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PM says Israel will prevail, after Bnei Brak terror takes death toll to 11 in 8 days

Palestinians hand out sweets in Gaza * Bnei Brak crowd chants for ‘revenge’ * Police work to determine whether shooter received assistance, arresting illegals in the area

Police and medics at the scene of a deadly terrorist attack in Bnei Brak, on March 29, 2022. (Magen David Adom)
Police and medics at the scene of a deadly terrorist attack in Bnei Brak, on March 29, 2022. (Magen David Adom)

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

Third of five victims identified as Avishai Yehezkel, 29

The third of five victims from tonight’s terror attack has been identified as Bnei Brak resident Avishai Yehezkel, 29.

Yehezkel is survived by his wife and a two-year-old son.

Haredi media reports say Yehezkel, a yeshiva student, was out with his son for an evening walk in his stroller when he was shot.

Macron says France stands with Israel against ‘scourge’ of terror

French President Emmanuel Macron issues a statement condemning tonight’s terror attack in Bnei Brak.

“Terrorism has once again struck Israel. I condemn these murderous attacks in the strongest terms. My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones. Israel can count on the support of France and on my total commitment in the fight against this scourge,” he tweets.

5 dead in less than 10 minutes: The Bnei Brak terrorist’s shooting spree

Channel 13 breaks down the shooting spree of Palestinian terrorist Diaa Hamarsheh, who killed five people in Bnei Brak earlier tonight.

Hamarsheh arrived in Bnei Brak in a vehicle and disembarked on Jabotinsky street at 7:56 p.m.

While standing in front of a local store, he pulled out his weapon and tried to fire at passersby, barely missing a pedestrian and a man on his bicycle.

The attacker then continued to Bialik Street, but did not find anyone there so he moved on to a nearby grocery store where he shot dead two people.

Hamarsheh continued to fire at passersby, but his gun jammed briefly. A car being driven by Bnei Brak resident Ya’akov Shalom then passed by. Hamarsheh shouted “stop” as he pointed his rifle through the window and fired, killing Shalom.

At this point, six minutes had passed since the start of the killing spree. Hamarsheh then proceeded to Herzl Street where he shot dead a fourth victim who was protecting his baby from the gunfire.

As Hamarsheh continued down Herzl Street, two officers on a police motorcycle confronted him and began firing. Hamarsheh returned fire, managing to strike one of the offices, Amir Khoury, who later died of his wounds.

The second officer managed to lethally strike Hamarsheh, bringing an end to the deadly spree.

Ra’am chair condemns attack: ‘Killers aren’t differentiating between Jews and Arabs’

Mansour Abbas, who chairs the Islamist Ra’am party that is part of the governing coalition, condemns tonight’s terror attack in Bnei Brak.

“I share in the grief of the families and wish the wounded a full recovery.

“We are all facing a wave of murderous terrorism — all of us, without exception.

“The streets of Israeli cities are filled with Arab and Jewish citizens alike, and those who embark on a vicious killing spree do not notice or differentiate between them,” he says.

Bennett addresses public after attack: Last May’s violence was harbinger of things to come

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has issued a video statement, addressing the public directly after tonight’s terror attack in Bnei Brak.

“We are facing a new wave of terror. What we saw during Operation Guardian of the Walls… was a harbinger of things to come,” he says, referencing the violence between Jews and Arabs in the so-called mixed cities during last May’s Gaza war.

Notably, he does not refer to the terror wave as an “Arab terror wave” as he did in his previous statement issued immediately after the attack.

“The security forces of the State of Israel are among the best in the world. They are prepared to face the task, and as in previous waves, this time too we will win.”

“The civilians and police officers who shot at the terrorists at the various attack scenes are the heroes of Israel,” he says.

“After a period of silence, there is a violent outburst from those trying to destroy us, those who want to harm us at all costs, those who are moved by hatred of the Jews and of the State of Israel, those who are willing to die as long so that we cannot live in peace.”

“The secret of our existence is our kindness to one another and our determination to defend the home we built at all costs,” he says. “Citizens of Israel, this time too we will win.”

Second of five victims identified as Ya’akov Shalom

The second of five victims from tonight’s terror attack has been identified as Bnei Brak resident Ya’akov Shalom.

Shalom, 36, was a father of children.

He was shot dead by the assailant while driving in his hometown.

Officer killed in terror shooting identified as Arab Israeli Amir Khoury

The police officer shot dead in tonight’s terror shooting in Bnei Brak has been identified as Amir Khoury, an Arab Israeli from the northern town of Nof Hagalil, police say.

Khoury, 32, served on the Bnei Brak police station’s motorcyclist responders team.

He leaves behind his parents and two sisters.

Panning attack, Joint List chief says victims join 51 Palestinians killed this year

Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh condemns tonight’s terror attack in Bnei Brak.

“Five civilians were killed today — each a world in their own right. They join the 51 Palestinians killed since the beginning of the year — each one a world in its own right,” Odeh says.

“I strongly oppose any harm to civilians, Palestinians or Israelis alike, along with all harm to innocent people,” he adds.

“It is time to end the source of hatred that is the damned occupation, and to establish peace that will bring security and normal life to both peoples,” he says.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the attack, but avoided mentioning the occupation.

Police say they have secured attack scene, no concern of accomplices at large

Police say that they have secured Bnei Brak after tonight’s attack and that there are not any accomplices still at large.

A number of Palestinians in the area were arrested following the attack, but they are not believed to have provided assistance to the shooter.

It remains unclear whether he acted alone.

Mahmoud Abbas issues rare condemnation of Palestinian terror attack

In a rare statement, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemns the deadly shooting attack that left five Israelis dead in Bnei Brak tonight.

Ramallah had refrained from publicly discussing the recent terror wave against Israelis at all, remaining silent after deadly attacks in Beersheba and Hadera that took place over the past week.

In a statement, the PA leader “expressed his condemnation of the killing of Israeli civilians tonight, emphasizing that the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians only leads the situation to deteriorate.”

“The cycle of violence shows that a comprehensive, just and stable peace is the shortest, most correct path to security and stability for both peoples,” Abbas says.

Police forced to extract public security minister from shooting scene as mob surrounds him

Police are forced to extract Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, who had just arrived at the scene of the terror attack and was immediately surrounded by an angry mob of demonstrators.

The mob verbally harassed the minister and sought to get closer to him, but police managed to keep the mob at a distance before pulling Barlev from the area.

Knesset speaker cuts US trip short amid terror wave

Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy announces that he is cutting his work trip to the US short after tonight’s terror attack in Bnei Brak.

He will meet tomorrow morning with Congressional leadership before heading back to Israel.

Levy had been scheduled to meet Jewish leaders and UN officials in New York but those meetings have been canceled.

“I follow the reports from Israel with concern and pain. I wish to send heartfelt condolences to the families of the murdered and a speedy recovery to the wounded. There is no doubt that we are in difficult and sensitive days that need to raise the level of alertness and require extreme vigilance from all of us. Let us know quiet days,” he says in a tweet.

Police confirm fifth casualty was an officer who fired at attacker before losing own life

Police confirm that the fifth casualty in tonight’s terror attack was an officer who managed to fire at the assailant assailant. However, the officer was also shot during the attack and succumbed to his wounds in the hospital.

Bennett concludes consultation with security chiefs on terror attack

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has concluded a security consultation on tonight’s terror attack with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, and other security officials, the premier’s office says.

Bennett received details on how the terror attack developed during the briefing, his office says.

Bennett ordered the IDF to bolster forces along the West Bank seam zone and the police to be ready to bolster areas throughout the country, such as schools and daycares.

The security cabinet will convene tomorrow afternoon to discuss additional measures.

IDF says it will further bolster troops along West Bank security barrier after terror attack

The Israel Defense Forces says it is further bolstering troops in the West Bank and seam zone area following the deadly attack in Bnei Brak this evening.

Four additional battalions are being deployed, after four were deployed on Sunday following the attack in Hadera.

The move comes after IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi held a situational assessment following the Bnei Brak attack.

Victims from terror attack identified as 2 Bnei Brak residents, 2 foreign workers, 1 cop

The victims from tonight’s terror attack have been partially identified as two residents of Bnei Brak, two foreign workers, and one police officer, Channel 12 reports.

Mayors throughout Israel order shuttering of construction sites tomorrow after terror attack

The mayor of Rishon Lezion has notified residents that gardening and construction work at schools will not take place tomorrow in light of tonight’s terror attack carried out by a Palestinian construction worker who had entered the country illegally.

The mayor of Kiryat Gat has announced that all construction work in his town will not take place tomorrow.

The mayors of Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan have ordered additional officers to secure schools throughout their towns.

Lapid: Our security forces face tense days ahead of them

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issues his first response to tonight’s terror attack.

“A very difficult evening. Violent and cruel terrorism harms innocent civilians.”

“My heart goes out to the families receiving the hardest news tonight. I send wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded and wish to strengthen their families,” Lapid says.

“The State of Israel is strong, we will fight terrorism with force and determination. The security forces face tense days ahead of them. I strengthen them and pray that they will return home in peace.”

Growing number of settlements say they won’t allow Palestinian workers in tomorrow after attack

A growing number of West Bank settlements are announcing that they will not allow Palestinian workers to enter their towns for constructions jobs tomorrow in light of tonight’s terror attacks, Army Radio reports.

Security cabinet to convene tomorrow after week’s third terror attack

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will convene the high-level security cabinet tomorrow to address the three terror attacks that have taken place in the past week.

Police arrest 8 suspects in Bnei Brak who illegally entered Israel; not tied to attack

Police have arrested eight Palestinians suspected of illegally entering Israel in an apparent arrest spree in Bnei Brak after tonight’s attack, Channel 12 reports.

The suspects are not believed to have ties to the shooter and the possibility remains that the assailant acted alone.

Palestinians photographed handing out sweets in Gaza following Bnei Brak attack

EU, UK envoys condemn Bnei Brak terror attack

British Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan and EU Ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev are among the first to condemn tonight’s terror attack in Bnei Brak.

“I’m shocked by the series of terrorist attacks that have befallen Israel in the past week – Beer Sheva, Hadera and now Bnei Brak, close to my home. My condolences to all the families of the victims and my wishes for a speedy recovery to the wounded. Britain condemns these attacks and stands by Israel,” says Wigan.

“Another despicable terror attack, which claimed more innocent lives. My thoughts are with the families of the victims & injured. The EU unequivocally condemns such senseless violence! We stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in these difficult times. Violent extremism will be defeated,” Tzantchev says.

Gantz says security forces will use ‘all means’ to bring end to terror wave

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says Israeli security forces will use “all means” to bring an end to the string of deadly terror attacks.

“We have been through difficult times as a people and as a country, amid waves of terror, and we have always won with determination and strength and so it will be this time as well,” Gantz writes on Twitter.

“The entire security establishment — the IDF, the Shin Bet and police — will work using all means to restore security to the streets of Israel and a sense of security to the citizens,” he adds.

Bennett in first response to attack: ‘We’re facing a deadly wave of Arab terrorism’

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett issues his first response to tonight’s terror attack that left five people dead.

“Israel is facing a deadly wave of Arab terrorism,” Bennett says.

“My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones tonight, and I pray for the wellbeing of the wounded.”

“Security forces are [responding]. We will fight terrorism with persistence, diligence and an iron fist. They will not move us from here. We will win.”

Bnei Brak crowd takes out anger on vehicle suspected of having belonged to shooter

A crowd of dozens in Bnei Brak are taking out their anger on a vehicle that they believe belonged to the shooter in tonight’s terror attack.

They have flipped the car over and smashed its windows.

Police confirm Bnei Brak shootings as a terror attack

Police have confirmed that tonight’s terror shootings in Bnei Brak are a terror attack.

Four victims were pronounced dead at the scene and a fifth was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Terrorist in Bnei Brak attack named; Palestinian terror groups hail killings

Palestinian terror groups praise the deadly shooting attack in Bnei Brak that left five Israelis dead, although none takes responsibility for the slaughter.

“The Tel Aviv operation emphasizes the unity of the Palestinian people everywhere they live,” Hamas official Mushir al-Masri tells a radio station affiliated with the terror group.

Islamic Jihad also praises the attack — the third in the past week.

“This is the harbinger of our people’s operations to come deep inside the [Zionist] entity,” senior Islamic Jihad official Ahmad al-Mudalil says.

One perpetrator, named as 26-year-old Diaa Hamarsheh from Ya’abad, near Jenin, was shot and killed by police on the scene. In videos from social media, a few dozen young Palestinian men can be seen gathering in the town chanting slogans supporting the gunmen.

Seriously injured victim succumbs to wounds, becoming attack’s fifth casualty

Doctors declare the death of a fifth victim in tonight’s terror shooting after he was rushed to the hospital in very serious condition, the Beilinson Medical Center says.

Emergency medical services had earlier reported that there had been five killed in the attack, but that figure mistakenly included the assailant.

The shooter has been shot, but it is unclear whether he is still alive.

US envoy on terror attack: ‘No one should have to endure such heartbreak’

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides issues the first reaction from a Biden official to tonight’s terror attack.

“Just now hearing reports of another attack in Israel, this time taking the lives of innocent people in Bnei Brak. My heart goes out to the families of the victims. No one should have to endure such heartbreak,” Nides tweets.

Police looking into possibility that an additional attacker still at large in Bnei Brak

Police are still working to rule out the possibility that the shooter in tonight’s terror attack had any accomplices, police spokesman Eli Levy says.

Officers are scanning cars and entering some homes in Bnei Brak.

An additional suspect has been arrested, in addition to the primary assailant who was shot.

It is unclear whether the second suspect had anything to do with the attack.

Reports: Terrorist an ex-security prisoner who worked illegally at Bnei Brak construction site

Hebrew media reports that the shooter in tonight’s deadly terror attack was a Palestinian in his mid-20s from the northern West Bank village of Yabed.

He previously served a six-month prison sentence after a conviction on terror ties and illegal sale of weapons.

Terror attacks take lives of 11 Israelis in bloodiest week since 2006

The five killed in tonight’s terror attack in the Tel Aviv suburbs, join the two others killed in a terror shooting in Hadera on Sunday and four more killed in a terror shooting in Beersheba last Tuesday.

Eleven terror victims in one week is the largest number since 2006 when a suicide bus bombing killed 11 Israelis in Tel Aviv.

This week’s number is more than the years 2020 and 2021 combined.

Report: Security officials believe shooter a Palestinian from West Bank

Channel 12 reports that Israeli security officials believe the shooter in tonight’s apparent terror attack is a Palestinian from the West Bank.

Accordingly, he likely received assistance in order to cross into Israel, though doing so is not known to be particularly difficult given the large number of holes in the West Bank security barrier.

Tensions high at attack scenes, with protesters chanting ‘death to Arabs’

Tensions are incredibly high at one of the shooting scenes in Bnei Brak, with dozens of locals chanting “death to Arabs” and “revenge,” as medics and security forces operate in the area and reporters interview witnesses.

Bennett to hold security consultation with defense officials on suspected terror attack

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will hold a security consultation on tonight’s apparent terror attack in central Israel with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar, Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, and other security officials, the premier’s office says.

The meeting will take place at 10 p.m. local time.

Five killed in Bnei Brak shooting

Eli Bin, head of the Magen David Adom ambulance service, says five people have been killed in the shooting incident in Bnei Brak.

It remains unclear if the gunman was shot.

One person has been detained at the scene, Hebrew-language media reports, but it is unclear if they are involved in the apparent attack.

4 killed, 1 critically hurt in Bnei Brak shooting

Eli Bin, head of the Magen David Adom ambulance service, says four people have been killed in the shooting incident in Bnei Brak.

He says another person is critically hurt.

It remains unclear if the gunman has been shot.

4 seriously hurt in Bnei Brak shooting — medics

Eli Bin, head of the Magen David Adom ambulance service, says five people are hurt in the shooting incident in Bnei Brak.

He says four of them are critically hurt.

Some reports claim a man opened fire at passersby while riding on a motorcycle.

Police say forces are at the scene.

One hurt in shooting in Bnei Brak — medics

One person has been wounded in a shooting incident in Bnei Brak, medics say.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says it received reports of a shooting on HaShnayim Street in the city.

The wounded person’s condition is not immediately known.

The background of the incident remains unclear.

UK, US, France, Germany and Italy urge West not to drop guard against Russia

LONDON — The leaders of the US, UK, France, Germany, and Italy urge the West not to drop its guard against Russia, after Moscow signaled it would scale down fighting around two Ukrainian cities.

“They agreed there could be no relaxation of Western resolve until the horror inflicted on Ukraine is over,” they say, according to a read-out from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Street office.

Putin tells Macron ‘nationalists’ in Mariupol must lay down arms

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin says Ukrainian “nationalists” in the embattled city of Mariupol must lay down their arms as he discussed the conflict with French leader Emmanuel Macron, the Kremlin says.

“It was stressed that in order to resolve the difficult humanitarian situation in this city [Mariupol], Ukrainian nationalist militants must stop resisting and lay down their arms,” the Kremlin says in a statement.

US general says more forces may be needed to be deployed in Europe

WASHINGTON — The US will likely need to add more permanent or rotational forces in Europe in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US European Command leader tells Congress, without detailing when or how many.

Gen. Tod Wolters, who also serves as NATO’s supreme allied commander, says decisions will be based on what European nations do, particularly in response to the need to build four additional NATO battlegroups, which are being set up in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria. The groups are an effort to protect and reassure nations on Europe’s eastern flank.

“My suspicion is we’re going to still need more,” Wolters tells the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Questioned about early US intelligence that suggested Russia would overwhelm Ukraine quickly, Wolters said that there may have been an “intel gap.” He says broader reviews of the US response to the war will consider that element.

On Russia’s use of hypersonic weapons in Ukraine, Wolters says there have been “multiple” launches that appeared to be an attempt by Putin to demonstrate his military’s capabilities.

“I don’t think they were successful,” he adds.

IDF bolsters troops on Gaza border ahead of Land Day, Ramadan — reports

The Israel Defense Forces are bolstering troops along the border with the Gaza Strip, as Palestinians mark Land Day tomorrow, and the holy Muslim month of Ramadan begins this weekend, Hebrew-language media reports.

Land Day marks the Israeli government’s expropriation of Arab-owned land in the Galilee on March 30, 1976, and the ensuing demonstrations in which six Arab Israelis were killed.

The reports say the Gaza Division will be bolstered with more infantry troops and special forces, in case of violent protests along the fence.

IAF jets fired 586 munitions at targets in Syria in 2021 — reports

In the past year, in dozens of strikes attributed to Israel, the Israeli Air Force has fired 586 munitions at targets in Syria, according to Hebrew-language media reports.

Amid the airstrikes, the Syrian Arab Army fired 239 anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli jets and missiles, mostly without success, the reports say.

The new numbers were given by air force officials during a recent briefing with reporters.

As a rule, Israel’s military does not comment on specific strikes in Syria, but has admitted to conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country.

UK skeptical after Russia says will scale back Ukraine fighting

LONDON — Britain’s government reacts coolly after Russia says it intends to scale down fighting around two Ukrainian cities following peace talks in Turkey.

“We will judge [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and his regime by his actions and not by his words,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman tells reporters.

“We don’t want to see anything less than a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory.”

Russian delegate says Istanbul talks show progress

ISTANBUL, Turkey — The head of the Russian delegation in talks with Ukraine says that Moscow sees the latest meeting as a step toward compromise.

Vladimir Medinskiy says on Russian RT television that Russia sees Ukrainian proposals made Tuesday during the talks in Istanbul as a “step to meet us halfway, a clearly positive fact.”

He adds that the two parties have a long way to go to reach an agreement.

Medinsky says that Russia made “two big steps toward peace” during the talks, first by agreeing to reduce military activities around the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv.

He says Russia agreed to a prospective meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky once a prospective peace treaty is ready for signing.

The Ukrainian delegation earlier Tuesday said it had laid out a possible framework for a future peace deal based on legally binding security guarantees that would provide for other countries to intervene if Ukraine is attacked.

US Senate votes to advance nomination of US antisemitism envoy, Deborah Lipstadt

After months of delay, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has voted to advance the confirmation of US President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, Deborah Lipstadt.

Lipstadt, a Holocaust scholar, receives the support of Republicans Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio, as well as every Democrat on the 22-member panel, in a 13-9 vote.

Next, she will face a vote before the entire Senate, which is expected to pass, sealing her confirmation. A date for the vote has not yet been scheduled.

Today’s vote is hailed by Jewish groups across the political spectrum. The mandate of the position is somewhat limited though, as the envoy is only tasked with addressing antisemitism abroad, and not domestically where US officials have jurisdiction.

The Senate panel has also voted to advance the confirmation of Biden’s nominee to serve as assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, Barbara Leaf. Her nomination has similarly been held up for months by Senate Republicans, though Romney and Rob Portman have joined the committee’s Democrats in voting yes.

Lapid says Israel concerned over situation in Mariupol

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid says Israel expresses “deep concern” over Russia’s siege and bombardment of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

“Israel expresses deep concern regarding the dire humanitarian situation in Mariupol and calls for Russia to stop the fighting and allow for the evacuation of civilians to safety,” Lapid writes on Twitter.

“Israel welcomes mediation efforts between Russia and Ukraine. We hope for a ceasefire and are working to help achieve one,” he says.

Israel developing NATO-style pact with regional allies — reports

Israel and its regional allies are working to develop a joint defense pact to protect against the threat of Iranian drones, Israeli media reports, citing Israeli Air Force officials.

Air Force sources say that Israel may soon sign an alliance with Middle East partners, similar to that of NATO in Europe.

The opportunity for this arose following several normalization agreements between Israel and Arab countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which are geographically close to Iran.

The Israel Defense Forces view coordination between the countries as a “strategic asset” in defending against aerial threats that it did not previously have, officials say.

Last week, Israeli officials said they believed two drones, which were reportedly launched from Iran and intercepted by the US-led international coalition in Iraq last month, were aimed at Israel.

Israel has repeatedly warned that Iranian drones are a significant threat to the region — especially as Tehran arms proxies stationed along Israel’s borders.

The Israel Defense Forces have confirmed it intercepted at least four Iranian drones heading for Israel or the West Bank and Gaza Strip in recent years.

Blinken says US still doubts Russia’s ‘seriousness’ in Ukraine talks

RABAT — The United States still doubts that Russia is serious in talks with Ukraine, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says, after reports of progress at a meeting in Turkey.

“I’ve not seen anything to suggest that this is moving forward in an effective way because we have not seen signs of real seriousness” from Russia, Blinken says at a press conference in Morocco.

Blinken says he stressed to Israeli and Palestinian leaders US support for 2-state solution

Speaking at a press conference in Rabat with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he stressed to Israeli and Palestinian leaders earlier this week US support for a two-state solution.

He says that America supports a solution “that meets the aspirations of the Palestinian people and their entitlement to a state of their own, as well as, of course, ensuring the security of Israel, and its strength as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Blinken and Bourita were both at the Negev Summit in Israel the day before. Blinken jokes at the outset of the press conference, “It feels like I saw you yesterday.”

Blinken stresses that the Abraham Accords are “not a substitute for this outcome…but it can, I believe, reinforce it.”

All the attendees at the summit “talked about the need to advance that prospect and that horizon,” he says, “but in the meantime to do concrete things to help improve the lives of Palestinians.”

He says Morocco’s growing relationship with Israel will enhance its voice in promoting a two-state solution.

Ireland kicks out four Russian diplomats

DUBLIN — Ireland says it has expelled four Russian diplomatic officials amid reports that Moscow’s embassy in Dublin had become a hotbed of espionage and surveillance.

Foreign minister Simon Coveney says “four senior officials have been asked to leave the state” for engaging in activities “not… in accordance with international standards of diplomatic behavior.”

Belgium orders 21 Russian diplomats to leave country

BRUSSELS — Belgium has decided to expel 21 Russian diplomats for activities related to espionage or unlawful influence peddling.

The diplomats were given two weeks to leave the country, foreign affairs spokeswoman Elke Pattyn tells The Associated Press.

Dutch to expel 17 Russians for alleged spying

THE HAGUE — The Netherlands is expelling 17 Russian diplomats who were “secretly active” as intelligence officers, the Dutch foreign ministry says.

“Today, the ambassador of Russia was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs” and informed of the expulsion, the Hague-based ministry says in a statement.

“The reason is that there is information… showing that the persons concerned, accredited as diplomats, are secretly active as intelligence officers,” it says.

UK detains Russian-owned superyacht in ‘warning’ to Putin

LONDON — British authorities detain a Russian-owned, $50-million superyacht boasting a fresh-water swimming pool, in what it calls a “warning” to Moscow of the consequences for invading Ukraine.

The impounding of Phi, the first superyacht ever to be held in British waters, comes after the UK sanctioned hundreds of Russian individuals and entities in recent weeks over the Kremlin’s war.

Authorities are holding the vessel, which is docked at Canary Wharf in London, after the “combating kleptocracy” unit of the National Crime Agency (NCA) uncovered that its ultimate owner is a Russian businessman.

Although the unidentified individual has not been sanctioned by the UK, new powers allow Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to detain ships controlled, chartered, or operated by people connected to Russia.

On a visit to the wharf, Shapps said the 58.5-meter (192-foot) vessel worth £38 million ($50 million) was in London for a refit, but now “won’t be going anywhere.”

The seizure sent a “clear and stark warning” to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he says.

“It’s just another indication that we will not stand by whilst Putin’s cronies are allowed to sail around the world in these kinds of yachts and people in Ukraine are suffering.”

Ukraine lays out possible framework for peace deal with Russia

ISTANBUL — The Ukrainian delegation to talks with Russia has laid out a possible framework for a future peace deal based on legally binding security guarantees that would provide for other countries to intervene if it is attacked.

Delegate Oleksandr Chaly says the guarantees should be similar in character to NATO’s Article 5, which pledges members of the alliance to defend each other in case one is attacked.

The delegation says Ukraine is prepared to pledge to be neutral, not to host foreign military forces, and to hold talks over the next 15 years on the future of the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Delegate David Arakhamia says there would be a peace deal that would be secured by a referendum in Ukraine. That would take place only after all foreign troops have left.

Russia’s views on the proposal are not immediately clear.

Turkey hails Istanbul talks as ‘most significant progress’ since war began

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says talks between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul marked the “most significant progress” since war broke out between the two countries.

Speaking after three hours of talks between delegations from both Moscow and Kyiv, Cavusoglu says the discussions represented “the most significant progress since negotiations began” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Talks would not resume on Wednesday, he adds.

Israeli Navy, US 5th Fleet holding joint drill in Mediterranean, Red Sea

The Israel Defenses Forces announces the Israeli Navy and United States Fifth Fleet are holding a joint drill in the Mediterranean and the Red seas this week.

The exercise, which began Sunday, simulates naval combat, naval firing exercises, vessel protection, sabotage and neutralization of naval mines, search and rescue scenarios and providing medical aid at sea, the military says.

Some 300 soldiers and commanders from each country are participating in the drill, dubbed “Intrinsic Defender.”

“The exercise aims to expand the Israeli Navy’s operational abilities and deepen the shared learning process,” the IDF says in a statement.

“‘Intrinsic Defender’ joins past exercises between the IDF and the United States Armed Forces in strengthening the operational capabilities and strategic partnership of the two militaries,” it adds.

Roman Abramovich seen participating in Istanbul talks after suspected poisoning

After his suspected poisoning earlier this month, Russian-Jewish billionaire Roman Abramovich is seen participating in a round of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, in Istanbul.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Abramovich, who has been sanctioned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has been meeting with negotiators in various countries and also has met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as part of efforts to end the war.

Abramovich, who holds Israeli citizenship, is best known for his ownership of English soccer club Chelsea FC.

Ruble surges 10% after progress in Ukraine-Russia talks

The ruble, which fell sharply following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, surged by more than 10 percent against the dollar on Tuesday following progress in talks between Moscow and Kyiv.

The Russian currency stood at 85.42 rubles to the dollar at around 1245 GMT. It had plunged to an unprecedented level of 150 to the greenback in recent weeks.

Security forces bracing for more violence following Hadera attack, ahead of Ramadan

Israeli security forces are girding for possible violence in the coming days as Palestinian Land Day is commemorated tomorrow, and Ramadan begins at the end of the week.

Police have bolstered forces in areas where there is a threat of violence, following a deadly terrorist attack committed by two Israeli Arab gunmen affiliated with Islamic State in Hadera on Sunday.

The Israel Defense Forces has also bolstered troops in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, a wave of arrests against those with Islamic State ties is expected to continue after 12 were detained overnight.

At the same time, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II to discuss ways to lower tensions with the Palestinians during the holy Muslim month, seen as a time of greater possibility for violence.

Jordan Valley residents asked to remain indoors after possible hazardous fumes from fire

Residents of Yafit, Masua, and nearby are ordered to remain indoors and close windows and doors amid a massive fire at a nearby warehouse with hazardous materials.

Over 30 firefighting teams are now battling the blaze, fire officials say.

Herzog to meet Jordan’s king in Amman tomorrow

President Isaac Herzog will visit Jordan tomorrow to speak with King Abdullah II, becoming the second Israeli official to meet the Jordanian monarch in the past week.

The visit is being announced in advance and will be held in public — a rare occurrence in Israeli-Jordanian ties. Most visits by Israeli officials are kept tightly under wraps and only revealed after the fact.

According to the Israeli Presidency, Herzog and the king will discuss “deepening Israeli-Jordanian relations, maintaining regional stability with an emphasis on the upcoming holiday period, strengthening peace and normalization, and the many latent opportunities in relations between Israel, Jordan, and the wider region.”

Biden to discuss Ukraine war in phone call with European leaders

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden will discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine in a phone call with key Western European allies, the White House says.

Biden has convened the call for 9:15 a.m. local time with the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy “to discuss the latest developments regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” a spokesman says.

Ukraine negotiator says Putin, Zelensky meeting possible after Istanbul talks

ISTANBUL — Ukraine’s top negotiator says enough progress has been made at talks in Turkey to resolve the conflict with Russia to enable a meeting between the presidents of the two countries.

“The results of today’s meeting are sufficient for a meeting at the leaders’ level,” Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia says, raising the possibility of a meeting between Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin, an idea Russia has shot down as recently as Monday as being “counterproductive.”

14-year-old girl dies after collapsing during hike in Galilee

A 14-year-old girl is brought to the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya in critical condition after she collapses during a school trip in northern Israel.

The teen underwent resuscitation efforts for an hour at the scene, the hospital says. She was brought to the children’s emergency room and efforts continued for another 20 minutes before medical officials declared her dead.

Russia says it has decided to reduce military activity near Kyiv, Chernihiv

KYIV, Ukraine — Russia’s deputy defense minister says Moscow has decided to “fundamentally… cut back” operations near the capital and another major city to “increase mutual trust” at talks aimed at ending the fighting.

Alexander Fomin says Russian forces would cut back “military activity in the direction of Kyiv and Chernihiv.”

Fomin’s statement comes after another round of talks Russia and Ukraine held in Istanbul and appears to be the first major concession the Russians made since the beginning of their invasion in Ukraine more than a month ago.

The Ukrainian general staff of the military says earlier it had noted withdrawals around Kyiv and Chernihiv.

Jordanian king says Israel must prevent ‘provocative’ actions that lead to escalation

Jordanian King Abdullah II tells Defense Minister Benny Gantz that “provocative actions that lead to escalation” must be prevented, the Jordanian Royal Court says.

According to the court, Abdullah reiterated Jordan’s support for a two-state solution. The monarch also pushed for Israel to remove obstacles to Palestinian “freedom of worship” during Ramadan.

Before meeting the king, Gantz held a bilateral meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi. The latter was a notable holdout at yesterday’s Negev Summit, which saw four Arab foreign ministers meet in Sde Boker alongside Israeli FM Yair Lapid.

Kyiv negotiators call for ‘international’ accord to guarantee Ukrainian security

ISTANBUL — Ukrainian negotiators at conflict talks with Russia in Turkey say they are calling for an international agreement under which other countries would serve as guarantors of Ukraine’s security.

“We want an international mechanism of security guarantees where guarantor countries will act in a similar way to NATO’s article number five — and even more firmly,” David Arakhamia, a Ukrainian negotiator, tells reporters after talks with a Russian delegation.

Fears of hazmat leak as large fire burns at Jordan Valley warehouse

A large fire is burning at a warehouse with hazardous substances in the Jordan Valley, fire officials say.

The blaze is spreading with the wind, and is threatening nearby fuel tanks, officials warn.

A nearby kindergarten has been evacuated.

Some 20 firefighting teams are at the scene battling the blaze.

The Israel Fire and Rescue Services says forces at the scene are monitoring the possible leak of hazardous materials from the site.

“Firefighters are operating at a number of areas in an attempt to contain the blaze before it spreads to nearby buildings,” a spokesperson for the fire services says.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

At least 7 dead, 22 injured in Mykolaiv attack, Zelensky says

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says seven people were killed in a missile strike on the regional government headquarters in the southern city of Mykolayiv.

Zelensky, who spoke to the Danish parliament through a translator, says the strike also left 22 people injured. The Telegram channel of regional governor Vitaliy Kim showed a gaping hole in the center of the nine-story building.

Kim accused Russian forces of waiting until people had arrived for work in the building before striking it and said he had a lucky escape because he had overslept.

 

Russia expels 10 diplomats from Baltic states

MOSCOW — Russia says it is expelling 10 diplomats from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia in a tit-for-tat move after the Baltic countries expelled Russian diplomats over military action in Ukraine.

The foreign ministry says it summoned the ambassadors of the three EU and NATO member countries and “strongly protested” the “unjustified” expulsion of Russian diplomats.

“Based on the principle of reciprocity,” Moscow will be expelling four diplomats from the Lithuanian embassy and three each from the Latvian and Estonian embassies, the ministry adds.

These countries had expelled Russian diplomats earlier this month.

Zelensky says Russian attacks on Mariupol a ‘crime against humanity’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says the Russian siege of the port city of Mariupol constitutes a “crime against humanity.”

“What the Russian troops are doing to Mariupol is a crime against humanity, which is happening in front of the eyes of the whole planet in real time,” Zelensky tells the Danish parliament in a video address.

A screen capture from unconfirmed video said to show the destruction in Mariupol caused by the Russian siege and bombardment of the southern Ukrainian city, March 2022. (Twitter)

Israeli jets escort American bomber to Gulf

Israeli F-15 fighter jets escort an American B-52 bomber as it made its way through Israeli airspace en route to the Persian Gulf in an apparent show of force to Iran amid lingering tensions in the region.

“The flight was held as part of close cooperation with the US military, which represents a significant element in ensuring the security of the State of Israel’s airspace and the Middle East,” the Israel Defense Forces says in a statement.

Israeli jets escorting American bombers have become a regular fixture in the skies of the Middle East in recent months as tensions between Tehran and the West have risen amid an attempt to negotiate a new deal that would block the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief.

Russian defense minister underlines focus on Donbas

MOSCOW — Russia’s defense minister says that “liberating” the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine is the main goal of Moscow’s military operation, underlining a possible shift in strategy announced last week by another Russian military official.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, whose few public appearances this month raised questions about his health and whereabouts, held a meeting with top military officials and said that “overall, the main tasks of the first stage of the operation have been completed.”

He says that “the combat potential of the Ukrainian armed forces has been significantly reduced, which makes it possible to focus the main attention and main efforts on achieving the main goal — the liberation of Donbas.”

The minister stresses that the Russian military will continue the operation until “the set goals are achieved.”

Shoigu also offers an assurance that Russia will not send conscripts recruited in the upcoming April draft to Ukraine. Earlier this month, the Russian military admitted that a number of conscripts ended up in Ukraine and were even captured there.

Gantz meets Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman to discuss Ramadan tensions

Defense Minister Benny Gantz meets with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman to discuss concerns of violence amid the upcoming holy month of Ramadan, Gantz’s office says.

This is the third meeting between Abdullah and Gantz, with the first happening secretly in February 2021, and a public meeting in January this year.

According to Gantz’s office, the meeting focused on local security and policy topics.

Gantz presented Abdullah with the steps that Israel intends to take in order to maintain freedom of worship for Palestinians in Jerusalem during Ramadan, as well as other moves intended to improve the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, his office says.

“The defense minister emphasized to him the importance of maintaining stability and calm, and the overall need to fight terror, and in particular the Islamic State organization, which is behind the recent terrorist attacks in Israel,” his office says.

The meeting had been scheduled before Sunday night’s deadly attack in Hadera.

The minister “wished him and all the citizens of the kingdom a ‘Ramadan Kareem,’ ahead of the month of Ramadan which will begin in the coming days.”

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