ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Zelensky to press NATO leaders on boosting military aid at Thursday summit

President to address high-level meeting by video link; Ukraine claims Moscow lost more troops in month than decade in Afghanistan; US says Russian advance halted

A Ukrainian serviceman has a rest on his position in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (AP/Andrew Marienko)
A Ukrainian serviceman has a rest on his position in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (AP/Andrew Marienko)

The Times of Israel live blogged Tuesday’s events as they happened.

Zelensky says Russians attacked humanitarian convoy

Ukrainians escaping from the besieged city of Mariupol along with other passengers from Zaporizhzhia arrive at Lviv, western Ukraine, on March 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Ukrainians escaping from the besieged city of Mariupol along with other passengers from Zaporizhzhia arrive at Lviv, western Ukraine, on March 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russian forces not only blocked a humanitarian convoy trying to reach besieged Mariupol with desperately needed supplies today but took captive some of the rescue workers and bus drivers.

He says the Russians had agreed to the route ahead of time.

“We are trying to organize stable humanitarian corridors for Mariupol residents, but almost all of our attempts, unfortunately, are foiled by the Russian occupiers, by shelling, or deliberate terror,” Zelensky says in his daily nighttime video address to the nation.

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says the Russians seized 11 bus drivers and four rescue workers along with their vehicles. She says their fate is unknown. The figures couldn’t immediately be confirmed.

More than 7,000 people were evacuated from Mariupol today, but about 100,000 remain in the city “in inhuman conditions, under a full blockade, without food, without water, without medicine and under constant shelling, under constant bombardment,” Zelensky says.

Before the war, 430,000 people lived in the port city on the Sea of Azov.

Hillary Clinton tests positive for COVID

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she has tested positive for COVID-19 with “mild” symptoms.

On social media, the former Democratic presidential candidate says she is “feeling fine” and that former US president Bill Clinton has tested negative and is quarantining until their household is fully cleared.

A spokesman for the former president posts on Twitter that he will continue to get tested in the days to come.

Hillary Clinton, 74, says she is “more grateful than ever for the protection vaccines can provide against serious illness” and urges people to get vaccine and booster shots.

Former US president Barack Obama announced earlier this month that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

US State Department condemns ‘abhorrent terrorist attack’ in Beersheba

US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price condemns a terrorist attack in Beersheba, March 22, 2022. (Screenshot)
US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price condemns a terrorist attack in Beersheba, March 22, 2022. (Screenshot)

The US State Department condemns the terror attack today in Beersheba.

“The United States strongly condemns the abhorrent terrorist attack today in Beersheba, Israel, which killed four people and injured others,” State Department Ned Price says.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their families and our prayers for full recovery are with the wounded. We stand ready to provide support to the Israeli government’s efforts to investigate this heinous crime.”

Ukraine says more Russian soldiers killed past month than in decade in Afghanistan

Ukraine’s army says more Russian soldiers have been killed in under a month of war than Soviet soldiers died in a decade of fighting in Afghanistan.

The army claims 15,300 Russian troops have been killed in 26 days of war, compared to 15,051 between 1979 and 1989, when the Soviet Union attempted to conquer Afghanistan, considered a major factor in the collapse of the USSR.

The army claims it has also taken out more generals, tanks, APCs, and almost as many aircraft.

Russia has admitted to only losing some 500 soldiers, but the real number is thought to be much higher. On Monday, a Kremlin mouthpiece published an article saying nearly 10,000 troops had been killed, but removed the piece after a day and later said it had been hacked.

Russia adds own resolution on Ukraine war crisis to UN General Assembly scrum

The United Nations will now face three resolutions Wednesday on the worsening humanitarian situation in Ukraine, after Russia decided to call for a vote on its Security Council resolution, which makes no mention of Russian aggression against its smaller neighbor.

The General Assembly is also scheduled to consider two rival resolutions — one that makes clear Russia is responsible for the humanitarian crisis, and one that does not.

France and Mexico decided to seek a humanitarian resolution in the 193-member General Assembly, after Russia signaled it would veto the measure in the Security Council. The measure makes clear that the aid crisis is a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A letter sent to the assembly president Monday from the two countries and 20 others, including Ukraine and the US, asks for a resumption of its special session on Wednesday to put the resolution to a vote.

A rival South African draft resolution, which makes no mention of Russia’s aggression, circulated Monday. It has been sent to the assembly, and could also be put to a vote on Wednesday.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield says supporters of the France-Mexico resolution are working with South Africa and assembly members to address any concerns in their resolution in order to try to have only one resolution put to a vote in the assembly.

Thomas-Greenfield says the supporters are hoping to get the same vote for the France-Mexico resolution as for the March 2 General Assembly resolution, which demanded an immediate halt to Russia’s military action and withdrawal of all its forces. That vote was 141-5, with 35 abstentions, and was hailed by its supporters as a demonstration of Russia’s global isolation.

Israel supported the resolution after pressure from the US, which had expressed disappointment with its efforts to avoid condemning Russia. It is unclear whether it will do so again.

Beersheba man, 67, named as fourth terror victim

The fourth victim of the Beersheba terror rampage has been named as Menachem Yehezkel, 67.

Yehezkel is identified as a resident of Beersheba. No other details are immediately available.

 

 

Zelensky to plead case to high-level NATO summit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been invited to address a special NATO summit Thursday discussing the Russian invasion of his country by video link, a NATO official says.

“This will be an opportunity for allied leaders to hear directly from President Zelensky about the dire situation facing the people of Ukraine because of Russia’s aggression,” the official says.

Zelensky’s spokesman Serhiy Nykyforov confirms that the Ukraine leader would be taking part in the summit and addressing it.

Zelensky will seek help in ending the Russian invasion, Interfax-Ukraine quotes the spokesman as saying.

“This could be in several forms. Close airspace, provide Ukraine with powerful air defense systems and aviation,” he says.

Brothers of Beersheba terrorist arrested — reports

Police have arrested two brothers of Mohammed Ghaleb Abu al-Qian, killed earlier in the day as he carried out a deadly terror spree in Beersheba, according to a report in Hebrew-language media.

According to Ynet, the brothers are not suspected of involvement, but may have seen al-Qian leave the house with a knife.

The family has attempted to distance itself from the attack, releasing a statement condemning the incident as the act of a lone individual.

Macron holds talks with Putin, Zelensky

French President Emmanuel Macron has held talks with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky about the terms of a potential cease-fire, according to the French presidency.

They reached “no agreement,” the statement says, but Macron “remains convinced of the need to continue his efforts,” and he “stands alongside Ukraine.”

The Kremlin confirms that Putin and Macron had a call in which they exchanged views about the situation in Ukraine, including the talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators. It does not give further details.

Third Beersheba victim identified as mother, 43

A third victim in the Beersheba terror rampage has been named as Laura Yitzhak, 43.

Laura Yitzhak. (courtesy)

Yitzhak, a mother of three, was killed when she was attacked by terrorist Mohammed Ghalab al-Qian at a gas station, as he began his killing spree.

Funeral details are not immediately available.

The name of a fourth victim has not been released.

Second terror victim named as Chabad rabbi who ran soup kitchen

Rabbi Moshe Kravitzky has been named as the second victim in the Beersheba stabbing attack.

Kravitzky, whose age is not given, was a married father of four. He lived in Kiryat Malachi, and ran a soup kitchen in Beersheba for a decade as part of his activities with the city’s Chabad Lubavitch community.

He also ran a Chabad center in Beersheba’s Nahal Beka neighborhood, as the movement’s envoy there.

Rabbi Moshe Kravitzky. (Courtesy)

Kravitzky was killed while riding his bike, when terrorist Mohammed Ghalab al-Qian rammed his car into him. The terrorist also stabbed three others to death, and injured two others.

A Chabad representative describes Kravitzky to Kikar HaShabbat as “someone who was all about charity and selfless care.”

“Together with his family, he invested everything in the community – both materially and spiritually. We are in shock and are pained by this sad news,” Beersheba’s head Chabad envoy Zalman Gorelik tells COLlive.

No funeral details are immediately available.

Russia will only use nukes in existential crisis, Putin spokesman says

Russia would only use nuclear weapons in the context of the Ukraine conflict if it were facing an “existential threat,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells CNN International.

“We have a concept of domestic security, and it’s public. You can read all the reasons for nuclear arms to be used,” Peskov said. “So if it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be used in accordance with our concept.”

Peskov’s comment came as interviewer Christiane Amanpour pushed him on whether he was “convinced or confident” that Putin would not use the nuclear option in the Ukrainian context.

Man who shot terrorist will get his gun back from police

Police say they will return guns to the two men who shot a terrorist during a stabbing rampage in Beersheba, responding to pressure from right-wing politicians and others who decried the standard procedure.

In a statement, a police spokesperson says ballistic tests on the guns are an “inseparable” part of the investigation into the attack.

“In order to avoid mental anguish for citizens who acted bravely and determinedly, the necessary tests will be done tonight and when finished the guns will be returned to their owners,” the statement says.

It also praises the two for their actions. One of the shooters, whose name has not been publicized, had fought with police and refused to leave a police station, saying he feared leaving for his West Bank home without his gun.

Several right wing politicians had spoken out in defense of the shooter, including Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who tweeted that “in this case, [police] need to veer from standard operations, use straight thinking, and allow the hero who shot a terrorist to go home with his gun.”

Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel had called for “police to immediately release the shooter with his gun, and give him a medal for killing a terrorist in real-time.”

Man who shot terrorist fighting with police over confiscation of gun

The right-wing Honenu legal aid organization has put out a video showing police arguing with one of the men who shot Beersheba stabber Mohammed al-Qian as they try to confiscate his weapon.

Weapons from both bus driver Arthur Chaimov and the second person, who is not named, are to be examined by forensics experts as part of the police investigation. The police say the procedure is standard. Such checks usually take a few days.

But the second person, who lives in a West Bank settlement, tells police that he will not leave the station without his gun, fearing for his safety on his way home, especially since pictures of his face have been published.

In the video, apparently filmed surreptitiously, the shooter says he won’t leave the station without his gun, to which the cop replies that he is not staying there and should quit playing games.

According to a lawyer for Honenu, the police suggested that the man rent a private bodyguard. It demands his gun be returned by Tuesday night.

Minister backs top cop, says protesters should be ashamed

On Twitter, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev backs his police chief, after protesters heckled him at the scene of the attack.

Barlev calls Yaakov Shabtai a “courageous commander… working day and night to strengthen security in Israel and return governance to the Negev.”

“I denounce those who dared to attack him during this tough hour at the scene of a terror attack. You should be ashamed,” he adds.

In Beersheba, hundreds of protesters block roads and wave flags as they decry what they say is a lack of action against Bedouin “lawlessness” in the region.

Paramedic recounts trying to save his aunt after Beersheba stabbing

One of the first responders treating victims of the Beersheba stabbing says the tragedy took a particularly personal turn.

“I was one of the first on the scene and I went to treat a victim who was unconscious. While treating her, I realized that she’s my aunt,” Yisrael Ozen says, in a statement released by the Magen David Adom emergency service. “She didn’t have any vital signs and so I had to declare her dead. I was in shock, but I needed to keep going and treat my uncle, who was there too.”

Ill-equipped Russian troops getting frostbitten in Ukraine, US official says

Russian ships in the Sea of Azov have been shelling Mariupol from offshore over the last 24 hours, a senior US defense official says.

The official says that there are about seven Russian ships in that area, including several warships, a minesweeper, and a couple of landing ships.

By contrast, the official says the US did not see indications that ships in the Black Sea were firing on Odesa, as they had done days ago. The official says the US assesses that the Russians have about 21 ships in the Black Sea, including about a dozen surface combatant warships and some landing ships that carry troops.

According to the official, Russian ground forces are still largely stalled outside Kyiv – with troops still about 30 kilometers (19 miles) northeast of the city, and 15 kilometers (9 miles) northwest of the city. The official speaks on condition of anonymity to provide the US military assessment.

Military emergency service members remove the body of a dead Ukrainian serviceman in the area of a research institute, part of Ukraine’s National Academy of Science, after a strike, in northwestern Kyiv, on March 22, 2022. (Aris Messinis / AFP)

More broadly, the defense official says the US continues to see Russia struggling to get food and fuel to its force, and has been seeing indications that some troops do not have proper cold weather gear and are suffering frostbite. The food and fuel shortages have been persistent logistical and supply problems since the early days of the war.

The official says there also are indications that Russia is exploring ways to resupply troops and is considering bringing in reinforcements, but so far there have been no active moves seen to do either. There also are indications that Russian has used a significant number of its precision guided munitions, particularly its air-launched cruise missiles, and is exploring ways to resupply those weapons, the official says.

First victim named as Dorit Yahbas, 49

The first of four victims in the Beersheba stabbing attack has been named as Dorit Yahbas, 49.

Yahbas is from Moshav Gilat, west of Beersheba, the Merhavim Regional Council says. She leaves behind a husband and three children.

Her funeral is planned for Wednesday at Gilat’s cemetery.

Cops question terror stabber’s family

Police and Shin Bet agents are in Hura and questioning members of the family of attacker Mohammed Ghaleb al-Qian, according to reports in Hebrew and Arabic press.

No arrests have been announced.

In a statement, the al-Qian clan condemns the attack, which left four dead: “The tragic event is an single case of one individual, and does not represent the law-abiding tribe members who have always advocated coexistence.”

Local resident Ibrahim Nasara tells Army Radio that “the incident takes Bedouin society back several years.”

US ambassador speaks out against Beersheba attack

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides calls today’s stabbing attack in Beersheba a “despicable terrorist attack.”

“This has to stop! My heart goes out to the victims and their families,” he tweets.

Protesters at stabbing site heckle police chief, decry lawlessness

Nationalist Israelis have gathered at the site of the Beersheba stabbing attack to protest what they say is a lack of security in the northern Negev region.

Many of the protesters surrounded police chief Kobi Shabtai, who needed to be ushered away from the scene by guards, Protesters also surrounded his car as he tried to leave the scene, Channel 12 news reports.

Protesters wave Israeli flags and chant “Shame” and “The Negev is bleeding.”

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev is also met with cries of “Shame” at the scene, according to a report.

“The Bedouin are doing whatever they want,” protester Liraz Shalom tells Channel 13, sounding an oft-repeated complaint of lawlessness in the community.

Likud MK Yoav Galant, a former IDF commander in southern Israel, blames the political atmosphere, claiming that the Ra’am party, which is widely backed by Bedouin Israelis, is holding the government hostage and keeping authorities from being able to take action.

Some also criticize the police for the amount of time it took until cops arrived, noting that passersby shot the attacker despite the rampage lasting eight minutes.

Former Jerusalem police commissioner Aryeh Amit tells Army Radio all Israelis should be packing heat. “Anyone who has a licensed gun needs to carry it during these tense times. In mosques, there is terrible incitement against Jews and we are not doing anything about it. It’s impossible to stop these incidents, just to respond as quickly as possible.”

UN envoy condemns stabbing attack

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland condemns today’s stabbing attack in Beersheba, which left four civilians dead.

“There is no justification for violence or terrorism. There is nothing heroic in the killing of civilians and there is no excuse for praising such acts. It must be condemned by all,” Wennesland says.

“I am increasingly alarmed by the continued violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel that is taking place on a daily basis. This is the seventh stabbing attack against Israelis this month.”

“These tragic incidents only highlight the volatility of the situation and the urgent need for all leaders to work together against the spiral of violence,” Wennesland says.

Police on lookout for copycat attacks, top cop says

Police chief Yaakov Shabtai says cops are being put on high alert out of fear of copycat attacks.

Speaking from the scene of the stabbing in Beersheba, Shabtai says police and Shin Bet investigators are checking whether the attacker had help, but think he acted alone.

“This terrorist carried out a murderous heinous rampage, ramming people and stabbing them. We haven’t confronted something on this scale in some time,” he says. “We have bolstered national preparedness out of concern for copycat attacks.”

A local police commander says the attack lasted eight minutes, but says police got to the scene as fast as they could. He praises bystanders for taking action before police arrived to neutralize the attacker.

Russian offensive slowed to near-halt by Ukraine — Western official

A Western official says Ukrainian resistance has slowed Russia’s advance almost to a halt, and Ukraine has repulsed Russia’s attempts to take the strategic southern port of Mariupol, despite weeks of bombardment.

But the official said Russian troops have not been pushed back from established positions, and have the capability to keep up a grinding war of attrition for some time — making a rapid breakthrough in negotiations aimed at ending the violence unlikely.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said Odesa, another strategic port on the Black Sea, was a key objective for Russia, but there are no indications of an imminent siege.

Odesa has been spared major attack, though Russia has ships operating off the Black Sea coast. The US also says Russia has increased naval activity in the northern Black Sea, but there are no indications at this point of an imminent amphibious assault on Odesa.

Hometown of suspected attacker condemns stabbing

The town of Hura is condemning a deadly stabbing attack allegedly carried out by local teacher Mohammed Abu al-Qian, and joining others in calling for the incident to not enflame tensions between Israeli Jews and Bedouin.

In a statement, the town council says “attacking innocent civilians is an act of criminal, despicable terrorism,” and sends condolences to families of the victims.

It also calls for “Negev residents, Arabs and Jews alike, to safeguard the neighborly relationships that have thrived between the sides until now.”

Bus driver recalls trying to talk stabber down before shooting him

The bus driver who confronted and shot the Beersheba terrorist recounts the face-off with the assailant.

Arthur Chaimov tells Channel 12 that he arrived at a traffic circle near the BIG shopping center, and first thought there had been a car accident. “When I got there with the bus, I thought, what do I do, how do I drive through. I didn’t see the terrorist at that point,” he says.

Arthur Chaimov, a bus driver who shot a terrorist after a deadly stabbing attack in Beersheba, speaks to Channel 12 news (screenshot)

“I saw people gathered and I saw someone near a vehicle with a knife, drawn out, brandishing it. I looked and thought, ‘Maybe he has a knife’…I wanted to double check, not to assume [wrongly] that he was a terrorist,” Chaimov says. “I got out of the vehicle, I took my weapon, I got closer and then I saw he had a knife. I saw a man [lying] wounded. I told him several times: ‘I’m asking you to put down the knife. I won’t shoot you. He said ‘No.'”

Chaimov says he did not know at the time that the man had killed and wounded several people. He says he eventually shot the attacker, only when he had no choice.

“I told myself I was in danger, when he came in only a few meters from me, so I made a judgment call, what could I do. I had to shoot him.”

In a video, the assailant can be seen lunging at Chaimov when the driver and another man off to the side open fire, shooting the knifeman.

The assailant, right, being shot as he lunges with a knife, in Beersheba on March 22, 2022. (screen capture: Channel 13)

He stresses that he did all he could to avoid shooting and is pained to have shot the man, despite the murderous actions.

“He’s a person, not an animal you need to kill. He was also a person… We’re human beings, we’re not animals,” Chaimov says. “I’m not used to such a situation, to shoot a person. I’m sorry for him but he brought it on himself.”

UN chief: Ukraine war ‘unwinnable,’ country cannot be conquered

The United Nations chief says his discussions with officials indicate “there is enough on the table to cease hostilities now” and seriously negotiate peace between Russia and Ukraine.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tells reporters that the war is “unwinnable,” and the only question is how many more lives will be lost and how many more cities like Mariupol will be destroyed before the war moves from the battlefield to the peace table.

“From my outreach with various actors, elements of diplomatic progress are coming into view on several key issues,” he said, enough to end hostilities now.

Guterres did not state what those elements are or answer any questions.

He said the war is intensifying and “getting more destructive and more unpredictable by the hour.” Ten million Ukrainians have already been forced to flee their homes.

“Even if Mariupol falls, Ukraine cannot be conquered city by city, street by street, house by house,” the secretary-general says.

Guterres says “the Ukrainian people are enduring a living hell,” and the war’s reverberations “are being felt worldwide with skyrocketing food, energy and fertilizer prices threatening to spiral into a global hunger crisis.”

Ra’am party condemns attack, calls for interethnic tolerance

The Islamist Ra’am party condemns the stabbing attack in Beersheba that left four Israelis dead and wounded two others.

“Ra’am condemns this despicable attack in Beersheba and sends its condolences to the families of those murdered,” the Arab party says in statement. The party has a strong following among Negev Bedouin, including in Hura, where suspected attacker Mohammed Ghaleb al-Qian hailed from.

“Ra’am calls on all citizens to preserve the common, fragile social fabric, to be responsible and advance a discourse of tolerance in this difficult hour,” Ra’am adds.

Separately, Joint List chief Ayman Odeh says he was shocked by the stabbing attack. “Violence is not our way and we must condemn it with all our might,” Odeh writes on Twitter.

Gantz vows to thwart terrorists, as much as possible

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says he sends his condolences to the families of those killed and wounded in the Beersheba terror attack.

“The IDF and security forces will use all means to prevent terrorist incidents, as much as possible. We are on high alert against all threats in all areas,” Gantz says during a tour of the military’s northern command, where a military drill is taking place.

“We will make sure that anyone who encourages or supports the latest attacks, will pay a price,” he adds.

Joint List MK condemns attack; deputy minister says not to blame Bedouin society

Joint List lawmaker Aida Touma-Suleiman condemns the terror attack in Beersheba, the first Arab Israeli parliamentarian to do so.

“I condemn the attack on innocent civilians in Beersheba. I send my prayers for the recovery of the wounded and condolences to the families of those killed,” Touma-Suleiman says.

Touma-Suleiman says the attack may lead to “racist incitement” against Bedouins living in Israel’s southern Negev desert.

“This is not the way of the Arab community generally, and in the Negev in particular, in its just struggle against ongoing dispossession and oppression,” she says.

Speaking to Army Radio, deputy defense minister Alon Schuster condemns the attack but also calls for security forces not to exacerbate tensions with the Bedouin community, including by exacting collective punishment.

“We can’t forget that for decades the state messed up badly by discriminating against the Bedouin community. This is when we need to be there,” he says.

Bennett praises passersby who shot stabber, prevented larger attack

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett praises the quick action of armed civilians who shot the attacker, ending the incident.

“The civilians who shot the terrorist showed determination and courage and prevented further victims,” Bennett tweets.

He says that security forces are at “maximum vigilance.”

“We will act with a strong hand against those who carry out terror. We will hunt and reach those who help them,” he vows.

Stabbing suspect served time for recruiting on behalf of Islamic State

Reports in Hebrew media point to alleged assailant Mohammad Ghaleb Abu al-Qi’an, 34, being a teacher from the town of Hura who served three years in prison for belonging to the Islamic State terror group and trying to recruit people to it. He was released in 2019.

In 2016, Abu al-Qi’an admitted to having established a secret group that would hold clandestine meetings related to the Islamic State, and to planning to leave Israel on the pretext of a pilgrimage to Mecca, but with the true goal of joining IS fighters in Syria.

An elementary school teacher, he would also give sermons to members of the community, including minors, promoting IS and asserting that the extremist group did not veer from Islam.

According to Haaretz, at his sentencing Abu al-Qi’an, at the time a father of five, told the judge that he regretted his actions and wanted to return to his family.

Bennett getting security consultation after attack

Prime Minister Naftali Bennet is currently receiving an update on the terror attack in Beersheba, according to his spokesman Matan Sidi.

Bennett is in touch with Public Security Minister Omer Barlev and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid sends condolences to families of the victims and vows to bring attackers to justice.

A look at how the Beersheba attack unfolded

Here is the police’s timeline of the attack in Beersheba:

At 4:10 p.m. the suspect stabbed a woman at a gas station on Hebron Road in the city. He then continued by car to a shopping center where he ran over a bike-rider, and then went to another shopping center across the street.

There, he got out of his car and ran toward a man and woman, stabbing them.

The attacker was then shot by a passerby, police say.

Video shows the assailant being shot as he lunges at a bus driver aiming a gun at him. A second person with a gun can be seen approaching the scene.

“We heard a car hit something, like another car, and then we saw someone get out and start running with a knife, and then stabbing people,” an eyewitness tells Kan news.

Hamas trumpets ‘heroic’ Beersheba attack; suspect identified

The Hamas terror group praises the stabbing attack in Beersheba that killed at least four Israelis.

“We salute the executor of the heroic operation in occupied Beersheba,” Hamas spokesperson Abd al-Latif al-Qanou tells official Hamas radio.

“The occupation’s crimes shall be met with heroic operations: stabbings, ramming and shooting,” al-Qanou says.

The terror group does not immediately claim the stabber, an Israeli citizen from Hura, as a member, however.

Palestinian media affiliated with Islamic Jihad identifies the stabber as Mohammad Ghaleb Abu al-Qi’an, a former terror convict from Hura.

The Shin Bet says it is investigating the attack.

Death toll in attack up to 4; stabber identified as Israeli citizen

The scene of a stabbing attack in Beersheba on March 22, 2022. (Courtesy: Magen David Adom)
The scene of a stabbing attack in Beersheba on March 22, 2022. (Courtesy: Magen David Adom)

Emergency officials now say that four victims were killed in a Beersheba stabbing attack.

According to Magen David Adom head Eli Bin, three people were stabbed to death. A fourth person who had been riding a bike was hit by a car driven by the assailant.

Initial reports indicate that the suspected stabber is a citizen of Israel from the Negev town of Hura. According to the reports, the alleged assailant previously served time in prison for membership in a terror group.

Islamic Jihad terrorists praise deadly Beersheba attack

The Islamic Jihad terror group praises the stabbing attack in Beersheba that left two Israelis dead and several others wounded.

“Acts of resistance shall deter the occupation,” Islamic Jihad spokesperson Tariq Silmi says.

Silmi does not explicitly claim the attack on behalf of Islamic Jihad, however.

Two women killed in Beersheba attack — MDA

Eli Bin, head of the Magen David Adom ambulance service, tells Kan news that two women were killed in the Beersheba stabbing attack.

Several others are being taken to the Soroka Medical Center in critical and moderate conditions.

A video shows the suspected attacker on the ground after apparently being shot.

Woman killed in suspected Beersheba terror stabbing — Zaka

A woman stabbed in a suspected terror attack in Beersheba has died of her wounds, the Zaka emergency service says.

The woman was in her 50s, Zaka says.

The alleged assailant has also died after being shot, according to Zaka.

Police say 3 hurt in suspected terror stabbing

Police say three people were wounded in a suspected stabbing attack in Beersheba.

They say the incident is a suspected terror attack, indicating nationality-based hate motives.

The alleged assailant was shot by a passerby.

Videos show stabber being shot outside mall

Videos appear to show the moment an alleged assailant in Beersheba is shot.

In one video, a man wielding a knife can be seen walking in traffic outside the city’s BIG mall.

In a second video, other people with guns surround the man, who is shot.

Reports indicate two women were injured in the stabbing attack.

Several injured in stabbing attack at Beersheba mall

Several people are reported wounded in a stabbing incident at Beersheba’s BIG shopping center, police say.

Police say a suspected assailant has been subdued.

According to the Magen David Adom ambulance service, some of the wounded are in serious condition.

The motive remains unclear.

Babyn Yar memorial teaming up with French priest to document Russian war crimes

Father Patrick Desbois, a French Roman Catholic priest who since 2004 has led an international effort to locate sites of mass shootings during the Holocaust in Ukraine, will join with the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center to document alleged war crimes by Russia in Ukraine.

A unit created by the Babyn Yar memorial together with Desbois’s group, Yahad in Unum, will collect testimonies and evidence of civilians being targeted with the goal of aiding an international war crimes investigations.

Father Patrick Desbois, center, conducting a training at the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, January 2018 (Yahud In-Unum)

Desbois says in a statement that eyewitness testimony will be key to countering Russian claims denying wrongdoing.

“Almost 20 years ago, my organization Yahad In Unum and I began to investigate the Holocaust by Bullets crimes committed in Ukraine followed by other countries, in each village occupied by the Nazi units,” he says. “I never thought that in 2022, I would need to once again be investigating war crimes on these same lands.”

Poland’s Duda says Russian soldiers just like Nazi SS troops

Poland’s president is comparing the conduct of Russian forces in Ukraine to that of Adolf Hitler’s infamous SS troops during World War II.

“Today, the Russian army is behaving in exactly the same way… as the German SS,” President Andrzej Duda says during a visit to Bulgaria.

Duda, whose country suffered a brutal Nazi occupation during World War II, notes that Russia had already violated international law when it attacked Georgia in 2008 and first invaded Ukraine in 2014.

He says he hopes that those responsible for attacks on civilians in Ukraine would be brought before international courts.

Greek foreign minister wants to personally escort aid into Mariupol

Greece’s foreign minister says he intends to personally escort humanitarian aid into the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias says he had sent an official request to the Ukrainian side to facilitate the sending of humanitarian aid into the city, and an official request to the Russian side to let the delivery in. A sizable Greek community lives in the Mariupol area.

Dendias did not provide any details on a possible date for the delivery or what the humanitarian aid would consist of.

He made the announcement after meeting with the Greek consul general in Mariupol, Manolis Androulakis, who arrived in Athens last Sunday after being evacuated from the city on March 15.

Androulakis was the last European Union diplomat to leave the city, which has been pummeled by Russian forces for weeks. Living conditions in the city are dire.

On arriving in Athens, Androulakis said civilians in the city were being hit “blindly and indiscriminately” and likened Mariupol to other cities decimated by war in the past, such as Guernica, Aleppo and Grozny.

US condemns ‘kidnapping’ of 2,389 Ukrainian children who were taken to Russia

The US embassy condemns the “kidnapping” of over 2,300 Ukrainian children who were reportedly forcibly taken to Russia.

Ukrainian officials say 2,389 Ukrainian children have been “illegally removed” from the Russian-controlled Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts and transported to Russia.

“This is not assistance. It is kidnapping,” the US embassy tweets.

Bennett back in Israel after Sharm el-Sheikh meeting with Egyptian president, UAE crown prince

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett holds a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, on March 20, 2022. (Maya Alleruzzo/Pool/AFP)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett holds a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, on March 20, 2022. (Maya Alleruzzo/Pool/AFP)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett lands in Israel after his meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, his spokesperson says.

The premier was in Egypt for a first-ever trilateral meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

The three discussed “international and regional issues,” according to the Egyptian president’s office.

Bennett arrived in the coastal resort town on Monday and first met with Sissi shortly after arriving.

Bin Zayed also landed in Sharm el-Sheikh Monday, days after hosting Syrian President Bashar Assad — a move harshly condemned by the Biden administration, which has thus far resisted joining efforts by a growing number of Mideast leaders to normalize the dictator.

Kremlin critic Navalny sentenced to additional 9 years in jail

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen on a screen via a video link during the verdict in his embezzlement and contempt of court trial at the IK-2 prison colony in the town of Pokrov in Vladimir Region on March 22, 2022. (AFP)
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen on a screen via a video link during the verdict in his embezzlement and contempt of court trial at the IK-2 prison colony in the town of Pokrov in Vladimir Region on March 22, 2022. (AFP)

POKROV — A Russian court sentences jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to nine years in prison after he was found guilty of embezzlement and contempt of court.

Navalny, 45, will serve a “sentence of nine years in a strict-regime penal colony,” judge Margarita Kotova says at the trial held inside Navalny’s penal colony outside Moscow.

It is no immediately clear whether the nine years will be concurrent with the two-and-a-half-year sentence he is already serving.

Pentagon says Ukraine shifting battlefield momentum and going on the offensive

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby conducts a news briefing at the Pentagon February 25, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. (ALEX WONG/Getty Images via AFP)
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby conducts a news briefing at the Pentagon February 25, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia. (ALEX WONG/Getty Images via AFP)

WASHINGTON — Ukraine, despite being under heavy bombardment by Russia now for more than three weeks, has begun to shift the battlefield momentum in some areas to reclaim ground from invading forces, a Pentagon spokesman says.

Moscow’s indiscriminate attacks have devastated several Ukrainian cities since it sent tens of thousands of troops into its Eastern European neighbor on February 24, with the civilian toll soaring and more than ten million people fleeing their homes.

Many analysts still see no clear path out of the conflict.

Even so, Ukraine’s resistance — backed by millions in Western military aid — has been unexpectedly fierce, and now the Ukrainians are “in places and at times going on an offensive,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby tells CNN.

“They are going after Russians and pushing them out of places where the Russians have been in the past,” he says, particularly in Mykolaiv, in the south. “We have seen this now increase over the last few days.”

Kirby says he cannot confirm reports from Ukrainian officials that they had retaken at least one town and expect to take more in coming days.

But it would be “consistent with the kind of fighting and the kinds of capabilities we have seen the Ukrainians use,” he says.

As for the Russians, he echoed Western analysts who have said the invading forces have become bogged down.

Zelensky calls on Pope Francis to mediate between Russia, Ukraine

Pope Francis waves from the window of the apostolic palace during the weekly Angelus prayer on March 20, 2022 in the Vatican. (Tiziana FABI / AFP)
Pope Francis waves from the window of the apostolic palace during the weekly Angelus prayer on March 20, 2022 in the Vatican. (Tiziana FABI / AFP)

KYIV — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calls on Pope Francis to mediate in his country’s conflict with Russia to help alleviate human suffering, nearly one month into Moscow’s invasion.

Zelensky says he had held a telephone call with the pope and that he had “told His Holiness about the difficult humanitarian situation and the blocking of rescue corridors by Russian troops.”

“The mediating role of the Holy See in ending human suffering would be appreciated,” Zelensky writes on Twitter following the call.

Negotiators from Moscow and Kyiv have held ongoing talks aimed at ending nearly four weeks of fierce fighting, but have failed to announce any progress so far.

Bennett, Sissi, UAE crown prince meet in Egypt for first-ever trilateral summit

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (R), Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi (C) and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meet in Sharm el-Sheikh, March 22, 2022 (Spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency)
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (R), Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi (C) and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meet in Sharm el-Sheikh, March 22, 2022 (Spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Sharm el-Sheikh, Sissi’s office announces.

A picture is released of the three leaders.

According to the Egyptian president’s office, the three leaders discuss the consequences of “global developments” — likely referring to the Russia-Ukraine War — on energy, market stability, and food security.

They also discuss “the latest updates on a number of international and regional issues.” Among those issues, presumably, are the stalled talks on Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna.

Bin Zayed, known colloquially as MBZ, is seen as the UAE’s de facto ruler.

Kremlin dismisses Biden’s warning Russia may be planning cyberattack

MOSCOW — Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejects US President Joe Biden’s warning that Russia may be planning a cyberattack against the United States.

Asked about Biden’s comments, Peskov says that “the Russian Federation, unlike many Western countries including the United States, does not engage in banditry on the state level.”

Biden told a meeting of corporate CEOs on Monday that “evolving intelligence” indicated a cyberattack may be planned. He urged private companies to invest in their own security to counter cyberattacks.

Biden has suggested a cyberattack could be Russia’s response to economic sanctions imposed by the US.

Zelensky urges Italy to beef up sanctions, says 117 children killed in Russian invasion

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the Italian parliament via videolink, on March 22, 2022 in Rome. (REMO CASILLI / POOL / AFP)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the Italian parliament via videolink, on March 22, 2022 in Rome. (REMO CASILLI / POOL / AFP)

ROME — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is urging Italy to beef up sanctions against Russia and seize more assets from President Vladimir Putin and his allies as a way of pressuring Moscow into negotiating an end to the war.

Zelensky speaks to the Italian parliament via video from Kyiv, as he has done with other foreign parliaments.

Wearing a collared shirt and speaking through an Italian translator, Zelensky tells Italian lawmakers that he has just spoken by phone to Pope Francis and that the pontiff had endorsed Ukraine’s right to defend itself.

He says that 117 children have been killed in the war with Russia and that the city of Mariupol has been flattened by the Russian onslaught.

He warns that Europe’s security is at risk if Russia advances and that grain deliveries to the developing world are being jeopardized because Ukraine’s farmers can’t plant crops.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi praises the “heroic” resistance of the Ukrainian people.

Israeli field hospital opens in Ukraine; anthems play as both flags are officially raised

Ukrainian and Israeli flags are raised at a ceremony to open an Israeli field hospital in Mostyska, Ukraine, March 22, 2022 (Screen grab)
Ukrainian and Israeli flags are raised at a ceremony to open an Israeli field hospital in Mostyska, Ukraine, March 22, 2022 (Screen grab)

MOSTYSKA, Ukraine — The Israeli and Ukrainian anthems play and the flags of the two nations are formally raised as an Israeli field hospital officially opens in the western Ukraine town of Mostyska.

The medical center is located in the grounds of an elementary school and is expected to remain there for the next month.

The hospital being called “Kochav Meir” (“Shining Star”), after former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, who was born in Ukraine and was the founder of the Foreign Ministry’s Agency for International Development Cooperation aid program, which is leading the field hospital project.

“We are certain that this ‘Shining Star’ will light the path during these difficult times in Ukraine,” says embassy charge d’affaires Yoav Bistritsky.

Over the past few days, 17 tons of equipment and medical teams from Israel have arrived at the site.

The facility is a collaborative effort of the Health Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, and Sheba Medical Center, which is operating the hospital.

5 killed in Russian strikes on eastern Ukraine’s Avdiivka

An icon is placed in the window of an abandoned house near the frontline, outside Avdiivka, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Feb. 9, 2022 (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
An icon is placed in the window of an abandoned house near the frontline, outside Avdiivka, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Feb. 9, 2022 (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

KYIV — Five people have been killed and more than a dozen wounded in Russian strikes on a war-scarred town in eastern Ukraine, an official in Kyiv says, nearly one month into Moscow’s invasion.

“In the Donetsk region, Avdiivka was fired on by artillery and aircraft, the city was razed to the ground. Five civilians were killed and 19 were injured,” Ukraine’s ombudswoman, Lyudmyla Denisova, says in a statement.

She said the attack occurred late Monday.

Avdiivka in the east of Ukraine is adjacent to the de facto capital of pro-Moscow separatists, who wrested control of two self-proclaimed republics in 2014.

Ukraine has accused Russian troops of indiscriminately targeting medical facilities, residential areas, and bomb shelters since Moscow sent troops over the borders of its pro-Western neighbor on February 24.

Russian Nobel laureate donates medal to auction for Ukraine refugees

Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov from Russia speaks during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at Oslo City Hall, Norway, Dec. 10, 2021 (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov from Russia speaks during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at Oslo City Hall, Norway, Dec. 10, 2021 (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW — The joint Russian winner of last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, Dmitry Muratov, says he will donate his medal to help Ukrainian refugees.

Muratov, editor of Russia’s leading opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was awarded the 2021 prize alongside Maria Ressa of the Philippines for their efforts “to safeguard freedom of expression.”

Writing on Telegram, he says that he and the newspaper had decided to donate the gold medal to a fund to help Ukrainian refugees.

“We ask auction houses that can put this world-famous award on sale to get in contact,” he writes.

Muratov says he wants to share the medal “with peaceful refugees and wounded and sick children who need emergency treatment.”

In his message, the journalist also calls for a ceasefire and prisoner exchange, the return of the bodies of those killed and provision of humanitarian corridors and aid.

Novaya Gazeta said after conflict broke out in Ukraine it would not cover the events, citing new legislation on reporting on the military, which means media must describe Russia’s actions in Ukraine as a “military operation.”

The legal move is part of Moscow’s crackdown on independent media and online platforms since the conflict broke out.

Last week, Novaya Gazeta’s front page showed an image of the protest by a news editor who held up a poster condemning Russia’s actions during a state television news broadcast, while it blurred out part of the poster’s slogan.

Novaya Gazeta has become one of the few remaining media outlets publishing viewpoints in opposition to the Kremlin.

Since 2000 it has seen six of its journalists and contributors killed, including investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya.

Ukraine says nearly 1,000 buildings destroyed in heavily shelled Kharkiv, most of them residential

An apartment in a multi-story residential building is destroyed as a result of Russian shelling on the northern outskirts of Kharkiv, on March 21, 2022. (Sergey BOBOK / AFP)
An apartment in a multi-story residential building is destroyed as a result of Russian shelling on the northern outskirts of Kharkiv, on March 21, 2022. (Sergey BOBOK / AFP)

Ukraine says almost a thousand buildings have been destroyed in the northeast city of Kharkiv since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.

According to the BBC, Ukraine’s state emergency service says most of them are residential buildings.

The city has come under near-constant shelling and Ukrainian officials say at least 500 civilians have been killed in the city.

The figures could not be independently verified.

Roman Abramovich’s 2nd superyacht ‘Eclipse’ docks in Turkey

Luxury yacht 'Eclipse' belonging to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, is docked at the Aegean coastal resort of Marmaris, district of Mugla, on March 22, 2022 (Fatih Cetin / AFP)
Luxury yacht 'Eclipse' belonging to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, is docked at the Aegean coastal resort of Marmaris, district of Mugla, on March 22, 2022 (Fatih Cetin / AFP)

ISTANBUL — Two luxury superyachts owned by Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich are now docked in Turkey, which has not joined European sanctions against Moscow targeting the Chelsea Football Club owner and other Russian oligarchs, local media reports.

Western nations are impounding such assets with links to wealthy Russians as part of efforts to pressure President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich was among the individuals listed under new sanctions adopted by the European Union last week.

His more than 160-meter (525-foot) Bermudan-flagged yacht, the Eclipse, moored in the southwestern port of Marmaris, according to Turkish newspapers citing maritime traffic tracking sites.

It is his second yacht to have set down anchor in Turkey.

The billionaire’s 140-meter superyacht Solaris was filmed in the holiday resort of Bodrum also in the southwest, Monday, more than a week after being spotted at a port in Montenegro, which is not part of the EU.

UN says over 3.5 million people have now left Ukraine since Russian invasion

A refugee woman holds a baby while waiting on a bus for Ukrainian police to check papers and belongings in Brovary, Ukraine, March 20, 2022 (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A refugee woman holds a baby while waiting on a bus for Ukrainian police to check papers and belongings in Brovary, Ukraine, March 20, 2022 (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

GENEVA — The UN refugee agency says more than 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, passing another milestone in an exodus that has led to Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.

UNHCR reports that 3.53 million people have left Ukraine, with Poland taking in the lion’s share — more than 2.1 million — followed by Romania with more than 540,000 and Moldova with more than 367,000.

Shortly after the invasion on Feb. 24, UNHCR predicted that some 4 million refugees might leave Ukraine, though it has been reassessing that prediction. The outflows have been slowing in recent days after peaking at more than 200,000 each on two straight days in early March.

The International Organization for Migration estimates that nearly 6.5 million people are internally displaced within Ukraine, suggesting that some if not most of them might flee abroad if the war continues.

Protesters shout ‘no war’ as they block Roman Abramovich’s yacht Solaris in Turkey

Superyacht Solaris, owned by the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, which is under UK sanctions, sails towards the luxury yacht marina Porto Montenegro, near Montenegrin city of Tivat, on the Adriatic coast, on March 12, 2022. (SAVO PRELEVIC / AFP)
Superyacht Solaris, owned by the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, which is under UK sanctions, sails towards the luxury yacht marina Porto Montenegro, near Montenegrin city of Tivat, on the Adriatic coast, on March 12, 2022. (SAVO PRELEVIC / AFP)

A group of protesters in an inflatable dinghy approached a luxury superyacht owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich on Monday, shouting slogans in opposition to its arrival in Turkey, local media said.

“You’re not welcome here. No to war in Ukraine. Go away Russian boat, go away!” they shouted as they approached the 140-meter superyacht Solaris, while waving a Ukrainian flag.

The billionaire’s vessel was in the Turkish holiday resort of Bodrum, more than a week after being spotted at a port in Montenegro, which is not part of the EU.

Western nations are impounding such assets with links to wealthy Russians as part of efforts to pressure President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine: More Wagner Group mercenaries in country to attempt to assassinate Zelensky

Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, left, shows Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, around his factory outside St. Petersburg, Russia, September 20, 2010. (Alexei Druzhinin/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, left, shows Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, around his factory outside St. Petersburg, Russia, September 20, 2010. (Alexei Druzhinin/Pool Photo via AP, File)

Ukraine has said that another group of mercenaries from the Wagner Group has arrived in the country with the aim of assassinating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukrainian defense officials said Sunday that “another group of militants linked to Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a Russian propagandist close to Putin and owner of the Liga [Wagner], began arriving in Ukraine.”

“The main task of criminals is to eliminate the top military and political leadership of Ukraine,” said the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

“Putin personally ordered another attack by one of the few proxies,” the officials said in a Facebook post.

Last month it was reported by London’s The Times that over 400 Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group had been sent to Kyiv and ordered to assassinate Zelensky.

The newspaper says thousands of other Russian mercenaries have been operating in Ukraine since the start of the year.

The Wagner Group plays a key role in promoting the Kremlin’s interests abroad. It has faced multiple accusations of carrying out crimes and atrocities.

Woman lightly hurt by rocks thrown at her car in West Bank

A car damaged by rocks thrown on Route 446 near the West Bank town of Ni'lin, March 22, 2022 (Courtesy)
A car damaged by rocks thrown on Route 446 near the West Bank town of Ni'lin, March 22, 2022 (Courtesy)

A 26-year-old Israeli woman is lightly hurt after stones are hurled at her vehicle on Route 446 near the West Bank Palestinian town of Ni’lin, medics say.

The woman is taken by the Magen David Adom ambulance service to a medical center in Modi’in Ilit.

A pregnant woman who was also in the car is treated at the scene for shock.

‘Kill more’: Report finds Facebook still failing to detect hate against Rohingya

Rohingya Muslim children, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wait squashed against each other to receive food handouts distributed to children and women by a Turkish aid agency at the Thaingkhali refugee camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh, November 14, 2017. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)
Rohingya Muslim children, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wait squashed against each other to receive food handouts distributed to children and women by a Turkish aid agency at the Thaingkhali refugee camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh, November 14, 2017. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A new report finds that Facebook failed to detect blatant hate speech and calls for violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority years after such behavior was found to have played a determining role in the genocide against them.

The report shared exclusively with The Associated Press shows the rights group Global Witness submitted eight paid ads for approval to Facebook, each including different versions of hate speech against Rohingya.

All eight ads were approved by Facebook to be published.

The group pulled the ads before they were posted or paid for, but the results confirm that despite its promises to do better, Facebook’s leaky controls still fail to detect hate speech and calls for violence on its platform.

The army conducted what it called a clearance campaign in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state in 2017 after an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled into neighboring Bangladesh and security forces were accused of mass rapes, killings and torching thousands of homes.

On Feb. 1 of last year, Myanmar’s military forcibly took control of the country, jailing democratically elected government officials. Rohingya refugees have condemned the military takeover and said it makes them more afraid to return to Myanmar.

Experts say such ads have continued to appear and that despite its promises to do better and assurances that it has taken its role in the genocide seriously, Facebook still fails even the simplest of tests — ensuring that paid ads that run on its site do not contain hate speech calling for the killing of Rohingya Muslims.

“The current killing of the Kalar is not enough, we need to kill more!” reads one proposed paid post from Global Witness, using a slur often used in Myanmar to refer to people of East Indian or Muslim origin.

“They are very dirty. The Bengali/Rohingya women have a very low standard of living and poor hygiene. They are not attractive,” reads another.

“These posts are shocking in what they encourage and are a clear sign that Facebook has not changed or done what they told the public what they would do: properly regulate themselves,” says Ronan Lee, a research fellow at the Institute for Media and Creative Industries at Loughborough University, London.

Satellite photos show Iran-backed Yemen rebels hit Saudi oil site again this week

In this satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC, damage is seen after an attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels targeting Saudi Aramco's North Jiddah Bulk Plant in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, March 21, 2022 (Planet Labs PBC via AP)
In this satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC, damage is seen after an attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels targeting Saudi Aramco's North Jiddah Bulk Plant in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, March 21, 2022 (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels this week struck the same oil storage tank in the Saudi Arabian city of Jiddah they had previously hit two years ago, satellite photos show.

Satellite photos by Planet Labs PBC, analyzed by The Associated Press, show the damage on Sunday to the North Jiddah Bulk Plant, which sits just southeast of the city’s international airport, a crucial hub for Muslim pilgrims heading to Mecca.

That same storage tank — owned by the state oil behemoth Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco — was hit by what the Houthis described as a cruise missile in a November 2020 attack.

Sunday’s attack has renewed questions about the kingdom’s ability to defend itself from Houthi fire as a yearslong war in the Arab world’s poorest country rages on with no end in sight.

It also comes as Saudi Arabia issued an unusually stark warning that it is unable to guarantee its oil production won’t be affected by further attacks — which could push global energy prices even higher amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Both Saudi government officials and Aramco did not immediately respond to questions.

The Houthi attack on Sunday represents one its most-intense barrages of the war, which has seen the kingdom launch punishing airstrikes in Yemen that have been criticized internationally for killing civilians. Among the targets was a petrochemicals complex in Yanbu on the Red Sea coast, which Saudi officials said led to a disruption of production for the world’s biggest oil exporter.

Another target was the North Jiddah Bulk Plant, which stores diesel, gasoline and jet fuel for use in Jiddah, the kingdom’s second-largest city some 285 kilometers (177 miles) southeast of Yanbu on the coast. It accounts for over a quarter of all of Saudi Arabia’s supplies and also supplies fuel crucial to running a regional desalination plant.

Over 14,000 new virus cases as transmission rate continues to climb

A man is tested in Modi'in, March 21, 2022 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
A man is tested in Modi'in, March 21, 2022 (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The Health Ministry says 14,460 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed yesterday, some 1,500 more than the day before.

Experts believe the resurgence is most likely caused by the Omicron subvariant BA.2, which is thought to be more infectious. It is still unknown if it causes more serious illness.

The ministry says 16.64 percent of test samples collected yesterday returned a positive result.

Israel’s R number — the transmission rate of the virus — continues its steady climb, reaching 1.33.

The transmission rate represents the number of people each confirmed patient infects, on average. Any number over 1 signifies that the pandemic is growing. It is based on data from 10 days earlier.

The ministry says 320 people are hospitalized in serious condition — a slight decrease.

Russian opposition leader Navalny found guilty on new embezzlement charges

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen on a screen via a video link during the verdict in his embezzlement and contempt of court trial at the IK-2 prison colony in the town of Pokrov in Vladimir Region on March 22, 2022. (AFP)
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen on a screen via a video link during the verdict in his embezzlement and contempt of court trial at the IK-2 prison colony in the town of Pokrov in Vladimir Region on March 22, 2022. (AFP)

POKROV — A Russian court finds jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny guilty on embezzlement charges that could see his prison sentence significantly extended, an AFP journalist says.

“Navalny committed fraud — the theft of property by an organized group,” judge Margarita Kotova says, according to an AFP reporter present at the trial held in Navalny’s penal colony outside Moscow.

Justice Uzi Vogelman said to waive right to head up Supreme Court

Justice Uzi Vogelman at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on June 4, 2018 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Justice Uzi Vogelman at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem on June 4, 2018 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Supreme Court Justice Uzi Vogelman has reportedly decided he will waive his right to become head of the court when Supreme Court President Justice Esther Hayut retires next year.

According to the Ynet news site, Vogelman believes that there is no point in him only fulfilling the role for one year before he himself retires, given the wide range of managerial tasks and complex handover involved in the position.

Vogelman will continue to serve on the court, the report says.

The report says it appears that Justice Yitzhak Amit will instead be appointed president of the court.

UK intelligence says Russian troops in Ukraine ‘largely stalled in place’

Anti-tank barriers are deployed at a check point in Maidan Square, in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 18, 2022 (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
Anti-tank barriers are deployed at a check point in Maidan Square, in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 18, 2022 (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

An intelligence update by the British Ministry of Defense says that most Russian forces in the invasion of Ukraine are “largely stalled in place.”

The UK says that Russian troops saw “limited progress” on Monday, but a number of Ukrainian cities are still under heavy Russian bombardment.

The statement also says that Ukrainian troops “continue to repulse Russian attempts to occupy the southern city of Mariupol.”

Mariupol has been a key target that has been besieged for more than three weeks and has seen some of the worst suffering of the war.

But no clear, independent picture has emerged of how close its capture might be.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry says their forces are still defending the city and have destroyed a Russian patrol boat and electronic warfare complex.

Russia for now controls the land corridor from Crimea, the peninsula it annexed in 2014, and is blocking Ukraine’s access to the Sea of Azov, the ministry says.

“Nobody can tell from the outside if it really is on the verge of being taken,” says Keir Giles, a Russia expert at the British think tank Chatham House.

‘Explosions every half minute’: Israeli describes fleeing besieged city of Mariupol

This shows the city of Mariupol, Ukraine, Feb. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)
This shows the city of Mariupol, Ukraine, Feb. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)

An Israeli man tells of his escape from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which has been under relentless Russian bombardment.

“The Russian army continues to bomb the city, but the Ukrainian army does not let it enter,” the man named only as Romaz tells Radio 103FM. “You hear explosions every half minute.”

“The Russians are also firing artillery — from planes as well as firing cannons from warships,” he says.

He says that some families managed to escape the city by foot, reaching the town of Manhush, some 20 kilometers away (approximately 12 miles).

“As soon as you leave the city, right on the border, the Russian army is already there. Right on the city line, and they let the refugees pass,” says Romaz, according to a transcript published by the Walla news site.

He says he has heard of people being taken against their will to Russia, but says he believes that is occurring on the city’s eastern flank.

“Yesterday we crossed the border into Poland — we came to a pretty big area, where there are a lot of refugees. We ate and caught up on information,” he says, saying that he hopes to travel back to Israel.

Civilians fleeing Mariupol describe street battles; fate of those in bombed theater, art school still unknown

A woman holds a child in an improvised bomb shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)
A woman holds a child in an improvised bomb shelter in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)

LVIV — Civilians making the dangerous escape from Ukraine’s embattled southern port hub of Mariupol describe fleeing through street-to-street gun battles and past unburied corpses as a steady Russian bombardment tries to pound the city into submission.

“There are no buildings there anymore,” says 77-year-old Maria Fiodorova, who crossed the border to Poland after five days of travel.

Olga Nikitina, who fled Mariupol for the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, says gunfire blew out her windows, and her apartment dropped below freezing.

“Battles took place over every street. Every house became a target,” she says.

A woman who gave her name as Yulia says she and her family sought shelter in Bezimenne after a bombing destroyed six houses behind her home.

“That’s why we got in the car, at our own risk, and left in 15 minutes because everything is destroyed there, dead bodies are lying around,” she says. “They don’t let us pass through everywhere — there are shootings.”

With communications crippled, movement restricted and many residents in hiding, the fate of those inside an art school flattened on Sunday and a theater that was blown apart four days earlier is unclear. More than 1,300 people are believed to be sheltering in the theater, and 400 are estimated to have been in the art school.

Zelensky to give virtual address to Japanese parliament

In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 21, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 21, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

TOKYO — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to virtually deliver an address to the Japanese parliament to rally international support for his country’s fight against Russian invasion.

Japan, unlike in the past, has been acting tough against Russia, in line with other Group of Seven countries, though Tokyo’s steps have triggered Moscow’s retaliation. A compromise could set a bad precedence in East Asia, where China is increasingly making assertive military actions.

Zelensky’s speech, expected to be about 10 minutes, will be shown in a meeting room at the lower house — the more powerful of Japan’s two-chamber parliament which Prime Minister Fumio Kishida belongs to. Zelenskyy has made virtual addresses to the US Congress, as well as parliaments in Europe, Canada, and Israel.

Ukraine claims Russian troops only have food, ammunition for 3 more days

Cars drive past a destroyed Russian tank as a convoy of vehicles evacuating civilians leaves Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, March 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)
Cars drive past a destroyed Russian tank as a convoy of vehicles evacuating civilians leaves Irpin, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, March 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

Ukraine’s military says in its morning update that invading Russian troops “have ammunition and food supplies for no more than three days.”

The statement says the Russian army is suffering from similar fuel shortages.

The statement also claims that Russian forces are seeing instances of troops refusing to obey orders, with soldiers’ “disobedience” seen in the Sumy region where around 300 refused to follow orders to fight and left the area of combat with “70 units of equipment.”

None of the claims could be independently verified.

6 arrested, including senior local official, over suspected corruption

General view of the Lahav 433 police unit headquarters in the city of Lod, on November 4, 2019. (Flash90)
General view of the Lahav 433 police unit headquarters in the city of Lod, on November 4, 2019. (Flash90)

Police say they arrested six suspects in connection with corruption offences, including an elected local leader.

Two further suspects were detained for questioning.

The suspicions center around the elected official allegedly using their position on the local Planning and Construction Committee, in conjunction with family members and others, to promote various stakeholders while reaping the benefits for himself and his family.

The matter is being handled by the Lahav 433 serious crime unit.

The suspects’ homes and offices were searched and a number of items were seized.

The suspects are expected to appear at Haifa Magistrate’s Court later in the day for a custody hearing.

Russia stops talks with Japan over sanctions

Protesters hold posters during a rally against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Tokyo, Monday, March 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
Protesters hold posters during a rally against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Tokyo, Monday, March 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO — Japan denounces Russia over its decision to discontinue peace treaty talks over the disputed Kuril islands and withdraw from joint economic projects in retaliation for Tokyo’s sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The two countries never signed a peace treaty formally ending World War II hostilities because of their dispute over the Russian-held islands north of Hokkaido, which Moscow took at the end of the war.

“The latest situation has been all caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno tells reporters. He calls Russia’s response “extremely unjustifiable and absolutely unacceptable.”

Japan has imposed a series of sanctions on Russia in recent weeks, including freezing some individual assets, banning exports of luxury goods and high-technology equipment to the country and revoking Russia’s most favored nation trade status.

Ukraine says its military has pushed Russian forces out of key Kyiv neighborhood

Civilian volunteers attend a training camp of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces in Brovary, northeast of Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Civilian volunteers attend a training camp of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces in Brovary, northeast of Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

The Ukrainian army says it forced Russian troops out of Makariv, a strategically important Kyiv suburb, after a fierce battle.

That prevents Russian forces from encircling the capital from the northwest, the Defense Ministry says.

State media: No survivors found in China Eastern plane crash

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, debris is seen at the site of a plane crash in Tengxian County in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. A China Eastern Boeing 737-800 with more than 100 people on board crashed in a remote mountainous area of southern China on Monday, officials said, setting off a forest fire visible from space in the country's worst air disaster in nearly a decade. (Zhou Hua/Xinhua via AP)
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, debris is seen at the site of a plane crash in Tengxian County in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. A China Eastern Boeing 737-800 with more than 100 people on board crashed in a remote mountainous area of southern China on Monday, officials said, setting off a forest fire visible from space in the country's worst air disaster in nearly a decade. (Zhou Hua/Xinhua via AP)

KUNMING, China — No survivors have been found as the search continues of the scattered wreckage of a China Eastern plane carrying 132 people that crashed yesterday in a forested mountainous area in China’s worst air disaster in a decade.

“Wreckage of the plane was found at the scene, but up until now, none of those aboard the plane with whom contact was lost have been found,” state broadcaster CCTV  says more than 18 hours after the crash.

The Boeing 737-800 crashed near the city of Wuzhou in the Guangxi region while flying from Kunming in the southwestern province of Yunnan to the industrial center of Guangzhou along the east coast. It ignited a fire big enough to be seen on NASA satellite images.

Pro-Kremlin site briefly posts apparent Russian toll: 9,861 killed, 16,153 injured

The body of a soldier is coated in snow as a man takes photos of a destroyed Russian military multiple rocket launcher vehicle on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, February 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
The body of a soldier is coated in snow as a man takes photos of a destroyed Russian military multiple rocket launcher vehicle on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, February 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A pro-Kremlin tabloid briefly publishes the apparent Russian war toll, reporting that 9,861 Russian soldiers have been killed since Moscow launched the invasion of Ukraine and 16,153 injured.

The report in the Komsomolskaya Pravda, which cites Russian Defense Ministry figures, is taken down after several hours.

The figure is similar to that claimed by Ukraine.

Russia has not released an official toll since March 2, when the Kremlin reported 498 casualties.

Zelensky says Russia shelling along humanitarian corridor, wounding 4 children

Ukrainians escaping from the besieged city of Mariupol along with other passengers from Zaporizhzhia arrive at Lviv, western Ukraine, on March 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Ukrainians escaping from the besieged city of Mariupol along with other passengers from Zaporizhzhia arrive at Lviv, western Ukraine, on March 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Russian forces shelled along a humanitarian corridor today, wounding four children who were among the civilians being evacuated, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says in his nighttime video address to the nation.

He says the shelling took place in the Zaporizhzhia region, the initial destination of those fleeing Mariupol.

The Ukrainian government said that about 3,000 people from Mariupol were evacuated on Monday.

Zelensky says he spoke with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and French President Emmanual Macron to coordinate their positions before Western leaders meet on Thursday.

“Our position will be expressed and will be expressed strongly, believe me,” Zelensky says.

Biden says Putin considering using chemical weapons in Ukraine

In this Saturday, May 20, 2000 file photo, two Russian soldiers make a routine check of metal containers with toxic agents at a chemical weapons storage site in the town of Gorny, 124 miles (200 kms) south of the Volga River city of Saratov, Russia.  (AP Photo, File)
In this Saturday, May 20, 2000 file photo, two Russian soldiers make a routine check of metal containers with toxic agents at a chemical weapons storage site in the town of Gorny, 124 miles (200 kms) south of the Volga River city of Saratov, Russia. (AP Photo, File)

US President Joe Biden says that Russia is considering using chemical weapons in Ukraine.

Putin’s “back is against the wall and now he’s talking about new false flags he’s setting up including, asserting that we in America have biological as well as chemical weapons in Europe, simply not true,” Reuters quotes Biden as saying at a Business Roundtable event.

“They are also suggesting that Ukraine has biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine. That’s a clear sign he’s considering using both of those,” Biden says.

Biden did not offer proof.

Biden tells US businesses to ‘harden’ defenses against Russia cyber threat

US President Joe Biden speaks at Business Roundtable's CEO quarterly meeting, Monday, March 21, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
US President Joe Biden speaks at Business Roundtable's CEO quarterly meeting, Monday, March 21, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

US President Joe Biden warns of intelligence pointing to a growing Russian cyber threat and urges US businesses to “immediately” prepare defenses.

“If you have not already done so, I urge our private sector partners to harden your cyber defenses immediately,” he says in a statement.

Biden cites “evolving intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks,” including in response to Western sanctions over Moscow’s launching of the war in Ukraine.

“It’s part of Russia’s playbook,” he says.

Biden says the US government would “continue to use every tool to deter, disrupt, and if necessary, respond to cyberattacks against critical infrastructure.”

However, he underlined that most critical infrastructure in the country is owned and operated by private entities, which cannot be compelled to take specific cyber security measures.

“Owners and operators must accelerate efforts to lock their digital doors,” he says.

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