The Times of Israel liveblogged Wednesday’s events as they unfolded.
Israel approves 176 homes in East Jerusalem
Israeli authorities approve a major expansion of an East Jerusalem neighborhood, signing off on plans to add 176 homes, the city’s deputy mayor says.
The expansion would create the largest Jewish neighborhood inside a Palestinian neighborhood of the city, NGOs say. It will allow the Nof Zion neighborhood, located inside the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, to add 176 housing units to its 91 existing homes.
The plans were approved by a Jerusalem planning committee, Deputy Mayor Meir Turjeman says.
Ministers to vote next week on bill drawing key settlements into Jerusalem
Ministers are scheduled to vote on a bill that calls for expanding the Jerusalem municipal boundaries to include four major settlements and a settlement bloc in the West Bank that are home to over 100,000 Israelis.
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is scheduled to vote on the so-called “Greater Jerusalem” bill at its coming meeting on Sunday.
Ministers were informed of the agenda on Wednesday morning, the Haaretz daily reports.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already indicated that he would give his backing for the proposal to absorb Ma’ale Adumim, Beitar Illit and Efrat, along with the Etzion bloc of settlements, into the Jerusalem municipality, while also removing around 100,000 Palestinians from the city’s census.
Sports minister asks Italy to rein in soccer racism after Anne Frank stunt
Israel’s sports minister has asked her Italian counterpart to crack down on racism in soccer after Lazio supporters littered a stadium with images of Holocaust victim and diarist Anne Frank wearing a jersey of city rival Roma.
Miri Regev’s office says a letter dispatched to Luca Lotti called the display “despicable” and accused thousands of Lazio fans of openly identifying with neo-Nazi symbols. She wrote that calling Roma players “Jews” implied they were a “scourge to be avoided.”
The Italian soccer federation has said a passage from Frank’s diary will be read aloud at all soccer matches in Italy this week. It said it would also be combined with a minute’s silence before Serie A, B and C matches to promote Holocaust remembrance.
Iranian sentenced to death for spying for Israel named
Amnesty International announces that emergency medicine specialist Ahmadreza Djalali is the Iranian citizen who was sentenced to death this week for allegedly working with the Israeli government.
Tehran’s prosecutor general Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi did not name Djalali but confirmed that a suspect was sentenced to death for passing information on Iran’s nuclear program to agents from Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency in exchange for a Swedish residency permit.
“One of the actions of the convict was revealing the location of and some information on 30 outstanding individuals engaged in military and nuclear research projects,” Jafari Dolatabadi says in comments quoted by the judiciary’s Mizan website.
He adds that the information led to the assassination of two Iranian nuclear scientists, Majid Shahriari and Masoud Alimohammadi, killed in bomb blasts in 2010.
— with AFP
Italian police identify 16 Lazio fans behind Anne Frank photos
Italian police have identified 16 people believed to be involved in posting anti-Semitic pictures of Anne Frank in a Roma jersey during a soccer game, according to media reports.
Police examined video footage of Sunday night’s Serie A game between Lazio and Cagliari at the Stadio Olimpico when home fans defaced glass barriers with anti-Semitic graffiti and images of Frank.
The Jewish teenager, who died in Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen in 1945, was depicted wearing a jersey of their hated city rivals.
Three of those identified are underage — two aged 16-17 and a third aged 13. They are being investigated for inciting racial hatred.
The images have whipped up a storm in Italian football with the Roman club announcing they also intend to take youngsters every year to visit the former Nazi camp at Auschwitz, in Poland.
Tillerson says US sanctions targeting Iran’s ‘malign behaviors’
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that US sanctions against Iran are targeting the country’s “malign behaviors” and are aimed at helping the Iranian people take control of their government.
Tillerson tells a New Delhi press conference after talks with India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj that the US would not block “legitimate” business activities with Iran by India or any other ally.
He says US actions also sought to limit Iran’s other “destabilizing activities” in the Middle East, including its ballistic missile development, “their export of arms to terrorist organizations” and involvement in conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
“Our fight is not with the Iranian people. Our disagreements are with the revolutionary regime,” Tillerson says. “We are taking actions to impose sanctions on the regime and in particular the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. It is our objective to deny financing capacity and to disrupt the activities related to these malign behaviors.”
Jewish Home vetoes PM immunity bill over internal disagreements
The Jewish Home party says it will not support the so-called “French Bill” granting immunity to serving prime ministers from corruption investigations until their terms are ended.
The decision all but kills the bill’s chances in parliament, though it may also spark a feud with the ruling Likud party, which threatened earlier this week to freeze measures advanced by Jewish Home if the party refused to support the immunity bill.
A letter sent Wednesday from Jewish Home’s Knesset faction chair MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli to Likud’s coalition chair MK David Bitan, says the Jewish Home’s opposition to the bill follows a “substantive and detailed discussion” in the party’s faction meeting on Monday.
“The discussion revealed significant disagreements between members of the faction, and no agreement was reached” within the party.
In light of that disagreement, Jewish Home decided to formally oppose the bill’s passage, Moalem-Refaeli writes.
Activists accused of aiding terror groups on trial in Turkey
Eleven human rights activists, including the two local heads of Amnesty International, go on trial in Turkey, accused of belonging to and aiding terror groups in a case that has increased concerns over the country’s authoritarian turn under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ten of the activists, including Amnesty’s Turkey director Idil Eser, German national Peter Steudtner and Swede Ali Gharavi, were arrested while attending a digital security training workshop in July.
They are accused of plotting an uprising and charged with aiding Kurdish and left-wing militants as well as the movement led by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed for last year’s coup attempt. They face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.
Amnesty’s Turkey chairman Taner Kilic, who was imprisoned separately in June, was appearing before a court in Izmir city for alleged links to Gulen. He is accused of using an encrypted mobile messaging application allegedly used by Gulen’s network.
Human rights groups say the defendants are accused of “trumped up” charges.
“There is not a shred of evidence against the 11 human rights defenders on trial today,” Andrew Gardner, Amnesty’s Turkey researcher, tells The Associated Press. “At the very least, our expectation and our hope is that they will be released from prison.”
Netanyahu allocates NIS 800 million for West Bank infrastructure
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells settler leaders that his government will allocate NIS 800 million ($228 million) for West Bank infrastructure development projects in 2018.
The announcement comes after Netanyahu and his chief of staff Yoav Horowitz met with leaders from West Bank settlements in Jerusalem this afternoon.
A statement from the Yesha Council praises the prime minister for the budget allocation, saying the move sends “an important message” to Israeli settlers, that Netanyahu’s government “sees Judea and Samaria as an inseparable part of the State of Israel.”
Trump blasts Republicans who criticized him
US President Donald Trump is lashing out at two Republican senators who seared him with criticism.
Trump commented on Twitter Wednesday about senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee. Trump says both are not running for re-election because “they had zero chance of being elected.” He adds: “Now act so hurt & wounded!”
Trump continued to say that a Tuesday meeting with GOP senators was, with the exception of Flake and Corker, “a love fest with standing ovations and great ideas for USA!”
The reason Flake and Corker dropped out of the Senate race is very simple, they had zero chance of being elected. Now act so hurt & wounded!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2017
Trump’s comments followed a day in which Flake declared he would not be “complicit” with Trump and announced his surprise retirement, while Corker said the president “debases our nation” with constant untruths and name-calling.
Netanyahu allows MK to visit Temple Mount ahead of son’s wedding
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave special dispensation to Likud lawmaker MK Yehudah Glick to visit the Temple Mount with his son Shlomo ahead of the latter’s wedding later this evening.
In a Twitter post with photos of the visit, Glick wrote, “Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister,” and called the approval “a wonderful gift for a son’s wedding, a meaningful human gesture for me.”
תודה רבה אדוני רה"מ
מתנה נפלאה לחתונת הבן
מחווה אנושית משמעותית
והכנה לבניין בית מתוך
חיבור לקדושת בית עולמים
שמחם בבניין שלם pic.twitter.com/TKWlZcdGbq
— yehudah glick (@YehudahGlick) October 25, 2017
Glick is a well-known activist for Jewish prayer at the holy site, which is also holy to Muslims.
Airlines say passengers on US-bound flights face new security interviews
Four global long-haul airlines say passengers on US-bound flights face new security interviews at the request of American officials.
Cathay Pacific, EgyptAir, Emirates and Lufthansa all say they will begin the interviews starting tomorrow.
It wasn’t immediately clear if other global airlines would be affected, though the Trump administration previously rolled out a laptop ban and travel bans that have thrown global airlines into disarray.
The US Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, it comes at the end of a 120-day deadline for airlines to meet new US regulations following the ban on laptops in airplane cabins of some Mideast airlines being lifted.
Faction of Indian communist party joins BDS movement
The peasants and farmers wing of the Communist Party of India has joined the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel.
In a statement, All India Kisan Sabha says its 16 million member organization endorses BDS efforts in order to support the “rights of the Palestinian people and to resist the corporate takeover of Indian agriculture sector by Israeli companies.”
AIKS also says it will work to “raise awareness among Indian farmers to prevent Israel and its corporations from reaping profits in India that finance military occupation and apartheid in Palestine.”
UN nuclear chief to visit Iran next week for ‘regular dialogue’ on 2015 deal
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano will visit Iran next week for high level talks with senior Iranian officials regarding the implementation
According to the UN agency, talks will focus on the IAEA’s verification and monitoring of Iran’s implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal.
The IAEA says in a statement the meetings are part of its “regular dialogue” with the Islamic Republic regarding the agreement.
The nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), provided for a gradual lifting of sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
Jewish groups criticize Polish bill for excluding Holocaust survivors
International Jewish organizations are voicing disappointment over a proposed Polish law aimed at compensating people whose property was seized under communism, saying it excludes most Polish Holocaust survivors and their heirs.
Poland’s Justice Ministry last week published the bill, which requires that claimants be Polish citizens and limits compensation to spouses, children or grandchildren.
The World Jewish Restitution Organization says those provisions would exclude the vast majority of Holocaust survivors and their families. Many left Poland during or after the war. The group also says that because of the Holocaust’s toll, the heirs of seized properties often are nieces or nephews rather than direct descendants.
The World Jewish Congress also is expressing its “profound disappointment.”
The bill must still be approved by lawmakers and the president.
Hamas leader tells Jordanian king group ‘serious’ about Palestinian unity
In a rare phone call, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told Jordanian King Abdullah II the Gaza-based terrorist organization is “serious” about implementing the Palestinian unity deal with rival Fatah.
“Haniyeh reviewed the recent political developments, especially the issue of reconciliation,” according to a Hamas statement.
Haniyeh said Hamas is “serious” about implementing agreements and that the Palestinian division was “behind us, as this stage requires Palestinian unity.”
Abdullah expressed his support for the Palestinian reconciliation process.
— Dov Lieber
Police shut down PA-sponsored conference in East Jerusalem
Israeli police shut down a Palestinian Authority-sponsored event in East Jerusalem that was dedicated to discussing Palestinian land sales to Israelis.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan says it is illegal for the PA to hold official events in Israel, and vowed to thwart further Palestinian efforts “to extend their sovereignty over Jerusalem.”
Netanyahu’s chief negotiator Yitzhak Molcho reportedly resigning
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief negotiator Yitzhak Molcho is reportedly stepping down from his position.
According to Channel 2, Netanyahu told Molcho in a letter that he and other government ministers were “deeply appreciative” of his work.
He says that when Israeli citizens are able to know the extent of his work, they will also be “greatly appreciative.”
Bezalel professor named new director of Israel Museum
Israel Museum announces that Bezalel’s Professor Ido Bruno has been named the institution’s new director.
According to the museum, Bruno was chosen by the board of directors in a unanimous vote.
Bruno will be replacing Ayelet Shilo, who has served as interim director for the last six months. Shilo took the position from Eran Neuman, who backed out of the position only weeks after being appointed to the post in January.
Bruno has taught industrial design at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design for 25 years.
Liberman says work on underground Gaza barrier on schedule
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman says work on an underground barrier around the Gaza Strip, meant to thwart Hamas attack tunnels, is proceeding on schedule.
“The construction of the barrier is coming along satisfactorily and according to the planned scheduled,” Liberman says during a trip to the site.
Work began this summer, but has picked up pace in recent months. The army has expressed concerns that Hamas may attempt to prevent its construction by attacking the workers, but has vowed to continue with the project regardless.
Visiting the area, the defense minister says that the project “will significantly improve the security of residents of southern Israel in general, and residents of the area around Gaza in particular, as it will foil and thwart the plans of the enemy to harm us.”
— Judah Ari Gross
Swiss formalize intermediary role between Saudi Arabia, Iran
The Swiss government says it has finalized agreements with Iran and Saudi Arabia to represent each other’s interests in their respective capitals, after the two countries broke off diplomatic ties last year.
The government says Switzerland’s executive body “gave the green light” to the “protecting power mandate” between the two Middle Eastern countries. The arrangement was also formalized separately in Riyadh and Tehran.
Saudi Arabia and Iran broke off diplomatic ties in January 2016 after Saudi Arabia executed a leading Shiite cleric. Protesters in Iran attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.
Switzerland, a proudly neutral country, has often played the role of go-between for countries at odds with one another, such as between the United States and Cuba, and the United States and Iran.
Lazio anti-Semitism flower tribute flung into Tiber River
A wreath of flowers presented by Lazio president Claudio Lotito to Rome’s synagogue to apologize after photos of Anne Frank in a Roma jersey were posted during a soccer game is recovered from the Tiber River this afternoon.
The blue and white wreath — the colors of the Rome club — disappeared early this morning from the entrance to the synagogue in the Italian capital.
Lotito paid a visit to the Rome synagogue yesterday, bringing the floral wreath to remember all victims of anti-Semitism.
It followed indignation after Lazio fans defaced the Stadio Olimpico — which they share with rivals Roma — during Sunday’s league game against Cagliari with anti-Semitic slogans and stickers showing images of Frank wearing a Roma jersey.
It is believed the flowers were flung into the Tiber by youngsters from the Jewish community angered by Lotito’s note “you have Jewish brothers,” according to Corriere della Sera newspaper.
Egyptian court sentences cop in rare torture verdict
An Egyptian court has sentenced a policeman to seven years in prison for torturing a worker to death, a rare decision against a force largely seen as operating with impunity.
The Court of Cassation sentenced officer Samir Hani, and also handed down three-year sentences to five other policemen involved in the case. It rejected appeals and issued what will be a final verdict.
The men were initially convicted last July of beating worker Talaat el-Rashidi to death in the Luxor police station after he was arrested in front of a coffee shop for possession of narcotics.
Egyptian police have conducted a widescale crackdown on government opponents, both Islamist and secular. Human Rights Watch says President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has given a “green light” to systematic torture inside detention facilities.
Catalan leader declines to appear before Spanish Senate
Catalonia’s separatist leader Carles Puigdemont will not appear before the Spanish Senate in Madrid to state his case for independence, a spokeswoman for the Catalan government says.
“He will not go on Thursday or on Friday,” the spokeswoman says, after the Senate suggested Puigdemont could appear at the upper house before it gives Madrid the green light to take over Catalonia’s regional powers.
Rare public anger at Hezbollah after crackdown on Beirut peddlers
A police raid against unlicensed street vendors in Beirut’s southern suburbs has caused a rare public expression of anger in a stronghold of the Hezbollah terrorist group.
The raid early this morning in the Hay el-Sellom neighborhood was carried out by internal security forces, which used bulldozers to take down shacks where vendors mainly sold coffee and mobile phones.
Dozens of angry residents poured into the streets, burning tires and blocking some roads to prevent the police from approaching their properties.
The protest turned against Hezbollah, which had promoted the campaign against violators. In an usual move, some took their grievances to live TV, demanding compensation from Hezbollah and even cursing the group’s head, Hassan Nasrallah.
Public displays of anger against the Shiite group in Lebanon are rare.
Theresa May says Britain to mark Balfour centennial ‘with pride’
UK Prime Minister Theresa May says that her country would celebrate “with pride” its role in the creation of the State of Israel, ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which pledged London’s support for a Jewish homeland.
“We are proud of the role that we played in the creation of the State of Israel, and we will certainly mark the centenary with pride,” May tells the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions.
Her comments come amid Palestinian demands Britain retract and apologize for the declaration, and one week before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due in London to celebrate the document’s centennial.
— Raphael Ahren
Dore Gold likely to replace PM’s outgoing chief negotiator — report
Former Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold is the leading candidate to replace Yitzhak Molcho as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief negotiator, Walla news reports.
Gold, who has also previously served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN, is currently the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think tank.
Suspected West Bank car-ramming appears to be false, army says
The reports that a driver deliberately tried to run down IDF soldiers near the West Bank settlement of Halamish appear to be false, according to an initial army investigation.
“It seems to have been a car that was driven suspiciously and veered off its lane,” the army says.
There are no reports of injuries or damage.
— Judah Ari Gross
US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to visit Israel on Thursday
US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin is scheduled to arrive in Israel tomorrow for a one-day visit as part of a larger tour of the Mideast.
In a coordinated move with Arab Gulf allies, Mnuchin earlier today announced new US sanctions against nine Yemenis and two Yemeni entities suspected of financing terrorist groups.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain jointly agreed to the sanctions list with Washington in what Mnuchin describes as “the largest ever multilateral designation in the Middle East.”
The announcement represents a rare moment of coordination among the oil-rich Gulf states nearly four months after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, along with Egypt, severed ties with Qatar over its foreign policies.
Mnuchin, who landed in Saudi Arabia earlier today, is also expected to visit the UAE and Qatar during his visit to the region.
Judo federation chastises Abu Dhabi over treatment of Israelis
The International Judo Federation is demanding that the United Arab Emirates treat Israeli athletes equally after reports it is banning the Israeli flag at an upcoming contest.
A letter from the IJF to the president of the UAE Judo Federation says “all delegations, including the Israeli delegation, shall be treated absolutely equally in all aspects, without any exception.”
The letter was sent to the World Jewish Congress, which had asked the IJF to intervene.
There was no comment from the UAE today, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel.
Sports Minister Miri Regev condemned the ban, saying a boycott pacifies “those refusing to recognize our existence.”
Muslim states or athletes often boycott Israeli competitors. An Egyptian judoka refused to shake hands with his Israeli opponent at the Rio Olympics.
Egyptian Holocaust hero to be honored after 4-year delay
The first Arab recognized by Israel’s Holocaust memorial as a hero for risking his life to save Jews during World War II will finally be presented with the honor after a four-year delay.
Egyptian doctor Mohammed Helmy will be presented posthumously with the “Righteous Among the Nations” medal and certificate at a ceremony tomorrow in Berlin.
Helmy’s great-nephew is to accept the honor.
Helmy had already been recognized back in 2013 as a “Righteous Among the Nations” — the first Arab to be recognized as such — but the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial said it had not been able to contact the doctor’s next of kin.
Members of Helmy’s family reportedly did not want to accept the honor because of its link to Israel, reports which were never confirmed by Yad Vashem.
However, the efforts of an Israeli filmmaker seemed to have helped reach a resolution.
Helmy had hidden a young Jewish woman, Anna Boros, in a property he owned during the war, while also finding places for her grandmother and giving medical care to her parents.
BBC complains to UN about Iran targeting its Persian service
The BBC says it filed a complaint to the United Nations over Iran freezing the assets of more than 150 people associated with its Persian service, calling the Islamic Republic’s actions “a deprivation of human rights.”
The British broadcaster described Iran’s actions as part of a “criminal investigation” into its staff, former employees and contributors over allegations of them fomenting a “conspiracy against national security” in Iran and abroad.
Iran’s mission at the UN did not respond to a request for comment. Iranian state media did not immediately report on the complaint.
Yair Netanyahu says he will never enter politics
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son, Yair, says he will not follow in his father’s footsteps in running for office.
“I admire you for the price you pay for this country,” Yair Netanyahu says at his father’s 68th birthday celebration. “But I will never enter politics.”
Recently, the younger Netanyahu has drawn significant media attention for a series of controversial social media posts, some criticized as being anti-Semitic.
Anne Frank passage to be read before Lazio matches
The Italian soccer federation says a passage from Anne Frank’s diary will be read before matches this week to condemn the acts of anti-Semitism by Lazio fans and to keep alive memories of the Holocaust.
The FIGC also says a minute of silence will be observed before Serie A, B and C matches this week, plus amateur and youth games over the weekend.
Lazio fans earlier this week littered the Stadio Olimpico with images of Frank — the young diarist who died in the Holocaust — wearing a jersey of city rival Roma.
The diary passage reads: “I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”
Negligence alleged in sex abuse case against Weinstein Co.
An aspiring actress has sued The Weinstein Co. alleging it was aware of sexual misconduct by its co-founder, Harvey Weinstein.
Dominique Huett claims in a lawsuit filed yesterday in Los Angeles that Weinstein performed oral sex on her against her wishes at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2010.
A representative for The Weinstein Co. and Weinstein himself did not immediately respond Wednesday to emails seeking comment.
Huett’s negligence lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
Her attorney Jeff Herman says Huett is suing Weinstein’s former company because she only recently discovered claims that it knew of sex harassment allegations against its co-founder dating back to the 1990s.
Herman says the recent discovery argument is key to Huett overcoming the statute of limitations barring a lawsuit based on the alleged conduct.
David’s Sling wins tech prize at US conference
The Israeli David’s Sling medium-range anti-missile system was given an award recognizing its groundbreaking achievement at a security conference in the United States.
The system was crowned with the Technology Pioneer Award at the 2017 Multinational Ballistic Missile Defense confab in Boston.
The David’s Sling, also known as the Magic Wand, is designed to shoot down incoming missiles with ranges of 40-300 kilometers (25-190 miles), meaning it can be used against Hamas’s longer-range rockets, but would more likely be deployed against missiles fired by Hezbollah or Syria, such as the Iranian Fateh 110 or its Syrian equivalent, the M600.
French film institute goes ahead with Polanski retrospective
France’s famed film institute La Cinematheque Francaise says it will go ahead with a retrospective of works by director Roman Polanski despite opposition by feminist groups.
La Cinematheque says that calls to cancel the Polanski screenings — attended by the director — only began “in the last few days” as the sexual harassment accusations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein gained force. The statement says it would not change the program that begins Monday.
Weinstein denies the allegations.
The institute said its role was not to moralize — in regard to the Polish-born director who in the 1970s pleaded guilty to having sex in the US with a 13-year-old girl whom he plied with champagne and Quaaludes.
Since Polanski fled the US, he mostly has lived in Paris.
Crisis-hit Qatar signs military agreement with Russia
DOHA, Qatar — Qatar says it has signed a defense agreement with Russia, the latest in a series of such steps by the emirate since the Gulf diplomatic crisis erupted in June.
The announcement follows what Moscow says was the first trip ever undertaken by a Russian defense minister to the Gulf state.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt are boycotting Qatar, accusing it of backing extremism and fostering ties with their Shiite rival Iran — charges that Doha denies.
The defense agreement is announced after Moscow’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah in Doha on Wednesday.
“The two ministers signed (a) military technical cooperation agreement during the meeting,” a statement from Qatar’s defense ministry says.
It adds that a “memorandum of understanding” was also signed relating to air defense and military supplies.