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LA police: UCLA twin shooting was murder-suicide

Netanyahu says Paris peace push ‘radicalizing’ PA’s demands, world should tell Abbas to enter direct talks with Israel instead

  • IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria, accused of killing a disarmed Palestinian attacker in Hebron, during a hearing at Jaffa Military Court, June 1, 2016. (Flash90)
    IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria, accused of killing a disarmed Palestinian attacker in Hebron, during a hearing at Jaffa Military Court, June 1, 2016. (Flash90)
  • Police searching a man on the UCLA campus after a shooting on June 1, 2016. (screen capture: KTLA)
    Police searching a man on the UCLA campus after a shooting on June 1, 2016. (screen capture: KTLA)
  • Right wing activist protest outside a court hearing of Elor Azaria in Jaffa, June 1, 2016. (Flash90)
    Right wing activist protest outside a court hearing of Elor Azaria in Jaffa, June 1, 2016. (Flash90)
  • Benjamin Netanyahu sitting in Knesset on June 1, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Benjamin Netanyahu sitting in Knesset on June 1, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Illustrative. Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian man after he allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail in the West Bank city of Hebron on June 1, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
    Illustrative. Israeli security forces arrest a Palestinian man after he allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail in the West Bank city of Hebron on June 1, 2016. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
  • Benjamin Netanyahu, left, seen with Avigdor Lieberman at the Knesset on June 1, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Benjamin Netanyahu, left, seen with Avigdor Lieberman at the Knesset on June 1, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, left, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, second left, and Swiss Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, second right, on the opening day of the Gotthard Rail Tunnel in Erstfeld on June 1, 2016. (AFP/Peter Klaunzer/Pool)
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, left, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, second left, and Swiss Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, second right, on the opening day of the Gotthard Rail Tunnel in Erstfeld on June 1, 2016. (AFP/Peter Klaunzer/Pool)

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

Egypt: Crashed plane black box detected

A signal has been detected that is likely to be from one of the black boxes of the EgyptAir plane that crashed in the Mediterranean, Egypt says.

The signal was picked up by a French navy ship with acoustic detection systems searching for the wreckage of the Airbus A320 that went down with 66 people on board on May 19, the ministry of civil aviation says.

Another ship carrying robots that can dive to the seabed to recover the black boxes is due to arrive at the site within a week, it says.

— AFP

Herzog: Jerusalem won’t stay Jewish, safe without ‘dramatic’ change

Opposition lawmakers are using a special Knesset session today on next week’s Jerusalem Day to level criticism at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his policies regarding the capital, or lack thereof.

Opposition chief Isaac Herzog says Jerusalem as the country knows it will be lost if a “dramatic change” is not made.

Isaac Herzog addresses the Knesset on February 10, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Isaac Herzog addresses the Knesset on February 10, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“Jerusalem will not remain Jewish, ethical, whole and safe if a dramatic change does not happen here, if we don’t move urgently, without a variety of excuses for an arrangement between the two nations. At least let’s move toward there. Create hope,” Herzog urges from the podium, according to a Knesset transcript.

Meretz chief Zahava Galon launches a more direct attack on the prime minister and his coalition moves.

“What have you done, Mr. Prime Minister, aside from play games with your friends in your coalition, which has a fawning relationship with right-wing extremists and settlers,” she says, according to Army Radio.

Al-Qaeda group claims deadly Mali ‘thrashing’

Al-Qaeda’s North African branch is claiming attacks in northern Mali that killed a Chinese UN peacekeeper and three civilians, the US-based monitoring group SITE says.

The attacks on Tuesday came days after five UN peacekeepers were killed in an ambush in central Mali, as concern grows over the future of the UN’s deadliest active mission.

This image taken from video provided by the SITE Intel Group made available Thursday Jan. 17, 2013, purports to show militant militia leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar. (photo credit: AP/SITE Intel Group)

This image taken from video provided by the SITE Intel Group made available Thursday Jan. 17, 2013, purports to show militant militia leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar. (photo credit: AP/SITE Intel Group)

“Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) reported that its al-Murabitoun battalion engaged in a clash with ‘Crusader occupation forces,'” referring to the UN mission in Mali, SITE said, adding that the jihadists called it an “epic battle.”

AQIM said in a statement its fighters were “thrashing” the enemy.

One attack on a UN camp in the northern town of Gao on Tuesday killed a peacekeeper and seriously wounded three others, while a second armed attack on a UN de-mining unit killed two security guards and an international expert, the UN mission known by the acronym MINUSMA said.

— AFP

Video shows knife being ‘planted’ next to shot Hebron assailant

A video shown in a manslaughter trial against a soldier accused a shooting to death a wounded Palestinian assailant in Hebron in March shows a person kicking a knife toward the assailant’s body, in an apparent attempt to tamper with evidence.

According to Channel 2 news, which obtained the video, an ambulance at the scene rolls over the knife, which is not near the attacker, moving it slightly. At that point, an unseen person shoves the knife with his foot toward Abdel Fatal al-Sharif, who is lying on the ground bleeding after having been shot.

Sharif was one of two assailants who knifed an Israeli soldier in the divided West Bank city on March 24, moderately injuring him.

Some 30 seconds after the events depicted, soldier Elor Azariya fired a single round into Sharif’s head, killing him.

“You don’t need to be an expert to see that the knife was far away, and also notice that the terrorist’s shirt is half open — this is 30 seconds before he’s shot,” a prosecutor says, according to Channel 2.

The video will likely add fuel to claims made by Palestinians that Israeli soldiers have planted knives to frame so-called attackers, an allegation denied by Israel out of hand.

Israel arrests Iranian reporter on terror suspicions

A journalist for an Iranian news outlet has been arrested in Israel on terror suspicions, police confirm to The Times of Israel.

Bassem Safadi is suspected of disseminating information promoting terror, which falls under an law forbidding incitement to violence of terror, according to a police statement.

Bassam Safadi. (screen capture: Al-Alam)

Bassam Safadi. (screen capture: Al-Alam)

Iranian outlet al-Alam said that Safadi, who reports for the outlet, was arrested at his Majdal Shams home in the Golan Heights this morning and has not been heard from since. They said his laptop and camera were also taken, and linked the arrest to a recent story claiming Israel was stealing oil in the Golan.

According to Ynet news, at an arraignment hearing Safadi was ordered to remain in custody at least until Sunday.

— with Judah Ari Gross

One killed, 1 badly hurt as trucks collide

One person has been killed and another rushed to a hospital with life-threatening injuries after two trucks collided on a major highway in central Israel.

The crash occurred on Route 431 near Ramle, east of Tel Aviv.

Both victims are in their 50s, according to reports.

Aid convoy enters Syria’s Daraya for first time since 2012

A humanitarian aid convoy has entered the rebel-held Syrian town of Daraya, the Red Cross says, in the first such delivery since a regime siege began in 2012.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says both United Nations and Syrian Arab Red Crescent staff are involved in the delivery of the aid to the Damascus area town.

The United Nations meanwhile says it is looking into “every possible means” to deliver life-saving aid to besieged Syrians now that a Wednesday deadline set by world powers has passed. UN spokeswoman Josephine Guerrero says the “main priority” is to access 592,700 people in besieged areas and millions more in hard-to-reach areas facing severe food shortages.

The US- and Russia-led International Syria Support Group last month called on the UN to “immediately carry out a program for air bridges and air drops for all areas in need” starting June 1 if it was denied access to designated areas. The UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has called air drops, which cost more than land delivery, a “last resort.”

— AFP and AP

Twitter pulls plug on Putin parody accounts

Russian social media users are voicing their outrage at Twitter’s decision to suspend popular accounts parodying President Vladimir Putin and other officials.

Several Twitter accounts, such as @DarthPutinKGB which parodies Putin and @SovietSergey, which mocks Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, have been unavailable since Tuesday.

The parody Putin account had attracted more than 50,000 followers before it was shut down. The link to the account said it was suspended. Lavrov’s parody account along with two others mocking the Russian embassy in London and the Russian ambassador were restored and available to users after a reported suspension on Tuesday.

Social media users launched the #NoGulagForDarthPutinKGB hashtag on Twitter in protest.

Estonian Toomas Hendrik Ilves, an avid social media user, condemned the suspension of “one of the funniest parody accounts around.”

— AP

Israel ‘eternal enemy of Greece,’ neo-Nazi lawmaker says

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos is asking the Justice Ministry to take action against a neo-Nazi lawmaker after he made anti-Israel comments in parliament.

Speaking during a debate in parliament on Monday, Christos Pappas, from the Golden Dawn party, called Israel an “eternal enemy of Greece and Orthodoxy.”

“The State of Israel implements genocidal methods and is a regional troublemaker,” he said, according to the Kathemirini newspaper, asking how “a state like Israel could possibly have relations with Greece, which is the cradle of civilization and humanism.”

Defense Minister Kammenos, a member of the nationalist Independent Greeks party, calls Pappas’s remarks racist and xenophobic and requests that the justice ministry take action against him.

Golden Dawn, which is the third-largest party in Greece, frequently uses Nazi imagery. Its leaders have denied the existence of Nazi death camps and gas chambers.

– JTA

Jordan swears in new government

Jordan’s new Prime Minister Hani Mulki has formed his government to prepare for legislative elections following the dissolution of parliament, the royal palace announces.

The 65-year-old, who has held several ministerial posts, is expected to push for business-friendly policies to revive Jordan’s lagging economy.

Jordan's new Prime Minister Hani Mulki speaks to the media after the swearing-in ceremony for Jordan's new cabinet at the Royal Palace in Amman on June 1, 2016. (AFP/KHALIL MAZRAAWI)

Jordan’s new Prime Minister Hani Mulki speaks to the media after the swearing-in ceremony for Jordan’s new cabinet at the Royal Palace in Amman on June 1, 2016. (AFP/KHALIL MAZRAAWI)

Trained in engineering, Mulki has served as adviser to King Abdullah and ambassador to Cairo, as well as minister for water, energy, foreign affairs and industry.

He was also deeply involved in negotiations with Israel that led to a peace treaty between the two countries in 1994, and in coordinating ties with Israel after the deal, leading to charges from some in the Arab world that he will be overly friendly toward the Jewish State.

Mulki will also hold the defense portfolio.

The king swore in the new cabinet of 28 ministers, among them 17 newcomers including four women.

Several key posts are unchanged, including Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Interior Minister Salamah Hammad and Finance Minister Omar Malhas, a former investment banker.

— AFP and Times of Israel staff

French confirm black box ping found

French investigators confirmed that a French naval ship has detected a signal from one of two black boxes belonging to the doomed EgyptAir flight that crashed en route from Paris to Cairo on May 19.

“The signal from a flight recorder has been detected” by the survey ship Laplace, says Remi Jouty of France’s Bureau of Investigations and Analysis (BEA), following an announcement from Egyptian authorities that the signal had probably been picked up.

Jouty says the signal was spotted after data analysis, and a priority search area had been established.

“The detection of this signal is a first step,” he says.

— AFP

Saudi Arabia sentences 14 to death over unrest in Shiite town

A Saudi court has sentenced to death 14 people convicted of taking part in deadly unrest in a Shiite-populated region of the predominantly Sunni kingdom, a local daily reports.

Al-Riyadh says the 14 were among 24 “accused of killing security personnel and robbing passersby in Awamiya,” a Shiite town in the Eastern Province.

One of the defendants was acquitted and the other nine were jailed for between three and 15 years, Al-Riyadh said on its website, without giving further details.

Awamiya, a town of about 30,000, has been the scene of repeated incidents since 2011 when protests began among Shiites and later developed into a call for equality in the kingdom.

— AFP

American Jews to powwow with Israeli officials on Western Wall compromise

American Jewish leaders and the Israeli prime minister’s office are slated to begin a high-level meeting to discuss the contentious Western Wall compromise.

Netanyahu and head of the PMO’s negotiating team, David Sharan, are expected to meet with Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky and other key players in the Western Wall compromise, including Women of the Wall head Anat Hoffman, the Israeli head of the Reform movement Rabbi Gilad Kariv and his American counterpart Rabbi Rick Jacobs, as well as the Israeli head of the Conservative movement Yitzar Hess and American rabbis Julie Schoenfeld and Steve Wernick. The Jewish Federations of North American are represented by Jerry Silverman and Rebecca Caspi.

The section prepared for prayer for the Women of the Wall by Robinson's Arch in Jerusalem's Old City, is open for Jews both men and women to pray together as seen here, on July 17, 2014. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

The section prepared for prayer for the Women of the Wall by Robinson’s Arch in Jerusalem’s Old City, is open for Jews both men and women to pray together as seen here, on July 17, 2014. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

The meeting is expected to address moving forward after the original January 31 government decision, which called for a pluralistic prayer pavilion to be established in what is today the Davidson Archeological Park abutting the southern end of the Western Wall, was stymied by protest from ultra-Orthodox parties in the coalition.

Sources close to the negotiating team suggest that the meeting will result in a modified version of the government decision.

For the ultra-Orthodox parties, the two main modifications will include the cancellation of a much-lauded joint entrance to the Western Wall pavilion and the removal of government funding for the establishment and maintenance of the egalitarian pavilion. Rather, equal funding will be found from nonprofits such as the Jewish Agency, JFNA, and other sources.

If liberal Jewry accepts these compromises, there could be future flexibility in further “major considerations” in return, speculates one insider.

— Times of Israel staff

Europe rejoices as record-setting rail slices through Alps

On the same day that Israeli officials announced a high-speed rail link between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv would not be completed until 2018, moving the expected finish date back another year, European leaders have taken a triumphant ride on the world’s longest railway tunnel, which finished on time and burrows under the Swiss Alps to ease trade and congestion in European trade and travel.

The 57-kilometer (35.4 mile) Gotthard Railway Tunnel, a major engineering achievement deep under snow-capped peaks, caps a 17 years project that cost 12.2 billion Swiss francs ($12 billion).

The Gotthard Base Tunnel is a record-setter: It eclipses Japan’s 53.8-kilometer Seikan Tunnel as the world’s longest and bores deeper than any other tunnel, running about 2.3 kilometers (1.4 miles) underground at its maximum depth.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, left, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, second left, and Swiss Federal Counciller Didier Burkhalter, second right, on the opening day of the Gotthard Rail Tunnel at the northern portal in Erstfeld on June 1, 2016. (AFP/POOL/PETER KLAUNZER)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, left, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, second left, and Swiss Federal Counciller Didier Burkhalter, second right, on the opening day of the Gotthard Rail Tunnel at the northern portal in Erstfeld on June 1, 2016. (AFP/POOL/PETER KLAUNZER)

The thoroughfare aims to cut travel times, ease roadway traffic and draw cargo from pollution-spewing trucks moving between Europe’s north and south. Once it opens for commercial service in December, the two-way tunnel will take up to 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains per day.

Left to right, Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Switzerland's President Johann Schneider-Ammann, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Francois Hollande speak to one another while travelling through the Gotthard Rail Tunnel on June 1, 2016. (AFP/POOL/Peter Klauzner)

Left to right, Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Switzerland’s President Johann Schneider-Ammann, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s President Francois Hollande speak to one another while travelling through the Gotthard Rail Tunnel on June 1, 2016. (AFP/POOL/Peter Klauzner)

Switzerland has pulled out all the stops for the inauguration. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi came for a flashy celebration featuring musical bands, dancers and even a tunnel theme song.

The EU turnout is little surprise: The project, while cutting a north-south axis through central Switzerland, has received financial support and industrial know-how from around the European Union. Though Switzerland isn’t one of the bloc’s 28 members, the EU railway network will get a major boost from the shortcut through the Alps, notably on the route from Germany to Italy.

— AFP and Times of Israel staff

20,000 children trapped as Fallujah battle rages, UN warns

The UN’s children’s fund has issued a stark warning to Iraqi troops and Islamic State militants in the battle for Fallujah to spare the children, the most vulnerable among tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the city west of Baghdad.

Iraqi forces backed by US-led airstrikes and mainly Shiite militias launched an operation more than a week ago to recapture Fallujah, which has been held by the extremist group for more than two years.

Iraqi children who fled with their family the northern province of Nineveh following the advance of jihadists of the Islamic State group, are seen in a refugee camp in al-Hawl located some 14 kilometers from the Iraqi border in Syria’'s northeastern Hassakeh province, on May 31, 2016.(AFP/DELIL SOULEIMAN)

Iraqi children who fled with their family the northern province of Nineveh following the advance of jihadists of the Islamic State group, are seen in a refugee camp in al-Hawl located some 14 kilometers from the Iraqi border in Syria’’s northeastern Hassakeh province, on May 31, 2016.(AFP/DELIL SOULEIMAN)

More than 50,000 people are believed to be trapped inside the Sunni majority city, about 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Baghdad. Government forces have imposed a tight blockade on the city and IS militants are reportedly preventing residents from leaving.

UNICEF estimated the number of the children trapped with their families inside the city at about 20,000, warning that they face a dire humanitarian situation, in addition to the risk of forced recruitment by IS.

The organization called on all parties to “protect children inside Fallujah” and “provide safe passage to those wishing to leave the city.”

Iraqi counterterror forces face off with Islamic State militants in the Nuaimiya neighborhood of Fallujah, Iraq, Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (AP/Khalid Mohammed)

Iraqi counterterror forces face off with Islamic State militants in the Nuaimiya neighborhood of Fallujah, Iraq, Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (AP/Khalid Mohammed)

Iraqi special forces meanwhile are continuing their push into the city from its southern edge, says Brig. Haider al-Obeidi, who says “fierce” clashes are underway.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi praises the “remarkable advance” by the troops during a visit to the Fallujah Operation Command and vows to “hoist the Iraqi flag inside Fallujah in the coming few days.”

Al-Abadi says IS is using civilians as human shields, and adds the government has called on residents to leave through safe corridors or stay inside their homes.

— AP

Shaked killing hope for peace, UN envoy charges

The UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process on Wednesday says Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is “killing hope” for a settlement with the Palestinians.

Nikolay Mladenov speaks after Shaked on Tuesday declared the party would never support a two-state solution.

“The determination of some ministers in Israel to block progress and kill hope by promoting illegal settlements and rejecting a Palestinian state is concerning,” he says in a statement to AFP.

On Tuesday, Shaked responded to peace overtures by Netanyahu and new Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman by saying there would be no Palestinian state while Jewish Home was in government.

“As long as we are in the government, there will be no Palestinian state, there will be no settlement evacuations and we will not give any land to our enemies,” she said.

Mladenov says the comments are particularly concerning as they came “a day after encouraging signs by the prime minister.”

— AFP

Netanyahu heading back to Moscow to talk Syria with Putin

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Moscow next week for the second time this year to discuss developments in Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin says.

The visit is scheduled for June 7, and will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of ties between Israel and post-Soviet Russia, according to Russian state news outlet TASS.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the two will discuss an “extensive” range of topics, most importantly Syria.

“Among the most important issues is the situation in Syria and around it as well as the current state and prospects of the Palestinian-Israeli settlement,” the Kremlin press service says, according to TASS.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on April 21, 2016 (Courtesy)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on April 21, 2016 (Courtesy)

The visit comes five days after Netanyahu announced that Putin had agreed to return an Israeli tank lost in a battle in Syria in 1982, in a sign of growing ties.

Netanyahu visited Moscow in April to discuss making sure the two countries do not get tangled up in Syria, where Russia has been supporting President Bashar Assad.

“During the forthcoming meeting it is planned to discuss the progress in implementing the agreements reached during Benjamin Netanyahu’s working visit to Moscow on April 21, 2016,” the press service says. “Special attention is expected to be paid to the topical issues of bilateral cooperation, including the prospects of further boosting the trade and economic cooperation, cultural and humanitarian ties.”

 

Video of knife being kicked irrelevant, shooter’s lawyer says

A longer video of the knife being moved toward the Hebron stabber is being aired on Channel 2 news, showing an ambulance running over the knife before somebody who appears to be on a phone kicks it toward the assailant.

In the video, the man who apparently kicks the knife is heard telling the ambulance to go quickly, leaving open the possibility that the knife, which was not near the assailant, was carelessly kicked to move it away from the ambulance.

The knife was apparently kicked by the ambulance driver.

In court, Elor Azaria’s lawyer says the video of the knife being kicked is not relevant since it was taken after the shooting.

During the court hearing, prosecutors also pulled out new evidence that Azaria told his father about killing the stabber, pointing to it as proof that he did so coldly and not out of any threat, Channel 2 reports.

“We had an attack. My friend was injured. My friend killed the first and I killed the second,” he texted his father.

US bombing key northern Syria bridges, IS says

An Islamic State-affiliated news agency says US-led aircraft have bombed several key bridges in northern Syria, severing an important IS supply route between the Turkish border and Manbij, where a US-backed and Kurdish-led force is advancing.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces launched an offensive to retake Manbij, a key IS stronghold, earlier Wednesday. The campaign aims to surround and isolate the extremist group’s de facto capital, Raqqa.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says coalition aircraft struck at least one bridge between Manbij and Jarablus, a town on the Turkish border under IS control.

— AP

London subway stabber had jihadi images on phone

A mentally ill taxi driver who went on a knife rampage at a London subway station had images of a slain British soldier and an Islamic State member on his phone, a British prosecutor says.

Muhaydin Mire, 30, went on trial this week at London’s Central Criminal Court on attempted murder charges for slashing the throat of musician Lyle Zimmerman and lashing out at several others at Leytonstone station on December 5.

Michael Adebolajo speaks to a cameraman shortly after attacking and killing Lee Rigby, last May (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

Michael Adebolajo speaks to a cameraman shortly after attacking and killing Lee Rigby, last May (YouTube screenshot)

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees tells jurors that Mire’s phone contained images of Fusilier Lee Rigby — who was hacked to death in a London street by al-Qaida-inspired attackers in 2013 — and Mohammed Emwazi, a British militant nicknamed “Jihadi John” who appeared in IS videos showing the beheading of hostages.

An image grab taken from a video released by the Islamic State (IS) and identified by private terrorism monitor SITE Intelligence Group on September 2, 2014 purportedly shows a masked militant known as 'Jihadi John' holding a knife and gesturing as he speaks to the camera in a desert landscape before a beheading. (AFP Photo/SITE Intelligence Group/HO)

An image grab taken from a video released by the Islamic State (IS) and identified by private terrorism monitor SITE Intelligence Group on September 2, 2014 purportedly shows a masked militant known as ‘Jihadi John’ holding a knife and gesturing as he speaks to the camera in a desert landscape before a beheading. (AFP Photo/SITE Intelligence Group/HO)

“The contents of the defendant’s phone, when looked at alongside what he said during the course of the incident … provides an insight as to what motivated the defendant to do what he did,” Rees says.

He says Zimmerman suffered “a deep and ragged wound” to his neck and was kicked repeatedly during the attack.

— AP

Iran’s Zarif: Trump can’t renegotiate nuke deal

Iran’s foreign minister says the nuclear deal reached last year with world powers can’t be renegotiated despite Republican presidential contender Donald Trump’s pledge to do so if elected.

After a lecture in Stockholm, Mohammad Javad Zarif says the deal “is not an Iran-US agreement for the Republican front-runner or anybody else to renegotiate. It’s an international understanding annexed to a Security Council resolution.”

Trump has denounced the deal and said he’d seek to renegotiate it if elected president.

Zarif also criticizes Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir for calling on Iran to stop intervening in Iraq, saying “we will leave Iraq whenever Iraq asks us to leave.”

Iran says its military advisers in Iraq are there at Baghdad’s request to help Iraqi forces fight Islamic State militants.

— AP

Kahlon to Herzog: Peace talks are real deal, so join coalition

Days after opposition leader Isaac Herzog appealed to Moshe Kahlon to quit the government as the only centrist in a right-wing coalition, Kahlon returns the favor, calling on the Zionist Union leader to join the government and boost chances for peace.

In a speech at a ceremony in Netanya, Kahlon says a regional peace initiative being discussed is not just empty words and requests Herzog and his Zionist Union faction join forces with the government to push it forward.

“I call on the Zionist Union to join the government and not shut the window on the historic opportunity coming together,” he says. “The rumors and words about a significant regional peace process is based on much more than just hints in the press. There is an opportunity for a significant regional sea change.”

Herzog has repeatedly said in the past week that chances for a unity government are gone, after talks with Netanyahu fell apart.

Herzog rejects Kahlon plea to join government

After Moshe Kahlon calls for him to join the government, Isaac Herzog responds with a slightly more polite version of a 13-year-old’s “talk to the hand.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) shakes hands with leader of the Kulanu party Moshe Kahlon (center) during the opening session of the 20th Knesset on March 31, 2015. At right is Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) shakes hands with leader of the Kulanu party Moshe Kahlon (center) during the opening session of the 20th Knesset on March 31, 2015. At right is Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

“I already told Kahlon what I had to tell him on Monday loudly and clearly,” the opposition leader harrumphs, according to Walla news.

On Monday, Herzog urged Kahlon to leave the government and cause its collapse, appealing to him as the last centrist element in a right-wing coalition.

Netanyahu raps French peace push as ‘radicalizing’ Palestinians

Speaking out against the Paris peace conference set to go forward on Friday, Netanyahu repeats his mantra that the multilateral effort is not the way to go.

Instead, Netanyahu says direct talks without preconditions between Israel and the Palestinians are the correct way to bring about a peace deal.

“That’s how it was with Jordan and Egypt, and that’s how it has to be with the Palestinians,” he says at an event in Safed.

“The way to peace doesn’t go through international committees that try to force an arrangement, radicalize Palestinian claims and thus push away peace,” he says.

He adds the countries taking part in the French confab should join him in calling on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to enter bilateral talks with Israel.

Netanyahu also says Israel hasn’t stopped looking for ways to reach peace, hinting at a regional peace effort based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative reportedly coming together.

UCLA on lock down as possible shooter hunted

Police are responding to a report of a possible shooter at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Campus media relations officer Rebecca Kendall says police are on scene Wednesday morning at Boelter Hall, a science building.

The campus is on lockdown.

Kendall says the report came in about 9:55 a.m.

AP

Two shooting victims reported on LA campus

There are two shooting victims at UCLA, according to local media reports citing police.

Footage from the scene shows dozens of police near a parking garage on the Los Angeles campus.

The UCLA school newspaper says professors have been told to cancel classes, and describes the shooter as a white male wearing a black jacket and black pants.

‘People running down halls,’ UCLA student describes

Footage from UCLA shows police moving toward an engineering building where the shooting apparently took place.

A woman inside the building says people are running down the halls, according to her boyfriend who is in contact with her, cited by local news outlet KTLA.

Police on the campus of UCLA on June 1, 2016. (screen capture: KTLA)

Police on the campus of UCLA on June 1, 2016. (screen capture: KTLA)

“We have no confirmation yet of victims but we received a call with two possible victims, that’s all we have right now,” Jenny Houser, a spokeswoman for the LosAngeles police department tells AFP.

She added that the sprawling campus was placed on lockdown as police searched university buildings.

— with AFP

Syrian rebels float Ramadan ceasefire

In Syria, the main opposition group has called on the UN to broker a countrywide ceasefire for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins next week.

Riad Hijab, head of the opposition High Negotiations Committee, which participated in failed peace talks with the government in Geneva earlier this year, writes in a letter to the UN secretary-general that a “comprehensive” ceasefire and the unfettered delivery of aid are preconditions for resuming negotiations.

An earlier, partial cease-fire this year excluded al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate and its extremist rival the Islamic State group. It brought welcome relief to some opposition areas but frayed by late April.

— AP

Corbyn called to ban Israeli politicians, penalize country, new papers show

The British government has released a series of documents written by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn calling Israeli politicians “criminals” and calling for them to be banned, according to the UK Jewish News.

In a letter sent to then foreign secretary William Hague in 2013, Corbyn, who did not lead the party at that point, asked that he “stop allowing Israel’s criminal politicians to come to our country freely.”

He also asked Hague to “end the siege of Gaza” and pressure the BBC to skew its coverage to be more sympathetic to Palestinians.

“I cannot help wondering how long successive governments are going to stand by pretending that an occupying power of so many years should be treated in the same way as the people whose land is not only occupied, but routinely confiscated,” he wrote.

A year earlier, he called on London to penalize Israel via a trade agreement.

Corbyn is known as a strident critic of Israel, and has fought in recent weeks to defend his party from charges of rampant anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism

The documents were released after a freedom of information request.

Police ‘can’t confirm’ two killed on UCLA campus

A Los Angeles police official refuses to confirm whether two people have been shot on the UCLA campus. He says claims of two fatalities being reported by the school and other officials are not confirmed.

The police official adds that there are no explosives in the building and cannot say how many shooters are being sought.

Police spokesman Aareon Jefferson tells AFP “We have two victims,” adding that officers are searching the sprawling campus for an armed gunman. “The situation is very fluid.”

He says it is unclear if the victims were students or staff at the school.

Jefferson says the shooting was reported shortly before 10 a.m. in Boelter Hall, which is part of the school of engineering.

Footage from the scene shows a group of people coming out of the engineering building with hands on their heads and walking in a line. Another person is seen being searched by police.

— with AFP

Police says 2 dead in UCLA shooting

A police spokesman has now confirmed that two people are dead in the UCLA shooting.

Dozens of police are taking up positions around the engineering building and around the large Los Angeles campus.

— with AP

Two UCLA male victims reported, no suspects found

The LA Police Department identifies the two victims as two males. It says no suspects have been found.

Reports indicate they are investigating if one of the victims was also the shooter.

Student Union vice president Rafi Sands tells the LA Times he and other students used belts to lock the door of the room they were in when word came in about the shooting.

Students are being asked to come to police one by one and being searched, footage on local TV shows.

Police searching a man on the UCLA campus after a shooting on June 1, 2016. (screen capture: KTLA)

Police searching a man on the UCLA campus after a shooting on June 1, 2016. (screen capture: KTLA)

LA police chief: UCLA shooting was murder-suicide, campus now safe

Los Angeles police chief says the shooting at UCLA was a murder-suicide, and the campus is now safe.

Two people were reported shot earlier today at the University of California’s Los Angeles campus, which was placed on lockdown as police searched for an active shooter.

“We have two victims,” police spokesman Tony Im told AFP, adding that officers were searching the sprawling campus for an armed gunman.

Im said the shooting was reported shortly before 10 a.m. in Boelter Hall, which is part of the school of engineering.

Dozens of police cars and tactical response teams rushed to the campus and ordered all students and staff to shelter in place.

— Agencies

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Herzog: Jerusalem won’t stay Jewish, safe without ‘dramatic’ change

Opposition lawmakers are using a special Knesset session today on next week’s Jerusalem Day to level criticism at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his policies regarding the capital, or lack thereof.

Opposition chief Isaac Herzog says Jerusalem as the country knows it will be lost if a “dramatic change” is not made.

Isaac Herzog addresses the Knesset on February 10, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Isaac Herzog addresses the Knesset on February 10, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“Jerusalem will not remain Jewish, ethical, whole and safe if a dramatic change does not happen here, if we don’t move urgently, without a variety of excuses for an arrangement between the two nations. At least let’s move toward there. Create hope,” Herzog urges from the podium, according to a Knesset transcript.

Meretz chief Zahava Galon launches a more direct attack on the prime minister and his coalition moves.

“What have you done, Mr. Prime Minister, aside from play games with your friends in your coalition, which has a fawning relationship with right-wing extremists and settlers,” she says, according to Army Radio.