British police name two London terrorists, both city residents
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British police name two London terrorists, both city residents

Palestinian PM says Israel prevented an intifada in 2015; Liberman says Gulf-Qatar crisis an opportunity for Israel; Pro-settlement caucus urges PM to increase West Bank building

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

  • A police photo released on June 5, 2017 of Khuram Shazad Butt (left) and Rachid Redouane (right), two of the three terrorists believed to be behind the car-ramming and stabbing attack in London. (Metropolitan Police)
    A police photo released on June 5, 2017 of Khuram Shazad Butt (left) and Rachid Redouane (right), two of the three terrorists believed to be behind the car-ramming and stabbing attack in London. (Metropolitan Police)
  • Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (AP/Dita Alangkara)
    Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Tuesday, April 21, 2015 (AP/Dita Alangkara)
  • A police photo released on June 5, 2017 of Khuram Shazad Butt (left) and Rachid Redouane (right), two of the three terrorists believed to be behind the car-ramming and stabbing attack in London. (Metropolitan Police)
    A police photo released on June 5, 2017 of Khuram Shazad Butt (left) and Rachid Redouane (right), two of the three terrorists believed to be behind the car-ramming and stabbing attack in London. (Metropolitan Police)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets eBay CEO Devin Wenig in Jerusalem, on June 5, 2017. (Haim Tzach/ GPO)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets eBay CEO Devin Wenig in Jerusalem, on June 5, 2017. (Haim Tzach/ GPO)
  • Construction in the Israeli West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, near the city of Hebron, on April 2, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
    Construction in the Israeli West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, near the city of Hebron, on April 2, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
  • A woman lays a bouquet of flowers at a pedestrian crossing by Borough market in London on June 5, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Justin TALLIS)
    A woman lays a bouquet of flowers at a pedestrian crossing by Borough market in London on June 5, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Justin TALLIS)
  • A man walking past the Qatar Airways branch in the Saudi capital Riyadh, after it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia following a severing of relations between major gulf states and gas-rich Qatar, June 5, 2017. (AFP/FAYEZ NURELDINE)
    A man walking past the Qatar Airways branch in the Saudi capital Riyadh, after it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia following a severing of relations between major gulf states and gas-rich Qatar, June 5, 2017. (AFP/FAYEZ NURELDINE)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.

Lawmakers call on PM to increase settlement building

Two lawmakers who head up the Knesset’s Land of Israel Caucus are demanding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approve the building of additional settlement homes in the West Bank

A letter from Yoav Kish and Betzalel Smotrich tells the prime minister the recently approved settlement homes “do not meet the needs of the population after an eight-year freeze.”

“In our opinion this is an unacceptable mistake that must be rectified.”

Netanyahu has admitted that pressure by the Obama administration slowed settlement building in the West Bank over the last eight years, but he has repeatedly denied the scaled-back construction amounted to a freeze.

Many on the pro-settlement right saw the election of US President Donald Trump as an opportunity to expand Israel’s settlement enterprise. However, the US leader has cautiously walked back his blanket support for Netanyahu’s government polices since taking office in January.

British police make more arrests connected to London attack

British counterterrorism investigators search two homes and detain “a number” of people in the investigation into a van and knife terror attack in the heart of London that left seven people dead.

London’s police chief says the attackers have been identified, but the names haven’t been released. At least 12 people were arrested Sunday, including five men and seven women ranging in age from 19 to 60.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick says she won’t release further details in what she describes as a fast-moving investigation, including whether authorities were familiar with the men before the attack.

IS has claimed responsibility for three attacks in Britain since March, and Dick describes the recent wave of violence as “unprecedented in my working life.”

“We in this country have faced a terrorist threat throughout my life — it changed and morphed and we will change and adapt to what appears to be a new reality for us,” she says.

— AP

British PM supports ‘shoot to kill’ policy during terror attacks

UK Prime Minister Theresa May says she supports the “shoot to kill” policy used by London police in responding to terror attacks.

May says police saved “countless lives” by killing the three London bridge attackers within eight minutes on Saturday night.

May says police counterterrorism resources are well-funded despite cuts to police staffing levels. She has been criticized for staff cuts during her tenure as home secretary.

Israel’s own “shoot to kill” policy used by Israeli security forces disarming Palestinian terrorists has been labeled extrajudicial killings and criticized by rights groups as an excessive use of force.

— with AP

Trump calls for ‘expedited’ hearing of contentious travel ban

US President Donald Trump is criticizing his own Justice Department for asking the Supreme Court to review a “watered down, politically correct version” of the travel ban he signed in March.

In a series of morning tweets, Trump says the Justice Department “should have stayed” with the first travel ban executive order. Both orders, aimed at temporarily halting entry to the US from a half-dozen Muslim-majority countries, have been blocked by the lower courts.

The March directive narrowed the scope of the original order, which was hastily unveiled during Trump’s first week in office.

Trump says the Justice Department should ask for an “expedited hearing” on the second ban and “seek much tougher version!”

The president has stepped up his calls for implementing the travel ban following the weekend attacks in London.

— AP

Concrete barriers placed throughout London following attack

British media reports that metal barriers and concrete blocks have been installed on bridges in London following Saturday’s deadly London Bridge car-ramming and stabbing terror attack.

“This morning you will see some hostile vehicle blocking on some of our bridges…..We will have more armed policing on and near the bridges and people should be prepared for that,” Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, tells the LBC radio station.

A similar terror attack on Westminster Bridge close to the Houses of Parliament took place in March.

Israel has long used concrete blocks to protect pedestrians and security forces from ramming attacks by Palestinian assailants.

16-year-old found stabbed to death in Kfar Yona home

A 16-year-old boy is found stabbed to death in his home in the Netanya-area town of Kfar Yona.

Police have opened an investigation into the teen’s killing.

Reports in Hebrew language media say the victim’s older brother, an IDF soldier, is the main suspect in the teen’s death.

Police are reportedly launching a search for the brother, who was at the family home earlier but apparently left after the time the victim is suspected to have been murdered.

Western-backed Yemen government cuts ties with Qatar

After Gulf Arab countries severe diplomatic ties with Qatar, Yemen’s internationally backed government, which no longer holds its capital and large portions of the country, also cut relations with the gas-rich peninsula.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and the Maldives have joined Saudi Arabia in severing relations with Qatar, with Riyadh accusing Doha of supporting extremist groups “that aim to destabilize the region.”

The government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi says it severed ties with Qatar in part over its support of extremist groups in Yemen “in contradiction with the goals announced by the countries supporting the legitimate government.”

Iran says Trump to blame for spat between Qatar, Gulf states

The head of Iran’s influential parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy says the differences between Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the result of US President Donald Trump’s recent visit to the region

The official IRNA news agency cites Alaeddin Boroujerdi as saying that because of the signing of a major arms deal between the Saudis and the US during Trump’s trip: “It is not unlikely that we would witness more negative incidents in the region.”

Boroujerdi says Washington has always made it a policy to establish a rift among Muslim countries. He says: “Intervention of foreign countries, especially the United States, cannot be the solution to regional problems.”

— AP

Libya’s internationally backed government cuts relations with Qatar

One of Libya’s three rival governments announces it is cutting diplomatic relations with Qatar, after four Arab countries severed ties.

Mohammed al-Deri, the foreign minister of the interim Libyan government, accuses Qatar of “harboring terrorism” according to Libyan official agency LANA.

The interim government is affiliated with the internationally recognized House of Representatives and is based in eastern Libya. Another internationally recognized Government of National Accord is seated in Tripoli and brokered by the United Nations. A third rival government is also based in Tripoli.

The eastern Libyan power players have always accused Qatar and Turkey of backing Islamists in Libya, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Libya sank into lawlessness after the ouster and killing of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

— AP

Police finish questioning Deri in corruption case

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri finishes giving testimony to police in the ongoing corruption case against him.

A statement from police spokeswoman Luba Samri this afternoon says Deri was questioned from “early morning until just now,” at the Lahav 433 police unit headquarters in the city of Lod.

Samri says there will be no further statement on Deri’s latest questioning, as the investigation is ongoing.

Deri is suspected of money laundering, fraud and breach of trust, theft by an authorized person, fraudulent registration, and tax offenses, according to police.

He was questioned by Lahav 433 investigators for over 11 hours last week.

Corbyn backs calls for May to quit over police cuts

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn is backing calls for Prime Minister Theresa May to resign for reducing the number of police officers during her six years as interior minister.

Asked by ITV television if he backed the calls for May to resign after three terror attacks in three months, the Labour Party leader said: “Indeed I would… We should never have cut the police numbers.”

Asked again if he wants May to quit, Corbyn replies: “We’ve got an election on Thursday and that’s perhaps the best opportunity to deal with it.”

In an earlier speech, May defended her record, insisting London’s Metropolitan Police force was “well resourced” and has “very powerful counter-terrorism capabilities.”

— AFP

UAE, Saudi carriers to suspend flights to Qatar

UAE and Saudi carriers announce they are suspending flights to Qatar after their countries announced a cut in ties with Doha, in an unprecedented regional crisis.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad and Dubai’s Emirates airlines say flights will stop on Tuesday, after the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain said they would cut all air, land and sea links with Qatar within 24 hours.

Both carriers said the measure will stay in place “until further notice.”

Dubai’s budget carrier flydubai also says it will suspend flights to and from Doha.

Meanwhile, flag carrier Saudi Airlines says it is suspending flights to Qatar with immediate effect.

The unprecedented measures against Doha include ordering Qatari citizens to leave within 14 days and banning citizens of the three Gulf states from traveling to Qatar.

— AFP

Neighbors say London terrorist tried to radicalize kids

Neighbors of one of the dead suspects in the London Bridge attacks say he was trying to radicalize young people, and that they reported him to police.

Jibril Palomba says he and his wife worried because the man, whom they knew as Abu Mohammed and recognized in photos of the attack, gave their children candy and preached about Islam. Erica Gasparri says she also saw him and two other men proselytizing outside a school.

Another neighbor, Michael Mimbo, says the van later used to ram pedestrians on the bridge was blocking the road at the suspect’s housing complex on Friday. The next day, Mimbo says that same van sped erratically down the street.

Police have not released the names of the three attackers who killed seven people before being shot to death.

— AP

Multiple fatalities confirmed in Orlando workplace shooting

Florida police are investigating a “multiple fatality” incident at a business headquarters in Orlando, Florida, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office says.

The sheriff’s office says the scene is “stabilized,” and the “situation contained.”

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demmings is expected to make a statement soon.

Several roads in Orlando were closed as deputies responded to the shooting.

No further details were immediately available.

Turkey offers to help resolve Gulf-Qatar row

Turkey is calling for dialogue and says it is ready to help defuse the row between Qatar and Arab nations including Saudi Arabia and Egypt that accuse Doha of supporting extremism.

“It’s a development that really saddened all of us,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tells reporters.

“There could be problems between the countries but dialogue must prevail in all circumstances,” he said, adding that Ankara was ready to do its best to help resolve the dispute.

“We will give any kind of support for the situation to be normalized,” he says.

— AFP

Liberman: Gulf-Qatar crisis opportunity for Israel to combat terror

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is casting the decision by Gulf states to cut ties with Qatar as a positive development for Israel, saying opens up opportunities for Israel to collaborate with these states to combat terrorism.

The countries, including Egypt, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, cut ties “not because of Israel, not because of the Jews, not because of Zionism,” but “rather from fears of terrorism.”

This opens opportunities to “in the fight against terrorism,” Liberman says in the Knesset plenum.

Addressing warming ties between Israel and moderate Arab states, Liberman says attempts to link Israel’s reconciliation with these countries with Palestinian statehood “are a mistake.”

“You must not condition the ties between Israel and the moderate states on the Palestinian issue,” he says.

The defense minister also addresses the massive arms deal between the US and Saudi Arabia.

“Our job is not to prevent deals between the US and moderate states,” Liberman says. “Our job is to preserve our qualitative edge.”

“We dealt with the deal before it became known to the broader public,” he says.

“Despite the incredible scope of the deal, we will be able uphold the qualitative edge,” adds Liberman, saying the Americans have been responsive to Israel.

— Marissa Newman

Egypt to suspend air links with Qatar from tomorrow

Egypt announces it will suspend air links with Qatar from tomorrow, after it and other Arab states cut diplomatic ties with the Gulf emirate and accused it of supporting extremism.

The decision, announced by the aviation ministry, will take effect from 0400 GMT and continue “until further notice,” with Qatari planes being unable to cross Egyptian airspace or land on its territory.

— AFP

Liberman says no aid for Gaza until Red Cross sees Israeli captives

Liberman says there will be no improvements in Gaza’s humanitarian situation until Israel receives signs of life from its civilians held captive by Hamas.

He slams human rights groups for failing to try to contact the Israelis being held in the coastal enclave or working to extract the bodies of two Israeli soldiers being held in the Strip.

There will be no goodwill gestures until “the Red Cross at least visits them,” he says, referring to both the living Israelis and the remains of the soldiers.

He also criticizes international groups over the execution of three Gazans, saying, “I didn’t hear a single condemnation.”

— Marissa Newman

Trump renews Twitter attack on London’s Muslim mayor

US President Donald Trump renewed his criticism of London Mayor Sadiq Khan Monday, in the second such condemnation in the 48 hours since a terror attack in the British capital.

Trump accused Khan of offering a “pathetic excuse” for comments that Trump earlier misconstrued about policing in response to Saturday’s attack, which left seven people dead.

Khan had told Londoners there was “no reason to be alarmed” about an increased police presence in the coming days.

Trump leapt on the London attacks as evidence of the need for hardline security measures in the United States, including a “ban” on travelers from Muslim countries.

— AFP

Herzog slams PM for ‘ignoring’ signs of regional peace

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog slams Netanyahu for not seizing the diplomatic rift between Qatar and Gulf states to advance Arab-Israeli cooperation.

“The Arab states who exactly 50 years ago sought to destroy Israel are no disengaging from a country that finances terrorism against the West, and against Israel in particular,” Herzog says in a statement.

“Now is the time real leadership and bravely pursue regional agreements,” he says, adding that “Netanyahu is ignoring the signs of peace in the region.”

Herzog goes on to criticize Netanyahu for his association with David Bitan and Naftali Bennett, without saying explicitly why, and says that ousting Netanyahu and his government is “the only chance for peace and security.”

He adds that the Zionist Union faction would “support the opposition in any move that will advance regional agreement and bring about renewed negotiations with Palestinians.”

IDF holds surprise military drill in northern Israel

The IDF completes a surprise exercise in northern Israel in which it simulated a full-scale war with Hezbollah.

The exercise began Sunday and ended today. It included a mix of units, notably the ground and air forces.

— Judah Ari Gross

Court extends remand of suspect in IDF incitement case

The Tiberias Magistrate’s Court extends the remand of a 40-year-old Jerusalem man suspected of inciting violence against Maj. Gen. Moti Almoz to protest his efforts to draft religious men and women into the army.

A statement from police spokeswoman Luba Samri says the suspect will be remanded in custody until Thursday.

An appeal for his release filed by the suspect’s legal attorney was rejected by the court.

Earlier this year, extremist ultra-Orthodox protesters threatened Almoz’s life, distributing hate-filled flyers comparing him to Hitler and likening army service to Auschwitz.

Hamas lawmakers say they got salaries after fearing cutoff from Abbas

A lawmaker from the Hamas terrorist group in the West Bank says he and his colleagues received their monthly salaries after initially fearing the payments had been halted by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas lawmaker Ayman Daraghmeh says he was told by Abbas’s government that the delay was due to a technical error.

Earlier, he said that the 47 lawmakers did not receive their June salaries and that they were told by the Finance Ministry that it was “orders from above.”

On Sunday, dozens of Hamas inmates once imprisoned by Israel said they did not receive their monthly support payment. Abbas has been trying to weaken his rival Hamas and force them to yield control of Gaza.

Abbas’s Palestinian Authority had no comment.

— AP

Palestinian PM says Israel prevented an intifada in 2015

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah reportedly said that Israel’s response to the upsurge in Palestinian violence in 2015 prevented a full-fledged “intifada,” or uprising, from erupting.

According to Channel 2, Hamdallah made the remarks during an unprecedented meeting with Israeli Finance minister Moshe Kahlon in Ramallah last week to discuss improving economic ties.

Israeli officials attending the meeting say Ramdallah referred to Israel’s “containment policy,” which aims to differentiate between terrorists and the wider Palestinian population. The officials said prime minister also noted Israeli efforts to avoid collective punishment.

Hamdallah also said the PA was “surprised by Israel’s wise approach” in handling the outbreak of violence.

Saudis close Al-Jazeera office in Qatar amid diplomatic crisis

Saudi Arabia closes the offices of Qatar’s Al-Jazeera news network after severing ties with the energy-rich Gulf nation, which it accuses of supporting terrorist groups.

In a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the Culture and Media Ministry says it withdrew the famed network’s license.

The ministry says the move came in response to Al-Jazeera’s “promotion of the terrorist organizations’ plots” and its alleged support for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the target of a two-year-old Saudi-led military intervention.

It also accused the network of attempting to “split the Saudi ranks,” without elaborating.

— AP

UNICEF says up to 100,000 children at risk in Iraq’s Mosul

Up to 100,000 children are in danger as Iraqi forces battle to retake west Mosul from the Islamic State jihadist group, the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF says.

Nearly eight months into the massive operation to recapture Iraq’s second city, security forces have retaken all but a handful of areas in west Mosul from the jihadists. But those areas are still home to large numbers of civilians in grave danger from the fighting as well as from a lack of food, medicine and clean water.

An Iraqi soldier helps a displaced girl after leaving their homes west of Mosul on May 26, 2017, as government forces continue their offensive to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic State (IS) group fighters. (AFP/Karim Sahib)
An Iraqi soldier helps a displaced girl after leaving their homes west of Mosul on May 26, 2017, as government forces continue their offensive to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic State (IS) group fighters. (AFP/Karim Sahib)

“An estimated 100,000 girls and boys remain in extremely dangerous conditions in the Old City and other areas of west Mosul. Many are caught in the crossfire, and hospitals and other medical facilities have reportedly come under attack,” UNICEF says in a statement.

The UN body says it has received reports of civilians including children being killed in west Mosul, some of them as they sought to flee.

— AFP

London attacker believed to be Moroccan, lived in Dublin — report

One of the three attackers shot dead in London on Saturday night was carrying an Irish identity card and had lived in Dublin, according to a report by RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster.

Citing police sources, RTE says the man is believed to have been from Morocco and married to a Scottish woman.

“An Garda Siochana providing every assistance to our colleagues in the London Metropolitan Police in relation to the terror attack in London,” the Irish police force says in a statement to AFP.

“We will process all requests from the UK authorities in relation to enquiries into individuals, identities or any other matter,” it says.

RTE said officers at the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) are checking records to establish the residency of the man, who has yet to be identified by name, and his marital status while he was living in the country.

— AFP

Man suspected of murdering his brother arrested after manhunt

Agaro Asis, sought by police in connection with the stabbing to death of his brother in Kfra Yona, June 5, 2017. (Police spokesperson)
Agaro Asis, sought by police in connection with the stabbing to death of his brother in Kfra Yona, June 5, 2017. (Police spokesperson)

A Kfar Yona man suspected of murdering his brother is arrested by police after an hours-long manhunt.

Police appealed to the public for help in searching for Argao Asars after his 18-year-old brother was found stabbed to death in the family’s home this afternoon.

According to Channel 2, 32-year-old Asars has a history of psychiatric problems.

Investigators say the stabbing may have resulted from an argument between the two brothers.

Reports in Hebrew-language media said the victim had joined the army several weeks ago.

Netanyahu meets eBay CEO, encourages expansion of Israel operations

Netanyahu is meeting with the president and CEO of eBay, Devin Wenig.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office says the two are discussing possibilities of expanding eBay’s R&D center in Israel, and increasing investment in the country.

Netanyahu emphasized Wenig the focus on innovation in Israeli culture and the “inherent opportunities in the Israeli market.”

Netanyahu told the head of the global online retailer that his government is working to facilitate foreign business operations in Israel by reducing corporate taxes, and easing regulations.

Panicked Qatar shoppers stock up as Gulf rift bites

Shoppers in Doha are taking no chances despite Qatari officials reassuring residents there was no need to panic after Saudi Arabia imposed a de facto food blockade.

Qatar shares its only land border with Saudi Arabia, and relies heavily on food imports, much of it from Gulf countries.

Multiple lines up to 25-people deep formed in Carrefour supermarket in Doha’s City Center mall, one of the busiest shopping areas in the Qatari capital, hours after five Arab states cut diplomatic ties with the kingdom.

Shoppers piled carts and baskets high and shelves were stripped of essentials such as milk, rice and chicken.

Earlier today, Arab nations including Saudi Arabia and Egypt cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremism, in the biggest diplomatic crisis to hit the region in years.

— AFP

Russia hopes Qatar-Gulf rift won’t affect global war on terror

The Kremlin is voicing hope that the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors will not hurt international anti-terror efforts.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, tells reporters that Russia hopes the tensions “will not affect the general determination to fight terrorism,” adding that the latest terror attack in London again underlined its importance.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates on Monday severed ties with Qatar and moved to block land, sea and air routes to the tiny energy-rich Gulf nation, which they accuse of supporting terror groups, charges denied by Qatar.

Peskov declined to comment on the accusations leveled against Qatar.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expresses “serious concern about a new wave of tensions within the Arab world,” in a phone call with his Qatari counterpart.

— AP

US military says no changes amid Gulf spat

The US military’s Central Command says it has “no plans to change our posture in Qatar” amid a Gulf diplomatic crisis.

Maj. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway tells The Associated Press in a statement that US military aircraft continue to fly missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria despite the rift.

The major says: “We encourage all our partners in the region to reduce tensions and work towards common solutions that enable regional security.”

Qatar is home to the vast Al-Udeid Air Base that holds the forward headquarters of Central Command and hosts some 10,000 American troops.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced early today they would sever diplomatic ties to Qatar, calling into question whether that would affect US military operations.

Police name two London attackers as Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane

British police name two of the three suspected London Bridge terrorists as Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane.

A statement from the Metropolitan Police says both Butt and Redouane were from the east London suburb of Barking.

Butt, 27, was a British citizen who was born in Pakistan. Redouane, 30, had claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan. He also used the name Rachid Elkhdar, and sometimes claimed to be 25.

Police say the investigation to confirm the identity of their accomplice is ongoing.

All three terrorists were shot dead by police as they carried out the car-ramming and stabbing attack Saturday night.

Defense, prosecution in Azaria case fail to reach compromise

The prosecution and defense attorneys in the Sgt. Elor Azaria case have failed to reach a compromise during the court-ordered mediation process.

A statement from the army says “substantial gaps” remained between Azaria’s defense attorney Yoram Sheftel and the IDF’s chief prosecutor, Col. Sharon Zagagi Pinchas.

Azaria was convicted of manslaughter earlier this year and sentenced to 18 months in prison in for shooting dead a disarmed and wounded Palestinian assailant in the West Bank city of Hebron last year.

Both sides appealed, with the defense appealing the conviction, and the prosecution seeking a more extensive sentence.

Last week, the Chief Judge Zvi Segal urged the two sides to “rise above” the enmity heard in the course of the contentious trial and attempt to resolve both sides’ appeals without the need for a judicial ruling.

One London terror suspect already known to UK authorities

London police say one of the three suspects in the van and knife attack near London Bridge that left seven people dead was known to authorities, but they had no reason to think he was actively planning to do harm.

Police say in a statement that British police and intelligence agencies were familiar with 27-year-old Khuram Shazad Butt, a British citizen born in Pakistan.

The statement did not provide details on why Butt had come to the attention of law enforcement.

Police in London say the second suspect identified as Rashid Redouane was not known to police.

Investigations are continuing to identify the third attacker.

In Monday’s statement, police also said two of the 12 people arrested since the attack as possible accomplices have been freed.

— AP

Deputy AG: Investigations into Netanyahu will take time

Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan warns completing the corruption investigations into Netanyahu will take time.

“This isn’t a one- or two-day thing, but, at the same time, I hope that it won’t be several months,” Nitzan says according to reports in Hebrew-language media.

“As everyone knows, two investigations have been opened, both of which are complicated and police have been working on them for many months,” he says. “No stone must be left unturned.”

Nitzan, speaking at an event in Jerusalem, says that several key people connected to the cases are abroad, slowing down the investigations.

The prime minister is suspected of accepting expensive gifts from wealthy businessmen in exchange for favors, known as Case 1000, and on a separate investigation, dubbed Case 2000, which involves Netanyahu’s alleged negotiations with the publisher of the Yedioth Aharonoth daily, Arnon Mozes, to advance legislation to hobble the paper’s rival — the Sheldon Adelson-controlled Israel Hayom — in exchange for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

Netanyahu denies all the charges against him.

Trump will not block ex-FBI director Comey’s testimony

The White House says that Donald Trump will not use presidential powers to prevent ex-FBI director James Comey from testifying to Congress.

“The President’s power to assert executive privilege is well-established,” the White House says in a statement.

“However, in order to facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee, President Trump will not assert executive privilege regarding James Comey’s scheduled testimony.”

— AFP

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