The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s developments as they unfolded.
Shaked says Israel staying out of Syria fighting
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked tells Israel Radio that Israel has no interest in being drawn into the Syrian civil war, but will defend its borders.
She does not address reports by the Syrian army, which have been denied by Israel, that two Israeli aircraft were shot down earlier Tuesday while carrying out a retaliatory raid.
“The State of Israel does not get involved in others’ conflicts,” Shaked, who is a member of the high-level security cabinet, says.
3 IS jihadists linked to Paris attackers arrested in Germany
Three Islamic State suspects arrested in Germany Tuesday had a “link” to the Paris jihadist attackers, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere says, adding that they may have been a “sleeper cell.”
The three men apparently used the same migrant trafficking network to travel from Syria into Europe and had fake Syrian passports that were made in the “same workshop” as those of the IS attackers in the French capital, he says.
Syria war death toll now more than 300,000 — monitor
More than 300,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict since March 2011, a monitor says in a new toll Tuesday, the first full day of an internationally-brokered truce.
More than 86,000 civilians were among the 301,781 people killed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.
The figure is an increase of nearly 9,000 on the last death toll published by the Observatory in early August.
Iran unveils new helicopter-carrying catamaran ship
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard on Tuesday unveils a new high-speed vessel the force says is capable of carrying a helicopter and up to 100 people, Iranian state TV reports.
The report follows a series of close encounters between American warships and Guard vessels in the Persian Gulf.
The TV shows a catamaran-type ship described as 55 meters (180 feet) long and 14 meters wide, carrying a light civilian helicopter, while the official IRNA news agency said its speed capability is 28 knots.
The vessel is painted with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s call for US forces to “Go back to the Bay of Pigs.” In May, Khamenei criticized the US presence in the Persian Gulf region in an apparent reference to the 1961 failed invasion of Cuba’s Bay of Pigs by 1,500 CIA-trained exiles.
During Tuesday’s inauguration ceremony, Guard navy chief Adm. Ali Fadavi denounces American presence in the Gulf, saying it “is a cause of insecurity and lawlessness.”
Turkey says Syrian government broke ceasefire
Turkey’s foreign minister is accusing the Syrian government of not abiding by a US-Russia brokered ceasefire.
Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in the coastal city of Antalya on Tuesday the Syrian government broke the ceasefire immediately after it came into effect the previous evening.
Cavusoglu says he hopes all parties will work to make the ceasefire permanent and that efforts “cannot be one-sided.”
Turkey’s military said earlier in the day that it shelled two targets inside Syria after a mortar round fell inside Turkey, minutes after a ceasefire came into effect. It said the mortar round was fired from Syrian government-controlled territory.
Cavusoglu stresses that Turkey will work to bring peace to Syria, but will also continue fighting the Islamic State group and Syrian Kurdish rebels it sees as a threat.
45% of Americans believe Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis — poll
Less than half (45%) of American voters believe presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s collapse at the 9/11 memorial on Sunday was a result of pneumonia, while 46% say they do not trust this account, according to a new poll.
According to the YouGov survey of 1,910 respondents, commissioned by The Times of London, the remaining 9% said they didn’t know whether to believe the diagnosis was accurate.
Top Israeli official said to arrive in Washington to sign aid deal
Brigadier General (res.) Yaakov Nagel, the acting head of the National Security Council, lands in Washington, DC, to sign a ten-year defense aid deal with the US, according to Hebrew media reports.
The defense package is reportedly set at $38 billion, with Israel pledging not to seek additional funding from Congress.
Nagel was reportedly scheduled to meet with US National Security Adviser Susan Rice to finalize the deal on Tuesday afternoon.
Islamic State executes 19 ‘Western spies’
The Islamic State group has released a gory video in which its fighters are seen killing 19 people from Syria’s eastern province, accusing them of being spies for the West.
In the 12-minute video, the narrator mocks US and Western intelligence agencies for being unable to prevent IS fighters from carrying out attacks in France, Belgium and Germany.
Instead, the IS narrator says, Western intelligence recruited the 19-member spy cell to infiltrate Deir el-Zour province, an IS stronghold.
The video comes as a US- and Russia-brokered ceasefire is starting to take hold in parts of Syria.
Ex-Likud minister announces return to politics — report
The NRG news website reports that former Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar, thought to be a contender to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the premiership, has announced he will run in the next election.
“The timeout will end. I will run in the next election,” Sa’ar is quoted at saying during a Bnei Akiva meeting in the settlement of Efrat. He does not offer additional information.
Negotiator says Hamas turned down prisoner exchange deal
Lior Lotan, the chief negotiator on Israeli hostages, says the Hamas terror group has turned down an Israeli offer to exchange “the organization’s captives and bodies [of terrorists] from Operation Protective Edge” for the remains of two slain Israeli soldiers held by the terror group, Channel 2 reports.
According to the TV report, Lotan also says Israel has offered to release Gazans who crossed the border into Israel and were subsequently arrested, in exchange for the release of Israelis who entered the Gaza Strip and are believed to be held by Hamas.
The bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, killed in the 2014 Gaza war, are in Hamas custody. The terror group has also admitted that 29-year-old Avraham Mengistu, and a Bedouin Israeli citizen whose name has not been released for publication, are imprisoned in Gaza.
Qatari emir makes outreach effort to Iran’s president
Qatar’s emir has spoken with the Iranian president in an outreach effort that could help ease tensions between Sunni Gulf Arab states and Shiite-majority Iran.
The official Qatar News Agency says Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani offered his greetings Monday to President Hasan Rouhani to mark the start of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, and discussed issues including terrorism and the “principles of good neighborliness.”
Qatar is part of the Saudi-dominated, six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council and hosts US troops on a major air base.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are regional rivals and back opposing sides in Syria and Yemen. The two countries severed diplomatic relations in January after Riyadh executed a prominent Shiite cleric and angry Iranian crowds overran Saudi diplomatic missions.
Ex-Likud minister denies announcing political comeback
Former Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar denies he announced earlier Tuesday that he will run in the next election.
“Interesting meeting with high school yeshiva students in Efrat. No, I didn’t announce that I will run in the next election. When there will be something to announce — I’ll announce it,” he writes on Twitter.
Another projectile from Syria hits Golan
Another projectile fired from Syria explodes in the Golan Heights, causing no injuries or damage, the IDF says.
— Judah Ari Gross
For second day in a row, a projectile fired from Syrian just struck the Golan Heights. No damage or injuries reported, army says.
— Judah Ari Gross (@JudahAriGross) September 13, 2016
US House unanimously okays resolution honoring Elie Wiesel
The US House of Representatives unanimously approves a resolution honoring the life and work of Elie Wiesel.
The resolution approves by voice vote on Monday “reaffirms Elie Wiesel’s efforts to preserve the memory of those who perished and prevent the recurrence of another Holocaust, to combat hate and intolerance in any manifestation, and to never forget and also learn from the lessons of history.”
Three members of the US Holocaust Memorial Council — Reps. Steve Israel, D-N.Y.; Patrick Meehan, D-Pa., and Ted Deutch, D-Fla. — introduced the resolution.
Wiesel, the Holocaust memoirist and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, died July 2.
“After surviving one of the darkest moments in history, he spoke up and offered a voice to the voiceless,” Israel said on the House floor before the vote. “He offered hope to people without hope.”
Russia says Syrian regime respecting truce, 23 rebel violations
Russia on Tuesday says Syrian regime forces were fully respecting a ceasefire but rebel fighters had violated it some 23 times.
“Syrian government troops have completely stopped firing, with the exception of areas where Islamic State and Jabhat Al-Nusra fighters are active,” senior Russian military officer Viktor Poznikhir says in a televised briefing, adding that “moderate opposition” forces had fired 23 times at residential areas and regime positions.
IDF checking reports second projectile hit Golan
The Israeli army is investigating reports that a second projectile from Syria has landed in Israeli territory.
— Judah Ari Gross
Defense Ministry says Ofek-11 satellite launched into space
The Defense Ministry announces the launch of a new reconnaissance satellite, the Ofek-11.
“A short while ago, Israel’s Ministry of Defense, along with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), launched the Ofek 11 satellite into space,” it says.
The Ofek-10 was launched in April 2014.
The report comes nearly two weeks after an Israeli communications satellite — the Amos-6 — was destroyed in a blast in California.
Ex-national security adviser denies US aid package could have been larger
Former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror hails the generous US defense package and says no larger sum than the one in the final deal was on the table during negotiations.
“I can tell you that during negotiations, we exhausted everything, and in my opinion, there was never a larger sum on the table — anyone who says that is not telling the truth or does not know,” he tells Army Radio.
Navy arrests Hamas smuggler
A Hamas operative was picked up by the navy last month for attempting to smuggle explosive materials from Egypt into the Gaza Strip, the Shin Bet security service announces.
Khamis Jihad Said Ara’ish, 24, told interrogators he had been involved in a number of smuggling efforts since 2012 that brought materials into the Strip for the purpose of manufacturing weapons for Hamas, the Shin Bet says.
Ara’ishi was arrested by the navy after his ship “deviated from the approved sailing area” in August. His case was placed under a gag order, which has just been lifted.
His interrogation provided Israeli security forces with “detailed information about Hamas’s naval smuggling route between the Gaza Strip and Egpyt, along with information about the use of fisherman and smugglers along the route,” the agency says.
Ara’ishi and “his associates” had previously attempted to smuggle explosive materials into Gaza in April, but were prevented from doing so by the navy, the Shin Bet says.
A smuggling attempt that Ara’ishi planned to carry out around the time he was picked up was prevented with his arrest, the agency says.
During his interrogation, Ara’ishi told investigators he had also tried to carry out an attack against IDF troops in 2014, “performing lookouts and purchasing weaponry in order to get a promotion,” the agency says.
“The information that came up in the investigation, along with the investigations of other recently arrested Hamas terrorist operatives, revealed more of the efforts made by Hamas for progressing its violent terrorist activities, this time by taking advantage of the easing of restrictions that Israel has allowed for Gazan fishermen,” the Shin Bet says.
— Judah Ari Gross
2 more projectiles strike Golan Heights
The army says that two more projectiles fired from Syria have been located in the Golan Heights.
— Judah Ari Gross
Israel, PA said to sign deal on Palestinian electricity debt
Representatives from Israel’s Finance Ministry and the Palestinian Authority sign a deal to resolve the Palestinians’ outstanding NIS 2 billion ($528 million) debt with the Israel Electric Corporation, the Walla news website reports.
Under the agreement, the Palestinians will pay off NIS 500 million ($132 million) of the debt and control over West Bank power lines will be handed over to the PA.
Muslim woman says man set her blouse on fire in NYC
A Muslim woman wearing traditional clothing tells police that a man lit her blouse on fire in New York City.
Police say the 35-year-old tourist told them she felt heat on her arm Saturday night in midtown Manhattan and noticed her blouse was on fire. She says she patted out the fire and noticed a man standing nearby holding a lighter. She says the man then walked away.
The New York Police Department hate crimes task force is investigating it as a possible bias crime.
There have been no arrests.
Police say a New York City woman was arrested Thursday after she assaulted two Muslim women pushing their children in strollers in Brooklyn. Prosecutors have described the attack as a hate crime.
Family of captive Israeli ‘disappointed’ they’re out of the loop on talks
The Mengistu family, whose son Avraham Abera is being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, says it is “disappointed” to hear about negotiations to secure his release from the media, rather than from officials, Channel 10 reports.
“The fact that we hear about negotiations being held from the media is troubling and disappointing, it’s an insult to the pain of the families,” they say, according to Channel 10.
They are referring to earlier comments by Israeli negotiator Lior Lotan that Hamas has rejected an Israeli prisoner exchange proposal.
German judge evades punishment for helping survivors
A German judge who landed in legal trouble after helping Holocaust survivors apply for ghetto pensions has settled the case against him out of court.
The North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Justice announces the settlement on Tuesday. In its statement, the ministry said that as part of the agreement with Jan-Robert von Renesse, neither side would discuss the details of the case or its settlement. The disciplinary charges have been dropped.
Jewish and other leaders led by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany had increasingly pressed the case for von Renesse, who was facing possible fines or other punishment. The judge had taken it upon himself to assist Holocaust survivors in applying for ghetto pensions.
He had been accused of causing “reputational damage of the social jurisprudence” after it emerged that von Renesse had questioned the rejection of ghetto pension applications and intervened to help applicants, interviewing more than 120 Holocaust survivors in Israel.
Welcoming the news on Tuesday, pro-Israel activist and Green Party legislator Volker Beck says von Renesse deserves Germany’s highest honor, an Order of Merit, rather than a disciplinary hearing.
Cruz not rushing to endorse Trump after Pence meeting
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz isn’t rushing to endorse Republican nominee Donald Trump, even after a meeting with Trump’s running mate.
Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence meets with Cruz Tuesday. The Indiana governor had endorsed Cruz in his bid for the White House. Since dropping out, Cruz has declined to endorse Trump, citing personal attacks the billionaire businessman has made against him and his family.
Cruz’s spokesman Jeff Roe says Tuesday that Cruz’s meeting with Pence was about “two fiscal conservatives hanging out.”
He declines to answer questions on whether Cruz would endorse Trump.
Former president Peres said hospitalized
Former president Shimon Peres, 93, has been hospitalized after he reports feeling “unwell,” the Ynet news website reports.
Peres suffers stroke, is ‘stable and fully conscious’
The former president’s office says Peres was hospitalized “after suffering a stroke.”
“He is stable and fully conscious,” his office says in a statement.
Netanyahu wishes Peres speedy recovery
On Twitter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wishes former president Shimon Peres “a speedy recovery.”
“Shimon, we love you, and the entire nation hopes for your recovery,” Netanyahu writes.
Peres in ‘serious condition’ after stroke — report
Channel 10 reports that Peres is now in “serious condition” after suffering a stroke.
Herzog wishes Peres swift recovery
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog writes on Twitter that he hopes Peres makes a quick recovery and “returns to have his clear, wise, and sober voice heard.”
Peres’s office confirms that the former president is in serious condition, is sedated and on a respirator.
Ofek-11 spy satellite ‘not functioning’ as expected
The Ofek-11 reconnaissance satellite launched Tuesday may be malfunctioning, officials involved in the project say, though they have been able to make contact with the craft.
The Israel Aerospace Industries satellite was successfully put into orbit using a Shavit rocket, a locally produced space launch vehicle, Amnon Harari, head of the Defense Ministry’s Space Department, tells reporters.
However, in the hours after the launch, it was “not clear if everything was in order,” he says.
Due to the rotation of the Earth, the teams on the ground are only able to make contact with the satellite “once every few hours,” something that makes the work of the engineering teams on the ground “sevenfold more difficult,” Doron Ofer, CEO of the Israel Aerospace Industries’ Space Division, says.
“We have downloaded some figures, and we are now checking them. It’s not functioning exactly the way we expected, and we don’t know what it’s status is,” Ofer says.
“We are now working to stabilize it, but it will take some time because of the small amount of communication we have with it when it comes in our area,” he says.
Knesset to hire more staff with special needs
The Knesset aims to increase the number of its staff members with special needs by 25 percent, parliament says.
Five new positions in the Knesset are put out to tender, and are administrative posts tailored for people with learning difficulties, Channel 10 says.
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