The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they unfolded.
US-led coalition strikes kill 56 civilians in Syria, monitor says
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 56 civilians, including 11 children, were killed in dawn raids by the US-led coalition outside a Syrian village held by the Islamic State group.
Dozens more civilians are injured in the strikes, including some who were in serious condition, according to the monitor.
“Residents were fleeing the village of Al-Tukhar in Aleppo province when the strikes hit,” says Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
He says the strikes appeared to have been carried out in error, with the civilians being mistaken for IS fighters.
The Observatory — which relies on a network of sources inside Syria for its information — says it determines what planes carried out raids according to their type, location, flight patterns and the munitions involved.
Asked about the incident, the coalition had no immediate comment but says it is looking into the reports.
2 Turkish cops killed in attack on roadblock
Officials say two policemen have been killed in northern Turkey in an attack targeting officers manning a security roadblock.
Gov. Yucel Yavuz says the attack occurred in the town of Macka, near the Black Sea. Five other police officers and a civilian are also wounded in the attack. Yavuz describes the assault as a “terror attack.”
The private Dogan news agency says the assailants fired shots and hurled hand grenades at the officers.
It was not immediately clear if Kurdish rebels, who have been targeting police in the past year, are responsible for the attack. The Islamic State group has also carried out a series of attacks in Turkey.
The attack comes days after a failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which led to the deaths of 232 people.
Rivlin on Lebanon war: Heroism, fortitude overcame shortfalls
President Reuven Rivlin tells a ceremony marking ten years since the Second Lebanon War that the bravery and determination of IDF troops during the conflict compensated for failures in military planning.
The president says the conflict was “a war in which devotion to the goal, the camaraderie, determination, sacrifice, and dedication of the fighters and commanders covered the failures and flaws exposed in the levels of preparedness. A war in which heroism and fortitude defeated what was discovered lacking in the emergency stockpiles and equipment.”
Speaking at the official state ceremony at military cemetery on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, Rivlin says that the defeat of Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah in the 33-day war has brought a lasting calm to the northern border, but warns the Shiite organization still seeks to destroy the Jewish state.
“Hezbollah received a severe blow during that battle,” he says. “The State of Israel discouraged its opponents and in the last decade since the end the Second Lebanon War, quiet has returned to the north, tourism is booming, and communities are growing. But we must internalize the essence of the threat that we face, and listen at all times to the sounds of war bubbling beneath the deceptive calm. Hezbollah continues to rearm itself and it has not ceased in its efforts to destroy Israel.”
Rivlin also hails the IDF for studying its failures during the war and implementing change, a characteristic he says has helped Israel to survive in the face of adversity.
“The ability to thoroughly investigate, the ability to criticize and to conduct a comprehensive learning process which includes making comprehensive changes as we did following the Second Lebanon War, is not to be taken for granted,” he says. “It is a testimony to the power of the State of Israel. This is our strength. This is our fortitude. We must continue to be that way.”
The president always pays tribute to the soldiers who fell in the war: “It’s been a decade since the war, and every day, every hour, every minute and second you seek solace; and there is none. May the memory of our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, dear loved ones be engraved in our hearts forever. May their souls be bound in eternal life,” he says.
PM at 2006 war memorial: Attackers will be met with ‘iron fist’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells a ceremony in Jerusalem marking ten years since the Second Lebanon War that Israel would respond with an “iron fist” if it is attacked by the Hezbollah or Hamas terror groups.
Netanyahu tells the service at Mount Herzl military cemetery that Israel is ready to meet quiet with quiet, but is prepared for war.
“If the quiet is preserved, those who stand against us will also enjoy quiet. But if we must respond to aggression, the response will be powerful. Anyone who thinks they will find here a ‘spider’s web’ will come up against an ‘iron wall,’ and will feel an iron fist.”
Hezbollah and Hamas, he says, “have established forward bases for Iran on our border. Everything that has happened in the Middle East in recent years is part of the same trend: radical Islamic terror that seeks to shatter liberty and culture with its sword thrusts.
“This terror strikes not only Sarona [market in Tel Aviv] or Otniel [settlement] — it strikes in Paris and Nice, Brussels and Orlando. We are in a global campaign. Just as we are well aware of the character of the threats, so we are preparing for every contingency.”
Italy names 5 nationals killed in Nice
Italy says five of the 84 dead in the Nice truck attack were Italians, including two couples celebrating a recent retirement.
The Foreign Ministry names the dead as Maria Grazia Ascoli, 77, and Mario Casati, 90, of Milan; Angelo D’Agostino, 71, and his wife Gianna Muset, 68, both of Voghera, and Carla Gaveglio, 48, of Piasco, in the Piedmont region.
Italian news reports says Ascoli and Casati, along with D’Agostino and Muset, had traveled to Nice together to celebrate D’Agostino’s retirement.
The Italian Foreign Ministry says in a statement that French authorities had formalized the identification overnight. It says the families had been notified and expresses its solidarity “to the family and friends of the victims of the barbarous attack.”
S. African twins remanded over plot to hit Jewish sites, US embassy
Two South African brothers are remanded in custody over allegations they plotted to attack the US embassy and Jewish institutions, as well as planning to join the Islamic State group.
The arrests of 23-year-old twins Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie earlier this month were the first in South Africa relating to alleged IS membership.
“Both the defense and the state were not ready to proceed, hence the trial was postponed until July 25,” National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Phindi Louw tells reporters outside Johannesburg magistrates’ court.
“We have reasonable and probable cause to believe that an offence was committed.”
Police said last week that the pair are suspected of planning to bomb the US embassy in Pretoria as well as unspecified Jewish facilities.
They are also alleged to have attempted to travel to Syria to join IS.
Jerusalem planning tight security for Pride parade
Police are planning to deploy large numbers of officers to protect the annual Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem, a year after 16-year-old Shira Banki was murdered by an anti-gay Jewish zealot at the march.
Marchers will undergo a security check at the start of the parade in Liberty Park, where they will receive ID bracelets, Ynet reports. Police also say that the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, which is organizing the event, has submitted a list of participants, and only names on the list will gain entry.
Police say, however, that people will be allowed to join the parade as it makes its way through the street of the city once they undergo a security check. No one will be permitted to march with a weapon, even those who have a license to carry a gun.
Trump campaign: ‘Absurd’ to say Melania stole speech from first lady
The Trump campaign dismisses criticism that Melania Trump directly lifted two passages nearly word-for-word from the speech that Michelle Obama delivered in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention, calling the complaints “just absurd.”
“There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech,” Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, tells CNN. “Certainly, there’s no feeling on her part that she did it,” he said. “What she did was use words that are common words.”
The passages in question from Mrs. Trump’s address at the Republican National Convention last night focused on lessons that she says she learned from her parents and the relevance of their lessons in her experience as a mother.
Manafort says Mrs. Trump was aware of “how her speech was going to be scrutinized” and that any notion that she picked up portions of Mrs. Obama’s convention talk was “just absurd.”
The White House declined to comment on similarities between the two prime-time speeches, but the issue is likely to arise at the daily White House briefing.
Taiwan bus inferno kills 26, mainly China tourists
A fire rips through a bus carrying tourists from China in Taiwan, killing all 26 on board in the worst traffic accident to hit mainland visitors since a holiday boom to the island.
The disaster, which occurred as the tourists were heading to the airport for their flight home, is the latest in a series that have called into question Taiwan’s safety record.
Media footage shows the bus, with flames shooting from the front, rammed into an expressway barrier near Taipei.
The images show thick plumes of smoke and burned-out wreckage at the roadside.
A police spokesman says the bus caught fire before it crashed into the barrier but gave no reason.
“All the people on the bus died,” says Lin Kuan-cheng, spokesman for the National Fire Agency. “At this stage it is still not clear why no passengers escaped from the bus.”
Arab family in Galilee calls new baby boy ‘Erdogan’
An Arab Israeli family in the Lower Galilee town of Kafr Manda calls newborn baby boy “Erdogan,” presumably after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
ארדואן "ארדוגאן" "اردوغان" שם נולד חדש בכפר מנדא pic.twitter.com/7HukIRzq2G
— sami abed alhamed (@samiaah10) July 19, 2016
The original Erdogan last weekend defeated an attempted coup in Turkey by members of the military.
IDF asks: How well do you know Hamas?
The IDF releases an online quiz to test people’s familiarity with the Hamas terror group.
“Hamas is the terror organization that is responsible for most of the terror attacks in Israel.” the army writes in the blurb accompanying the 11-question quiz. “How well do you really know it?”
The questions focus on Hamas’s terrorist activity, highlighting the group’s alleged links to Islamic State, Hezbollah and Iran, as well as the tunnels it is digging from Gaza into Israel in order to carry out attacks.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 19, 2016
The quiz is featured on the Playbuzz content-creation website, which is co-founded by Shaul Olmert, the son of former prime minister Ehud Olmert.
EU looks to Israeli tech to battle terrorists
A top European Union security official says the body is looking to Israeli technology in its efforts to locate so-called lone wolf terrorists before they attack.
“How do you capture some signs of someone who has no contact with any organization, is just inspired and started expressing some kind of allegiance? I don’t know. It’s a challenge,” EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove tells Reuters during an conference on intelligence in Tel Aviv.
He says that internet companies had proved reluctant to police their own systems for content that could indicate terrorist activity, arguing that there was too much information to process, and highlights the difference to the automated monitors for pornography involving children.
“So maybe a human’s intervention is needed. So you cannot just let the machine do it,” De Kerchove says.
“That is why I am here,” he adds. “We know Israel has developed a lot of capability in cyber.”
Europe is reeling from a string of attacks that have killed hundreds of people. At least two of the attacks — in Copenhagen in February 2015 and in Nice last week — were carried out by one person apparently acting alone.
Erdogan spokesman: Claims of staged coup are nonsensical
Erdogan’s spokesman hits out at claims that last week’s attempted coup in the country was orchestrated to strengthen the president’s position.
“It is really nonsensical. This is no different really than claiming 9/11 was orchestrated by the United States — and that the Paris and Nice attacks were orchestrated by the French government,” he tells foreign reporters.
The crackdown implemented in the wake of the quickly quashed putsch has led some to speculate the entire incident was a false flag operation.
Man held in France for stabbing woman and her 3 daughters
Authorities in southern France detain a man they say stabbed a woman and her three daughters at an Alps resort, apparently upset at what they were wearing.
Jean-Marc Duprat, a deputy mayor for the town of Laragne-Monteglin in the Hautes-Alpes region, says the mother and her girls, aged 8, 12 and 14, were vacationing at a nearby resort when the man attacked them this morning. He says the man, who is not related to them, was upset they were wearing shorts and T-shirts. He was arrested after he tried to flee.
The condition of the woman and her daughters was not immediately known.
Laragne-Monteglin is 110 miles (180 kilometers) northwest of Nice, where a Tunisian man killed 84 people last week by driving through a crowd on Bastille Day.
Herzog: Deterrence on northern border holds until today
The deterrence created by the IDF along northern border lasts until today, opposition leader Isaac Herzog tells a special Knesset to mark the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War.
“In retrospect, when the Middle East is changing before our eyes, and after battles on other fronts, there is still a considerable deterrent effect achieved during the Second Lebanon War,” he says, according to Walla.
“Hezbollah is not as trigger happy as in the past,” he says.
“The deterrence on the northern border was achieved thanks to the might of the army, thanks to the bravery of conscript soldiers and reservists who fought with courage and sacrifice, and, no less, thanks to the courage and steadfastness of hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens on a home front that became a battle front.”
Reports: Large explosion rocks Ankara
A large explosion has hit the Turkish capital of Ankara, Sky News and other media outlets report.
European envoys complain over IDF seizure of West Bank caravans
Eight European ambassadors accuse the IDF of displacing 75 Palestinian Bedouins in the West Bank by confiscating caravans given to them by international donors.
The ambassadors, from Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland and Norway, warn that policies targeting Bedouin communities could create a “coercive environment” forcing them to leave their areas.
Such a scenario could result in forcible transfers, “which are considered a grave breach of international humanitarian law,” the ambassadors say in a joint letter to Major General Yoav Mordechai, the head of the military body that coordinates Israeli activities in the West Bank and Gaza. The ambassadors also say the confiscated caravans and materials cost $64,500.
“It is a serious concern that humanitarian assistance which is delivered under humanitarian principles be confiscated,” they say.
As occupying power, the envoys argue, Israel is required to meet the basic needs of the population.
“Relief items should not be requisitioned, confiscated, expropriated or interfered with,” they say.
Reported Ankara blast is a house fire, local sources say
Local media says that was initially reported as an explosion in Ankara is in fact a house fire.
Images from the Turkish capital show smoke rising over the city. The fire is under control, reports say.
Edelstein raps MKs for poor turnout at 2006 war memorial
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein criticizes lawmakers after only approximately one-third of the 120 Knesset members and just three government ministers attend a special Knesset session to mark the 10th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War.
“I apologized to the bereaved families for the fact that most Knesset members chose not to honor the event with their presence in the plenum,” Edelstein writes in a series of posts on Twitter, invoking ongoing concerns “about rifts between the leadership and the public in Israel.”
He writes: “Perhaps [attending such ceremonies] is a small thing before getting to be prime minister or foreign minister or defense minister — at least come and sit here.”
Of the 46 MKs who did turn out for the session, 23 were members of the opposition and 23 were members of the coalition, Channel 2 says.
Burial society mistakenly inter wrong body in Petah Tikva
Israel’s chevra kadisha burial society mistakenly buries the body of the wrong woman at a funeral in Petah Tikva.
The error is discovered after the funeral, and the body is dug up and the right one interred, the 0404 website reports.
“There was a lot of distress at the scene,” a family friend says. “Everything had to start from the beginning and the husband was asked again to identify again that this was his wife. Someone here should pay for the harm caused to the bereaved family.”
Angela Eagle drops out of Labour race to replace Corbyn
Angela Eagle drops out of the race for the Labour leadership shortly before the deadline, after colleague Owen Smith secures more support from party lawmakers.
Eagle was the first to challenge Jeremy Corbyn as leader, triggering further internal fighting in an already divided party.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 19, 2016
Trump wasn’t authorized to use ‘We Are the Champions,’ Queen says
Another musical act is telling Donald Trump to stop using their music.
The classic rock band Queen posts a statement on Twitter on Tuesday saying they never approved Trump’s use of “We Are the Champions” during the 2016 Republic National Convention.
An unauthorised use at the Republican Convention against our wishes – Queen
— Queen (@QueenWillRock) July 19, 2016
Before Melania Trump gave a speech in Cleveland on Monday night, Trump made a brief appearance to introduce her and walked onstage to Queen’s 1977 hit song.
“An unauthorised use at the Republican Convention against our wishes,” the band writes.
Other musicians who have asked Trump to stop using their music include the Rolling Stones, Adele and Neil Young.
Probe into PM to include gifts to Sara Netanyahu
A preliminary probe into the prime minister for alleged corruption will include a police examination into whether Sara Netanyahu received expensive gifts during trips abroad, Channel 2 reports.
According to the report, the probe will examine claims that unnamed “millionaires” would make a “pilgrimage” to Mrs. Netanyahu when she joined her husband on foreign visits, and then shower her with costly presents.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit earlier this month confirmed he had ordered the preliminary probe into Netanyahu, but rejected “inaccurate” media reports about the nature of the suspicions.
According to reports, the attorney general is examining suspicions of money laundering involving the prime minister and an unnamed senior Justice Ministry official, among others.
Former Netanyahu chief of staff and fundraiser Ari Harow was grilled by police for a second time yesterday in the case that has embroiled Netanyahu but is mostly being kept under wraps.
Boris Johnson unapologetic for ‘rich thesaurus’ of insults
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson refuses to apologize for withering one-liners he’s made about world leaders in the past, but wins the support of Britain’s closest ally as the country navigates its difficult path out of the European Union.
Hosting US Secretary of State John Kerry in London, Johnson says people are “free to rake over” his past comments but that it would “take too long to engage in a full global itinerary of apology” to all those who might have been offended in the past by his “rich thesaurus” of comments, many made in his regular newspaper columns.
Johnson, who was appointed to his new job last week, says he is now focusing on dealing with issues like the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Syria and the troubles in Yemen.
“Those to my mind are far more important than any obiter dicta that you may disinter [from] 30 years of journalism,” Johnson says, referring to a term used in law to denote an incidental remark.
— POLITICO Europe (@POLITICOEurope) July 19, 2016
White House mum on Melania Trump speech debacle
The White House is staying out of the debate over similarities between Melania Trump’s GOP convention speech and Michelle Obama’s speech to the 2008 Democratic convention.
Spokesman Josh Earnest says Mrs. Obama received an enthusiastic reception and strong reviews back then because of the speech, her life story and the values of integrity and hard work that she and the president try to instill in their kids.
Earnest says what matters most is the agenda being put forward to advance those values and that voters will decide in November whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to instill those values in the next generation.
Trump’s campaign is dismissing as “just absurd” criticism that two passages in Melania Trump’s speech were lifted nearly word-for-word from Mrs. Obama.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) July 19, 2016
Turkey fires tens of thousands in coup plotters hunt
The Turkish government escalates its wide-ranging crackdown against people it claims have ties to plotters of last week’s attempted coup, firing tens of thousands of public employees across the country.
The dismissals touches every aspect of government life.
Turkish media, in rapid-fire reports, says the Ministry of Education fired 15,200 people across the country; the Interior Ministry 8,777 employees; and Turkey’s Board of Higher Education requested the resignation of 1,577 university deans — akin to dismissing them.
In addition, 257 people working at the office of the prime minister are dismissed and the Directorate of Religious Affairs announces it has sacked 492 staff including clerics, preachers and religious teachers. Turkey’s Family and Social Policy Ministry says it has dismissed 393 personnel.
The firings come on top of the roughly 9,000 people who have been detained by the government, including security personnel, judges, prosecutors, religious figures and others. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency says courts have ordered 85 generals and admirals jailed pending trial.
Palestinians say 12-year-old boy killed by Israeli cops
Palestinians say a 12-year-old boy was killed by rubber bullets fired by Israeli troops in the central West Bank.
According to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, clashes broke out when Israeli troops entered the town of al-Ram, north of Jerusalem. The report says Palestinian youths hurtled rocks and empty bottles at the security forces, who responded with live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas.
Israel Police says, however, that that the violence broke out when Border Police officers who were returning the body of a Palestinian terrorist came under attack from a Molotov cocktail. The troops responded with tear gas and stun grenades, and did not use live fire, police say.
The police say they are looking into the Palestinian claims.
— Ilan Ben Zion
Rights group slams cops over pride parade arrangements
A human rights group slams the Israel Police for forcing the family of last year’s Jerusalem gay pride parade killer and other activists to leave the capital on Thursday during the annual LGBT march.
Police detain and later impose a restraining order on Yishai Schlissel’s mother and five brothers, ordering them to stay out of Jerusalem on Thursday. They also warn activists opposed to the parade to leave Jerusalem amid fears of violence at the march.
Schlissel is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of 16-year-old Shira Banki at the July 2015 parade. At the time of the attack, he had just been released from prison for carrying out a nearly identical though nonfatal attack over a decade ago.
“Barring the Schlissel family from Jerusalem and calling activists opposed to the pride march in Jerusalem to warn them, and barring them [from Jerusalem], is a human rights violation and an abuse of police authority,” the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) says on Twitter.
“The police are sending a message that whoever participates in a protest or wants to express an opinion against another protest ‘is being targeted’ and does so with tactics that suppress the freedom of expression and protest.”
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