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Lapid speaks to Blinken about deadly ship strike, urges international response

Foreign minister also speaks to counterparts in Britain and Romania, following attack on oil tanker that Israel blames on Iran

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken greets Foreign Minister Yair Lapid ahead of their meeting in Rome, on June 27, 2021. (Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken greets Foreign Minister Yair Lapid ahead of their meeting in Rome, on June 27, 2021. (Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Saturday’s developments as they unfolded.

After ship strike, Lapid speaks to Blinken, urges international response

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the strike on an Israeli-operated oil tanker that Israel has blamed on Iran.

His office says the two discussed “the attack on the ship in the Gulf of Oman, the joint fight against Iranian terrorism, and the formulation of a substantial and effective international response.”

Lapid also speaks with his British and Romanian counterparts, the Foreign Ministry says.

“Iran has murdered two citizens of Britain and Romania,” the statement says, referring to the two fatalities in the strike on the ship. “It repeatedly underestimates Israel’s determination and its commitment to protect itself and its interests.”

Swastikas daubed on 2 Bnei Brak synagogues

Two synagogues in the central city of Bnei Brak have been vandalized with swastika graffiti.

Police are investigating.

Cabinet to meet Sunday to approve 2021-2022 budget

The cabinet will convene on Sunday morning to approve the state budget — the first since 2019 — in a major test for the new government.

The 2021-2022 budget ($187 billion for 2021, $173 billion for 2022) will be advanced by Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, though it faces some hurdles within the coalition.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz of the Meretz party has threatened to oppose the budget if healthcare funding is not increased. The budget will require all the votes in the coalition to pass.

Farmers are also planning a protest tomorrow over proposed agriculture reforms in the budget.

Israel has been without a state budget for nearly three years, amid a protracted political crisis in the country.

A dozen homes burn, five hospitalized in Greece forest fire

Around a dozen homes burn and five people are hospitalized with breathing problems, as firefighters fight a forest fire near Patras, Greece’s third largest city, authorities say.

Some 145 firefighters, 50 trucks, eight firefighting planes and helicopters have been mobilized to extinguish the fire in the Zeria region in the Peloponnese, about 210 kilometers (130 miles) west of Athens, the firefighting service says.

The authorities evacuated people from four villages in the region as well as from the tourist resort of Loggos on the coast.

Hospitals in Patras and the neighboring city of Aigio had been put on notice to admit any injured people, while the coastguard have been on standby to rescue any swimmers overcome by smoke.

Man shot in Yarka dies of injuries, 2 others hurt

A man shot in Yarka has died of his injuries, police say.

Two other men are injured in the shooting in the northern Druze village, one moderately and one lightly.

Police are searching the area for the gunman.

Man critically injured in northern Israel shooting

A man is critically injured in a shooting in the northern Israel town of Yarka.

He is being rushed to a nearby hospital.

Police are investigating.

3 arrested at Jerusalem stadium for throwing rocks at fans

Police arrest three people who are suspected of throwing rocks at soccer fans at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium, according to Hebrew-language reports.

Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city, to enter COVID lockdown

Australia’s third-largest city, Brisbane, and other parts of Queensland state will enter a snap COVID-19 lockdown starting on Saturday, as authorities race to contain an emerging outbreak of the Delta strain.

Millions of residents in the city and several other areas will be placed under stay-at-home orders from Saturday afternoon for three days, Deputy Premier of Queensland Steven Miles says.

“The only way to beat the Delta strain is to move quickly, to be fast and to be strong,” Miles says.

Six new cases were reported on Saturday in a cluster of the Delta variant initially linked to a school student, resulting in pupils and teachers at two schools being placed into isolation.

Genome sequencing had connected the cluster to returned overseas travelers in hotel quarantine, but the exact source of transmission remains unclear, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young says.

Bennett, Herzog congratulate Israel judo team over bronze win at Olympics

Team Israel celebrates winning the judo mixed team's bronze medal B bout against Russia during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, on July 31, 2021. (Franck Fife/AFP)
Team Israel celebrates winning the judo mixed team's bronze medal B bout against Russia during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, on July 31, 2021. (Franck Fife/AFP)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog congratulate Israel’s mixed team in judo after it won a bronze medal at the Olympics.

“After Sagi Muki’s loss last week, I spoke to him. It was important for me to tell him that I’m proud of him and the example he is for the youth. Today Muki and his teammates on the judo team showed us all how to pick yourself up from a fall!” tweets Bennett.

“Way to go, Israel is proud of you,” he adds.

Herzog also expresses his pride, during a phone call with the team.

Islamic State jihadists kill 5 Egyptian troops in Sinai

Islamic Sate group jihadists ambush a checkpoint in the restive northern part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing at least five troops from the security forces, officials say.

At least six other troops are wounded in the attack in the town of Sheikh Zuweid and taken to a military hospital in the Mediterranean city of el-Arish, they say.

Security personnel kill three jihadists in the firefight, and the area was reinforced, the officials add, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief the media.

80,000 vaccines set to expire at midnight, get thrown out – report

Israel is set to dispose of 80,000 COVID-19 vaccines, which are set to expire at midnight, Channel 12 reports.

The vaccines are said to be worth NIS 6 million ($1.8 million).

Number of serious COVID cases surpasses 200

The number of serious COVID-19 cases hits 201, according to the Health Ministry.

The ministry also records another 1,589 new coronavirus cases since midnight, with nearly 2.5 percent of tests returning positive.

Israel weighs retaliation for Iran strike on ship – report

Israel is considering various options to retaliate against Iran over its strike on an oil tanker — operated by an Israeli-owned company — that killed two, according to Israeli television.

According to Channel 12, Israel has handed over intelligence materials proving that Iran was behind the strike to the United States and Britain.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi met over the weekend and discussed various plans to retaliate, according to the unsourced television report, which also says that Washington and London are also weighing a response.

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