This is an unprecedented achievement,” the ministry says in a statement, while reiterating its call for anyone over 12 who wants to get vaccinated to do so.
A Palestinian has been shot and killed by the Israeli military near the West Bank Palestinian town of Qusra, near Nablus, the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry says.
The Israel Defense Forces says it received reports of a confrontation between Palestinians and Israelis near Qusfa. Troops from the military and Border Police who were dispatched to the scene worked to disperse both groups and used riot dispersal means, according to the IDF.
“During the operation, a suspect was identified on the roof of a building throwing a suspicious object that exploded toward the troops,” a statement from the military says.
The statement adds that the soldiers “responded with fire toward the suspect to remove a threat. A hit was identified.” No Israeli troops were injured.
The health ministry identified the deceased Palestinian as 20-year-old Mohammad Farid. According to the Ma’an News Agency, Farid was transferred to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva for medical treatment before dying from his wounds.
A Palestinian man was shot dead by IDF soldiers near Qusra in the West Bank, amid clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers. According to reports the man threw an IED at forces in the area. pic.twitter.com/TAQlOdY7RQ
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) July 3, 2021
The military confirms Israeli Air Force fighter jets are carrying out strikes in Gaza on targets linked to Hamas
A statement from the Israel Defense Forces says the strikes targeted a weapons production facility belonging to the Gaza-ruling terror group and a rocket launcher.
“The strikes were carried out in response to the continued launching of incendiary balloons toward Israeli territory,” the statement says.
The military also says vows that it “will continue to respond firmly against continued terror attempts from the Gaza Strip.”
תיעוד לתקיפות צה"ל, הלילה ברצועת עזה: pic.twitter.com/71loMcrWV1
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) July 3, 2021
Official Hamas media reports that one person was wounded as a result of Israeli strikes, without elaborating on their condition.
Two Israeli firefighting planes will be dispatched tomorrow to Cyprus to help a battle a large fire in the Eastern Mediterranean island country, a government statement says.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett signed off on the move this evening, with the statement citing the “close ties between Israel and Cyprus, in particular on mutual assistance in times of crises.”
Israel will also send fire retardant materials, according to the joint statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, Foreign Ministry and Public Security Minister.
The statement also says Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke with his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides, pledging Israel “will do everything it can to help Cyprus in getting control of events.”
The announcement comes after Cyprus earlier today requested emergency assistance from Israel and the European Union to help fight the wildfire.
Private Israeli intelligence group The Intel Lab releases satellite photos of what it says is damage from a reported drone attack on an Iranian nuclear facility last month.
Iran claimed to have foiled the attack on the site in Karaj, but Israeli media reports said the facility — said to have been used for assembling centrifuges for uranium enrichment — was damaged in the strike.
According to Nournews, June 24th, 2021 "Security forces have managed to foil an act of sabotage against one of the buildings of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) in Karaj, Alborz province". Satellite Image from July 1st tells a different story. #Iran #Nuclear #JCPOA pic.twitter.com/QTAqTml4HT
— The Intel Lab (@TheIntelLab) July 3, 2021
MIAMI — As crews continue to search for victims within the rubble of the collapsed 12-story condominium complex near Miami, officials reassure families that they are also on the lookout for their cherished pets.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava says that at least three sweeps have been conducted, some by camera, at a portion of the complex still standing — and that no animals have been found.
“I very much understand that pets are part of people’s families,” the mayor says, noting that she, too, has been a pet owner. “My heart goes out to those who fear for their animals, and I just want you to know that additional efforts have been made and are being made.”
A flank of Champlain Tower South remains mostly intact, but officials said they would demolish the remaining structure as soon as tomorrow — ahead of incoming Tropical Storm Elsa that could put the building precariously at risk of collapsing on its own.
Cava says she informed a contractor of possible locations of missing pets. “They’re aware and doing everything that they might do just to make an additional search,” she says.
But the mayor says there won’t be a door-to-door search because it is too dangerous to do so.
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