The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they happened.
Defense minister lauds army for finding Gazan attack tunnel in Israel
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman hails the IDF operation dismantling an attack tunnel from the Gaza Strip that reached into Israeli territory.
He emphasizes that the underground passage extended into Israel and that the controlled explosion of it took place on the Israeli side of the territory.
“I think the message is clear to all: We will not tolerate a breach of our sovereignty,” he says.”I emphasize that the explosion took place on our territory.”
The tunnel extending from the Gazan city of Khan Younis “proves that despite the Palestinian reconciliation, the Gaza Strip remains a kingdom of terror,” he says.
“We have no interest in an escalation [in hostilities] and we have no intention of letting anyone hurt Israel’s sovereignty,” he says.
Liberman says there was no threat to Israeli citizens at any point.
— Marissa Newman
Liberman comes out against ‘Jewish state’ bill
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, the head of the Yisrael Beytenu coalition party, voices objections to the so-called Jewish state law.
He says the bill, in its current form, leans toward making Israel a “halachic [Jewish law] state.”
Breaking from the coalition position on the the proposed law, Liberman also expresses concern the bill would compromise the standing of non-Jews living in Israel, “including our friends, the Druze.”
“Our position is it’s better to take the Declaration of Independence, legislate it as a [quasi-constitutional] basic law, and that will resolve all of our problems,” says Liberman, echoing a position held by some opposition parties.
He also comes out against an attempt by the ultra-Orthodox parties to bypass the High Court of Justice with a law on Shabbat closures and says his party will vote against the bill during a Sunday meeting.
But he also says tensions in the coalition over various pieces of legislation is “unnecessary” and the government is working efficiently nonetheless.
Describing the legislative fights as “landmines,” Liberman says the government can defuse the tensions if it works responsibly.
— Marissa Newman
US charges ex-Trump campaign chief Manafort with conspiracy
US President Donald Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort is indicted for conspiracy in connection to his work on the 2016 US presidential election.
Earlier in the day, Manafort and an unidentified man were caught by television cameras walking into the FBI’s Washington field office after US media reported he and a longtime associate had been ordered to surrender.
It was not known what charges have been filed in the case, but they would be the first since US special counsel Robert Mueller took over the Russia probe in May.
Islamic Jihad says diggers missing after Israel destroys Gaza tunnel
The news site Palestine Today, affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, reports that a number of members from the group’s armed wing Saraya Al-Quds are incommunicado after the Israeli army destroyed an attack tunnel that entered Israeli territory from Gaza.
The IDF did not identify who it believed dug the tunnel, but said it ultimately held the Hamas terror group responsible, as it controls the Gaza Strip.
— Dov Lieber
On tunnel, prime minister warns: ‘Whoever hurts us, we hurt them’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel has begun using “breakthrough technology” to locate cross-border tunnels.
“We are implementing [the technology]. Today, we located a tunnel and we destroyed it,” says Netanyahu at the start of the weekly Likud faction meeting.
The prime minister says Israel holds Hamas responsible for all military action against Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip and “whoever hurts us, we hurt them.”
Netanyahu also praises coalition chairman David Bitan for his handling of coalition matters, despite unstated disagreements. The praise — which is met with applause — comes a day after Netanyahu announced he was not interested in advancing a bill for immunity that would apply to ongoing investigations into his affairs — even as Bitan threatened to topple the coalition if the proposed legislation did not advance.
— Marissa Newman
Danish inventor admits to dismembering journalist
Danish inventor Peter Madsen admits to dismembering the body of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, whose body parts were found at sea after she interviewed him on board his homemade submarine, Danish police say.
In initial police questioning, Madsen, who is suspected of her death, had denied cutting up her body and said she died in an accident when a heavy submarine hatch fell on her head.
He has now changed his story to say she died of carbon monoxide poisoning while on board, police say in a statement.
“He has now explained that Kim Wall died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning inside the submarine at a time when he was on deck,” police said.
“Furthermore, Peter Madsen has admitted that he later dismembered her corpse and spread the body parts in Koge Bay” off Copenhagen.
Wall, a freelancer based in China and New York, never returned from her interview with Madsen on August 10. Her headless torso was found floating in Koge Bay on August 21, and her head, legs and clothes were recovered in plastic bags in the same waters on October 7.
Madsen, a self-taught engineer and inventor, has been held in custody since August 11 and has changed his version of events several times.
Spain seeks rebellion charges against fired Catalan leaders
Spain’s state prosecutor says he will seek charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement against members of Catalonia’s ousted secessionist government, pushing the crisis over the region’s independence declaration into an uncertain new phase.
Chief prosecutor Jose Manuel Maza says he will ask judges for preventive measures against the politicians and the governing body of the Catalan parliament that allowed a vote to declare independence last week. He doesn’t specify if those would include their immediate arrest and detention before trial.
The rebellion, sedition and embezzlement charges carry maximum sentences of 30, 15 and six years in prison, respectively. It isn’t immediately clear when judges would rule on the prosecutor’s request.
Maza didn’t name any of those facing charges, but they include regional leader Carles Puigdemont, his No. 2 Oriol Junqueras and Catalan parliamentary speaker Carme Forcadell.
Police call for indictment of Netanya’s deputy mayor
The Israel Police calls for the indictment of a senior Netanya municipality official, along with several leading businesspeople from the city.
The police’s Lahav 433 anti-fraud unit has completed its investigation of Netanya Deputy Mayor Shimon Sher, suspecting him of “bribery, fraud and betrayal of public trust,” according to a police statement.
Police say a number of Netanya businesspeople are also suspected of being involved, but do not name them.
They are believed to have helped “advance the interests of contractors and businesspeople over the course of several years in exchange for directly funding foundations connected to the deputy mayor,” police say.
The police have handed over details of the investigation to the district attorney.
Vatican aims to head off US-North Korea nuclear standoff
The Vatican is hosting a conference next week aimed at trying to head off a threatened nuclear confrontation between the US and North Korea, bringing together 11 Nobel peace laureates and top UN and NATO officials as well as ambassadors from key countries.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke says the November 10-11 conference is part of the Vatican’s longstanding effort to promote a nuclear weapons-free world. But he denies that the conference, first reported by La Repubblica newspaper, represented a mediation effort by Pope Francis.
Francis has already urged Washington and Pyongyang to step back from the brink of war and urged mediation efforts by others.
It isn’t immediately clear if North Korea or China would be represented at the conference: Neither has diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
Politicians praise army after Gaza tunnel found
Lawmakers laud the IDF for discovering and demolishing an apparent Gazan attack tunnel inside Israeli territory earlier in the day.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who criticized the military for inadequately confronting the issue of tunnels before and during the 2014 Gaza war, applauds the military for recognizing the risk they pose.
“The IDF has learned from Operation Protective Edge” — the Israeli moniker for the conflict — “and is using its intelligence, technology, engineering and operational abilities to stop such attempts and ensure the security of those living near Gaza,” Bennett says.
Yesh Atid MK Haim Jelin, who started his political career in the local council near the Gaza border, says he “commends the IDF for its important and precise work against a tunnel that threatened residents of the area around [the Strip].”
Rivlin welcomes top New Zealand official, in Israel for Battle of Beersheba centennial
President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin welcome Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Patricia Reddy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Israel, who are visiting as part of the commemorations marking 100 years since the Battle of Beersheba.
“The friendship between Israel and New Zealand is a very special one. It began long before Israel even existed as an independent state,” Rivlin says, at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.
“One hundred years ago, New Zealand’s soldiers helped free the land of Israel from the Ottoman Empire in the First World War.”
The Governor-General thanks Rivlin for the welcome, recalling the last time she was in Israel in 1980, when she was “here as a backpacker.”
Reddy says two countries are “geographically distant” but have a lot in common “spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually.”
Hamas media: Diggers rescued after IDF destroys tunnel
Hamas official media Al-Rai reports that three “resistance fighters” were rescued after the Israeli army detonated an attack tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel.
Additionally, the spokesperson for the Hamas-run Gaza health Ministry Ashraf al-Qidre says four injured by detonation of the tunnel were brought to the Strip’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Hospital.
Earlier, a news outlet connected to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group said that a number of people in the tunnel went missing following the Israeli demolition.
— Dov Lieber
Gazan source: Destroyed tunnel belonged to Palestinian Islamic Jihad
A source in Gaza says the attack tunnel that was destroyed by Israel belonged to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization.
Earlier, the IDF would not comment on who it believed had dug the tunnel, but said it held the Hamas terror group responsible as it is the ruling body in the Strip.
— Avi Issacharoff
Trump responds to Manafort indictment, insists ‘NO COLLUSION’ with Russia
US President Donald Trump responds to the indictment of his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, saying the charges dealt with events that happened before the 2016 election.
The US leader also insists that his campaign did not collude with Russia.
“Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” Trump tweets.
A moment later, Trump adds, “….Also, there is NO COLLUSION!”
Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2017
Earlier in the day, Manafort was indicted, along with a former business associate, Rick Gates, of conspiracy against the United States, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, and several other financial counts involving tens of millions of dollars routed through offshore accounts.
— with AP
Gaza Health Ministry: 8 hurt in Israeli demolition of attack tunnel
The Gaza Health Ministry says the number of injured by the IDF’s Gaza tunnel demolition rises to eight, after initially reporting that four were hurt in the detonation.
According to the health ministry, one of the people was critically injured. It does not say the condition of the other seven people.
— Dov Lieber
Army to test alert sirens in Tel Aviv suburbs
The IDF will tomorrow test its rocket alert system in the towns around Tel Aviv.
At 10:05 a.m., the incoming missile sirens will sound in the suburbs of Tel Aviv, but not in the city itself, the army says.
The alert system will go off in Givatayim, Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak, Or Yehuda, Kiryat Ono, Givat Shmuel, Ganei Tikva, Yehud and Savyon.
In the case of an actual rocket alert siren, the system will sound twice, the army says.
In addition to the sirens, there will also be emergency broadcasts on the radio stations “Radio L’lo Hafsaka” and “Radius,” as well as on the IDF Home Front Command’s smartphone application, the army says.
There will also be an alert on the special beepers that the army has given to people with hearing problems.
As always, the IDF says that its system tests and exercises are not connected to any particular incident and are often scheduled months in advance.
Court reveals Trump campaigner pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents
A former campaign aide to US President Donald Trump earlier this month pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents working for special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to a deal unsealed today.
George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on October 5 to one count of lying to FBI agents about the nature of his interactions with “foreign nationals” who he thought had close connections to senior Russian government officials. The plea deal was initially kept secret, but has since been revealed.
Papadopoulos is the first person to face criminal charges that cite interactions between Trump campaign associates and Russian intermediaries during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Papadopoulos was a member of the campaign’s foreign policy team. But Trump aides have said he played a limited role in the campaign and no access to Trump.
Gaza Health Ministry: One dead in IDF’s Gaza tunnel demolition
The Gaza Health Ministry says one person has died in connection with the IDF’s demolition of an attack tunnel from the Strip that entered Israeli territory.
The ministry also increases the number of people said injured in the tunnel explosion to nine, including one critically, from the eight that it previously reported.
The man who was killed in the Israeli detonation of the tunnel is identified as Ahmed Abu Armanah by health ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra.
A security source says the 10 casualties were members of Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group allied with Hamas, which rules the Strip.
— Dov Lieber and AFP
3 Islamic Jihad members said dead in attack tunnel demolition
The Gaza Health Ministry reports that three alleged Islamic Jihad members have died as a result of the IDF’s demolition of an attack tunnel from Gaza that entered Israeli territory.
Nine others are reported injured, including one critically, according to the ministry.
Two of the men killed in the Israeli demolition are identified as 25-year-old Ahmad Khalil Abu Armana and 27-year-old Omar Nasar al-Fallit.
— Dov Lieber
Islamic Jihad threatens Israel after IDF destroys group’s attack tunnel
After three members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group are killed in an IDF strike on a Gaza, a spokesperson for the organizations releases a statement threatening Israel.
“The Zionist terror government must realize that we will not hesitate to protect our people and our land,” Palestinian Islamic Jihad spokesperson Dawood Sehab writes on Twitter.
The terrorist group says it is considering retaliation against Israel in light of the demolition, calling the tunnel a central aspect of its strategies.
— Dov Lieber
PM confirms he will speak at Jewish Federation gathering
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address the Jewish Federations of North America’s annual General Assembly in Los Angeles next month, his office says, after initial reports said he would not do so.
Last week, the Haaretz newspaper reported the prime minister would not be speaking before the high-profile gathering.
The prime minister is set to give a live video interview at the conference, his office says.
— Raphael Ahren
Gaza Health Ministry: 5 killed in attack tunnel demolition
The Gaza Health Ministry reports that five Palestinian terrorists were killed in the IDF’s demolition of an attack tunnel earlier today.
The Hamas terrorist group says that one of the people killed was a Hamas member, while the rest were from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization.
In addition to the five killed, nine people were reported injured in the detonation of the tunnel, including one who was critically wounded, the ministry says.
Earlier today, sources in Gaza said the tunnel belonged to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, not Hamas.
— Dov Lieber
At French terror trial, killer’s brother denies extremism
The brother of a French terrorist who killed seven people, including three Jewish children, denies holding extremist beliefs during a trial in which he’s accused of complicity in his brother’s 2012 attack.
In March 2012, Mohammed Merah killed three French paratroopers in Toulouse and Montauban. Then a few days later, he burst into a Jewish school, killed a rabbi and his two young sons and grabbed an 8-year-old girl and shot her in the head. He was then shot and killed in a dramatic 30-hour police standoff at his Toulouse apartment.
Merah’s brother, Abdelkader, was accused of complicity in the attack and is suspected of having mentored Mohammed as he turned toward jihadism. He denies any wrongdoing. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
“I’m not Mohammed Merah, I am Abdelkader Merah. There is a big difference,” he tells the court.
Merah has admitted he was with his brother the day Mohammed stole the motor scooter used in the killings. He said he didn’t report the theft to police because he didn’t want to be a snitch.
A verdict in the case is expected on November 2.
German ‘Anne Frank’ train idea runs into questions
BERLIN — The Anne Frank House museum is signaling reservations about the idea of a German high-speed train being named after the teenage Jewish diarist who was deported by train from the Netherlands during World War II to a Nazi concentration camp where she was killed.
German railway operator Deutsche Bahn wants to name its fleet of new InterCityExpress trains after historical figures, and sought customers’ suggestions. A jury selected Anne’s name as one of 25 slated to be used.
The Amsterdam museum says in a statement that the combination of Anne Frank and a train evokes memories of wartime deportations, “is painful for the people who experienced these deportations, and causes fresh pain to those who still bear the consequences of those times within them.”
It acknowledges that “initiatives such as this are usually taken with good intentions.”
Senior Islamic Jihad members said among killed in attack tunnel demolition
Two senior members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are said to be among the terrorists killed in an IDF detonation of a Gaza attack tunnel.
Arafat Abu Murshid, commander of the terror group’s central district, and Hassan Abu-Hassanein, Abu Murshid’s deputy, were reported killed in the Israeli demolition by Palestinian media.
Two of the other people killed in the attack — Ahmed Abu Armanah and Omar al-Faleet — are also said to be members of Islamic Jihad.
The Hamas terrorist group says that the fifth person killed, Misbah Shubir, was a member of its organization.
Gaza Health Ministry: Six dead, 10 wounded in attack tunnel demolition
Five members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group and one Hamas member were killed when the IDF demolished an attack tunnel that stretched from Gaza into Israel earlier today, according to the coastal enclave’s health ministry.
Ten people are also injured, including one who was critically wounded, according to the ministry.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which reportedly operated the destroyed tunnel, threatened Israel with retaliation.
— Dov Lieber
Gaza terror groups said meeting urgently on response to tunnel demolition
A Gaza-based BBC journalist reports that terrorist groups in the Strip are organizing an urgent meeting to discuss how to respond to the IDF’s demolition of an attack tunnel that entered Israel from the Gaza Strip.
— Rushdi Abualouf (@Rushdibbc) October 30, 2017
US court bars Trump from reversing transgender troops policy
A federal court in Washington, DC, is barring President Donald Trump from changing the government’s policy on military service by transgender people.
Trump announced in an August memo that he intended to reverse course on a 2016 policy that allowed troops to serve openly as transgender individuals. He said he would order a return to the policy prior to June 2016, under which service members could be discharged for being transgender.
US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote Monday that transgender members of the military who had sued over the change were likely to win their lawsuit and barred the Trump administration from reversing course.
Yesha Council says new chairman to be picked this week
The Yesha Council, which represents West Bank settlements, ends speculation that it would bring in former National Religious Party leader Efi Eitam to run the group, saying that the next chairman will come from its own ranks.
Two months ago, Chairman Avi Roeh announced he planned to resign from his position.
Today, the Yesha Council members met to discuss candidates for Roeh’s replacement. While no final decision was made, the local council heads agree that the next chairman will come from within the organization, according to a statement.
The council’s 24 regional and local council heads will vote in a new chairman by the end of the week, Yesha says in a statement.
Only two members have made their candidacy public: Efrat mayor and Yesha foreign envoy Oded Revivi and Karnei Shomron local council chairman Yigal Lahav.
— Jacob Magid
Gaza Health Ministry updates: 7 killed, 11 hurt in attack tunnel demolition
Seven Palestinians — members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorist groups — were killed when the IDF demolished an attack tunnel that stretched from Gaza into Israel earlier today, the coastal enclave’s health ministry says.
Eleven people are also injured, including one who was critically wounded, according to the ministry.
— Dov Lieber
Hamas say Israel trying to spoil reconciliation talks with tunnel strike
The Hamas terrorist group accuses the IDF of trying to ruin Palestinian reconciliation talks with its demolition of an attack tunnel that crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip earlier today.
“This latest Zionist crime is a dangerous escalation against our people and its resistance. It is aimed at undermining its steadfastness and unity, and it is a desperate attempt to sabotage efforts to restore Palestinian unity and maintain the state of division,” Hamas says in a statement.
— Dov Lieber
Joining Hamas, Fatah accuses Israel of sabotaging Palestinian unity talks
A spokesperson for Fatah accuses Israel of trying to disrupt Palestinian reconciliation talks with the IDF’s strike on an attack tunnel that entered Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.
“Israel is trying to escalate the situation in order to keep us divided,” says Fatah spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi.
Ex-Trump campaign chair Manafort pleads not guilty
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates plead not guilty, following their arrest on charges related to conspiracy against the United States and other felonies. The charges are the first from the special counsel investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Manafort and Gates appear before a federal judge in Washington, DC. They are charged with a combined 12 counts, including conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
Gaza Health Ministry says 7 dead, 12 injured in attack tunnel demolition
Seven Palestinians — members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorist groups — were killed when the IDF demolished an attack tunnel that stretched from Gaza into Israel earlier today, according to the coastal enclave’s health ministry latest tally.
Twelve people are also injured, including one who was critically wounded, the ministry says.
— Dov Lieber
IDF tells Israeli farmers to stay away from Gaza fence
The army tells Israeli farmers in communities near the Gaza Strip to stay away from the separation fence, after the military destroys an attack tunnel that crossed into Israel from the coastal enclave, killing at least seven Palestinian terrorists.
The IDF says it declared the area close to the border a “closed military zone.”
There were no other specific safety instructions given to residents.
Knesset passes bill raising minimum wage to NIS 5,300
A bill raising the minimum monthly wage in Israel to NIS 5,300 passes unanimously in the Knesset.
The minimum wage had previously been set at NIS 5,000.
The measure passed with 59 votes in favor and none opposed.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon applauds the bill’s passage on Twitter, thanking “my friends from the coalition and the opposition.”
Islamic Jihad leader, threatening retaliation says ‘all options open’
A senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group warns that it is considering retaliation after an IDF strike on one of its attack tunnels that crossed into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.
“This is a massacre. All our options are open. We will take all considerations into account, but we will not allow the enemy to set the rules of engagement,” says senior Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batash.
— Dov Lieber
Amnesty official barred from Israel over BDS activity
An Amnesty International official has been barred from entering Israel due to “his [boycott, divestment and sanctions] activities,” the Interior Ministry’s Population Authority says.
On Twitter, Raed Jarrar, advocacy director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Amnesty International USA, shows an Israeli government form that details the reasons for his denial of entry.
According to the document, he is barred from Israel out of “illegal immigrations considerations” and “public security or public safety or public order considerations.”
— Raed Jarrar (@raedjarrar) October 30, 2017
Officials: US captures militant key in Benghazi attack
US special operations forces have captured a militant who was instrumental in the 2012 attack on a US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, US officials says.
The attack resulted in the death of the US ambassador to the country and three other Americans. The Obama administration’s handling of the deadly assault became a lightning rod for Republican criticism of Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, through her presidential campaign.
A US official identifies the suspect as Mustafa al-Imam
The commandos captured al-Imam in Libya just before midnight local time on Sunday and are transporting him back to the US, the officials say.
The suspect is in the custody of the Department of Justice and is expected to arrive within the next two days on a military plane, according to one of the officials. The officials say the mission was approved by President Donald Trump and done in coordination with Libya’s internationally recognized government.
IDF says it didn’t mean to kill senior Islamic Jihad members in tunnel blast
The IDF says its demolition of a Gazan attack tunnel that entered Israeli territory was intended to destroy the tunnel only, not “in any way” to kill the two senior members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group who died in the explosion.
In statements, the army says that most of the people who died in the attack were killed by secondary effects of the bombing after they ran back into the tunnel following the Israeli strike, “not as a result of the explosion.”
The army also denies Palestinian media reports that it used gases and other chemicals to increase the lethality of the attack.
“There was no intention in any way or at any stage to hurt senior figures,” IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis says. “Those people died in their own territory.”
Manelis adds that the army holds Hamas “responsible for what happens above- and below-ground.”
The comments come after both the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas released their own statements, threatening retaliation.
In Arabic, the IDF writes on Twitter that it acted “in a legitimate manner” when it “blew up a terrorist tunnel where it violated Israeli sovereignty.”