Suspected explosive carried by Gazan balloon discovered on Israeli rooftop
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Suspected explosive carried by Gazan balloon discovered on Israeli rooftop

Police sappers headed to the site in a village in the Sdot Negev Regional Council area; six brush fires set by Gaza incendiary kites today

Illustrative: Gazans load balloons with flammable material to be flown toward Israel, at the Israel-Gaza border in al-Bureij, central Gaza Strip on June 14, 2018. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)
Illustrative: Gazans load balloons with flammable material to be flown toward Israel, at the Israel-Gaza border in al-Bureij, central Gaza Strip on June 14, 2018. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they happened.

Ministers back bill criminalizing filming of IDF soldiers in clashes

Cabinet ministers authorize a bill that would criminalize the filming of certain Israeli military activities, including clashes between IDF soldiers and Palestinians.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation, which sets the coalition’s position on Knesset legislation, votes in favor of the proposal, despite opposition from Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit who says he will not be able to defend the law.

The controversial bill, sponsored by the Yisrael Beytenu party with the support of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, would subject anyone caught filming or publishing footage of military activities with the purpose of harming “the soldiers’ morale” to up to five years behind bars.

More aggravated circumstances, such as publishing such footage with the intention of “harming state security,” can carry a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

The committee, seen as a key bellwether of a bill’s chances to become law, sends the bill to the Knesset. The first preliminary vote is slated for Wednesday.

— Raoul Wootliff

Former CIA head compares US immigration policies to Nazi Germany

Former head of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency Michael Hayden compares the Trump administration’s immigration policies to Nazi Germany.

In a tweet posted on Saturday, Hayden writes: “Other governments have separated mothers and children,” under a black and white photo of the front of Auschwitz as seen from the railroad tracks approaching the former Nazi camp.

The tweet is a response to reports that under the US government’s so-called zero tolerance policy against illegal migrants nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents or adult guardians after entering the United States.

— JTA

Rio mayor sings to raise funds for Holocaust memorial

RIO DE JANEIRO — Thousands pay to watch the mayor of Rio sing at a concert where the box office is entirely donated to the construction of a Holocaust memorial.

Some 4,000 people listen to several gospel songs sung by Marcelo Crivella, who is a fervent Evangelical Christian and a longtime friend of the Jewish community. Last year, he laid the cornerstone for the memorial.

“A Holocaust memorial is important to prevent and defend humankind from such barbarisms. Experience shows if we are not vigilant about the past, it simply returns. The monument will be an alert in the consciousness of everyone who visits it,” Crivella told JTA after Thursday’s concert.

The politician, who is an enthusiast of the Jewish state, announced the donation of the public area to build the memorial before some 2,000 Jews attending a Yom Haatzma’ut celebration on April 22. Crivella reportedly has visited Israel 40 times.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city, is home to some 35,000 Jews. About half of Brazil’s 120,000-member Jewish community lives in Sao Paulo, the country’s financial center.

— JTA

1 dead, over a dozen hurt in New Jersey festival shooting

Shooting breaks out at an all-night cultural festival in Trenton, New Jersey, early Sunday, sending people fleeing and leaving at least one person dead and more than a dozen injured, police say.

The shooting begins at the Art All Night festival that showcases local art, music and food a little before 3 a.m. Sunday. The event began Saturday afternoon and is scheduled to continue until Sunday afternoon. It typically draws thousands of people.

Trenton Police Lt. Darren Zappley tells The Trentonian that multiple people were shot and were taken to the hospital. The person who was killed was not immediately identified.

Angelo Nicolo tells Philadelphia 6ABC TV that he and his brother were at the event when they heard loud popping sounds. He says people started running down the street.

“I saw two police officers escort a guy that got shot in the leg. They bandaged him up and whisked him away,” Nicolo says.

— AP

New Jersey cops say two suspects involved in festival shooting

A local prosecutor says that one suspect is dead and 20 other people are injured, including four critically, after a shooting at an all-night arts festival in Trenton, New Jersey.

Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri tells a news conference early Sunday that 16 of the 20 injured are being treated for gunshot wounds.

He says that two suspects opened fire during a crowded festival that showcases local art. One of the suspects, a 33-year-old man, was killed.

Authorities say that about 1,000 people were in the area when the shooting started and people stampeded. The nature of the injuries to the four people who did not suffer gunshot wounds was not immediately known.

— AP

French woman wounds two with knife while reportedly shouting ‘Allah akbar’

MARSEILLE, France — A woman is detained in Seyne-sur-Mer, southern France, on Sunday after wounding two people in a supermarket while shouting “Allah Akbar,” according to a local public prosecutor.

The suspect stabbed a female shopper in the upper torso. The victim was rushed to the hospital, according to prosecutor Bernard Marchal, confirming information published in the local daily Nice-Matin.

A cashier is lightly hurt in the incident.

— AFP

IDF drone fires warning shot at Gazan incendiary balloon launchers

An Israeli drone fires a warning shot at a group of Gazans preparing to fly incendiary balloons into Israeli territory, Palestinian media reports.

According to the Hamas-affiliated Shehab news, the balloon launchers were operating in a number of tents set up east of the city of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military confirms it used an aircraft to fire a warning shot at the cell.

— Judah Ari Gross

Ministers move to cancel law giving prime minister power to declare war

The cabinet lends its support to a bill that would strip the prime minister and defense minister of the power to declare war without consulting any other government officials.

A law granting the premier and defense minister that power was passed by the Knesset in May as an addendum to another law, drawing criticism over the concentration of power in the hands of just two elected officials.

Under new regulations proposed in the new bill, the entire 10-member security cabinet must vote on any declaration of war, or a large-scale military operation that could lead to war.

Ministers to limit proposed soldier-filming ban to those clashing with troops

During the debate in the cabinet over a bill that would criminalize the filming of IDF soldiers in certain situations, proponents say they will compromise on the bill’s much-criticized restrictions.

The prohibition on filming soldiers will only fall on those actively clashing with them and attempting to obstruct their activities.

The bill is being advanced by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party.

Israel busted ‘extraordinarily’ large Hamas terror cell in West Bank — Shin Bet

Israeli forces uncovered a large and highly active Hamas terror cell operating out of the Palestinian city of Nablus earlier this year that was allegedly planning to conduct a number of bombings and shooting attacks in Israel and the northern West Bank, the Shin Bet security service reveals.

“In recent months, the Shin Bet, Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police uncovered a Hamas terror cell, extraordinary in its size and level of activity, which operated in the Nablus area,” the Shin Bet says in a statement.

“During the suspects’ interrogations by the Shin Bet, it was determined that the cell planned to carry out terrorist bombings in central cities in Israel and the northern West Bank, including a bombing in Tel Aviv, a suicide bombing and an explosive attack in Jerusalem, a bombing in the Itamar settlement and shooting attacks in the Samaria region,” the security service says, using the Hebrew name for the northern West Bank.

The Shin Bet says it arrested more than 20 suspected members of the Hamas cell in April, including its two leaders: Mutassem Muhammad Salem and Fares Kamil Zavidi.

The case was under gag order until Salem and Zavidi were indicted earlier today.

Israeli security forces found multiple explosive devices that the group had manufactured, including one that weighed 10 kilograms (22 pounds), which could be detonated by cellphone. Another 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of explosives were also uncovered, the Shin Bet says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Pope: Nations must protect those who must flee

Pope Francis says he hopes governments can reach agreements that assure protection for those forced to flee homelands.

Francis tells the faithful in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday that such accords should aim for “safe migration.”

The pontiff expresses hopes that governments intent on reaching a “World Pact on Refugees” this year can “reach an agreement to assure, with responsibility and humanity, assistance and protection for those forced to leave their lands” due to conflict and persecution.

He says all people are called upon to value refugees’ contributions “so that they can be better fit into the communities that receive them.” Francis adds that “mutual respect” will lead to solutions for the issues involved with migration.

— AP

Suspected explosive carried by Gazan balloon discovered on Israeli rooftop

Two incendiary balloons carrying a suspected explosive device are found on the roof of a home in the Sdot Negev Regional Council area.

Police sappers are on their way to the scene.

At least six wildfires raged today throughout the Gaza border area from kites and balloons sent over the border.

IDF fires second warning shot of the day at Gazans launching incendiary balloons

An Israeli drone fires a warning shot at a group of Gazans flying incendiary balloons into Israel from the Strip, Palestinian media reports.

The Israeli army confirms that an aircraft shot at the cell, which it says were launching balloons at southern Israel.

There are no reports of Palestinian injuries.

This was the third such strike of the day by the Israeli Air Force, as the army seeks to deter Palestinians from sending the incendiary devices into Israel, where they have already burned thousands of acres of farmland, forests and parks.

— Judah Ari Gross

IDF drone targets Hamas observation post, Gaza media reports

An Israeli drone targets a Hamas observation post in the central Gaza Strip, after firing a warning shot at a group of Palestinians who had sent incendiary balloons into southern Israel, Gazan media reports.

The Hamas-affiliated Shams news outlet reports the observation post was located east of Bureij.

The IDF won’t immediately confirm the strike.

— Judah Ari Gross

20 brush fires in Gaza periphery caused by incendiary balloon

Authorities say they count at least 20 brush fires today around the Gaza border area caused by incendiary balloons launched in Gaza.

1 dead, 9 hurt in frontal collision of two Palestinian cars in West Bank

One person is dead and three seriously hurt in a frontal collision by two Palestinian vehicles on Route 60 in the West Bank.

Two more people are moderately hurt and four others lightly, according to rescuers.

Police say they have blocked the road, and ask drivers to take other routes.

Traffic investigators open a probe into the circumstances of the accident.

Palestinian PFLP lawmaker’s detention extended by Israel, family says

The family of a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group, who has been held without charge for nearly a year, says that Israel has extended her detention by four months.

Khalida Jarrar, who serves as a lawmaker in the Palestine Legislative Council, was scheduled to be released on June 30. But her husband, Ghassan, says Sunday that her lawyer was informed of the extension by Israeli authorities.

Jarrar is being held under “administrative detention,” a controversial Israeli counter-terrorism measure that permits holding people suspected of terrorism for months at a time without charges.

In 2015, she served 15 months after being convicted of incitement to violence and “promoting terror activities.”

Jarrar was arrested again last year and has remained in administrative detention.

Her husband calls it a “political” detention.

The IDF has no immediate comment.

— Agencies

In Iraq, Angelina Jolie calls for focus on conflict prevention

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie calls Sunday for a larger focus on conflict prevention, rather than responding to its repercussions, during a visit to Iraq with the UN refugee agency.

“I hope that we can find the strength to find a better way forward together, so that we move into a new era of preventing conflict and reducing instability, rather than simply struggling to deal with its consequences,” Jolie tells a news conference at the Domiz refugee camp in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.

It is Jolie’s third visit to the camp as UNHCR special envoy, after previous visits in 2012 and 2016.

The Domiz camp opened in 2011 and is home to 40,000 Syrian refugees who fled the seven-year civil war across the border.

“When UNHCR’s Syria response was only 50 percent funded last year, and this year it is only 17% funded, there are terrible human consequences,” Jolie says. “We should be under no illusion about this.”

Late last month, the UN made an “urgent and critical” appeal for donations to its main budget for Syrian refugees after contributions pledged in April failed to trickle in.

— AFP

College’s rooftop is on fire in central Jerusalem

At least five firefighting crews are battling a blaze on a rooftop of a college in central Jerusalem.

Firefighters are evacuating the Hadassah Academic College building and working to clear the thick smoke billowing from the building.

Hundreds of turkeys choke to death from Gazan balloon-sparked fires

Hundreds of turkeys die from smoke inhalation due to wild fires on the Gaza border sparked by incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian territory.

The turkeys were in Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha in the Eshkol region.

IDF says if it escalates response to Gaza kite arson, it could cause war

An army spokesman tells Israeli residents near the Gaza border that if the IDF responds more harshly to the incendiary kites and balloons being sent into Israel, it would lead to war, Hebrew media report Sunday.

The spokesman is addressing residents of the towns adjacent to the coastal enclave, who were losing patience with daily arson attacks, which have led to the loss of thousands of acres of farmland, forests and parks, and caused millions of shekels in damage. He explains the IDF’s latest policy of firing warning shots at groups launching the flaming kites and balloons.

“The alternative to kite terror is war,” he says. “If we respond too strongly it could lead to escalation. You would be in your bomb shelters and you don’t want that, especially when the construction of the barrier against the tunnels has not yet been completed.”

The admission that Israel does not want an escalation with Gaza comes soon after the Israeli Air Force attacks targets connected to a group of Palestinians who launched incendiary balloons into southern Israel earlier today, in the third round of airstrikes of the day, according to the army.

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