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

Palestinian arrested trying to enter Israel from Gaza

IDF soldiers arrest a Palestinian suspect as he tries to cross from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, near the community of Zikim, the army says.

The man was unarmed. He has been handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning.

The military spotted the suspect before he crossed the fence, the army says. It is not immediately clear where the man was arrested.

— Judah Ari Gross

Turkish opposition party names fiery lawmaker as Erdogan challenger

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s main opposition party Friday names a senior lawmaker known for his fiery and impassioned rhetoric as its candidate to challenge President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in next month’s election, paving the way for a potentially bruising campaign.

The candidate of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the June 24 poll will be Muharrem Ince, CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who had already made clear he would not be standing, announces.

“On June 24, I will, God willing, be president by the wish of the people,” Ince says after being called to the stage at an Ankara rally by Kilicdaroglu.

“For 80 million people (Turkey’s population)… I will be everyone’s president. I will be an unbiased president,” he adds.

The candidacy of Ince, a former physics teacher and MP since 2002, is approved at a meeting of CHP MPs where all 110 of its lawmakers voted for him to stand.


The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu (L) listens as Muharrem Ince (R) addresses a party meeting on May 4, 2018, in Ankara during which Ince was named as the CHP candidate to challenge incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in June 24 elections. (AFP Photo/Adem Altan)

Abbas condemns anti-Semitism after uproar over speech

Palestine Authority Mahmoud Abbas condemns anti-Semitism and apologizes to Jewish people offended by his speech earlier this week blaming Jews’ “social function” for the Holocaust, rather than anti-Semitism.

If people were offended by my statement in front of the [Palestinian National Council], especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologize to them,” Abbas says in a statement from his office.

“I would like to assure everyone that it was not my intention to do so, and to reiterate my full respect for the Jewish faith, as well as other monotheistic faiths,” he says.

Abbas, who has long been accused of Holocaust denial for his doctoral thesis claiming secret ties between Zionists and the Nazis, also condemned the Holocaust “as the most heinous crime in history.”

“Likewise, we condemn anti- Semitism in all its forms, and confirm our commitment to the two- state solution, and to live side by side in peace and security,” he says.

Army issues clarification, says Gazan didn’t enter Israel

The military corrects its previous statement regarding a Palestinian who tried to cross into Israel from Gaza, saying the man had not been arrested, but instead fled back into the coastal enclave as Israeli troops arrived.

Initially, the military said the suspect was picked up as he entered Israel, near the community fo Zikim. An army spokesperson clarifies that this was not the case.

The man was spotted as he approached the border and ran back toward Gaza as troops came to arrest him, the army says.

— Judah Ari Gross

Army denies warning Gaza area residents of booby trapped kites

The IDF denies reports it released a specific warning to residents of Israeli towns around Gaza not to touch fallen kites as they may be booby-trapped.

However, local civilian security officers are instructing residents to call authorities if they see a fallen kite — and not pick them up themselves — because they could still be dangerous.

“Don’t touch them. Don’t not touch the kites. This is obvious, we don’t need the army to tell us that,” says Rafi Bavian, the head of security for the Sdot Hanegev region, which abuts the Gaza Strip.

— Judah Ari Gross

Thousands gather in Jerusalem for start of Giro D’Italia bike race

Thousands of people line the streets of downtown Jerusalem to watch world-class riders whizzing down the city’s streets for the first stage of the 101st Giro D’Italia, one of the most prestigious road cycling races in the world.

The first three stages of the 21-day race are taking place in Israel. The first day is a 9.7 kilometer time trial in central Jerusalem. The 176 riders will leave at 1-minute intervals starting at 1:50 p.m. The fastest rider will start the second stage of the race wearing the coveted pink jersey, denoting the first place rider.

Crowds gather at some of the major intersections in Jerusalem where the race will pass, though the 10,000 spectators estimated to come out are much less than the race’s draw in Europe.

“I came for this especially from Holland,” says Ron Eisenmann, a lawyer who was waiting to cheer on the Dutch team. “Two years ago the Giro start was in Utrecht, Holland, and there were 1.5 million people watching. Holland has cycle mania.”

Waiting along a steep curve near Bezalel Street, he says it was strange to watch the prestigious race with so few people around him. “It’s very relaxed,” he notes. “I don’t think Israel comprehends what the enormous impact of this race is,” he says. Eisenmann says Dutch TV reported that the riders were complaining about not being able to have milk with their meat meals, since they are staying in kosher hotels.

“I came here to watch also for the Formula One races,” says Jay Regosin, a 21-year resident of Jerusalem. He says that while a lot of people were frustrated with the road closures, he supports the race. “It’s necessary for Israel to have these things,” he says. “[Mayor] Nir Barkat and others are trying to bring Jerusalem into the 21st century. They can’t do it politically so they might as well do it through sports.”

Many Jerusalem residents are frustrated by the race, which has effectively shut down the center of the city for most of today.

— Melanie Lidman

Giro D’Italia bike race kicks off in Jerusalem

This year’s Giro D’Italia, one of the world’s top bike races, begins as cyclists take off from the starting point in Jerusalem.

The first three stages of this year’s race are being held in Israel.

Liberman dismisses apology from ‘pathetic Holocaust denier’ Abbas

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman dismisses an apology from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over a speech blaming Jews’ involvement in banking for the Holocaust, and not anti-Semitism.

“Abu Mazen is a pathetic Holocaust denier who wrote a doctorate on Holocaust denial and later published a book on Holocaust denial,” tweets Liberman, using Abbas’ nickname.

“This is how he should be seen. His apology isn’t accepted, adds Liberman.

Sweden arrests suspect on suspicion of planning terror attack

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Swedish prosecutor says a person has been arrested for preparing an act of terror.

Lars Morand says the person, born in 1987, was arrested Friday in the southern Swedish city of Lund. Morand declined to elaborate further.

It is unclear whether the arrest us linked to three men — aged 29, 38 and 45 and holding passports from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan — who were arrested Monday in northern Sweden and Stockholm’s northern suburbs on suspected terror-related activities.

— AP

40 Palestinians said wounded in sixth week of Gaza border clashes

The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip says 40 Palestinians have been wounded in clashes along the coastal enclave’s border with Israel.

Today is the sixth consecutive Friday the violent “March of Return” protests have been held along the Gaza border.

The ostensibly non-violent demonstrations, which are backed by the Hamas terror group, have included throwing of rocks and firebombs at soldiers, burning tires, flying of flaming kites over the border and attempts to damage the border fence.

IDF says drone falls in Gaza, no concern sensitive intel taken

The military confirms Palestinian reports that an IDF drone fell inside the Gaza Strip, but says the tiny aircraft was not being used in an operational capacity, but to film the protests.

The army says there’s no concern that sensitive information could be taken from the drone.

— Judah Ari Gross

Comey fires back at Giuliani over ‘stormtroopers’ reference

WASHINGTON — Former FBI director Jim Comey says it’s “unacceptable” that Rudy Giuliani likened FBI agents who raided the office of US President Donald Trump’s lawyer to “stormtroopers.” The reference by Giuliani, Trump’s new lawyer, appeared to evoke Nazi soldiers.

Last month, the US attorney’s office in Manhattan raided the office, home and hotel room of Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney.

Giuliani also said this week that Trump fired Comey because he wouldn’t say Trump wasn’t a target of the special counsel’s Russia investigation. Giuliani said the president felt treated worse than Hillary Clinton, who was publicly cleared of criminal wrongdoing in 2016.

Comey says the difference is that the Clinton investigation had been completed when she was cleared, but the Russia probe is ongoing.

Comey is speaking Friday on CBS’ “This Morning.”

— AP

Gaza health ministry says 170 wounded in Gaza clashes

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says 170 Palestinians have been wounded in clashes along the border with Israel.

Of those injured, 22 were wounded by live fire, it says.

IDF confirms second drone falls in Gaza

The army confirms report that a second IDF drone fell in the Gaza Strip while documenting clashes in the coastal enclave.

Like with the first drone, the IDF says there is no concern sensitive information was taken from the drown.

It is not immediately clear how the drones fell. The army says it is looking into the incidents.

IDF: 7,000 Palestinians take part in Gaza border clashes

The army says some 7,000 Palestinians are taking part in this week’s clashes along the Gaza border.

The IDF adds that Palestinians participating in the riots burned tires, threw rocks at soldiers and attempted to fly kites carrying burning objects over the border fence.

It also says an explosive device was thrown at the fence.

Defending champ wins opening stage of Giro d’Italia bike race

Defending champion Tom Dumoulin wins the opening stage of the 101st Giro d’Italia on Friday, edging Rohan Dennis by two seconds to claim the pink jersey.

The Dutchman from Team Sunweb was the last of the 175 riders to start. He finishes the 9.7-kilometer (6-mile) time trial in 12 minutes, 2 seconds.

Thousands lined Jerusalem’s streets to watch the first time a Grand Tour cycling race has ever been held outside Europe.

There are two more stages in Israel. The second leg on Saturday stretches 167 kilometers (104 miles) down the Mediterranean coast from Haifa to Tel Aviv. Stage 3 will follow a 229-kilometer (143-mile) route from Beersheba in the Negev desert down to Israel’s southern tip of Eilat.

The Giro will end in Rome on May 27.

— AP

Dutch cyclist Tom Dumoilin of team Sunweb celebrates on the podium with the overall leader’s pink jersey after winning the 1st stage of the 101st Giro d’Italia, on May 4, 2018, in Jerusalem. (AFP Photo/Luk Benies)

IDF thwarts 2 attempts to damage Gaza border fence, enter Israel

The army says it thwarted two attempts by Palestinians to damage the Gaza border fence and cross into Israel.

The IDF says troops quickly arrived to the scene in central Gaza and that the Palestinians retreated from the fence.

The incident came during the sixth straight week of clashes along the Gaza border, in which the army says 7,000 Palestinians took part.

Hamas health ministry: 350 wounded in Gaza clashes

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says 350 Palestinians have been wounded during this week’s clashes along the border fence with Israel.

It says 42 of those injured were wounded by live fire.

The Gaza health ministry does not detail the circumstances of the injuries.

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Posted by ‎د.أشرف القدرة‎ on Friday, 4 May 2018

Netanyahu speaks with PMs of Australia, India and UK about Iran nuke files

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke today with his Australian, Indian and British counterparts regarding the Iranian nuclear archive he revealed earlier this week, his office says.

The Prime Minister’s Office says Netanyahu also spoke with Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull, India’s Narendra Modi and the UK’s Theresa May about other regional matters.

431 now said injured in Gaza border clashes

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says 431 Palestinians have been injured in clashes along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Of those injured, 70 were wounded by live fire, it says, without providing circumstances of the injuries.

Palestinians break into Gaza border crossing, damage gas pipelines

Dozens of Palestinians have broken into the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the army says.

The IDF shares video of the incident, during which Palestinians damaged pipelines carrying gas and oil that the army says is meant for residents of Gaza.

“This is a cynical act that harms the welfare of Gaza residents and the humanitarian efforts carried out by Israel and many other countries,” the army says.

Kerem Shalom is the main crossing for goods and humanitarian to pass into Strip from Israel.

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