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Gunshots reported near Vienna synagogue, police arrive at scene

Austrian media says attacker may have detonated explosive belt; Jewish community leader says no casualties among local Jews

The scene of a shooting incident near a synagogue in Vienna, Austria, November 2, 2020. (Screenshot: Twitter)
The scene of a shooting incident near a synagogue in Vienna, Austria, November 2, 2020. (Screenshot: Twitter)

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

Iran says it will focus on ‘actions’ of new US administration, not who wins election

TEHRAN, Iran — The Iranian foreign ministry says it will focus on the “actions” of the new US administration rather than who wins the White House, a day before Americans vote.

“Our position is clear: we do not look at (what happens) tomorrow, we will be watching the approach of the new US administration, whichever party it’s from,” ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh tells reporters.

“More than the result of the election, we will pay attention to the actions” of whoever is president, he adds.

Since unilaterally withdrawing from a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran and world powers in 2018, the Republican administration of US President Donald Trump has re-imposed — and extended — crippling sanctions on Iran.

Trump’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, has said he wants to use the 2015 nuclear accord — a pact hammered out when he was vice president under Barack Obama — as a “starting-point for follow-on negotiations” with Tehran.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said they favor no specific candidate in the race, while also calling for a return to the nuclear accord, the lifting of sanctions and compensation for damages caused.

“What is clear is that both parties have realized the extent of the failure of their policies” regarding Iran, Khatibzadeh adds, referring to the Republican and Democratic parties, and emphasizing that the “framework for talks” is the nuclear deal.

Iran’s chief justice Ebrahim Raisi on Monday slammed any attempt to tie “the country’s markets and economy to who is going to be the president on the other side of the world.”

“America’s arrogant nature does not change with Republicans or Democrats” being in power, he’s quoted as saying by the judiciary’s news agency Mizan Online.

Raisi adds that “the message of the Iranian people’s fight against the US… is distrust of the US.”

US intelligence last month accused both Iran and Russia of trying to interfere in the 2020 election, charges which Tehran has strongly denied.


Turkish rescuers weep with joy as 2 girls pulled from rubble

IZMIR, Turkey — In scenes that captured Turkey’s emotional roller-coaster after a deadly earthquake, rescue workers dig two girls out alive from the rubble of collapsed apartment buildings three days after the region was jolted by a quake that killed scores of people.

Onlookers applaud in joy and weep with relief as ambulances carrying the girls rush to the hospital immediately after their rescues in the hard-hit city of Izmir.

The overall death toll in Friday’s quake reached 87 today after teams find more bodies amid toppled buildings in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city.

Close to 1,000 people were injured, mostly in Turkey, by the quake that was centered in the Aegean Sea northeast of the Greek island of Samos. The death toll included two teenagers on Samos and at least 19 other people on the island were injured.

There was some debate over the quake’s magnitude. The US Geological Survey rated it 7.0, while Istanbul’s Kandilli Institute put it at 6.9 and Turkey’s emergency management agency said it measured 6.6.

Rescue workers clapped in unison as 14-year-old Idil Sirin was removed from the rubble, after being trapped for 58 hours. Her 8-year-old sister, Ipek, did not survive, NTV television reports.

Seven hours later, rescuers working on another toppled building extricate 3-year-old Elif Perincek, whose mother and two sisters had been rescued two days earlier. The child spent 65 hours in the wreckage of her apartment and became the 106th person to be rescued alive, the state-run Anadolu Agency reports.

— AP

In this photo of IHA news agency, provided by the government rescue agency AFAD’s rescue teams, rescue workers, who were trying to reach survivors in the rubble of a collapsed building, carry 14-year-old Idil Sirin who have been extricated from a collapsed building, November 2, 2020, 58 hours after a strong earthquake in Izmir, Turkey. (IHA via AP)

Settler leaders hold special prayer for Trump in Hebron

Settler leaders hold a special prayer outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron, wishing Donald Trump success in tomorrow’s US presidential elections.

Har Hevron Regional Council Yochai Damri and Mark Zell, the head of Republicans Overseas Israel, blow shofars to show their support for Trump.

Global coronavirus death toll passes 1.2 million

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 1,201,450 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

More than 46,543,100 cases of coronavirus have been registered. Of these, at least 30,903,200 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

Many countries are testing only symptomatic or the most serious cases.


Claiming store is synagogue, Ramat Gan shop owner reopens, is fined

Numerous shop owners open their stores in defiance of national lockdown measures requiring they remain closed.

In Ramat Gan, the owner of a secondhand clothing shop hangs a sign reading “synagogue” on his store, protesting the government’s decision to allow houses of worship to reopen but not shops. The store owner, Avi Avikar, is hit with a NIS 5,000 fine for opening in violation of the lockdown.

“What I did is invited people to come and pray in my store, so I can observe the guidelines and [people can] buy and support our operations,” he tells the Walla news site.

Avikar says a cop and municipal inspector who came to the store weren’t buying that it was a synagogue and ordered him to take down the sign.

Heirs of Dutch Jew allege bias over committee’s refusal to return painting

A Jewish family seeking the return of a painting acquired by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam during Nazi Germany’s occupation of the Netherlands is alleging bias by the country’s restitutions committee.

The heirs of Robert Lewenstein, who fled the Netherlands for France in 1940, are suing for the return of the €20 million ($23.3 million) “Painting with Houses” by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky. The painting was sold to the museum months after Lewenstein fled.

The restorations committee ruled in 2018 that the museum can keep the painting, claiming it was bought in good faith and that Lewenstein’s finances had already been deteriorating.

Lawyers for the Lewenstein heirs are now disputing those claims.

“Immediately after the invasion, the Germans started looting art. Pressure and coercion and the justified fear that lived among the Jews were used,” attorney Simon van der Sluijs is quoted saying by the Guardian.

The claimants also say four of the seven members of the restitutions committee have a conflict of interest, as they are members of the Stedelijk Museum’s businesses club or work at an office that sponsors the museum.

The Stedelijk Museum rejects the allegation of bias, saying none of the committee members have a financial stake in the museum or were ever employed by it.

Ministers said unlikely to approve reopening of shops this week

The so-called coronavirus cabinet is not likely to allow shops to reopen this week, Channel 12 news reports.

According to the network, the next phase in the government’s multi-stage plan for easing the nationwide lockdown could be delayed due to a rise in the rate of new cases.

Lapid accuses Netanyahu of neglecting Israel’s ties with Democrats

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of neglecting Israel’s ties with the US Democratic Party, asserting the premier has focused on cultivating relations with wealthy Republicans for personal reasons.

Lapid says whether US President Donald Trump or Democratic challenger Joe Biden wins the election, Israel will have a good friend in the White House.

“I have good relations with Republicans, but unlike Netanyahu, during the years I have taken care to maintain working relations and friendships also with the Democratic leadership in the Senate and in Congress,” Lapid writes on his Twitter account.

He adds: “Netanyahu knows this, but like always, what interests him is only personal interest. Only public relations. Only ties with billionaire Republicans. On this matter too, something happened to [Netanyahu]. It’s time for a new generation of leaders.”

Netanyahu has developed close relations with Trump since he won the US elections in 2016 and had a frosty relationship with the incumbent’s predecessor in the White House, Barack Obama.

Virus cabinet votes to increase fines for lockdown violators

The so-called coronavirus cabinet votes to raise fines for violators of restrictions meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, votes against the measure. He claims upping fines for schools that open in violation of the lockdown “is not appropriate for the country of the Jews,” according to the Ynet news site.

Many schools in ultra-Orthodox areas have reopened in recent weeks despite being barred from doing so.

The proposal to increase the fines must still clear additional hurdles before becoming law.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri in the Knesset building, on March 3, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Video altered to make it appear Biden said ‘Hello, Minnesota’ to Florida crowd

It’s an awkward moment when a US presidential candidate greets the audience at a rally and names the wrong state.

Fortunately for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, that didn’t happen to him this week, despite a widely shared video that appears to show him saying “Hello, Minnesota” to a crowd in Florida.

It turns out he was, indeed, in Minnesota. The video that was shared had been altered to change the text on a sign and the podium to refer to Tampa, Florida, instead of Minnesota.

What you need to know about this edited video and the falsehoods spreading around it:

CLAIM: Video shows Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden mistakenly saying “Hello, Minnesota” at a campaign event in Tampa, Florida.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The sign behind Biden in this video has been edited to add the words “Tampa, Florida” and remove the words “TEXT MN to 30330.” The podium has also been edited to add “FL” instead of “MN.” Original video from this event confirms that Biden was in Minnesota and addressed the correct state in his greeting.

— AP

Rabin’s assassin requests prison furlough to attend son’s bar mitzvah

Yigal Amir, the Jewish extremist who assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995, has requested a special prison furlough to attend his son’s bar mitzvah.

The circumcision ceremony for Amir’s son, who was born after he was allowed conjugal visits with his wife, was held in 2007 on November 4, the date on which Rabin was murdered.

Yigal Amir, the convicted assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, seen during a court hearing in Tel Aviv, November 1, 2007. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Trump set to spend US election night at White House

US President Donald Trump’s press secretary says Trump expects to spend election night at the White House watching results roll in.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany is asked on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” where the president plans to celebrate. She says Trump and some aides “will be together… at the White House” for election night.

Trump’s campaign had planned a traditional campaign party at his Washington, DC, hotel. But Trump said last week that he was considering other options, including staying at the White House, because the District of Columbia’s coronavirus protocols would restrict the size of the gathering.

The Trump campaign last month pushed out fundraising emails in the Republican president’s name offering donors the chance to enter a drawing “to join Team Trump at the Election Night Party” in his “favorite hotel,” in Washington, suggesting he would use his hotel as the backdrop for reacting to election results.

— AP

US President Donald Trump gives out hats to supporters as he departs the South Lawn of the White House, October 31, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Biden defends Fauci after Trump hints he may fire him

Joe Biden is defending Dr. Anthony Fauci after US President Donald Trump suggested he’d dismiss the nation’s top infectious disease expert after Election Day.

The Democratic presidential nominee tweets: “We need a president who actually listens to experts like Dr. Fauci.”

Biden has sought to keep the presidential campaign focused on the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 231,000 people in the US. Trump has used the race’s final hours to accuse Biden of wanting to force the country back into a lockdown to slow the spread of the virus.

During a rally that started last night in Opa-locka, Florida, the Republican president expressed frustration that the surging virus cases remain prominent in the news, sparking chants of “Fire Fauci” from his supporters.

Trump replied, “Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election.”

Biden is traveling to Ohio and Pennsylvania today, trying to keep open multiple pathways to an Electoral College victory. Trump plans a whirlwind five rallies, from the battlegrounds of North Carolina to Wisconsin.

— AP

Haredi MK on proposal to up fines: ‘Even in the Holocaust they continued to study Torah’

United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael Eichler criticizes the coronavirus cabinet’s approval of increased fines for violators of lockdown measures, including for educational institutions.

Many schools in ultra-Orthodox areas have opened in defiance of restrictions, with top community leaders supporting them doing so.

“Even in the Holocaust they continued to study Torah,” Eichler is quoted saying by the Ynet news site. “We must defend ourselves and refuse to close Torah institutions… all the greats of the generation are unequivocally ordering the continuation of studies while maintaining hygiene.”

After being approved by the coronavirus cabinet, the proposal to increase fines will now go the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. If it wins approval there, it will be brought to the Knesset plenum for approval.

United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael Eichler at a Knesset committee meeting on November 8, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Fighter jets scrambled after drone from Gaza enters Israeli airspace

A small drone is suspected of having entered Israeli airspace from the Gaza Strip before crashing to the ground in the Eshkol region, the Israel Defense Forces says.

The IDF says fighter jets were scrambled after the drone apparently breached Israeli airspace from Gaza.

“During additional searches of the ground in the area, a drone was located a short time ago. It is being checked if this is the drone that is suspected of having crossed into Israeli territory,” the military says.

Images from the scene showed the small glider in a field in the Eshkol region. The IDF does not specify how the device was brought down.

— Judah Ari Gross

Knesset vote on proposal to up fines for lockdown offenders delayed after Haredi pressure

A meeting of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation to approve increased fines for lockdown violators has been delayed following pressure from ultra-Orthodox coalition lawmakers.

The decision to push off the meeting means the proposal won’t come before the Knesset plenum today for a first reading.

The Shas and United Torah Judaism parties oppose raising fines for schools that open in violation of the lockdown measures, which many educational institutions in Haredi areas have done.

US seeks end to Darfur sanctions on Sudan after Israel recognition

WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States will seek to end UN sanctions on Sudan over the conflict in Darfur as the new government makes peace.

The promise is another sign that the United States is eager to reward Sudan after it agreed to recognize Israel — a decision made at the urging of US President Donald Trump’s administration as it moved to delist Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Pompeo says the year-old civilian-backed government had made “substantial improvements” in human rights including in Darfur, the parched western region where the former dictatorship carried out a scorched-earth military campaign.

“The United States is committed to working with the Sudanese government and our international partners to identify circumstances that could result in lifting sanctions related to the Darfur conflict at the earliest opportunity,” Pompeo says in a statement.

“We have already begun consultations at the UN with this objective in mind.”


Over 95 million Americans have so far voted — elections tracker

Over 95 million Americans have so far voted in this year’s presidential elections, the US Elections Project says.

The number of early votes and absentee ballots cast so far amount to 68.9 percent of the total votes in 2016, according to the project.

Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who runs the US Elections Project, predicts a final turnout of 65%, which would be the highest since 1908.

Prisons service rejects Yigal Amir’s furlough request to attend son’s bar mitzvah

The Israel Prisons Service rejects a request from Yigal Amir, who is serving a life sentence for assassinating prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, to be granted a special prison furlough to attend his son’s bar mitzvah.

French schools hold minute of silence for beheaded teacher

PARIS — French schools hold a nationwide minute of silence in honor of a teacher who was beheaded for opening a class debate on free speech by showing students caricatures of the prophet of Islam.

Invoking France’s cherished rights of expression and secularism, officials recall the country’s Enlightenment past as they urged students and teachers alike to look to the future.

Samuel Paty was killed on October 16 outside his school in suburban Paris by an 18-year-old refugee of Chechen origin to punish him for showing the caricatures published by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which triggered a newsroom massacre by extremists in January 2015.

Since their re-publication in September at the start of the ongoing Paris trial over the killings, France has endured three attacks blamed on Muslim extremists: one by a Pakistani refugee that injured two people outside the newspaper’s old headquarters, the slaying of the schoolteacher, and a deadly knife attack last Thursday in a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice. France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened investigations into all three, and France is now at its highest level of alert.

“Samuel Paty taught each child of the Republic to become a free citizen. For him, for our country, we will continue. It is our honor and our duty,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex writes in a tweet.

French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to increase protection of schools and churches immediately after the Nice attack, more than doubling the number of soldiers actively deployed in the country. Paty was killed at the beginning of a two-week French school holiday that saw the country declare two states of emergency: one for security and the other for health.

— AP

Schoolchildren observe a minute of silence for slain history teacher Samuel Paty, on November 2, 2020, in Strasbourg, eastern France. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Republican Jewish lawyers step in to stop lawsuit seeking to reject 127,000 votes in Texas

Two prominent Jewish Republicans in Texas have petitioned a federal court not to consider a lawsuit brought by conservative activists that would throw out more than 127,000 votes cast in Houston.

They are being represented by a Jewish lawyer who is also the chair of the Anti-Defamation League’s Southwest region.

Benjamin Ginsberg and Joe Straus filed an amicus brief siding with Harris County, which created drive-through voting this year because of the pandemic. Last week, conservative activists filed two lawsuits, one in state court and one in federal court, to reject the votes cast there on the grounds that the voting method is illegal and that the drive-through sites are located in areas that favor Democratic voters.

The Texas Supreme Court rejected one version of the suit last night, but a federal judge is set to consider a second this morning.

Ginsberg represented the Republican Party for decades, including as national counsel to the Bush-Cheney and Romney presidential campaigns. He says in a Washington Post opinion piece that he had worked with Republicans to “record and litigate any fraud or election irregularities” during almost every election since 1984.

In the opinion piece, Ginsberg writes that the current wave of Republican voting litigation represents a setback for the party and urges readers not to vote for Trump. “The GOP lawyers managing these lawsuits may have tactical reasons for bringing each,” he writes. “But taken as a whole, they shout the unmistakable message that an expanded electorate means Trump loses.”

Straus retired as the speaker of the Texas House in 2018 in part, he said, because of disunity within the Republican Party. A fifth-generation Texan, Straus was the state’s first Jewish speaker, and some members of the Texas State Republican Executive Committee took issue with his non-Christian identity in 2010.

Ginsberg and Straus are being represented by Mark Trachtenberg, an attorney who has represented, among other large clients, the Texas public school system. In January, his Conservative synagogue in Houston honored him for being a “selfless volunteer for so many worthy organizations,” noting that he is also a graduate of Beth Yeshurun’s day school.

Trachtenberg announced the lawsuit on Twitter last night.


Government says it doesn’t intend to demolish Bedouin village for another 4 months

The government tells the High Court of Justice it does not intend to raze the West Bank village of Khan al-Ahmar in the next four months.

In a filing with the court, the government says it intends to use the time to reach “a plan for an agreed upon implementation of the demolition orders” in the Bedouin hamlet.

The government was responding to a petition from the pro-settlement Regavim NGO, which is asking the court to order the government to lay out a timeline for the demolition.

The High Court gave the go ahead to raze Khan al-Ahmar in September 2018, but the demolition has been delayed despite repeated promises by Prime Minister Netanyahu to swiftly raze the village.

There has been international pressure on Israel to not go through with demolishing Khan Al-Ahmar, which Israeli authorities say was built illegally.

The West Bank Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, October 21, 2018. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

70% of Israeli Jews say Trump is the better candidate for Israel — poll

A vast majority of Israeli Jews say US President Donald Trump is the better candidate for Israel, according to a new poll.

The Israel Democracy Institute survey, released a day before the US election day, asked whether Trump or his Democratic challenger Joe Biden is the preferred candidate, “from the standpoint of Israel’s interests.”

Among Israeli Jews, 70 percent say Trump is the preferred candidate, 13% say Biden, and 17% don’t know.

Broken down by political camp, 82% of right-wing poll respondents, 62% of centrists, and 40% percent of left-wingers say Trump is the better candidate for Israel.

Support for Trump was markedly lower among Arab Israelis, with 36% saying he was the preferred candidate, 31% saying Biden, and 33% didn’t know.

If Biden wins the race, 42% of Israeli Jews believe the US-Israel bond will weaken, with only 7% saying it will improve. Among Arab Israelis, those figures were 24% and 16%, respectively.

Supporters of US President Donald Trump’s reelection wave an American and an Israeli flag from a car headed for a rally outside of the US embassy in Jerusalem, October 27, 2020.. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP)

Trump projects confidence at North Carolina rally

US President Donald Trump is projecting confidence and declaring at a North Carolina rally that “we’re going to win anyway,” despite investigations he says were launched as part of an attempted takedown.

Opening the first of five campaign rallies on the eve of Election Day, Trump openly wonders what the political landscape would have looked like “had it been legit.”

He is referring to the Special Counsel’s investigation into ties between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia and his impeachment by the Democratic-run House. Special counsel Robert Mueller found multiple links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, but ultimately did not establish that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the election.

Trump says it is all “fake stuff.”

The US president is speaking in Fayetteville, North Carolina. His other stops today are in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

He is closing the night in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the same place he closed the 2016 run.

— AP

US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Fayetteville Regional Airport, November 2, 2020, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

AG bars Netanyahu from appointing legal, law enforcement officials

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit issues a “conflict of interest” arrangement for Prime Minister Netanyahu, in light of the premier’s trial on corruption charges.

Under the arrangement, Netanyahu cannot be involved in the appointment of law enforcement and legal officials, such as the police commissioner and state prosecutor.

He also cannot be involved in any matters that affect witnesses or other defendants in his trial, or legislation that would impact the legal proceedings against him.

“The situation in which a prime minister is serving at the same time as a criminal proceeding against him is being conducted is a precedential and exceptional situation, which requires special consideration,” the legal opinion says.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, speaks with then-cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblit during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, September 21, 2014. (AP/Menahem Kahana, Pool / File)

473 new coronavirus cases, 5 more deaths recorded since midnight

The Health Ministry says 473 new coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed today, bringing the number of infections since the pandemic began to 315,589.

The death toll rises to 2,579, with five more deaths since midnight.

The number of active cases further drops to 9,644, with 385 in serious condition, including 163 on ventilators. Another 108 are in moderate condition and the rest have mild or no symptoms.

The ministry says 21,951 tests have been performed today, 2.2% of which came back positive.

Biden says Americans are fed up with ‘chaos’ of Trump presidency

CLEVELAND — The United States has had enough of the “chaos” of Donald Trump’s presidency, Democratic challenger Joe Biden tells an election eve rally in Ohio.

“It’s time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home,” Biden tells supporters at an event to get out the vote in bellwether state Ohio, as he kicks off his final day of campaigning.

“We’re done with the chaos! We’re done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility,” says Biden, who pledged to get the coronavirus pandemic “under control” if he is elected.


Israeli court orders PA to pay NIS 13 million to family of Israeli couple killed in suicide bombing

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court orders the Palestinian Authority to pay NIS 13 million ($3.8 million) in compensation to the relatives of an Israeli couple, Gadi and Tzipi Shemesh, who were killed in a 2002 suicide bombing in Jerusalem, according to the Ynet news site.

Along with Gadi and Tzipi Shemesh, Yitzhak Cohen was killed in the attack, which was claimed by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the terrorist wing of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement.

Gantz said to tell Blue and White that Netanyahu won’t honor rotation deal

Defense Minister Benny Gantz told members of his Blue and White party that Prime Minister Netanyahu will not honor their rotation agreement for him to take over as premier in November 2021, Channel 12 news reports.

“I understand I won’t receive the rotation from Netanyahu,” Gantz is quoted as saying.

Gantz made the remarks yesterday during a Blue and White faction meeting, with lawmakers divided on how to proceed with their power-sharing deal with Netanyahu’s Likud party, the network says.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said that if a budget is not passed by the end of the month, Blue and White should push for elections, while other members of the party warned against breaking up the government and urged a compromise, according to the report.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, both wearing protective masks, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on June 7, 2020. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

Gunshots heard near synagogue in Vienna, police at scene — reports

An attack is ongoing in the area of a synagogue in Vienna, according to Austrian media.


A report by Kronen Zeitung says several shots have been fired in Seitenstettengasse. The report also says the attacker may have detonated an explosive belt.

Unconfirmed reports say one person has been killed. However, the leader of the Jewish community Oskar Deutsch says there are no casualties among the Jewish community.

“There is a large police operation currently ongoing in the inner city. We’re on the ground with large forces,” Vienna Police say in a statement, without offering more details.

Jewish residents have been urged to stay in their homes.

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