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Lapid to meet Turkey leader Erdogan on sidelines of UN General Assembly

Upcoming meeting marks first with Israeli PM since Erdogan met Ehud Olmert in 2008; PMO says Lapid will also speak to UK’s Truss, Greek PM, UN secretary general

Composite image shows Prime Minister Yair Lapid, left, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool; AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
Composite image shows Prime Minister Yair Lapid, left, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool; AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

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

IDF, police seize 6 pistols from gun smugglers along Jordan border

Weapons seized by security forces after an alleged gun-smuggling over the border with Jordan on September 16, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
Weapons seized by security forces after an alleged gun-smuggling over the border with Jordan on September 16, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli security forces foil an attempt to smuggle firearms into the West Bank from Jordan last night, the military says.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, soldiers operating in the area seized a bag with six handguns and a number of magazines near the Palestinian village of Marj Na’je.

The IDF adds that two suspects were later arrested nearby by troops and police officers.

The IDF said last month there had been a “significant rise” in attempts to smuggle weapons into Israel and the West Bank from Jordan, counting more than 300 guns seized since the beginning of the year. In 2020 and 2021 combined, 300 firearms were seized along the eastern frontier, the IDF said.

After sinkhole on highway, transportation minister says don’t come to Tel Aviv by car tomorrow

Police at the site of a sinkhole on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv on September 17, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Police at the site of a sinkhole on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv on September 17, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli warns against coming to Tel Aviv by car tomorrow after a large sinkhole opened up on a main highway earlier today.

Speaking to Channel 12 news from the scene, Michaeli says public transport will be bolstered, as parts of the Ayalon Highway will be closed during the repair works.

Poll shows Netanyahu-led bloc still at 60 seats following Joint List split

Members of the Balad party register their list for the upcoming elections at the Knesset on September 15, 2022. Party leader Sami Abou Shahadeh is at second from right. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Members of the Balad party register their list for the upcoming elections at the Knesset on September 15, 2022. Party leader Sami Abou Shahadeh is at second from right. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A poll published tonight indicates that Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing and religious bloc would still fail to muster a majority in the 120-seat Knesset following a split within the Arab majority Joint List.

According to the poll by the Kan public broadcaster, Netanyahu’s Likud would get 33 seats, followed by Yesh Atid with 24, National Unity 12, Religious Zionism 12, Shas 8, United Torah Judaism 7, Labor 6, Yisrael Beytenu 5, Meretz 5, Hadash-Ta’al (formerly part of the Joint List) 4, and Ra’am 4.

Balad, which split from Hadash and Ta’al, would not pass the 3.25% electoral threshold at 1.5%.

Jewish Home and protest party Fiery Youth also do not pass the electoral threshold, each at 1.9%.

According to the poll, Netanyahu’s bloc is at 60 seats, one short of a majority.

Israeli TV polls are notably unreliable, but nevertheless, often steer the decision-making of politicians.

Herzog to head to UK on Sunday for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

President Isaac Herzog signs a condolence book for Queen Elizabeth II at the British ambassador's residence in Tel Aviv, September 10, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog signs a condolence book for Queen Elizabeth II at the British ambassador's residence in Tel Aviv, September 10, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

President Isaac Herzog and his wife First Lady Michal Herzog will depart for the United Kingdom tomorrow, to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, his office says.

According to a statement, on Sunday, Herzog will “pay his respects” at Elizabeth II’s lying-in-state at Westminster Hall, sign a book of condolence at Lancaster House, and attend a reception hosted by King Charles III.

On Monday, Herzog will attend the funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Queen Elizabeth II ‘s grandchildren hold a vigil around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre, lying in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on September 16, 2022, ahead of her funeral on Monday (Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP)

Queen Elizabeth II’s eight grandchildren stand vigil by her coffin ahead of funeral

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II’s eight grandchildren mounted a vigil around her coffin during the lying-in-state at London’s historic Westminster Hall.

King Charles III’s sons, Princes William and Harry; Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie; Princess Anne’s children, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall; and Prince Edward’s children, Louise and James, silently stood guard around the casket of Britain’s longest-serving monarch as members of the public continued to file past.

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant reconnected to Ukrainian grid

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant occupied by Russian forces, in Ukraine on Aug. 28, 2022. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)
This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant occupied by Russian forces, in Ukraine on Aug. 28, 2022. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

KYIV — Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is receiving power from the national grid once again, the UN’s atomic agency (IAEA) says, after it was cut off from external power, raising the risk of an accident.

The Russian-occupied plant had been cut from the national grid since September due to shelling.

“The restored 750 kilovolt (kV) line is now providing Europe’s largest nuclear power plant… with the electricity it needs for reactor cooling and other essential safety functions,” the IAEA says.

Since being cut off from the grid, the station was relying on its own power supplies to operate essential safety mechanisms.

Experts feared that the plant could run out of internal power.

Zaporizhzhia was seized by Russian troops in March and shelling around the facility raised fears of nuclear disasters ever since.

The IAEA visited the power plant in early September.

Several members of the IAEA team remained inside the territory of the plant on a permanent basis to monitor the situation.

IDF chief heading to France and Poland to discuss Iranian threat, Hezbollah

IDF chief Aviv Kohavi speaks at a ceremony marking the change of the Home Front Command's chief, July 17, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF chief Aviv Kohavi speaks at a ceremony marking the change of the Home Front Command's chief, July 17, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Military chief Aviv Kohavi is heading to France and Poland next week to meet with his counterparts from the two European nations and discuss the Iranian threat, the Israel Defense Forces says.

In a statement, the IDF says the official visit is “taking place as part of the strengthening of military cooperations between the IDF and the Polish and French Armed Forces.”

He will meet the chief of the Polish Armed Forces, Rajmund Andrzejczak, on Monday, and with the chief of the French Armed Forces, Thierry Burkhard, on Wednesday.

“During the visit, issues related to regional challenges will be discussed, including the threat of the Iranian Regime and its terrorist proxies throughout the Middle East, the weaponization of the Hezbollah terrorist army and the security challenges on the Lebanese border,” the IDF statement adds.

Kohavi departs Sunday and will return to Israel on Thursday.

In his absence, Deputy Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi will carry out the military chief’s responsibilities in Israel, the IDF says.

Lapid to meet with Turkey leader Erdogan during trip to UN

Composite image shows Prime Minister Yair Lapid, left, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool; AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
Composite image shows Prime Minister Yair Lapid, left, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool; AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid will meet with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly, according to a schedule published by his office.

Lapid will fly to New York on Monday, and speak at the assembly on Thursday, his office says.

During this visit, Lapid is expected to meet separately with Erdogan, as well as British Prime Minister Liz Truss, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the Prime Minister’s Office says.

Joining Lapid is National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata, Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz, Military Secretary Avi Gil, PMO chief of staff Naama Schultz, and Cabinet Secretary Shalom Shlomo.

According to the Walla news site, the upcoming meeting will mark the first time Erdogan has met with an Israeli prime minister since his meeting with then-prime minister Ehud Olmert in Ankara in 2008.

 

Unarmed Palestinian nabbed by troops after crossing Gaza border

View of the barrier along the Israel-Gaza border, on December 8, 2021. (Flash90)
View of the barrier along the Israel-Gaza border, on December 8, 2021. (Flash90)

A Palestinian suspect is arrested by Israeli troops after attempting to cross into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces says the unarmed man was detained at the northern section of the fence and has been taken for further questioning.

Young man in serious condition after near drowning at Bat Yam beach

A worker cleans an empty beach in the central city of Bat Yam, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
A worker cleans an empty beach in the central city of Bat Yam, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says it is taking a man in his 20s to a hospital after a near drowning at Bat Yam’s Jerusalem beach.

MDA says medics treated the man at the scene after a lifeguard pulled him out of the water.

He is taken to the Ichilov hospital in a stable condition, but unconscious and on artificial respiration, MDA says.

EU calls for war crime tribunal over mass graves in Ukraine

Two forensic technicians dig near a cross in a forest on the outskirts of Izyum, eastern Ukraine on September 16, 2022, after Ukrainian forces recaptured the eastern city from the Russians. (Juan Barreto/AFP)
Two forensic technicians dig near a cross in a forest on the outskirts of Izyum, eastern Ukraine on September 16, 2022, after Ukrainian forces recaptured the eastern city from the Russians. (Juan Barreto/AFP)

The EU presidency calls for the establishment of an international tribunal for war crimes after new mass graves were found in Ukraine.

“In the 21st century, such attacks against the civilian population are unthinkable and abhorrent,” says Jan Lipavsky, foreign minister of the Czech Republic, which holds the European Union’s rotating presidency.

“We must not overlook it. We stand for the punishment of all war criminals,” he adds in a post on Twitter. “I call for the speedy establishment of a special international tribunal that will prosecute the crime of aggression.”

The appeal follows the discovery by Ukrainian authorities of around 450 graves outside the formerly Russian-occupied city of Izyum, with most of the exhumed bodies showing signs of torture.

“Among the bodies that were exhumed today, 99 percent showed signs of violent death,” Oleg Synegubov, head of Kharkiv regional administration, says on social media.

“There are several bodies with their hands tied behind their backs, and one person is buried with a rope around his neck,” he adds.

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