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Foreign minister heads to Russia for snap visit

Yair Lapid will meet Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, as well as Israeli diplomatic staff

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks at a ceremony with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in Rabat, on August 11, 2021. (Shlomi Amsalem/GPO)
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks at a ceremony with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in Rabat, on August 11, 2021. (Shlomi Amsalem/GPO)

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

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli says she’s tested positive for COVID-19

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli announces she’s been given “a gift for Rosh Hashanah” in the form of a COVID-19 diagnosis.

The diagnosis does not appear to be official — Refaeli shares a photo to Instagram with a positive result in a home test kit. Such results must be affirmed by a more accurate PCR test.

Former Afghan president Ghani sorry that ‘I could not make it end differently’

Former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country last month as the Taliban entered Kabul, apologizes to the Afghan people, because “I could not make it end differently.”

In a statement on Twitter, Ghani says he left at the urging of the palace security in order to avoid the risk of bloody street fighting, and again denies stealing millions from the treasury.

“Leaving Kabul was the most difficult decision of my life, but I believed it was the only way to keep the guns silent and save Kabul and her 6 million citizens,” he adds.

Man’s body found in burning vehicle in northern Israel

The body of a man has been found in a burning vehicle near the village of Sajur in the north.

Paramedics that arrived on the scene declared him dead.

Police are investigating the incident.

Large rallies held in West Bank, Jerusalem in solidarity with escaped prisoners

Palestinians are holding large-scale demonstrations across the West Bank and Jerusalem, some of them violent, in solidarity with the six security prisoners who broke out of Gilboa Prison earlier this week.

In at least one case, rioters reportedly fired live rounds at Israeli troops, but missed them.

Protests are reported near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, in Hebron, Hawara, Azzoun, near Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, and in other locations in the West Bank.

Protesters chant anti-Israel slogans and carry placards that read ‘Six lions found the light at the end of the tunnel, freedom for our prisoners,’ during a rally supporting Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Some 20,000 new cases diagnosed over Rosh Hashanah holiday

New Health Ministry data issued as the Rosh Hashanah holiday ended Wednesday evening shows that some 20,000 new COVID-19 cases had been diagnosed over the holiday, which began on Monday evening.

The number of active cases stood at 85,617, of which 678 were in serious condition. Some 55 people died over the holiday, and the death toll stood at 7,260.

Testing centers throughout the country experienced congestion and extremely long waits, apparently as a result of less locations being active over the holiday, as well as many students going to get tested ahead of their return to school.

The Health Ministry instructs testing sites to continue operating late into the night.

Foreign Minister Lapid heads to Russia for quick visit

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid departs for a quick visit to Moscow, his office says.

He will meet Thursday with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. The two will also hold a joint press conference.

He will also meet with Israeli diplomatic staff at the embassy.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid heads a Yesh Atid faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on August 2, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Russian minister dies trying to save filmmaker in Arctic drills

Russia’s emergencies minister has died trying to save a filmmaker who slipped from a cliff during training exercises in the Arctic, officials say.

Yevgeny Zinichev, who previously served in President Vladimir Putin’s security detail, is the first Russian cabinet member to die on duty.

He is lauded by senior government officials and the Russian leader as a loyal civil servant and a “hero.”

The 55-year-old “tragically died trying to save a person’s life” near the city of Norilsk, the ministry says in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

The ministry identifies the filmmaker as 63-year-old Alexander Melnik who produced several films set in the Arctic region. It says he also died in the incident that took place earlier Wednesday.

Russian Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev attends a meeting with the Russian president on the situation in regions hit by floods and wildfires at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on April 27, 2020 (Alexey DRUZHININ / SPUTNIK / AFP)

Surviving Paris attacker complains defendants ‘treated like dogs’

The last surviving member of the jihadist cell that massacred 130 people in Paris in November 2015 complains at the start of his trial that he and his fellow accused are being “treated like dogs.”

In a rant from the dock, four hours after the proceedings got underway, Salah Abdeslam shouts that he has “never complained because after death we will be resurrected.”

Twenty people are on trial over the coordinated attacks on eight venues across Paris by a team of gunmen and suicide bombers acting on behalf of the Islamic State group. The attacks were the worst in France’s post-war history.

This court-sketch made on September 8, 2021 shows Salah Abdeslam, the last surviving member of the jihadist cell of the November 2015 Paris attacks, during the first day of the trial of the November 2015 Paris and Saint-Denis attacks taking place in a temporary courtroom set up at the Paris’ Palais de Justice historic courthouse on September 8, 2021 (Benoit PEYRUCQ / AFP)

Military closure on West Bank extended till Saturday

A military closure of the West Bank for the Rosh Hashanah holiday has been extended amid the intense manhunt for six Palestinian security prisoners who fled from a high-security jail earlier this week.

The closure, a routine procedure during Israeli and Jewish holidays, had been set to end on Wednesday at midnight, but will now continue through Saturday night, the military says, though goods will still be allowed through the West Bank crossings.

Palestinians who work in Israeli settlements in the West Bank will also be able to work as normal beginning Thursday.

The closure on the Gaza Strip’s goods crossings will also end as planned on Wednesday night, the Israel Defense Forces says.

The military adds that exceptions will be made in “humanitarian, medical and irregular cases.”

The IDF is gearing up for a potential escalation in the West Bank and Gaza amid the tensions over the escape of the security prisoners.

Bennett holds security consultations with top officials

As the Rosh Hashanah holiday ends, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett holds consultations with the defense minister, police minister and the heads of police, military, prison service, Shin Bet and other top officials.

Bennett warns that repercussions from the prison escape “have the potential to affect several arenas,” while adding that “Israel is prepared for every scenario.”

Police increasingly suspect jailers aided prisoner escape — report

Police have information that is increasing suspicions that jailers aided the six security prisoners to escape Gilboa Prison early Monday, Kan news reports.

The report says two Prisons Service members will be questioned under caution tomorrow in connection with the decision-making that led to the incident.

A prison guard stands at the Gilboa prison in northern Israel, Monday, Sept. 6, 2021. Israeli forces on Monday launched a massive manhunt in northern Israel and the West Bank after several highly dangerous Palestinian security prisoners escaped overnight from the high-security facility. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
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