The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded Sunday. Find our previous liveblog here.
France launches hunt for terrorists’ accomplices
Security has been stepped up at tourists sites and high profile events across the West in the wake of Friday’s deadly terror attack in Paris, that left 129 dead and 99 more critically injured. At the same time, people across the world have expressed solidarity with France in its fight against terror.
French authorities have launched a manhunt for those involved in the attack, with the help of other governments, including the FBI.
Victims from the attack have begun to be identified, along with the bombers and gunmen, apparently from the Islamic State, who wreaked havoc across central Paris.
After attacks, tight security at first Oscars of season
Tight security following the Paris terror attacks is in effect at Saturday night’s seventh annual Governors Awards, where Spike Lee, Gena Rowlands and Debbie Reynolds are to receive the first Oscars of Hollywood’s award season.
Los Angeles police say security for the star-studded ceremony at the Hollywood & Highland Center will likely be increased in the wake of the attacks, as it will at several other high-profile events around the city on Saturday night.
Police say there are no known threats against the city, but the department is beefing up patrols as a precaution.
“If it falls under our jurisdiction, in light of what happened yesterday, you would think you’d have extra patrols out there,” Los Angeles Police spokesman Mike Lopez says Saturday. “Event security details would be doing that as well … especially if you have celebrities going in that venue.”
Second close call for survivor of Bataclan attack
The family of an Italian man says he had a second lucky escape on Saturday when he emerged from the bloodiest scene of the Paris attacks with only a slight injury, 30 years after surviving the deadly Heysel stadium disaster in Brussels.
Massimiliano Natalucci’s family tells Italian newspaper Corriere Adriatico that the 45-year-old escaped with only scratches on one leg in the Bataclan attack, which left 89 people dead.
A friend who attended the concert by the California rock band Eagles of Death Metal with him was not so lucky, and had to undergo an operation on Saturday after being hit in the shoulder.
“The terrorists were just three metres from them the whole time,” Natalucci’s father tells the paper.
Almost exactly 30 years ago, on May 29, 1985, Natalucci, aged 15, was with his father and uncle at the Heysel stadium in Brussels for the European Cup final when a wall collapsed, killing 39 people.
NFL to step up security at football games
The National Football League in the US plans to up security at games across the country Sunday in the wake of the Paris attacks.
The NFL says it had been in contact with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI and plans increased security inside and outside stadiums on Sunday. League officials are discouraging fans from bringing bags.
One of the attackers Friday attempted to enter a Paris soccer match before being turned away and blowing himself up. Two other bombings also took place near the stadium, which could be heard during the game.
— with Agencies
Video shows first moments of Bataclan attack
Video has emerged of the first moments of an attack during a concert at the Bataclan theater, which left 89 people dead, as attackers set off explosions and sprayed gunfire through a crowd.
In the video, the band Eagles of Death Metal can be seen playing before loud shots are heard. The band stops playing as the shots ring out and some members immediately duck for cover.
Ya’alon: French should have cracked down before attacks
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon says the Paris attacks show Europe needs to make a change in the way it fights terror.
He calls a French version of the US Patriot Act, which gave authorities wider leeway to carry out surveillance and other activities for national security in the wake of the January attacks in France, not far-reaching enough.
“They understood that there was danger but there were steps they needed to take beforehand that they didn’t take,” he tells Army Radio.
Obama lands in Turkey for G-20 talks under shadow of attacks
US President Barack Obama has arrived in Turkey after an overnight flight from Washington, and is greeted on the tarmac by Turkish officials and the US ambassador. He is scheduled to discuss the Paris terror attacks in a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before beginning broader discussions with Group of 20 leaders.
French President Francois Hollande said Islamic State militants were behind the attacks and the extremist group claimed responsibility Saturday. The White House said it had “no information to contradict the initial French assessment.”
Obama’s itinerary, which also includes stops in the Philippines and Malaysia, is not expected to be impacted by the terror attacks. There were also no immediate changes in his plans to travel to Paris in two weeks for a high-stakes climate conference, a meeting of world leaders that will require an enormous security presence.
Verdict of 16 IS members caught in Jordan due today
A court in Jordan is expected to rule today on 16 members of a cell from the Islamic State terror group caught earlier this year in the Hashemite kingdom.
According to Israel Radio, most members of the cell are Syrians. The indictment alleges that they were planning to recruit Jordanian nationals and Syrian refugees living in Jordan to the ranks of the organization, in return for large sums of money.
Iranians hold vigil outside French embassy in Tehran
Around 100 Iranians have held a candlelight vigil in front of the French Embassy in Tehran to mourn the victims of the Paris attacks.
The gathering late Saturday is reported by the Shargh daily, a reformist newspaper. The paper reports Sunday that some of those gathered had posted hand-written messages of condolence on nearby walls.
The attacks in Paris, which killed 129 people and were claimed by the Islamic State group, have been condemned by political and religious leaders across the Muslim world. Iran has provided training and other support to forces battling the extremist group in neighboring Iraq.
Free Gaza Movement leader hints at Israeli involvement in attacks
The leader of the Free Gaza Movement, Mary Hughes-Thompson, has tweeted a message implying that Israel may be behind the Paris terror attacks.
“I haven’t accused Israel of involvement. Still, Bibi is upset about the European settlement boycott. So who knows,” she writes, using a nickname for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
This isn’t the first time Hughes-Thompson has suggested Israeli involvement behind attacks on France. In January, she surmised that the Mossad could have carried out a deadly attack on the editorial offices of magazine Charlie Hebdo, an attack which was carried out by two Islamist brothers.
“#Hebdo killings indefensible. Can’t help thinking #JSIL Mossad false flag though….”
JSIL is the acronym for “Jewish State in the Levant,” a term being used by anti-Israel activists to equate Israel with ISIS.
I haven't accused Israel of involvement. Still, Bibi is upset about the European settlement boycott. So who knows? https://t.co/qkoUXhzcm1
— Mary Hughes-Thompson (@Mariapalestina) November 14, 2015
Envoy to France says attacks may lead to closer cooperation
Israel’s ambassador to France, Aliza Ben Nun, says that Friday night’s attacks may lead to increased cooperation between Jerusalem and Paris, a process which began with the terror attacks at the Charlie Hebdo editorial office and the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris in January this year.
“The entire French system internalized [this] and changed course,” she tells the Walla news site. “I am certain that the events of Friday night will give another push to what has already started over the last year, there may be additional cooperation [with Israel] on security matters.”
Ben Nun says there are noticeably more stringent security checks in public places, “things we have not seen in Europe in the past. The situation has changed, Evidently, there is no escaping it,” she says.
Far-right leader: France must ‘annihilate’ extremists
France must “annihilate” Islamist extremists and regain control of its borders, National Front leader Marine Le Pen says in a press conference on Saturday.
The leader of the far-right party says “urgent action is necessary. Islamist fundamentalism must be annihilated, France must ban Islamist organizations, close radical mosques and expel foreigners who preach hatred in our country as well as illegal migrants who have nothing to do here.”
Israeli students in Paris ‘we are prepared for this’
Several Israeli students in Paris on student exchange programs were drinking at a pub with French students when the terror attacks occurred on Friday
“After a meal we went to the pub, a few friends, when we suddenly got notifications on our phones on a series of explosions and suspicions that a multiple casualty attack took place,” Or Naor, a Hebrew University student living in Paris on student exchange tells Channel 2. “We immediately began receiving messages from our families checking that we were alright. At this stage we didn’t really know what it’s all about but little by little as details emerged we started realizing the scope of this disaster.”
Naor says the French friends took time to internalize it, get out of there and go back home, but that the Israelis “immediately went back to the apartments and watched the news to the late hours of the night. But we are well-drilled; this is the main difference from the French. People who live in Jerusalem know what terrorism means.
University classes were suspended for a day following the attacks. All campus events for the coming week were canceled, the Israeli students say.
Shin Bet nabs suspect in Litman family terror attack
The Shin Bet security service arrested a suspect in a terror attack Friday in which a father and son were killed while traveling in their car.
During the operation, following an extensive manhunt, the gun with which Rabbi Yaakov Litman and his son Netanel were killed was found, as well as a car used for perpetrating the attack.
The suspect made comments during his initial investigation that implicate him in the attack, Shin Bet says in a statement. The manhunt was conducted in cooperation with the IDF.
SAS troops deployed in London, amid terror fears
Around 50 highly-trained troops are in London as intelligence chiefs told British Prime Minister David Cameron that there had been no warning Paris would be attacked, the UK paper the Daily Star reports.
The elite Special Air Services regiment is based at a secret location on the outskirts of London and is on high alert ready to respond to any attack, the paper reports.
Former head of counter intelligence at the Cabinet Office Richard Kemp says, “Uppermost in the minds of intelligence chiefs today is the prospect of both coordinated attacks and inspired attacks.”
The SAS has not been deployed in London since the 7/7 attacks in 2005. Fifty-two people were killed in the July 7 attacks.
IS jihadist blows himself up in Turkey, wounds 4 police officers
A suspected Islamic State jihadist blew himself up in southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, during a police raid late Saturday, injuring four police officers, one seriously, media reports say.
The militant activated explosives attached to his body when police raided an apartment in a 10-story building in the town of Gaziantep, the Dogan news agency says.
Car used by terrorists found east of Paris
A car used by the terrorists who sprayed machine gun fire in one of the locations of the terror attack in Paris on Friday was found in a suburb east of Paris this morning.
According to reports in several media outlets, the black Seat vehicle was used by the gunmen.
In Brussels a man was arrested who rented a car that later appeared at the scene of the deadliest attack in the Bataclan club.
French police are still hunting for terrorists and are working on the assumption that some of them are still at large.
Kremlin says ‘too soon’ to speak of Russian-Western rapprochement
A spokesman for the Kremlin was quoted by Reuters as saying it was still “too soon” to speak of rapprochement between Russia and the West after the Paris terror attacks.
The comments come two days after the deadly attacks in Paris in which at least 129 people died and two weeks after a Russian plane crashed in Sinai, killing all 224 passengers and crew members on board.
Both attacks were claimed by Sunni terror group Islamic State.
Russian President Vladimir Putin landed today in Antalya, Turkey, for the G20 summit, and so did US President Barack Obama. Last week a Russian spokesman said Putin would hold talks with the leaders of Britain and Germany but not with Obama. According to the Kremlin the attacks in G20 would not affect Putin’s schedule and he is still not expected to hold bilateral talks with the American leader.
‘You cannot defeat IS unless you retake Syria’
A senior research at the Institute of National Security Studies says that Islamic State cannot be defeated without dislodging the terror group from Syria.
Speaking to Hebrew website Ynet, Yoram Schweizer says: “Without removing Islamic State from control in Syria and Iraq it will not be dealt with.
“Reality in Syria is complicated because everyone knows that if you dismantle IS you strengthen Assad. It will be a full-frontal collision with them but it can be done,” he says.
Italian paper under fire for anti-Islam headline
A right-wing Italian paper is under fire for a blunt leading headline: Bastardi Islamici.
The two-word title, meaning “Muslim bastards” were splashed across seven columns in the Saturday edition of Libero. An overline reads “Attacks in Paris” and the underline emphasizes that the attackers cried “Allahu Akbar” when they fired their guns.
According to Hebrew language website Ynet, a lawsuit was filed against the paper.
Egypt finds 15 dead African migrants near Israel border
Egyptian police officers find the bodies of 15 African migrants near the border between Sinai and Israel, Reuters reports.
The migrants appeared to have been shot dead, a local security source says.
Another eight migrants were wounded in the attack, the sources are quoted by Reuters as saying. Ambulances rushed to the scene south of the town of Rafah on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. It is unclear who attacked the migrants or where they came from.
‘Some 450 Britons trained in Syria for IS, then returned’
Scotland Yard is investigating 600 terror cases related to Syria and Iraq, the Daily Telegraph reports today.
Charles Farr, director of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, is quoted by the paper as saying that Islamic State is inspiring British nationals who “couldn’t go” to IS-controlled territories in Syria or Iraq to “undertake attacks” independently inside the UK.
“About 750 [British citizens] of interest to the security and intelligence services” traveled to Syria; “about 60 percent have returned,” he says. Up to 70 Britons had been killed in fighting, the Telegraph quotes Farr as saying.
According to the paper, the new figures presented on the eve of the Paris attacks are dramatically higher than previous estimates, which put the number at 350, less than half.
Obama vows to ‘redouble’ efforts to fight IS
US President Barack Obama vows to stand by France in hunting down the Paris attackers and to “redouble” efforts to wipe out the Islamic State jihadist network.
After a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Obama says the two leaders agreed to show solidarity with France in tracking down the perpetrators of the Paris assaults and to boost the campaign to “eliminate” the Islamic State group.
They were meeting at the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey.
PM — Abbas should condemn attacks in Israel, too
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spokesperson says Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, after condemning the Paris terror attacks, should also condemn “ruthless terrorism against innocent people in Israel.”
PM Netanyahu: PA President Abbas, who condemned the #ParisAttacks, should condemn the ruthless terrorism against innocent people in Israel.
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) November 15, 2015
Prayer for victims tonight at Paris synagogue
A “prayer and contemplation” ceremony will be held this evening at 8 p.m. Paris time in the Grande Synagogue de la Victoire.
The Consistoire Central, a union of Jewish communities in France, said in a press statement that “in homage to the victims of terror attacks in Paris on Friday November 13, the chief rabbi of France, Haim Korsia, the president of the Consistoire, Joel Mergui, and the chief rabbi of Paris, Michel Gugenheim, will preside over the ceremony.
The synagogue is located at 44 Rue de la Victoire, in the 9th arrondissement of Paris.
Passport of Egyptian man belongs to victim, not attacker, officials say
The Egyptian ambassador to France, Ihab Badawi, said that the Egyptian passport found after the Paris attacks belongs to a man called Waleed Abdel-Razzak.
Abdel-Razzak, according to Egyptian website Al Ahram, sustained severe injuries in the bombing.
Badawi said the media “incorrectly” described Abdel-Razzak as a suspect in the bombings that hit the French capital.
“No charges have been directed at Abdel-Razzak at all,” Badawi said in a phone call with a daily TV show on privately owned CBC channel.
Head of the Egyptian community in France, Salah Farhoud, echoes Badawi’s comments. In a separate television interview Farhoud says the passport found by the French police belongs to a “football fan named Walid Abdel-Razzak.”
Abdel-Razzak’s condition was critical and he has undergone several surgeries, Badawi says.
Netanyahu: Israel no more at fault for terror than France
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says “the time has come” for the world to condemn terror attacks against Jews in Israel as it does the attacks that took place Friday night in Paris.
At the cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu also updates ministers with the news that the “despicable terrorist who murdered Yaakov and Netanel Litman” was caught by security forces.
“Yesterday I spoke with the wife [of Ya’akov] and mother [of Netanel], Noa, and told her the entire nation aches in the double tragedy she and her children suffered. We will bring the killer to justice and continue to fight terrorism,” he vows. The father and son were killed in a shooting attack Friday near the West Bank settlement of Otniel.
“Now, hours after the murder in Otniel, terrorists went on a ruthless terror attack in Paris and murdered innocents,” he says. “In Israel, as in France, terrorism is terrorism, and the force standing behind it is radical Islam and its wish to destroy its victims.
“It is time for states to condemn terrorism against us like they condemn terrorism anywhere else in the world. It is appropriate that [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas, who condemned yesterday the attack in France, will condemn the cruel terrorism against innocents in Israel and fight the incitement fueling it,” Netanyahu says.
The prime minister says Israelis should remember “we are not at fault for the terrorism directed at us just as the French are not at fault for the terrorism directed at them. Those who are at fault for terrorism are the terrorists. Not the territories, not the settlements nor any other factor – it is the will to destroy us that keeps the conflict alive and motivates murderous aggression against us.”
Paris attack victims ‘mostly young’
The New York Times offers a poignant portrait of what is known about the victims of Friday’s simultaneous terror attacks in Paris, France, as information trickles from the investigating authorities.
It depicts the families and their anguish.
Throughout the day, families struggled to find information about missing loved ones. They visited hospitals and morgues and turned to social media, posting photographs and messages to Twitter using hashtags like #rechercheParis, or Paris search.
And it hints at the tragically young age of the victims.
As the world joined Parisians in mourning for the people killed in Friday’s terrorist attacks, the identities of the victims, who included a young lawyer, a music critic and an American college student, slowly began to emerge…. Many of the victims appeared to be young people out on a cool autumn night enjoying dinner at a cafe or a concert at one of Paris’s most popular locations. By Saturday, Paris was a different place, with public spaces like museums, schools, libraries and markets shuttered, and the daily rhythms of one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities silenced.
Knesset panel okays 2016 defense budget that could reach NIS 60 billion
The Knesset Joint Committee on the Defense Budget approves a 2016 defense budget of 56.1 billion shekels ($14.44 billion).
The figure includes the army and Defense Ministry, but not other security services such as the Shin Bet, Mossad or others.
Committee chairman MK Tzachi Hanegby praised lawmakers’ “uncompromising stance” in favor of a larger defense allocation, which he said would enable it to carry out “its operational missions.”
The defense budget passed 8-4 in the committee, and will be added to the broader government budget bill that the Knesset will be considering throughout this week.
The budget marks a compromise between the NIS 54 billion offered by Finance Ministry officials and the NIS 62 billion requested by the military.
As part of the compromise, NIS 3 billion ($770 million) more will be added to the budget during the year if the army carries out some financial and personnel reforms demanded by the Treasury, and a further billion ($260 million) will be paid out to compensate for rising cost indices and inflation.
In all, the IDF and Defense Ministry could cost taxpayers as much as NIS 60 billion ($15.44 billion) in 2016 — assuming no major conflict ups the nation’s military expenditures.
Egypt police kill 15 Sudanese migrants at Israel border
EL-ARISH, Egypt — Egyptian officials in the Sinai Peninsula say police killed 15 Sudanese migrants and wounded another eight who were trying to jump the border fence into Israel.
The officials say police opened fire on the migrants Sunday after they ignored warning shots and sprinted toward the fence. The security forces arrested another eight Sudanese migrants who were not wounded.
Israel’s Interior Ministry says more than 45,000 African migrants and asylum seekers are in Israel. Many say they are fleeing conflict and persecution and are seeking refugee status. Israel says most are economic migrants.
All Egyptian officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
UN chief: Response to Paris attacks should follow rule of law
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says that the response to the Paris attacks should be “robust, but always within the rule of law.”
Speaking in Antalya, Turkey, at a meeting of the Group of 20 summit of leading rich and developing nations, Ban says the response must respect human rights: “Otherwise we will only fan the fire we are trying to put out.”
He is also cautioning against action that would “only perpetuate the cycle of hatred and violence.”
World leaders are discussing how to step up the fight against the Islamic State group following the attacks in Paris this week that killed 129 people. But no concrete proposals have emerged as the summit gets underway.
Violence in the name of God is ‘blasphemy,’ pope decrees
Pope Francis once again condemns the Paris terror attacks, calling it “blasphemy” to use the name of God to justify “violence and hatred.”
The pope expresses shock at the “barbarity” of the attacks and tells followers in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday that “we wonder how can it come to the heart of man to conceive and carry out of such horrible events.”
The pope adds that “the road of violence and hatred does not resolve humanity’s problems. And using the name of God to justify this road is blasphemy.”
Francis expresses his deepest condolences to French President Francois Hollande and to the French people.
MK slams defense budget debate as ‘unprofessional’
The 2016 defense budget passed handily in the Knesset Joint Committee on the Defense Budget earlier today, giving the army as much as NIS 60 billion for the year. But not everyone is pleased.
MK Shelly Yachimovich (Zionist Union), a member of the committee, was one of the four who voted against the proposed budget (eight voted for).
The reason, she explains, was the “unprofessional” way the budget was brought to the Knesset.
“I refuse to take part in approving a fictional budget that everyone knows is a pretense,” she says. “The shallow and lackadaisical handling of the issue does immense damage to the IDF’s planning ability and harms national security. It turns the entire state budget into a bad joke, since everyone understands it won’t be followed.”
The defense budget of NIS 56.1 billion, with up to NIS 3 billion more to be added if the army implements certain reforms demanded by Treasury officials, is a compromise figure reached after months of acrimonious jockeying between the defense and finance ministries.
Jerusalem to hold solidarity rally Sunday with French nation
The Jerusalem municipality announces a solidarity rally with the French nation scheduled for 7:30 p.m. local time at City Hall.
The event will be chaired by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Jerusalem’s two chief rabbis Shlomo Amar and Aryeh Stern, members of city council and other officials, and leaders of the French-speaking community in the city.
France’s consul in Jerusalem, Hervé Magro, will represent France at the event.
Two Jews may be among Paris dead
A Chabad rabbi in the 11th arrondissement in Paris, where the Friday terror attacks took place, says the Jewish community believes there were two Jews, a man and a woman, among the 129 victims.
There are no details about the identities of the two except the rabbi’s statement to Israel’s Army Radio Sunday.
New 2016 defense budget ‘neglects’ Gaza periphery, says MK
Criticism of the 2016 defense budget approved earlier today by the Knesset Joint Committee on the Defense Budget continues.
The NIS 56.1 billion budget does not fund an anti-tunnel obstacle along the border with Hamas-ruled Gaza, complains MK Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid), a former mayor of the Eshkol Regional Council that borders the Gaza Strip.
The Eshkol area has been hit by thousands of rockets from Gaza in recent years, and residents fear a future conflict will see an increase in Hamas’s efforts to tunnel into their villages and towns to carry out terror attacks.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon “have turned the residents of the Gaza periphery into hostages in the political fight over the defense budget,” Jellin charges.
“The prime minister and defense minister left the [Gaza border] obstacle out of the current budget, and so broke their promise to these residents. The MKs who voted for the defense budget today bear responsibility for the next disaster in the Gaza periphery. The government of Israel continues to lie and to neglect the residents of the Gaza periphery,” he charges.
Sarkozy urges working with Russia against IS in Syria
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is calling for a change in France’s Syria policy and suggests working with Russia to “destroy” the Islamic State group.
Sarkozy, head of the conservatives, says, “we need everyone…. There can’t be two coalitions in Syria.”
He speaks following his meeting with French President Francois Hollande.
France is part of the US-led coalition that has been striking IS targets in Syria and Iraq for the past year.
Sarkozy says tight security must not only protect the upcoming UN climate conference in Paris but also all French people. So far 127 world leaders are expected to attend the first day of the climate conference on November 30.
Hollande is meeting Sunday with opposition leaders, including popular far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen.
Iraqi Kurds find mass graves in formerly IS-held Sinjar
Kurdish fighters uncover two mass graves outside Sinjar, a northern Iraqi town near the Syrian border that was ruled by the Islamic State group for more than a year before the extremists were driven out last week.
Qasim Samir, the Iraqi Kurdish director of intelligence in Sinjar, says Sunday that the first grave contains 78 bodies of elderly women. A second grave contains between 50 and 60 bodies of men, women and children.
The Islamic State group captured Sinjar during its rampage across northern Iraq in the summer of 2014 and killed and captured thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority, including women forced into sexual slavery.
Kurdish forces backed by US-led airstrikes pushed the extremist group out of the town in a two-day operation last week.
WATCH: IDF troops arrest Otniel attack terror suspect
The IDF releases footage of soldiers from the Duvdevan (“Cherry”) Unit arresting a suspect in the Friday terror attack near Otniel in which Yaakov Litman and his son Netanel were murdered.
The video shows troops entering a West Bank building near Hebron in the dead of night, rushing up a stairwell in an apartment building and breaking into the suspect’s apartment.
It is being made public by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, likely as a message to potential attackers that the IDF can reach them inside Palestinian population centers.
Lebanon detains 7 Syrian, 2 Lebanese terror suspects
Lebanon detains seven Syrians and two Lebanese suspected of involvement in planning terrorist attacks, including a twin bombing last week, and smuggling extremists into the country.
Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk announces the arrests Sunday, three days after a twin suicide attack in a southern Beirut suburb killed 43 people and wounded more than 200.
Machnouk says the attackers were planning to strike the Rasoul al-Aazm hospital, which is run by Hezbollah, but changed their minds because of tight security.
He says they instead targeted a busy street near the hospital during rush hour on Thursday evening. Machnouk says the attack was to involve five suicide bombers, but one was detained and two did not enter Lebanon.
The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group.
EU: Attacks on Syria opposition create refugees
European Union President Donald Tusk says signs have emerged that attacks on moderate opposition forces in Syria are creating a new flood of refugees.
Tusk tells reporters at the G20 summit in Turkey on Sunday that such attacks will “only result (in) a new wave of refugees. And we have some signals that in fact it’s started.”
The US and its allies say Russian warplanes in Syria have mostly targeted moderate opponents of President Bashar Assad instead of their declared main target, the Islamic State group.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the allegations.
Tusk did not mention Russia by name but said that the Islamic State is “the real enemy of the free world, not the moderate Syrian opposition.”
Number of suspects held in Belgium for Paris attacks rises to 7
Four additional suspects in the Paris terror attacks are arrested in recent hours in the Belgian capital.
The arrests bring the total number of suspects known to be in custody to seven. Three were arrested in a Brussels apartment yesterday.
At least 129 were killed in the attacks.
Several findings in the early investigation point to a Belgian base of operations for the attacks. A French prosecutor says today that a car used by the perpetrators, found abandoned Saturday in eastern Paris, was rented in Belgium. A Belgian official also says two of the terrorists who died in the Friday attacks were French citizens living in Brussels.
El Al plane lands in Montana after engine malfunction
An El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles carries out an emergency landing in Billings, Montana, after pilots discovered a problem in one of the plane’s engines.
After instruments reported a technical malfunction in one of the Boeing 777’s engines, pilots shut off the engine and radioed for an emergency landing site while the flight was still two hours away from Los Angeles.
“We apologize for the inconvenience,” an El Al spokesperson says. “El Al views safety as our highest value, and does not compromise on even the slightest concern.”
The airline promised to investigate the malfunction, and to get the 276 passengers and crew temporarily stranded in Billings to their destination as quickly as possible.
Medical checkup finds President Rivlin in ‘excellent health’
President Reuven Rivlin is in “excellent health,” his doctors say after a checkup today at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.
The regular checkups include blood, heart and lung tests, according to the NRG news site.
The president keeps to his fitness regimen and eats well, doctors report after passing him with flying colors.
France to deploy 10,000 troops to protect population centers
European media outlets are reporting that France may deploy as many as 10,000 soldiers to population centers as officials scramble to ramp up security in the wake of Friday’s terror attacks in Paris that killed 129 and wounded 352, 99 of them critically.
Suspected killer of Israeli father and son identified
Palestinian sources are identifying the suspected killer of Yaakov and Netanel Litman in a Friday terror attack near Hebron.
He is Shadi Mutawa, a resident of Hebron.
He was arrested by IDF troops on Saturday night, and is said by Israel to be a member of the Islamic Jihad terror group.
Footage of the IDF arrest raid was publicized by the army earlier today.
Manhunt underway for eighth Paris attack suspect
French authorities are hunting for an eighth suspect linked to Friday’s terror attacks in Paris.
Seven suspects are already being held by Belgian authorities.
France mulls extending state of emergency beyond 12 days
France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls says Paris may extend the state of emergency declared Friday beyond the original 12 days.
The state of emergency “gives sweeping investigating powers to police,” the Financial Times explains, but extending it beyond the initial period would require parliamentary approval.
The measure may be one thing French President Francois Hollande will discuss with lawmakers when he addresses both houses of parliament in Versailles on Monday.
Obama, Putin huddle on sidelines of G-20 summit
US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have held an informal meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 economic summit in Turkey.
The two leaders chatted in a foursome with Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice and a Russian aide. Their meeting was visible on a television feed provided by the summit’s host country of Turkey, but their conversation couldn’t be heard. Reporters weren’t allowed in for the meeting, which took place during a working lunch for leaders attending the summit.
— Erin Cunningham (@erinmcunningham) November 15, 2015
Obama and Putin both leaned in close to each other as they talked, with Obama gesturing expressively with his hands.
The huddle comes as the US, Russia and other countries pursue a new diplomatic plan to try to end Syria’s civil war.
Palestinians throw rocks at Israeli driver south of Jerusalem
An Israeli vehicle was pelted with rocks by Palestinians in the Etzion bloc in the West Bank south of Jerusalem.
The Israeli driver fired in the air and fled the scene.
No one was hurt in the attack.
Cabinet establishes new development agency for Druze, Circassians
The cabinet approves the establishment of a socioeconomic development agency for Israel’s Druze and Circassian minorities.
The new agency will implement a previous cabinet decision that commits some NIS 2.4 billion ($620 million) toward development projects in towns and villages inhabited by the two communities.
Some 4,000 Circassians live in Israel, descendants of Sunni Muslims pushed out of the Caucasus region by Russia in the 19th century. There are over 130,000 Druze in Israel. They are an Arabic-speaking community with their own distinct monotheistic religion living mainly in the Galilee.
Both communities serve in the IDF alongside Jewish Israelis, and both complain about the lack of investment in their villages and towns.
Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara, himself a Druze, notes in the cabinet meeting that all other recognized minorities already have similar agencies coordinating government investment in infrastructure, education and welfare in their communities.
He accuses past Israeli governments of “negligence.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to agree, telling ministers at the cabinet meeting that the new agency “corrects a great injustice done to the Druze and Circassians.”
French planes said flying over Libyan IS stronghold
French warplanes are reportedly flying over the Libyan city of Sirte, according to eyewitnesses cited by Al-Arabiya.
Sirte is controlled by Islamic State, the Walla news site notes. The terror group killed 129 and wounded over 300 in a wave of terror attacks in Paris on Friday, leading France’s President Francois Hollande to vow retribution.
On Saturday, American officials said a US airstrike killed the most senior leader of IS’s affiliate in Libya.
Cabinet okays 0% VAT on public transport, water, electricity
The cabinet approves removing the value-added tax of 17% on public transportation, water and electricity for Israel’s poor.
The initiative was proposed by Shas chairman Aryeh Deri, a former economy minister who now holds the periphery development portfolio.
The decision charges Deri and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon with implementing the 0% VAT on public transportation, water and electricity for the poor by January 1, the Globes business journal reports.
“The decision will benefit mainly the economically disadvantaged and those we have to help,” Deri says.
The measure is opposed by the Finance Ministry, where officials have said they prefer tax reforms that more directly benefit the working poor, such as increases to the negative income tax.
Fatah equates Paris terror and Israel, ignores Palestinian attacks
Palestinian groups are wielding the Paris attacks in their battle with Israel over vocabulary and narrative.
Fatah, the faction of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, says on its website that the Paris terror attacks on Friday that killed 129 in the French capital is the same “terror” as Israeli actions in the West Bank. It neglects to mention Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians, whether the suicide bombings or rocket fire of past years or the wave of stabbing attacks against Israelis in recent weeks.
“Terror is terror,” says Fatah. “Terror is terror, and we condemn all terror, be it destroying houses in Nablus and killing our children by Israel or hitting a Russian plane over Egypt. The Paris attacks are criminal acts done by coward terrorists.”
From Fatah's Facebook page re Paris attacks: pic.twitter.com/Mj2JRxonuz
— Grant Rumley (@GrantRumley) November 15, 2015
3 brothers were involved in Paris attacks, one unaccounted for
Three brothers were involved in the Paris attacks that claimed 129 lives, of whom one may still be at large, sources close to the investigation say Sunday.
One brother died in the attacks late Friday, the sources say. One is in custody in Belgium but it is unclear whether he took part in the rampage, while the third either took part and died during the attacks or is at large, they add.
Otniel terrorist handed over to Shin Bet by own family
The Shin Bet security agency officially identifies the suspect in the Friday terror attack that killed Yaakov and Netanel Litman near Hebron.
The Shin Bet’s statement confirms Palestinian reports from earlier today. The suspect, arrested last night in Hebron by IDF troops, is Shadi Ahmad Mutawa, age 28, married with two children.
Mutawa is tied to the Islamic Jihad organization, the agency says.
The Sunday night statement sheds new light on the arrest, revealing that Mutawa’s father and brother decided to turn Mutawa in to the IDF in an apparent bid to prevent Israel from demolishing the family home.
The Shin Bet says the suspect confessed his guilt in his interrogation, and IDF troops found the firearm used in the shooting attack in Mutawa’s home, while the car used in the attack was found parked nearby.
Lebanese note the global outpouring for Paris, but not for Beirut
The New York Times delves into the sense of abandonment felt by many Lebanese as the world lavishes attention and sympathy on Paris while ignoring their own terrorism trauma the day before:
Around the crime scenes in south Beirut and central Paris alike, a sense of shock and sadness lingered into the weekend, with cafes and markets quieter than usual. The consecutive rampages, both claimed by the Islamic State, inspired feelings of shared, even global vulnerability — especially in Lebanon, where many expressed shock that such chaos had reached France, a country they regarded as far safer than their own.
But for some in Beirut, that solidarity was mixed with anguish over the fact that just one of the stricken cities — Paris — received a global outpouring of sympathy akin to the one lavished on the United States after the 9/11 attacks.
Monuments around the world lit up in the colors of the French flag; presidential speeches touted the need to defend “shared values”; Facebook offered users a one-click option to overlay their profile pictures with the French tricolor, a service not offered for the Lebanese flag. On Friday the social media giant even activated Safety Check, a feature usually reserved for natural disasters that lets people alert loved ones that they are unhurt; they had not activated it the day before for Beirut.
Official PA daily: Israel carried out Paris attacks
A Sunday op-ed in the official Palestinian Authority daily al-Hayat al-Jadidah blames Israel’s Mossad for the Paris attack. (Full story is here.)
The op-ed was translated by Palestinian Media Watch.
“It is not a coincidence that human blood was exploded in Paris at the same time that certain European sanctions are beginning to be implemented against settlement products, and while France leads Europe in advising the security council that will implement the two-state solution, Palestine and Israel — which the Israelis see as a warning of sudden danger coming from the direction of Europe, where the Zionist, occupying, settling endeavor was born….
“The wise and correct thing is to look for who benefits. In short: They need to search the last place reached by the octopus arms of the Mossad… It is clear that its ‘Mossad’ will burn Beirut and Paris in order to achieve [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s goals. He, who challenged the master of the White House, hides in his soul enough evil to burn the world.”
World leaders hold moment of silence for Paris victims
Leaders of the world’s wealthiest economies hold a minute of silence in honor of the victims of the Paris attacks as well as those who perished in other attacks.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invites the Group of 20 leaders to stand in silence at an opening session Sunday of their two-day summit meeting near the Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya.
Erdogan says the minute of silence is to commemorate the victims of the Paris attacks, those who died in twin suicide bombings last month in the Turkish capital, Ankara, as well as victims of attacks elsewhere.
The summit is focusing on ways to step up the fight against the Islamic State group following the Paris attacks.
Shin Bet releases photos of Otniel terrorist’s gun, car
The Shin Bet releases photos of the firearm and car used by suspected terrorist Shadi Matua to kill Rabbi Yaakov Litman and his teenage son Netanel in a Friday shooting attack near Hebron.
Merkel to attend Germany soccer match Tuesday despite security concerns
Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning to attend a soccer friendly between Germany and the Netherlands on Tuesday despite security concerns following the Paris attacks.
Germany was playing France in Paris on Friday when the attacks there took place, some in the vicinity of the stadium.
Merkel’s office on Sunday confirms a report by German daily Bild that she will be going to the match in Hanover, but didn’t provide details.
The newspaper quotes Merkel’s deputy, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, as saying that “now, of all times, we mustn’t be cowed.”
It isn’t immediately clear which other members of her cabinet are due to attend.
Mossad may be protecting Modi at Turkey G20 summit, paper claims
The Times of India wonders aloud if Mossad agents, together with their British MI5 colleagues, might be part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special protection detail as he attends the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, this week.
Indian security services upped the premier’s security deployment, the newspaper reports, following Friday’s terror attacks in Paris. The paper then offers some details, or perhaps some fevered speculation:
Special squads comprising unidentified foreign origin agents — speculated to be from Mossad and MI5 — have been roped in and dispatched to Turkey’s capital Ankara and Antalya where the G20 summit is to be held.
They will work with Indian agents and form additional cover for the PM [Modi] who is secured by the sleuths from the Special Protection Group and secret agents. Local agents from Turkey and neighboring Syria will remain in Antalya through the summit, it has been learnt.
The crisis possibilities in Turkey range from mass shootings to the venue being attacked either from the ground or air. Both situations will result in a lockdown.
The evacuation plan aims to get the PM out of any possible crisis including an aerial attack. An aircraft with a hefty remote security cover will be on standby in Turkey for Modi. It will be equipped with advanced radar and warning system, a separate defense and communication systems.
French president to ask parliament for 3-month state of emergency
French President Francois Hollande says he wants the state of emergency declared after the Paris attacks to last three months, parliamentary sources tell AFP, a move that would cover the upcoming UN climate conference.
“He told us he wanted the state of emergency to last three months,” one of the sources says.
Any extension to a state of emergency beyond 12 days requires parliamentary approval.
The 12-day UN conference, which will be attended by dozens of heads of state, begins on November 30.
Obama, Putin agree on need for UN-negotiated Syria ceasefire
US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed Sunday on the need for UN-sponsored peace talks and a ceasefire to resolve years of war in Syria, a White House official says.
The two leaders spoke during a short and unannounced summit meeting over a coffee table on the margins of a G20 summit in the Turkish resort of Antalya.
“President Obama and President Putin agreed on the need for a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition, which would be preceded by UN-mediated negotiations between the Syrian opposition and regime as well as a ceasefire,” the official tells reporters after the meeting.
The official, who wishes to remain anonymous, says Obama welcomed efforts by all nations to confront Islamic State jihadists in Syria amid Western suspicions that Russia’s intervention is really aimed at propping up Syrian President Bashar Assad.
A top Kremlin official says that while Moscow and Washington shared “strategic objectives” to fight Islamic State, divergences still exist.
“Differences on tactics still remain,” Putin’s foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov tells reporters on the sidelines of the summit.
Iraq warned of attacks before Paris assault
An Iraqi intelligence dispatch sent to coalition countries warned of imminent assaults by the Islamic State group just one day before last week’s deadly attacks in Paris that killed 129 people.
Iraqi intelligence says the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ordered an attack on coalition countries fighting against them in Iraq and Syria, as well as on Iran and Russia, “through bombings or assassinations or hostage taking in the coming days.”
Six senior Iraqi intelligence officials corroborate the information in the intelligence dispatch, and four of them say they warned France specifically of a potential attack.
An Associated Press reporter is shown a copy of the note Sunday.
French authorities identify two more Paris terrorists
French authorities say they have formally identified one of the suicide attackers at the national stadium and another man who attacked a restaurant in central Paris.
One of the men was 20 and the other was 31. Both were French nationals living in Belgium.
A third man, who died in the assault on the Bataclan concert hall, was identified earlier as 29-year-old Ismael Mostefai, a Frenchman with known ties to Islamic radicalism.
France issues warrant for 26-year-old suspected in Paris attacks
French authorities publish an arrest warrant for 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam, suspected of involvement in the November 13, 2015, terror attacks in Paris.
World leaders vow vigorous response to Paris terror, but no details
World leaders vow a vigorous response to the Islamic State group’s terror spree in Paris as they open a two-day meeting in Turkey on Sunday, with President Barack Obama calling the violence an “attack on the civilized world” and Russian President Vladimir Putin urging “global efforts” to confront the threat.
But beyond the tough talk and calls for action, there was little indication of how leaders intended to escalate the assault on the extremist group. The attacks in the heart of Europe — combined with earlier incidents in Lebanon and Turkey, as well as the downing of a Russian airliner in Egypt — suggest Islamic State is reaching beyond their base in Iraq and Syria, an expansion the West has feared.
“The skies have been darkened by the horrific attacks that took place in Paris just a day and a half ago,” Obama says shortly after arriving in Antalya, a seaside resort city just a few hundred miles from the Syrian border. He waves off a question from reporters about whether he would authorize additional action against IS.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the summit host, pledges leaders would produce a “strong message” about fighting international terrorism, though he, too, does not spell out specific steps.
Prosecutor offers details on 3 Paris suicide bombers
It is now known that at least three French suicide bombers were involved in the deadly attacks on Paris, Paris’s city prosecutor says on Sunday.
Two of them were living in the Belgian capital Brussels, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins says in a statement.
He says one of them was a 20-year-old man who blew himself up near the French national stadium, while the second, a 31-year-old man, detonated his explosives belt at a bar on the bustling Boulevard Voltaire.
Police had on Saturday identified the first of the attackers, naming him as 29-year-old Paris native Omar Ismail Mostefai and saying he was involved in the attack on the Bataclan music venue where 89 people were killed.
Mostefai, whose identity was confirmed using a severed fingertip, was known to the intelligence services as someone close to radical Islam, but he had never been linked to terrorism.
Paris death toll rises to 132, say hospital officials
Paris hospitals say the death toll in Friday’s Paris attacks has risen to 132 after three die Sunday of their wounds.
Of the 352 reported wounded after the attacks, 99 were said in critical condition, suggesting that the death toll may continue to rise in the coming days.
Paris police say report of gunfire was false alarm
Two French law enforcement officials say a collective panic in several Paris neighborhoods, including Plaza de Republique, was a false alarm. One of the officials says the crowd in the plaza apparently panicked after hearing firecrackers.
A French security official says someone had reached out to police in the plaza out of panic, and when officers arrived with weapons drawn, the crowd dispersed in fear.
The official calls it a moment of collective panic. The official has no information of any threats to the area.
Both officials aren’t authorized to be publicly named according to government policy.
Close by, panic broke out near a small Cambodian restaurant and a bar that were the scenes of shooting on Friday night and police were seen running with guns drawn.
Israeli driver unhurt after being firebombed near Hebron
Palestinians lob three firebombs at an Israeli driver traveling in the South Hebron Hills, near the settlement of Negohot, Sunday evening.
No one is hurt in the attack, Israel Radio reports.
Paris eatery owner’s friend recalls attack scene
Mourners gather in silence to lay white flowers outside a restaurant on Paris’s trendy rue de Charonne where attackers linked to the Islamic State group went on a rampage, killing 19 people and critically wounding nine others.
A friend of restaurant owner Gregory Reibenberg says he rushed to the scene shortly after the attack Friday evening. “The first thing I saw was my best friend Gregory picking up his dead wife, trying to run for help,” says Youssef Boudjema, who’d returned to the Belle Epoque restaurant Sunday.
Hundreds of mourners have been coming here over the past day and a half, leaving flowers and candles in honor of the victims.
French museums to reopen Monday, government says
France’s Ministry of Culture announces that the country’s famed museums and cultural institutions will reopen Monday.
They have been shuttered as part of a state of emergency declared on Friday following the deadly terror rampage in Paris carried out by Islamic State attackers that killed 132 and wounded over 300.
Paris terrorists communicated with IS in Syria before attack
The terrorists who carried out Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris had communicated beforehand with Islamic State in Syria, The New York Times reports.
The attackers in Friday’s terrorist assault in Paris communicated at some point beforehand with known members of the Islamic State in Syria, officials on both sides of the Atlantic say, adding evidence to the assertions that the radical group coordinated or helped carry out the attacks rather than simply inspiring them.
While the information made available so far about the links between the Islamic State and the Paris attackers was not definitive, it suggested at a minimum that the assailants had not acted totally on their own.
Describing the case for the group’s role, American and French officials said the attackers had operated with high levels of sophistication, beyond what would be expected of a plot in which the assailants were merely inspired to act by a radical group rather than being trained or equipped by it.
More details are at the NYT website.