The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.
Authorities now say at least six people have been killed in a shooting at a Chicago-area Independence Day parade. Another 24 people were injured, mostly from gunshot wounds, but also from injuries suffered during the chaos as people fled the scene, according to a local NBC affiliate.
Area residents are being told to shelter in place, with the gunman still on loose. A local reporter says the area around where the shooting took place has been secured, though the gunman could still be around.
A police spokesman describe the suspect as a white male between 18 and 20 years old with long black hair and a short stature. He says a weapon was recovered from the scene, without elaborating.
At the scene of the initial shooting at the parade, streets and sidewalks are strewn with items left or discarded by fleeing crowds that have been left untouched.
Moscow is condemning an alleged Israeli airstrike near a Russian stronghold in Syria, calling Israel’s year-long air campaign in Syria “categorically unacceptable.”
“We strongly condemn such irresponsible actions that violate the sovereignty of Syria and the basic norms of international law, and we demand their unconditional cessation,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova says.
The rare daytime strike on Saturday targeted an area near the Syrian town of al-Hamidiyah, south of Tartus, which is home to Russia’s main naval base in the region.
Syria claimed that the missile attack hit chicken coops, while an Israeli TV report claimed it struck “game changing” air defense systems being shipped from Iran to Syria. Both Syria and Iran rely on advanced Russian air defense systems.
Israel has staged hundreds of strikes on targets in Syria over the years, but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. It says it targets bases of Iran and allied militias, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah group that has fighters deployed in Syria, as well as arms shipments believed to be bound for various proxies.
Russia has generally turned a blind eye to the strikes and rarely comments on them, except in times of tension with Jerusalem.
Heavy clashes are reported between Palestinians and Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Dura, near Hebron.
Unverified Palestinian media reports say at least four people have been hurt by Israeli fire.
????متابعة|| جانب من المواجهات التي اندلعت مع قوات الاحتلال في بلدة دورا جنوب الخليل.
— شمس نيوز SHMS NEWS (@shmsnews) July 4, 2022
A video circulated online shows what appears to be a wounded military dog that was captured by locals.
A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces says they have no immediate information on the incident.
— Newpress | نيو برس (@NewpressPs) July 4, 2022
At least five people are dead and 19 were taken to hospitals after a shooting at a July 4th parade in a Chicago suburb, police said.
The shooting in Highland Park disrupted the annual parade just after it began at 10 a.m.
Highland Park Police say in a statement that five people were killed and 19 people have been taken to hospitals. It was unclear whether the five dead were counted among the 19.
The police say authorities are still searching for the suspect and call it an active incident.
Some eyewitnesses say the gunman may be on a roof, making it more difficult for law enforcement to reach, according to local media.
A brush fire in central Israel that threatened a town, and forced over 1,000 people at a camp to evacuate, has been brought under control after several hours, officials say.
The Ynet news site reports extensive damage from the fire to Tel Gezer, an important archaeological site with artifacts spanning from the early Bronze Age to the Crusader period.
— MSN_IL (@MSN_IL) July 4, 2022
A chlorine gas leak at a water purification plant in southern Iraq injured at least 300 people, officials say.
The incident happened Sunday night, when the potentially fatal gas leaked from a container in the plant, in the district of Qal’at Sukkar, north of the southern city of Nasiriyah.
Hundreds of people suffering severe respiratory distress from exposure to the chlorine were taken to a nearby hospital, says Abbas Jaber, Dhi Qar province’s deputy governor.
He says a committee was formed by the governor on Monday to investigate the circumstances surrounding the leak. “The negligent (officials) will be held accountable,” he says.
Police in Illinois say a gunman who opened fire on a July 4 parade in Chicago suburb Highland Park is still on the loose and considered an active shooter.
The Illinois State Police is currently assisting Highland Park PD with an active shoot situation that occurred at the Highland Park Parade.
The public is advised to avoid the area of Central Ave and 2nd St. in Highland Park.
— IllinoisStatePolice (@ILStatePolice) July 4, 2022
It is unclear whether the shooter is still in the area or still posing a threat, but police advise the public to stay away from the area.
Video from the scene shows parade participants fleeing as gunshots ring out. Others watching the parade are slower to realize what is happening.
Active shooter in Highland Park, IL. Avoid Central Ave. My nephew recorded this video. pic.twitter.com/nUFRElrVZi
— eNreeKaii (@Ri_Kayyy) July 4, 2022
Parades in some other nearby suburbs have been canceled.
Authorities have not said if there are any casualties.
Police are responding to an incident at a July 4th parade in a Chicago suburb with a large Jewish population, authorities say, amid reports of a shooting.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the parade in Highland Park began around 10 a.m., but was suddenly halted 10 minutes later after shots were fired. Several witnesses tell the newspaper that they heard gunfire.
Hundreds of parade-goers — some visibly bloodied — fled the parade route, leaving behind chairs, baby strollers and blankets. A Klezmer band, apparently unaware of the chaos unfolding, continued to play, the paper reported.
A Sun-Times reporter saw blankets placed over three bloodied bodies.
Police told people: “Everybody disperse, please. It is not safe to be here.”
Debbie Glickman, a Highland Park resident, says she was on a parade float with coworkers and the group was prepared to turn onto the main route when she saw people running away from the area.
“People started saying ‘There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter, there a shooter,’” Glickman tells The Associated Press. “So we just ran. We just ran. It’s like mass chaos down there.”
She did not hear any noises or see anyone who appeared to be injured.
“I’m so freaked out,” she says. “It’s just so sad.”
Legislation to enable courts to order GPS-based enforcement for domestic violence-related restraining orders and to necessitate video recordings when police use water cannons to disperse crowds pass their first readings, as the Knesset’s final two pieces of legislation before breaking for election recess on Tuesday.
Both bills were part of a long list of legislation agreed upon by the coalition and opposition, as part of their efforts to shut down Israel’s 24th Knesset and send the country to elections on November 1.
The Knesset can reconvene during its upcoming break if called back by the government or at least 25 MKs, as announced by the House Committee this afternoon.
As long as the Agreements Committee — made of one coalition and one opposition representative each — agree to continue bringing these bills, they can be passed for their second and third readings during recess.
Alternatively, because they have passed their first readings before Tuesday’s recess takes hold, the bills will freeze and can be taken up by the next Knesset, while skipping much of the legislative rigmarole they have already been through.
Following significant international pressure, the Defense Ministry has delayed a hearing to advance a controversial settlement project in the West Bank’s E-1 Area that was set to take place just four days after US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel.
The Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee was scheduled to hear objections on the massive housing project on July 18, but the session has now been pushed to September 12.
Building in E-1 would link Jerusalem to the large settlement of Maale Adumim to its east. But doing so would essentially bisect the West Bank and make a contiguous Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital nearly impossible, critics say.
The Biden administration had been pushing Israel hard to scrap the plan.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas calls on US to “maintain its credibility,” after an American probe did not definitively blame Israeli troops for killing journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
“We demand that the US hold the Israeli government fully responsible for the crime of killing the martyr Abu Akleh,” says Abbas spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeinah.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid says an IDF probe into the death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh found that she was not targeted when she was shot while covering a gun battle in Jenin in May.
Lapid does not mention the US determination that Israeli troops likely fired the fatal bullet, instead focusing on the lack of conclusive evidence.
“The IDF probe clarifies that it cannot be determined who is responsible for the unfortunate death of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, but it can determined with certainty that there was no intention to hurt her.”
He notes that journalists die all over the world, though “it’s obvious that Israel is interested in protecting journalists and freedom of the press in any place and under all conditions.”
He also says he gives full backing to Israel troops “risking their lives to protect Israeli citizens against terror.”
In a statement, the family of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh pronounce themselves “incredulous” and harshly criticize the US investigation into her death for concluding that while an Israeli soldier likely shot her, there is no evidence it was intentional.
“There were numerous eyewitnesses to the killing, and we have now had the benefit of reports from multiple local and international media outlets, human rights organizations, and the United Nations, that an Israeli soldier fired the fatal shot,” the Abu Akleh family says.
They call the journalist’s death “an extrajudicial killing.”
The Israeli Air Force announces it has begun a drill over Romania’s skies.
The drill, dubbed Blue Sky, is aimed at training the IAF’s C-130 and C-130J transport aircraft for flights in unfamiliar territory at low altitudes, the military says.
The IAF says pilots will also practice navigation and landings “in many and varied scenarios simulating enemy territory.”
“Training in the skies of Romania is an opportunity for us to challenge ourselves, to improve and become stronger, beyond the borders of Israel,” says the commander of the Nevatim Air Base, Brig. Gen. Gilad Keinan.
“This is an important and significant exercise for the heavy transport array and the Air Force, in order to strengthen the operational capability and competence of the corps and its personnel,” Keinan adds.
The Palestinian Authority slams the United States for not definitively blaming Israel for the death of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh.
An American probe found that the bullet that killed Abu Akleh was too damaged to definitively rule who had fired it through ballistic analysis.
“We were surprised by these statements. The technical data in our possession indicates that the condition of the shell is viable for matching with the firearm [that shot it],” PA Public Prosecutor Akram al-Khatib says in a statement.
The probe also found no evidence that the shooting was intentional, as Palestinian Authority investigators led by al-Khatib had claimed.
Al-Khatib calls that conclusion “unacceptable” in light of evidence collected by the PA.
Senior Palestinian Authority official Hussein al-Sheikh also appears to criticize the US, saying that “we will not permit attempts to conceal the truth or timid comments in indicting Israel.”
Al-Sheikh vows that the PA will continue pursuing Abu Akleh’s case “before the international courts.”
The B’Tselem human rights organization is criticizing the US for saying that the alleged shooting of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli troops was “the result of tragic circumstances,” calling the State Department’s conclusion a form of whitewashing.
“All investigations published so far conclude that Israel is responsible for the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. It is not clear on what grounds does the US State Department seek to dismiss her killing,” B’Tselem tweets.
It says the US should treat the killing as a crime and seek justice.
“As far as Israel is concerned, its policy regarding the killing of Palestinians has never been anything other than an organized whitewash,” it tweets. “The odds that those responsible for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh will be held to account are all but nonexistent. Meanwhile, Israel’s international impunity remains unchallenged.”
Yesh Din, another dovish Israeli group, says of the US announcement: “Shows once again why there is no trust in the IDF spokesman or the army, which rushed to say that the bullet was not Israeli.”
It calls for an independent international probe.
MK Aida Touma Suleiman says in a statement that she will keep fighting to see those responsible for Abu Akleh’s death brought to justice, “from the soldier who squeezed the trigger to the politicians responsible for the policies and for hiding the truth.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz says Palestinian terrorists should be blamed for the death of US-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, after the US said that Israeli troops likely fired the fatal shot even though a forensic examination of the bullet was inconclusive.
“During this operational event, like in many others, hundreds of bullets were fired at IDF troops, which responded with firepower of their own, only in the direction of the sources of the shooting,” he says in recorded remarks in English. “The first to bear responsibility in such events are the terrorists who operate from within population centers.”
Despite the US conclusion, Gantz says that “it is not possible to determine the source of the shooting – and as such, the investigation will continue.”
“The defense establishment is committed to uncovering the truth,” he adds.
He notes that troops operate while taking every precaution possible to defend civilians and journalists.
“This includes decisions regarding force build-up, operations, investigations and cooperation with partners such as this cooperation with our US partners, in order to uncover the truth,” he says.
Some 1,100 campers, counselors and others have been evacuated from a Scouts camp site in central Israel threatened by a large brush fire, according to Hebrew language media reports.
At least nine firefighting crews have been battling a blaze that began in a field near Beit Uzziel, outside Ramle, and has spread toward the town of Karmei Yosef, rescue officials say.
Campers and staff were set to be put on buses and taken to nearby Latrun where they will stay until given the all clear, a spokesperson for the Scouts Movement tells the Walla news site. The camp had previously drilled for such a scenario, the spokesperson says.
Areas near where firefighters are operating have been shut to traffic, police say.
Israel is frustrated with the US conclusion that IDF troops were likely responsible for the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh during a raid of the West Bank city of Jenin last May, two officials familiar with the matter tell The Times of Israel.
The State Department announced in an earlier statement that its ballistic analysis of the bullet that struck Abu Akleh was inconclusive but that the review of the US Security Coordinator in Jerusalem of both Israeli and Palestinian Authority probes led him to believe that the lethal gunfire likely came from IDF positions.
The US notified Israel and the PA ahead of time that it would be announcing these conclusions, but Israeli officials officials pushed back on the decision to suggest that the IDF was likely responsible given that the bullet was too damaged for the security coordinator to reach a definitive conclusion, an official tells The Times of Israel.
Responding to an inconclusive ballistics test of the bullet that killed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, the Israel Defense Forces says it will continue to investigate the incident.
The IDF says Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi has instructed the military to continue to investigate “using all means at our disposal and with a commitment to transparency and seeking the truth.”
A decision on whether to open a criminal probe will be made after the completion of the investigation, the military adds.
The US embassy in Israel says experts are unable to determine whether a bullet that killed al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh came from an Israeli gun or a Palestinian one.
The probe nonetheless finds that an Israeli soldier likely shot the fatal bullet, apparently by mistake.
“Ballistic experts determined the bullet was badly damaged, which prevented a clear conclusion,” the embassy says in a statement after it was allowed to oversee the examination of the bullet, which had been withheld by the Palestinian Authority until Saturday.
The embassy says a review of Israeli and Palestinian probes into the May 11 killing, during a gunfight in Jenin as Israeli soldiers attempted to carry out an arrest raid, finds that Israel was likely the culprit.
“By summarizing both investigations, the [US Security Coordinator] concluded that gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh. The USSC found no reason to believe that this was intentional but rather the result of tragic circumstances,” the embassy says.
The Bank of Israel has raised its benchmark interest rate by half a point to 1.5 percent, as the nation’s economists ramp up their fight to tame rampant inflation.
The rate jump comes months after the bank surprised economists by raising the rate from 0.35% to 0.75%, which was higher than predicted. Many now expect the rate to eventually reach 2%. This comes after the bank kept the rate to a minimal 0.01% for several years.
The higher rates are designed to restrict the flow of money by making borrowing less attractive, eventually dampening consumer demand and easing inflationary pressures wrought by an undersupply of goods and an oversupply of cash.
According to the BoI, inflation in Israel over the last 12 months is at 4.1%, and it will get worse before it gets better, with estimates showing it rising to 4.5% for 2022 before dropping down to 2.4% the next year. It notes, though, that other developed economies have even higher rates. In the US, inflation is at 8.6%, according to figures released in May.
While the bank says the economy is continuing to grow, it warns that “the possible slowdown in global economic activity in view of the effects of the war in Ukraine and the slowdown in manufacturing activity in China, as well as the political uncertainty in Israel, may have a negative impact on economic activity.”
With protests over housing prices again ratcheting up, the BoI confirms that home costs skyrocketed over 15% over the past year, “a significantly higher rate than in past years.” However, it says those numbers have begun to show signs of leveling off.
Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister criticizes Hezbollah for sending three unmanned aircraft over an Israeli gas installation last week, saying it was an unnecessarily risky action.
Najib Mikati’s comment comes two days after the Hezbollah terror group launched three drones over the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Israeli military said on Saturday said that it has shot down the three drones, before Hezbollah issued a statement saying they were unarmed and were sent on a reconnaissance mission. “The mission was accomplished and the message was received,” Hezbollah said.
“Lebanon believes that any actions outside the state’s framework and diplomatic context while negotiations are taking place is unacceptable and exposes it to unnecessary risks,” Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib says, citing Mikati’s statement.
A 7-year-old Israeli in Barcelona, Spain, died after falling through an apartment building window, the Foreign Ministry confirms.
The spokesman has no further information to share at this time.
The boy was in Barcelona on vacation with his family when he likely climbed on furniture and reached the window, Spain’s La Vangaurdia newspaper reports.
Though the apartment was on the second floor, the window was the equivalent of four stories up as the property sat above a two-story lobby, according to the outlet.
A worker in the building says that he heard a “chilling scream,” Maariv reports.
A bill providing funding and an oversight mechanism for the Tel Aviv Metro subway system and legislation that may help Israel join the US’s Visa Waiver Program will remain on indefinite hold when the 24th Knesset wraps up its final session later Monday.
Neither piece of legislation is on the agenda for the plenum and both remain stalled, sources close to coalition and opposition negotiators confirm to The Times of Israel.
However, a bill to enable GPS monitoring of domestic abusers under a restraining order is expected to pass its first reading later this afternoon.
The only other bill on the agenda — a proposal to necessitate video documentation of all police uses of water cannons to disperse crowds — is similarly expected to pass its first reading.
The bills were left over following a Thursday blitz to clear the Knesset’s slate ahead of dispersal, which will become official following Monday’s session. Coalition lawmakers initially also hoped to bring the metro and visa-waiver bills.
Although the plenum is going on recess, passing the bills through their first readings will freeze the legislative process rather than resetting it, allowing it to be re-submitted in the next Knesset without losing its place in line. This can save months, or even years, of legislative efforts.
According to rules released by the Knesset’s House Committee today, if the government or 25 MKs want to convene the plenum, they can. But only legislation approved via the Agreements Committee — which will be staffed by coalition whip Boaz Toporovsky and a yet-to-be-named opposition lawmaker — will come to a vote.
The plenum is also expected to vote on two hotly debated orders coming down from Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman. The orders, which will gradually reduce tariffs on imported fruits and vegetables, have been touted by Liberman as measures to reduce cost of living. The farm lobby, on the other hand, says the competition it will introduce will hurt domestic growers and can threaten Israel’s ability to control its own food supply.
Today is the Knesset’s last legislative day before breaking for election recess in anticipation of the November 1 electoral contest. Israel’s 24th Knesset formally disbanded itself on Thursday.
The Environmental Protection Ministry is calling on planning authorities and the Municipality of Eilat in southern Israel to hold an urgent discussion about a promenade being constructed along the Red Sea shoreline.
The work extends a paved deck with chairs and picnic tables to the very edge of the water line, cutting off beach access.
The ministry says that building so close to the shoreline could harm the environment and nearby corals.
It says permits for work taking place at a number of beaches in Eilat were not coordinated with it.
This is despite the fact that as early as 2020, the ministry’s Southern District approached the relevant bodies for applications for building permits as soon as possible, in order to examine the issue of works close to the water line and protect natural values.
The US Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet is starting to offer rewards for information that could help sailors intercept weapons, drugs and other illicit shipments across the region amid tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and Tehran’s arming of Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
While avoiding directly mentioning Iran, the 5th Fleet’s decision to offer cash and other goods for actionable intelligence in the Persian Gulf and other strategic waterways may increase pressure on the flow of weapons to the Houthis as a shaky ceasefire still holds in Yemen.
Already, the Houthis have threatened a new allied task force organized by the 5th Fleet in the Red Sea, though there’s been no attack by the Iranian-backed forces on the Navy in the time since.
Meanwhile, the 5th Fleet says it and its partners seized $500 million in drugs alone in 2021 — more than the four prior years combined. The 5th Fleet also intercepted 9,000 weapons in the same period, three times the number seized in 2020.
“Any destabilizing activity has our attention,” Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins, a 5th Fleet spokesman, tells The Associated Press. “Definitely we have seen in the last year skyrocketing success in seizing both illegal narcotics and illicit weapons. This represents another step in our effort to enhance regional maritime security.”
Hawkins says operators fluent in Arabic, English and Farsi will man a hotline, while the Navy will also take tips online in Dari and Pashto. Payouts can be as high as $100,000 or the equivalent in vehicles, boats or food for tips that also include information on planned attacks targeting Americans, Hawkins says.
A gunman who killed three people when he opened fire in a crowded shopping mall acted alone and apparently selected his victims at random, Danish police say, all but ruling out that the attack was an “act of terrorism.”
Police have not identified a motive for Sunday’s attack inside one of Scandinavia’s biggest shopping centers. A suspect carrying a rifle and knife was quickly arrested, and Copenhagen chief police inspector Søren Thomassen says the 22-year-old Danish man also had access to another gun.
He says the firearms were obtained illegally and the suspect was known to mental health services but gave no further details on either.
“It was the worst possible nightmare,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says, calling the attack “unusually brutal.”
The three killed were a 17-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, both Danes, and a 47-year-old Russian man, according to Thomassen. Four more people were hospitalized with gunshot wounds and were in critical but stable condition. In all 30 people were hurt, most in the panicked stampede after the shots rang out at the Field’s shopping center, on the outskirts of the Danish capital.
Thomassen says police have no indication that anyone helped the gunman, and his motive remains unclear.
“There is nothing in our investigation, or the documents we have reviewed, or the things we have found, or the witnesses’ statements we have gotten, that can substantiate that this is an act of terrorism,” says Thomassen, who previously identified the suspect as an “ethnic Dane,” a phrase typically used to mean someone is white.
Danish broadcaster TV2 publishes a grainy photo of the alleged gunman, a man wearing knee-length shorts, a vest or sleeveless shirt, and holding what appeared to be a rifle in his right hand.
— TV 2 NEWS (@tv2newsdk) July 4, 2022
Some 17 people remain unaccounted for a day after a huge chunk of an Alpine glacier broke off and slammed into hikers in northern Italy, officials say.
At least six people died and 9 were injured by the avalanche of ice, snow and large rocks thundering down the slope of the mountain topped by the Marmolada glacier yesterday afternoon.
Trento Prosecutor Sandro Raimondi says that 17 hikers were believed to be missing, the Italian news agency LaPresse reports.
Nationalities of the known dead haven’t been disclosed, and conditions were too dangerous this morning for rescue crews with dogs to resume the search for those missing or to bring down the bodies.
Poland will send its ambassador-designate to present his letters of credentials in the coming days, President Andrzej Duda tells Israeli President Isaac Herzog, in the strongest indication yet that the two countries are moving beyond a bitter year-long diplomatic spat.
Their phone call, during which Herzog requests the return of a Polish envoy, is part of a joint initiative with the Foreign Ministry.
“Both presidents expressed their hope that any future issues between Poland and Israel will be solved through sincere and open dialogue and in a spirit of mutual respect,” reads a statement from Herzog’s office.
The two erstwhile allies have been locking horns since last year. In July 2021, Poland’s legislature passed a law effectively cutting off any future restitution to the heirs of property seized by the Nazis during the Holocaust. In response to the legislation, signed into law by Duda, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called it “antisemitic and immoral.”
Israel recalled its envoy to Warsaw for consultations the following month, and Lapid advised Poland’s ambassador to Israel to remain on vacation in his homeland and instructed Israel’s new ambassador to Poland, Ya’acov Livne, to remain in Israel.
Since then, the two sides have slowly deescalated the tensions. Livne took up his perch in Warsaw in February to coordinate Israeli efforts to extract citizens from Ukraine and to provide aid to Kyiv. Two Polish lawmakers visited the Knesset in June in a further sign of warming ties.
But disagreement remains. Two weeks ago, Israel said it was not resuming Holocaust study trips for schoolchildren because Poland’s right-wing government was trying to control the curriculum.
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