Gazan shot by IDF on Saturday succumbs to wounds — Hamas-run health ministry
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Israel prepares for tense Friday, will send extra cops to Jerusalem Old City

After 3 attacks Thursday, thousands of officers to deploy around Temple Mount flashpoint during Al-Aqsa Mosque prayers

Police officers at the scene of a shooting attack near Lions Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, February 6, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Police officers at the scene of a shooting attack near Lions Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, February 6, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they unfolded.

Police officer lightly hurt in apparent stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City

A police officer is lightly injured in an apparent stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem, medics say.

The assailant is reportedly shot, but his condition is not immediately known.

The incident occurs outside the Temple Mount near the King Faisal Gate, also known as the Gate of Darkness.

— Judah Ari Gross

Netanyahu after car-ramming: ‘Terror will not overwhelm us’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes a statement in response to a car-ramming attack in Jerusalem in the early hours of Thursday in which 12 IDF soldiers were wounded, one seriously.

“On behalf of all the citizens of Israel, I send best wishes to our wounded soldiers,” Netanyahu says.

“It’s only a matter of time — and not much time — until we get our hands on the perpetrator. Terror will not overwhelm us, we will win!”

The ramming occurred shortly before 2 a.m. on Jerusalem’s David Remez Street near the First Station, a popular entertainment hub. Police said the driver of the vehicle fled the scene and “a large force of officers were carrying out searches.”

Merkel: Governor’s election with far-right help ‘inexcusable’

Chancellor Angela Merkel condemns as “inexcusable” the election of a new German state governor with the help of the far-right as well as her own party, and says that the result must not stand.

Wednesday’s surprise election of Thomas Kemmerich, a member of the small pro-business Free Democrats, as governor of the eastern state of Thuringia has turned into a major embarrassment for Germany’s mainstream center-right parties and revived questions about the future of the country’s governing coalition.

Kemmerich narrowly defeated a left-wing incumbent after the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, voted for him instead of its own candidate in the state legislature. Left-leaning parties and many in the center-right camp said that accepting votes from AfD broke a taboo and was unacceptable.

Kemmerich is holding out against mounting pressure to resign.

— AP

Police officer said lightly injured in Jerusalem shooting attack

In an update to incident in Jerusalem’s Old City, police say the officer was not stabbed but was shot in the attack.

“An assailant approached officers who were stationed near the Lions Gate and opened fire at them,” police say.

“Other officers responded quickly, firing at the assailant and neutralizing him,” police say.

The officer who was shot sustained injuries to his arm and was taken to the hospital for treatment, medics say.

— Judah Ari Gross

EU calls for end to Syria bombing and humanitarian access to Idlib

The EU calls for an end to the bombings in northwest Syria and the opening of a humanitarian corridor as Syrian forces push into the last rebel bastion of Idlib.

“Bombings and other attacks on civilians in northwest Syria must stop,” the EU’s diplomatic chief Josep Borrell says in a joint statement with the EU’s humanitarian affairs commissioner Janez Lenarcic.

The top European Union officials demand “unimpeded humanitarian access to people in need of assistance” as well “respect of humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.”

— AFP

EU envoy expresses concern about ‘rise of tensions’

The European Union’s ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, says he’s worried about “the rise of tensions and spike of violence” after two separate suspected terror attacks in Jerusalem injure several people.

“My thoughts are with the families of victims and I wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured,” he tweets. “Violence is never justified.”

— Raphael Ahren

Palestinian cop shot by IDF in Jenin dies of wounds

A Palestinian Authority police officer succumbed to bullet wounds he sustained in Jenin earlier on Thursday, the official PA news site Wafa reports.

PA Jenin Governor Akram Rajoub tells The Times of Israel that 25-year-old Tareq Badwan was hit by Israeli sniper fire while he was on the premises of a police station and wearing a uniform.

Footage shared on social media appears to show a PA police officer being shot at the entrance of a police station and then collapsing to the ground.

Israeli security forces were demolishing a home in Jenin early Thursday morning and clashes had broken out near the demolition site.

IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman says the circumstances under which Badwan was shot were unclear.

— Adam Rasgon

Jerusalem shooter killed; is identified as Haifa resident who converted to Islam

The assailant in the shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City is identified by police as an Arab Israeli resident of Haifa in his 40s who converted recently from Christianity to Islam.

He was shot dead after shooting and injuring a police officer.

Police minister praises cops for quick response to Jerusalem shooting

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan praises police officers for acting “quickly, determinedly and professionally” at the scene of the shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City, and “eliminating the terrorist.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on July 9, 2019. (Flash90)

“I wish a speedy recovery to the officer who was wounded and to the Golani fighter injured last night in a terror attack,” Erdan says in a tweet, also referring to a car-ramming attack on a group of IDF soldiers in the capital.

“We will not allow the despicable terrorists to erode security in Jerusalem and we will act in any way possible to thwart the plans by the terror groups to escalate tensions in the area.”

Shooting attack reported near settlement in central West Bank

A shooting attack is reported along a highway near the West Bank settlement of Dolev in the central West Bank, the military says.

There are no immediate reports on casualties.

If confirmed, it would be the third attack on Israelis in some twelve hours.

At least 1 person injured in West Bank shooting — medics

At least one person is injured in the shooting attack near the central West Bank settlement of Dolev, medics say.

According to the Magen David Adom ambulance service, the victim is fully conscious with a light injury.

— Judah Ari Gross

Israeli injured in West Bank drive-by shooting identified as soldier

The Israeli who was lightly wounded in a shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Dolev is identified by Hebrew-language media as an IDF soldier.

Officials say the attack appears to have been a drive-by shooting, with the assailant fleeing the scene.

German state premier offers to resign over far-right vote: party sources

The premier of Germany’s Thuringia state Thomas Kemmerich has offered to resign, paving the way for snap polls, sources from his liberal FDP party say, a day after he was voted into office with help from far-right lawmakers.

“Thomas Kemmerich wants to remove the stain of the AfD’s support from the office of the premiership,” the FDP’s Thuringia branch tells sources.

— AFP

Erdan to hold meeting to assess security situation

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan will later today hold a special meeting in Jerusalem’s Old City to assess the latest escalation in tensions and Palestinian attacks on Israelis, Hebrew-language media reports.

The report comes shortly after the third attack on Israelis today.

PA blames escalation on Trump peace plan; Hamas praises ‘revolution’

The office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas blames the latest escalation in tensions on US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan unveiled last month.

The so-called “deal of the century” has “created this atmosphere of escalation and tension by trying to impose fake facts on the ground, which we have repeatedly warned against,” says Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Abbas’s spokesperson, in a statement posted on the PA official site Wafa.

The Hamas terror group praises the latest attacks on Israelis, saying in a statement that “the revolution raging in the West Bank cities and in Jerusalem is the implementation of the Palestinian people’s decision to expel the occupation from the West Bank and free it of settlers.”

Netanyahu cancels planned press statement due to attacks

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancels a planned statement he planned to make at 4 p.m. on his Facebook page, in light of the security situation and the three attacks against Israelis today.

Instead, Netanyahu will hold security assessments in the field with security officials, Hebrew-language media reports.

IDF says manhunt ongoing for Dolev shooter; bullet grazed soldier’s head

The Israel Defense Forces says a gunman opened fire at a group of soldiers who were stationed near the Parsa Junction outside the Dolev settlement, northwest of Ramallah. The troops opened fire at the suspect and launched a manhunt to find him.

“A terrorist shot at IDF troops were in the area. An IDF soldier was lightly injured from the gunfire and was taken to the hospital for treatment,” the military says.

“IDF soldiers responded with gunfire at the terrorist and began searching for him.”

The soldier sustained a light wound to the head, with the bullet only grazing him, and was fully conscious, medics say.

— Judah Ari Gross

Arson balloon starts fire outside Israeli community near Gaza

A balloon attached to a flaming device lands in a field near the Gaza-adjacent community of Netiv Haasara in the Hof Ashkelon region, the regional council says in a statement.

The incendiary object, likely launched from Gaza by Palestinian terrorists, started a fire in the area.

Security staff are at the scene and “dealing with the incident,” the statement says.

German state premier quits a day after ‘unforgivable’ far right vote

The premier of Germany’s Thuringia state steps down and calls for snap elections, barely 24 hours after he was elected with the help of far-right AfD lawmakers in a vote Angela Merkel called “unforgivable.”

Thomas Kemmerich, from the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), says he will apply for the regional parliament to be dissolved in response to the outrage over his appointment, which drew comparisons with the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s.

“We want new elections to remove the stain of the AfD’s support from the office of the premiership,” he tells reporters, adding that his resignation is “unavoidable.”

— AFP

Video shows shooting attack in Jerusalem Old City

Police publish a video showing today’s shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The Arab Israeli gunman can be seen shooting at Israeli troops at close range, lightly injuring one of them, before being pursued and shot dead.

2 brothers of Jerusalem gunman detained for questioning

Police detain two brothers of the Arab Israeli man who committed today’s shooting attack in the Jerusalem Old City and take them for questioning, Hebrew-language media reports.

The gunman, who recently converted from Christianity to Islam and lived in Haifa, was shot dead following the attack.

Israeli cops collect security camera footage from a flower shop in Haifa owned by one of the brothers.

Both brothers deny knowing of the shooter’s plans.

Police confirm Jerusalem gunman was an Israeli citizen

The Israel Police confirm that the terrorist who opened fire at a group of police officers near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City was an Israeli citizen from northern Israel.

Security camera footage of the shooting attack shows the gunman armed with a pistol walk up to a group of officers under a tent outside the holy site and shoot at them.

One officer is seen getting hit by a bullet and collapsing, while other officers return fire at the assailant and chase after him.

The footage does not show the moment the gunman was shot dead by the officers.

“The officers responded with determination, neutralized the assailant and prevented further attacks of innocents,” the police say in a statement.

— Judah Ari Gross

Jerusalem shooter named as Shadi Bana, 45

The Arab Israeli gunman who carried out today’s shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City is named by Hebrew-language media as Shadi Bana, 45, from Haifa.

IDF says additional battalion to be deployed in West Bank following string of attacks

The Israel Defense Forces will send an additional battalion to the West Bank in light of the increase in violence in the region.

The military says the decision was made following a “situational assessment.”

IDF battalions normally include several hundred soldiers.

— Judah Ari Gross

Trump says he suffered ‘terrible ordeal’ in impeachment

US President Donald Trump says that he suffered a “terrible ordeal” during his impeachment.

In his first public comments since being acquitted by the Senate of abuse of office, he says he was “put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people.”

“They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing very badly hurt our nation,” he says at a televised prayer breakfast with a Who’s Who of Washington power brokers.

Speaking in an unusually raspy voice, Trump notes that he will be giving a statement at the White House later. He says he will discuss his determination that what happened during his impeachment cannot be allowed to “go on.”

— AFP

Alleged Israeli strikes kill 23 Syrian, Iranian, Tehran-backed fighters: monitor

Alleged Israeli airstrikes near Damascus and in the south of Syria have killed 23 Syrian and non-Syrian fighters aligned with President Bashar Assad’s regime, a Britain-based war monitor says.

The new toll for the predawn strikes includes three Iranians and seven Tehran-backed foreign fighters near Kisweh south of the capital, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.

Eight Syrian air defense forces lost their lives west of the capital, while five Syrian members of pro-Iran group were killed in the southern province of Daraa, it says.

— AFP

Top Arab MK condemns Jerusalem shooting attack as ‘unacceptable’

Ayman Odeh, head of the predominantly Arab Joint List Knesset party, denounces a shooting attack in Jerusalem’s Old City perpetrated by an Arab Israeli man from Haifa.

“We strongly condemn this shooting,” Odeh, of the Hadash faction, says in a statement. “It is unacceptable for an Israeli citizen to use a weapon. The Arab citizens of the state have chosen a just civil and democratic struggle to end the occupation and for peace and equality. We will not accept any other way.”

Joint List chair MK Ayman Odeh speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset on November 18, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Israel knows identity of Jerusalem car-rammer — report

Israel knows the identity of the Palestinian who committed last night’s car-ramming attack in Jerusalem in which 12 off-duty IDF soldiers were injured, according to Channel 12 reporter Roni Daniel.

The terrorist, who fled the scene, remains at large and the military is conducting a manhunt to arrest him.

Tunisian world-class tennis player fears returning home after playing Israel — report

The head of the Israel Tennis Association, Yoni Yarum, says that the members of Tunisia’s women national team are afraid to return to their home country after showing up for a Federation Cup match against Israel, according to the Kan public broadcaster.

Tunisia, including world No. 45 Ons Jabeur who last month became the first female tennis player from an Arab country to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal, won yesterday’s match in Helsinki 2-1.

Tunisia’s federation reportedly only decided not to boycott the match a day before, fearing punishment by the International Tennis Federation and the Olympic Committee.

IDF says troops arrested Jerusalem car-ramming terrorist

Israeli security forces arrest the suspected terrorist who is believed to have carried out the car-ramming attack this morning in Jerusalem in which 12 IDF soldiers were injured, one of them seriously, the army says.

The suspect was arrested at the Gush Etzion Junction in the central West Bank, the police said. He has been handed over to the Shin Bet security service for questioning, the military said.

“Following an extensive operational and intelligence effort, the IDF, working with the Shin Bet, the Israel Police’s special police unit and other special forces, has arrested the terrorist who carried out the ramming attack in the predawn hours of this morning in Jerusalem,” the IDF says in a statement.

— Judah Ari Gross

Car-ramming suspect is from East Jerusalem’s A-Tur neighborhood — Shin Bet

The suspect in the Jerusalem car-ramming attacking who has been arrested is a resident of East Jerusalem without previous security-related offenses, the Shin Bet security agency says.

The 25-year-old man lives in the A-Tur neighborhood, it adds.

IDF recruits injured in Jerusalem car-ramming attend their swearing-in ceremony

Nine of the 12 IDF new recruits who were injured last night in a car-ramming terror attack in Jerusalem attend their military swearing-in ceremony at a Golani base.

The recruits had been slated to attend a swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall in the early morning hours when the attack happened. Three more soldiers are still in hospital.

One of the injured soldiers says: “We are okay, the worst is behind us.”

“No terror attack can stop us,” says Golani Brigade commander Shai Kalper.

Addressing Abbas, Netanyahu says Palestinian attacks ‘won’t help you’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement to the media at a military checkpoint in the south of Jerusalem, directly addressing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after three attacks on Israelis today.

“Abu Mazen,” he says, using Abbas’s nom de guerre, “we will do everything needed to protect ourselves, determine our borders and ensure our future. We will do that with or without you.”

“It won’t help you — not the stabbings, nor the car-rammings, the shootings or the incitement,” Netanyahu adds.

Suspected Jerusalem car-ramming terrorist named as Khaled al-Tourman, 24

Hebrew-language media reports name the suspect arrested for the overnight car-ramming terror attack in Jerusalem as Khaled al-Tourman, 24, a flower shop owner from East Jerusalem’s A-Tur neighborhood.

https://twitter.com/newsisrael13/status/1225459944440377344

Erdan accuses Palestinian Authority of ‘riding the wave’ of terrorism

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan accuses “some in the Palestinian Authority” of “riding the wave” of terror attacks against Israel.

“We will take determined action to preserve our sovereignty and stop every attempt to initiate a wave of terrorism,” Erdan says. “From past experience, the most sensitive flashpoint is the Temple Mount. I have ordered to employ all our means to prevent displays of incitement and copycat attacks.”

UK’s Johnson backs Trump peace plan in call with Netanyahu — report

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke today on the phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and expressed his support for US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, the Reuters news agency reports, citing Johnson’s office.

Johnson was also said to have backed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Defense minister, IDF chief announce tougher action to prevent wave of terror

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett says the Israel Defense Forces will up its readiness in the West Bank ahead of the weekend in light of the recent string of attacks on Israelis.

Bennett also announces a “more stringent equation” in response to the incendiary balloons being launched from the Gaza Strip, after a security assessment held at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and other top commanders today toured the area of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit says.

“We have no intention to let terrorism prevail,” says Kohavi. “Our directive is very clear to all our forces — to thwart and prevent all activity. When I say terror I also mean a rock, a Molotov cocktail, incendiary balloons — all those are terrorism.”

Israeli cyber-security firm Forescout to be acquired for $1.9 billion

Israeli cyber-security firm Forescout will be acquired by Advent International for $1.9 billion, financial news websites report.

The all-cash deal will hand each Forescout shareholder $33 per share in cash.

“This transaction represents an exciting new phase in the evolution of Forescout,” says the company’s CEO Michael DeCesare. “We are excited to be partnering with Advent International and Crosspoint Capital, premier firms with security DNA and track records of success in strengthening companies and supporting them through transitionary times.

“We look forward to working with Advent and Crosspoint Capital to advance our strategic objectives and want to thank our employees for their continued hard work and commitment to Forescout.”

Netanyahu says he and Johnson discussed establishing Israel-UK free trade zone

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweets that he spoke today with his British counterpart Boris Johnson and that both agreed to begin talks on establishing a free trade zone between Israel and the United Kingdom.

Netanyahu says he congratulated Johnson on the implementation of Brexit and that both leaders discussed regional matters, mainly the US peace plan, as well as strengthening economic relation between the countries.

Trump calls Democratic opponents ‘vicious’

US President Donald Trump lashes out at rival Democrats in a lengthy speech reveling in his impeachment acquittal and raging at the investigations that have overshadowed his administration.

He says his opponents are “vicious and mean” and that he has been “through hell” in the impeachment process.

It was “not a news conference, not a speech, it’s not anything,” Trump says, speaking at the White House. “It’s a celebration.”

— AFP

Gazan shot by IDF on Saturday succumbs to wounds — Hamas-run health ministry

A Palestinian man shot last weekend by Israeli troops in the northern Gaza Strip has died, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry reports.

Khalil al-Adgham succumbed to wounds he sustained Saturday, the ministry says.

— with Adam Rasgon

Coronavirus spread sparks anti-Semitic views and conspiracy theories, ADL says

The spread of and fear generated by the coronavirus has led extremists to promote conspiracy theories and share their anti-Semitic views, the Anti-Defamation League says.

It also has fomented racism against the Chinese and calls for a halt to immigration to the United States, the post to the ADL’s website says.

“Finally! Science has discovered a cure for the most insidious disease of our time … Jewishness,” wrote one extremist on the encrypted instant messaging service Telegram, according to the ADL. The same person also referred to a news report that three Israelis were quarantined as possible coronavirus carriers with the message “3 down, 5,999,997 to go!”

Posts linking the coronavirus to racist and anti-Semitic slurs and memes also are found on 4chan and Gab. One 4chan user wrote, “Send the sick to Israel – if you already die at least take out as many Jews as you can.”

In addition, extremists are using the coronavirus spread to advance their anti-Semitic theories that Jews are responsible for creating the virus and are spreading it to increase their control or profiting from it.

Meanwhile, users on mainstream platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Reddit are circulating conspiracy theories. One says that coverage of the coronavirus is a hoax and distraction designed to frighten the public. Another says its impact is far worse than authorities want people to think.

— JTA

Hundreds of cops to be deployed to Jerusalem Old City ahead of Friday prayers

Israeli security forces will be on high alert tomorrow in Jerusalem, with thousands of extra police officers being deployed to the Old City ahead of the Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

Jerusalem police chief Doron Yadid has ordered troops to be on alert, Channel 13 reports, after a day of violence that included three attacks on Israelis, a shooting attack near the Temple Mount and a car-ramming terror attack elsewhere in the capital.

The Muslim prayers on Friday frequently become displays of anti-Israel incitement and terror support during times of escalating tensions.

Incendiary balloons found in Beit Shemesh

A bundle of balloons attached to a suspicious object, likely launched from Gaza by terrorists, was found in a street in Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem, police say.

Police sappers were called to the scene and “dealt” with the object, police say.

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Gazan shot by IDF on Saturday succumbs to wounds — Hamas-run health ministry

A Palestinian man shot last weekend by Israeli troops in the northern Gaza Strip has died, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry reports.

Khalil al-Adgham succumbed to wounds he sustained Saturday, the ministry says.

— with Adam Rasgon