The Times of Israel liveblogged Wednesday’s events as they happened.
The US says it is sanctioning 15 foreign companies or individuals for allegedly selling and shipping Iranian oil to east Asia, despite restrictions prohibiting business with the Islamic Republic’s energy industry.
The sanction targets hail from Iran, the UAE, Vietnam, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
“These entities have supported Iranian energy trade generating millions of dollars’ worth of illicit revenue,” the State Department says in a statement.
The Treasury is also designating eight entities and two individuals located in Iran, Hong Kong, and the UAE, that support the continued involvement of regional oil companies in the sale of Iranian oil abroad.
The Biden administration has intensified sanctions announcements against Iran and Iran-ties companies and individuals over the past few months, amid stalled talks to revive the 2015 nuclear accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“While the United States is committed to achieving an agreement with Iran that seeks a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we will continue to use all our authorities to enforce sanctions on the sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals,” says Treasury official Brian E. Nelson.
A Palestinian man who allegedly opened fire at Israeli troops guarding a checkpoint near an illegal outpost in the northern West Bank on Tuesday has turned himself in, the Israel Defense Forces says.
No soldiers were hurt in the drive-by attack near Homesh.
The military says the wanted man turned himself in earlier today.
The army also says Military Police arrested a soldier Tuesday over suspected looting of Palestinian property during a raid in the Hebron area.
He has been ordered to remain in jail until Monday. His identity is currently barred from publication.
With the aid of drones, two bodies have been spotted at the edge of a field of debris created by a chunk of ice the size of an apartment building that broke loose over the weekend, bringing the confirmed death toll in the disaster to nine.
Trento Provincial President Maurizio Fugatti tells reporters about the discovery Wednesday evening in the resort town of Canazei, at the foot of the Marmolada glacier-topped mountain.
Five people who had been hiking have been unaccounted for. But authorities stressed that until identification can be made on the two bodies pinpointed by drones, it will not be clear whether they number among those five whose families said they never returned from the mountain.
Conditions downslope from the glacier are still too unstable for searchers and dogs to work on the mountain, officials say.
All of the missing are Italians. So far, four of the nine dead have been identified.
A Palestinian man who allegedly attacked and seriously hurt a Bnei Brak resident yesterday has been arrested, the Shin Bet security agency says.
Early Tuesday morning, Yitzhak Dahan was wounded in the suspected terror attack on a pedestrian bridge spanning a highway between the ultra-Orthodox town and Givat Shmuel.
His condition has since improved.
The Shin Bet does not say where or when the Palestinian suspect was arrested.
Further details relating to the attack are barred from publication due to a court-imposed gag order.
Simon Clarke of Israel Premier Tech has won stage five of the Tour de France in a photo finish after a 157 kilometer run from Lille to Arenberg featuring 20 kilometers of cobbled mining roads.
The victory marks the first time the Israel-based team has won a stage of the world famous race.
🤯A bonkers stage and a final to suit!
🎬Here's the final KM of today
🤯Une étape de folie et un final au courage !
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 6, 2022
Belgium’s Wout van Aert of Jumbo has retained his overall leader’s yellow jersey despite a nasty fall, but his teammate Primoz Roglic lost around two minutes to defending champion and fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar.
The 35-year-old Australian Clarke used a bike throw on the line in a razor thin victory over Taco van der Hoorn after Native American Neilson Powless launched a sprint in a bid for the yellow jersey but fell just short.
A bike throw involves a rider moving his arms as far ahead as possible while moving his rear end backward, using physics to thrust the bike forward slightly.
“What a year,” says an emotional Clarke, who got a last-minute contract with the IPT team in December after leaving EF. “I’m ever the optimist.”
This 💙 pic.twitter.com/cq6ZYZQpFW
— Israel – Premier Tech / Israel Cycling Academy (@IsraelPremTech) July 6, 2022
“I just told myself not to panic even when the sprint started almost one kilometer out,” he says about the finale.
“I sat back in the slipstream, waited and waited and went for the line at the last second,” he says.
Thursday’s sixth stage starts in the Belgian town of Binche and returns to France in the Ardennes forest for what should be a splintered finale with two short steep climbs.
The 21-year-old man arrested for a mass shooting at a July 4 parade in a Chicago suburb has admitted he considered a second attack while on the run, police say.
After fleeing the shooting scene in Highland Park, Illinois, Robert Crimo drove to nearby Madison, Wisconsin, where he thought about carrying out another attack.
“He did see a celebration that was occurring in Madison and he seriously contemplated using the firearm he had in his vehicle to commit another shooting,” police spokesman Christopher Covelli tells reporters.
“Indications (are) that he didn’t put enough planning forward to commit another attack,” Covelli says.
Dillon says during a bond hearing for Crimo that he had voluntarily confessed to police that he carried out the shooting in Highland Park, which left seven people dead and dozens injured.
At a bond hearing, Judge Theodore Potkonjak orders Crimo, who has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, to be held without bail and to appear on July 28 for a preliminary hearing.
Crimo, dressed in a black shirt, appears by video and listens impassively as prosecutors recount the details of the shooting.
He tells the judge that he does not have a lawyer, and is appointed a public defender.
Prosecutor Ben Dillon says according to a voluntary confession provided by Crimo, he climbed on to a rooftop overlooking the parade route armed with a semi-automatic rifle while dressed as a girl, and with his tattoos covered up by makeup.
He then emptied three 30-round magazines from his rifle into the parade crowd before fleeing by blending into the crowd.
Police say Crimo dropped his rifle in an alley and then drove to Madison armed with another gun in his car.
A drone belonging to the Hezbollah terror group was shot down as it flew toward waters claimed by Israel last week, the Israel Defense Forces announces.
The military says the UAV was taken down on June 29 “at a great distance from the maritime border” with Lebanon, adding that there was no threat or danger to Israel.
On Saturday, three Hezbollah drones heading for the Karish gas field were downed by a fighter jet and missiles launched from Navy ships. It is thought that the earlier drone was also heading for the play, which is caught in a tug of war between Israel and Lebanon; Hezbollah has threatened to attack an Israeli rig moved there last month.
The IDF does not say how the drone was taken down in the earlier incident.
The military’s announcement confirms a report in the Lebanese pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar newspaper earlier today, which revealed that Hezbollah’s Saturday drone launch had been preceded by one on Wednesday.
A Syrian man was killed in an alleged Israeli drone strike in the town of Hader, close to the border with Israel in the Golan Heights, according to Syrian and Arab media reports.
The pro-government Syrian newspaper Al-Watan, citing local sources, says 46-year-old Farid Fuad Mustafa was targeted in the strike.
According to the pro-Hezbollah television network al-Mayadeen, the killed man is a member of the Syrian army.
There is no comment from Israel on the incident.
— roi kais • روعي كايس • רועי קייס (@kaisos1987) July 6, 2022
Authorities have identified the seventh victim of a mass shooting on July 4 in Highland Park, Illinois, as Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, Chicago’s NBC affiliate reports.
Uvaldo, from Waukegan, Illinois, north of Chicago, attended the parade every year with his family, according to a GoFundMe page set up by granddaughter Nivia Guzman.
According to Guzman, Uvaldo was shot in the arm and the back of the head. His wife, Maria, was also hospitalized with bullet fragments in her head.
Guzman says her brother was shot as well.
Uvaldo was pronounced dead early Wednesday.
“My grandpa is a kind, loving, and funny man who did not deserve this,” Guzman says.
The man charged with killing seven people when he unleashed a hail of bullets on an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago confessed to police that he fired on the crowd, a prosecutor says.
An Illinois judge orders that Robert E. Crimo III, the suspected gunman, be held without bail.
Police found the shells of 83 bullets and three ammunition magazines on the rooftop that he fired from, Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Ben Dillon says.
Dudi Ashkenazi, the Israeli vacationer apparently accidentally arrested in Greece on an Interpol warrant, tells Israel’s Channel 12 news that he suffered two weeks of “hell,” and was placed in the same block as violent criminals, including people from Iran, Gaza, Syria and other places where Israelis are not usually welcomed.
He tells the channel from the Greek island of Kos, where he remains under a protective order pending resolution of his case, that everyone in the prison respected each other, though he tried hiding his identity at first.
“People naturally ask, where are you from, where are you from? You always answer… you don’t always want to say you are Israeli because you don’t know who is across from you,” he says, looking relaxed as he sits at a cafe.
“What should I say? I’m from the Maldives,” he quips.
Health Ministry investigators have yet to determine what has caused dozens of guests at an Eilat hotel to come down with stomach ailments, but appear to suspect food poisoning.
The ministry says 56 people staying at the Dan Eilat have reported vomiting and intestinal cramps, most of whom have not needed to seek medical attention.
Reports of illnesses began to reach the ministry on Tuesday, but two checks of the hotel kitchen by government inspectors since then have come up clean. The hotel’s food has also been sent to a lab for testing.
The ministry says it is continuing to investigate.
Police in Richmond, Virginia, say they thwarted a planned July 4 mass shooting after receiving a tip that led to arrests and the seizure of multiple guns.
Authorities announce the alleged plot in a news release, but do not release any additional information. Chief Gerald Smith has planned a news conference for this afternoon.
A spokesperson for the police department does not immediately respond to a call seeking additional details of the planned shooting.
The announcement comes just two days after a gunman opened fire from a rooftop on a July 4 parade in the affluent Chicago suburb of Highland Park, killing seven people and injuring more than three dozen.
Leaders from four major international Jewish organizations are calling for Prime Minister Yair Lapid to take “immediate actions” to address the situation at the Western Wall’s egalitarian section, after Orthodox protesters overran a number of Conservative prayer services there last week.
“We respectfully feel that immediate actions should be taken to – at the very least – ensure the safety, security, and well-being of all those who come to the entire Kotel area, as well as to make certain that all worshippers are accorded the same level of respect we would expect if this were our own families – because it is our own Jewish family!” write the heads of the Jewish Agency, World Zionist Organization, Jewish Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod.
The letter was delivered to Lapid yesterday, a spokesperson for the Jewish Federations of North America says.
On Thursday, several dozen Orthodox men and boys entered the egalitarian section of the Western Wall, an area south of the main plaza also known as Robinson’s Arch, equipped with whistles and signs, as a number of families from the United States were holding hold bar mitzvah ceremonies for their children there. The youths attempted to disrupt the services, blowing the whistles, calling the worshipers “Nazis” and “animals,” and at one point ripping up a prayer book, whereupon one boy used a torn page to wipe his nose.
Lapid on Tuesday spoke out against the incident for the first time in response to a question from a journalist.
“I am against all violence at the Western Wall against people who want to pray as their faith allows them. This cannot continue,” Lapid said, speaking to reporters in Paris following a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.
The organization heads write that they “look forward to hearing what the government can do to immediately address this issue.
“We are prepared to work with you in any way that we can to assist in this urgent matter,” they write.
Six more junior ministers have quit UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet, dealing a fresh blow to the embattled premier as he attempts to cling to power and fend off an internal mutiny by lawmakers unhappy with his scandal-plagued administration.
The ministers are named by Sky News as Kemi Badenoch, Julia Lopez, Mims Davies, Lee Rowley, Neil O’Brien and Alex Burghart.
Ministers Michael Gove and Thérèse Coffey may follow suit, the Guardian reports.
New: Further Cabinet resignations will follow if Boris Johnson ignores a request by Conservative party grandees to resign, per three people familiar
— Alex Wickham (@alexwickham) July 6, 2022
Sky puts the number of ministers jumping ship at 12, while the Guardian counts 15.
The resignations come as Johnson begins his second grilling of the day, facing down a panel of committee heads known as a liaison committee. The panel will first question Johnson on Ukraine before moving on to integrity matters, the Guardian reports.
Naama Schultz has been okayed by a vetting panel to become director of the Prime Minister’s Office, pending cabinet approval, according to a government statement.
Schultz has already served for the past year as head of Yair Lapid’s ad hoc Alternate Prime Minister’s Office. Lapid became interim prime minister last week after Naftali Bennett stepped down.
Schultz is expected to be approved by the cabinet Monday.
Belgium’s parliament has approved a controversial prisoner-swap treaty with Iran in a first reading of a text that still has to be submitted to a full vote to be ratified.
The treaty has been slammed by an Iranian dissident group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, as well as some US lawmakers and Amnesty International as paving the way for an Iranian diplomat jailed in Belgium on a terrorism conviction to be allowed to return home.
Diplomat Assadollah Assadi, 50, was jailed after he was found guilty of masterminding a thwarted bomb attack on an NCRI event outside Paris in 2018.
Belgian Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne on Tuesday told MPs that unless the treaty was adopted, “the threat to our Belgian interests and certain Belgian citizens will increase.”
He said Iran was already “illegally” holding captive a Belgian aid worker, Olivier Vandecasteele, 41, on trumped-up “espionage” charges.
A full parliamentary vote on the treaty, which was signed in March, is expected to take place tomorrow.
An aide to Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan tells a Jerusalem courtroom hearing the graft case against Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu that the former prime minister and a US ambassador pulled strings to get Milchan a visa to remain in the US.
Hadas Klein, a key witness in a case involving illicit gifts received by the ex-premier, tells the court that she was enlisted to help Milchan attempt to renew his visa in December 2013 after the producer was rejected during a meeting with US officials.
“He asked me to reach out to Dan Shapiro, [then] US ambassador to Israel, but he didn’t answer. So he asked me to raise Netanyahu.”
She says she had so many calls with Netanyahu aide Ari Harow that when investigators showed her the log she was “shocked.”
Netanyahu called her back in the middle of the night and told her “what is Milchan worried about. It’ll be taken care of.”
Soon after, she says, “I got a call from Shapiro, or his aide, and they told me the visa was approved and I should come to the embassy to get it.”
When Milchan, who has admitted to working for Israel’s spy agency in the past, fumed that the visa was only good for a year, Netanyahu put her in touch with John Kerry, who was US secretary of state at the time, and Milchan soon secured a 10-year pass.
Case 1000 revolves around allegations that Netanyahu and his family received expensive gifts illicitly from Milchan and Australian media scion James Packer, whom Klein also assisted. Milchan is suspected of giving the gifts in exchange for help with the visa.
Klein tells the court that Netanyahu’s wife requested jewelry worth some $2,000 from Milchan, who attempted to hold off on the purchase. “Two months go by, and one day she asks if I can come to Caesarea, since Netanyahu approved the purchase. I told Milchan and he said there’s no choice.”
In contrast, she says Prime Minister Yair Lapid refused to receive a bouquet of flowers that Milchan had sent over to his home when he was appointed finance minister in 2013. Another time, Milchan accidentally left an earpiece at Lapid’s home, and according to Klein, Lapid insisted he send over a driver to get them as he didn’t want even a hint of a gift.
Robert E. Crimo III will plead not guilty to all charges when he appears in court later today for the first time since allegedly opening fire on a parade in a Chicago suburb, killing seven, his attorney says.
And officials poring through hjis online posting say he researched violent acts, including beheadings, online before the shooting.
Crimo was charged with seven counts of murder Tuesday in the shooting that sent hundreds of marchers, parents and children fleeing in fear and set off an hours-long manhunt in and around Highland Park, an affluent community on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart promised Tuesday that dozens more charges would be sought. He added that the suspect, if convicted of the murder charges, would receive a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Asked about his client’s emotional state, prominent Chicago-based lawyer Thomas A. Durkin says he has spoken to Crimo only once — for 10 minutes by phone. He declined to comment further.
Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, was an aspiring rapper with the stage name Awake the Rapper, posting on social media dozens videos and songs, some ominous and violent.
Federal agents were reviewing Crimo’s online profiles, and a preliminary examination of his internet history indicated that he had researched mass killings and had downloaded multiple photos depicting violent acts, including a beheading, a law enforcement official says on condition of anonymity.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is vowing to stay in power despite the resignations of two top Cabinet ministers and a slew of more junior officials, who said they could no longer serve under his scandal-tarred leadership.
Johnson tells lawmakers that “the job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances, when you’ve been handed a colossal mandate, is to keep going.”
Johnson’s hold on power has been shaken by the resignations Tuesday of Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid. They quit saying they could no longer support Johnson because of his handling of ethics scandals including the case of a senior official accused of sexual misconduct.
Johnson quickly replaced the two men, but a string of junior ministers have also stepped down, and Johnson’s support inside his Conservative Party is shrinking rapidly.
Opponents also hope to change party rules to allow a new no-confidence vote that could oust Johnson. He survived one such vote last month, with 41% of lawmakers voting against him.
The most immediate challenge for the leader is to get through two public grilling sessions: the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session in Parliament that’s already underway and a long-scheduled interrogation later in the day by a committee of senior lawmakers.
How he handles the tough questions could indicate whether a simmering rebellion in his Conservative Party can gather enough strength to oust him.
Israel says it is welcoming its 30,000th immigrant fleeing the war in Ukraine, less than six months after Russia invaded its neighbor, with thousands more still expected to arrive.
Israel had predicted that it would take in 30,000 to 50,000 new immigrants forced out of Ukraine or neighboring countries by the war, on top of thousands of refugees it has also accepted.
“Thousands more are expected to arrive in Israel. We are doing everything possible in the government to assist in their optimal integration in Israel,” Immigration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata says in a statement from her ministry.
According to the ministry, nearly all of the new arrivals have found housing solutions, with only 421 still stuck in hotels. Some 3,300 people settled in Haifa, while Tel Aviv and Netanya have also been popular destinations.
Nearly half of the arrivals are of working age and the ministry has been helping push job training and placement, it says.
“Bringing immigrants to Israel from a war zone is a national effort,” Tamano-Shata says. “We will keep on going as long as the war continues.”
The 26th branch of the Jane Goodall Institute will be established at the Max Stern Yezreel Valley College in northern Israel, world renowned primate expert Dame Jane Goodall announces at the 50th conference of the Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences in Tel Aviv.
The Goodall Institute says it strives to inspire people to conserve the natural world.
The location of the new branch is thanks to a 20-plus-year relationship between Goodall and Israeli evolutionary anthropologist and chimpanzee researcher Itai Roffman.
Roffman, who for years has organized informal activities with children in different countries within the framework of Goodall’s Roots and Shoots educational initiative, will serve as co-director of the new branch.
European Union lawmakers have voted to include natural gas and nuclear energy in the bloc’s list of sustainable activities, backing a controversial proposal from the bloc’s executive arm that has been drawing fierce criticism from environment groups.
The European Commission earlier this year made the proposal as part of its plans for building a climate-friendly future, dividing member countries and drawing outcry from environmentalists as “greenwashing.”
EU legislators from the environment and economy committees objected last month to the plan, setting up Wednesday’s cliff-edge vote in Strasbourg, France. But EU legislators have rejected their resolution in a 328-278 vote, with the result announced in a salvo of applause.
With that, EU and its Member States set a disastrous example for the urgently needed transformation of our financial systems. https://t.co/qE5bbH9hyU
— Florian Titze (@FlorianTitze) July 6, 2022
The green labeling system from the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, defines what qualifies as an investment in sustainable energy. Under certain conditions, gas and nuclear energy will now be part of the mix, making it easier for private investors to inject money into both.
Greenpeace says it will submit a formal request for internal review to the European Commission, and then take legal action at the European Court of Justice if the result isn’t conclusive.
“It’s dirty politics and it’s an outrageous outcome to label gas and nuclear as green and keep more money flowing to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war chest, but now we will fight this in the courts,” says Ariadna Rodrigo, Greenpeace’s EU sustainable finance campaigner.
Protests that had started yesterday continued today outside the EU legislature as lawmakers debated the issue.
One argument for rejecting the proposal is that it will boost Russian gas sales at a time when it is invading neighboring Ukraine, but the European Commission said it had received a letter from the Ukrainian government backing its stance.
The EU is trying to wean itself off its dependency on Russian fossil fuels, and member countries have already agreed to ban 90% of Russian oil by year-end. Before the war in Ukraine, it relied on Russia for 25% of its oil and 40% of its natural gas.
Health Ministry head Nachman Ash has backed the recommendation of an expert panel to allow children under 5 years old to receive the coronavirus vaccine, the Health Ministry says.
The ministry says it will top up supplies at health clinics to ensure there are enough for the nation’s tots in the coming weeks.
The announcement comes a day after a letter was leaked to news outlets in which Ash supported vaccines for kids as young as 6 months old, but did not explicitly back the panel’s advice that shots be recommended for high-risk babies and toddlers.
Wednesday’s statement, however, includes that endorsement.
“The vaccine is especially recommended for children at high risk of serious illness from the coronavirus due to chronic underlying conditions or whose immune system is compromised,” the statement reads.
The ministry notes that its endorsement comes after the US Food and Drug Administration already okayed the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and after two meetings by the panel in which comprehensive analyses found the vaccines to be safe and effective for kids.
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