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Package sent to CNN bureau had possible live bomb, white powder — NYPD

US police said to intercept suspicious package sent to Rep. Maxine Waters, after wave of threats against US Democratic targets authorities believe were made by the same person

  • Police gather outside the Time Warner Center after a suspected explosive device was sent to the CNN offices on October 24, 2018, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
    Police gather outside the Time Warner Center after a suspected explosive device was sent to the CNN offices on October 24, 2018, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
  • Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stands with Barack Obama at an election eve rally on November 7, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
    Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stands with Barack Obama at an election eve rally on November 7, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
  • Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., is interviewed in New York on March 21, 2016. (AP/Richard Drew)
    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., is interviewed in New York on March 21, 2016. (AP/Richard Drew)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Jewish federation's annual General Assembly in Tel Aviv, on October 24, 2018 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Jewish federation's annual General Assembly in Tel Aviv, on October 24, 2018 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 24, 2018. (Giuseppe Cacace/AFP)
    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 24, 2018. (Giuseppe Cacace/AFP)

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

Netanyahu hails US ties, says Israel should be home for all Jews

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praises Israel’s ties with the United States, during a conference of American Jewish federations in Tel Aviv, saying support for Israel in the US has grown dramatically in the past 20 years, from 47 percent to 72%.

The premier says the egalitarian plaza at the Western Wall will be renovated as promised, as part a compromise deal between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jewry regarding the Jerusalem holy site.

While noting that the deal itself is suspended, Netanyahu tells the Jewish federations of North America’s General Assembly in Tel Aviv that he wants Israel to be a home for “every Jew” — whether Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox.

Regarding the Trump administration’s yet-unpublished peace plan, he says that, while Palestinians can be allowed to govern themselves, they cannot have the capability to harm Israel, adding that only Israel will be in charge of security in the West Bank.

Egypt security forces say 11 jihadists killed south of Cairo

Egyptian officials say security forces have killed 11 men armed with assault rifles, in a firefight that began during a dawn raid on a desert cave south of Cairo.

The officials say the men killed had been in possession of weapons and ammunition, including explosives, in the Western Desert near the Farafra depression, and had planned “hostile operations.” The area is near the city of Assiut, some 320 kilometers, or 200 miles, from Cairo.

The officials are not identified in their statement, but spoke anonymously under government regulations.

Egypt launched a nationwide operation against jihadists in February. It has struggled to combat a long-running insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula that is now affiliated with the Islamic State group, and which has also carried out attacks on the mainland.

— AP

Iran claims US backed Saudi killing of Khashoggi

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is claiming that Saudi Arabia would not have dared to have journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul without having some sort of backing from the United States.

The remarks follow Turkey’s assertion that the writer was killed by a 15-man Saudi hit squad that included a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage on overseas trips.

Today’s report by the state-run IRNA news agency quotes Rouhani as saying: “I don’t think that without getting support from the United States, a country would dare to commit such a crime.”

Rouhani offers no evidence for his allegations.

Rouhani also calls the Saudi system of government a “tribal rule,” under which individuals enjoy protection and support from those in power. That protection is such that no court would initiate any actions against those individuals.

— AP

Japanese journalist freed from Syria after 3 years confirms he is well

A Japanese freelance journalist who was kidnapped three years ago in Syria says he is well and safe in Turkey.

Jumpei Yasuda speaks in brief videotaped comments in English carried online by Japanese public broadcaster NHK.

He says he is safe in Turkey, after being held for 40 months.

In this February 18, 2015 photo, Japanese freelance journalist Jumpei Yasuda speaks during an interview in Tokyo. (Kyodo News via AP)

Yasuda has been at an immigration center in southern Turkey near the border with Syria since he was freed yesterday.

He was kidnapped in 2015 by al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria.

— AP

Incendiary balloon from Gaza starts 4th fire in Israel today

An incendiary balloon launched from the Gaza Strip starts a brush fire near Kibbutz Or HaNer in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council.

Firefighters attempt to extinguish the fourth blaze started today by fire balloons in Israeli territory.

Liberal Jewish leaders slam Netanyahu’s ‘scandalous’ GA speech

Leaders of liberal Jewish sects in Israel react with skepticism to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, saying similar past promises had not been fulfilled.

“We have a long and complicated history with Netanyahu’s promises in his speeches in GA conferences over the years,” Yizhar Hess, CEO of the Conservative Judaism movement in Israel, says in a statement.

Yizhar Hess (2R), Executive Director and CEO of the Conservative Judaism movement seen at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem as he arrives to a court hearing regarding the Western Wall deal, January 14, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“It seems that in front of an audience comprised mainly of North American Jewish representatives, the prime minister feels comfortable promising that very soon Israel will become paradise for Conservative and Reform Jews. In the meantime, we haven’t seen the promises being translated into reality,” Hess says, adding that he is nonetheless “optimistic” about the completion of the Western Wall egalitarian section.

The head of the Reform movement in Israel, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, slams the speech as “scandalous” and accuses Netanyahu of failing to acknowledge his part in creating the crisis with Diaspora Jewry.

“As of now, all of his promises to promote respectful treatment of all Jewish sects have remained on paper, while ministers and coalition members, also from his party, continue to coarsely disparage Reform Jews in Israel and in the Diaspora,” Kariv says in a statement.

“If the prime minister continues to ignore the significant damage caused in recent years to the fabric of relations with world Jewry, he is betraying his national responsibility,” he concludes.

UK revoking visas of Saudi suspects in Khashoggi murder

Britain will revoke the visas of Saudi Arabian suspects involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Prime Minister Theresa May says today.

“The Home Secretary is taking action against all suspects to prevent them entering the UK. If these individuals currently have visas, those visas will be revoked today,” May tells a session of parliament.

Britain’s actions follow a similar move made yesterday by the United States.

— AFP

Saudis deny permission to inspect well in consulate’s garden: report

Saudi authorities denied permission to Turkish police to search a well in the garden of the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul as part of a probe into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, state media reports.

Turkish police this month searched the consulate twice, and the residence of the Saudi consul general, to gather evidence into what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says was a “savage murder” of Khashoggi.

Basing its report on security sources, the Anadolu news agency reports that Turkish police “were denied authorization by Saudi officials to search the well in the consulate garden.”

— AFP

Authorities warn of stormy weather tomorrow including floods, uprooted trees

Meteorological services warn of stormy weather throughout Israel starting tomorrow, saying heavy rains and strong winds could cause floods and uproot trees.

“We see the weather going to be very complex tomorrow,” meteorologist Tzachi Waxman of Meteo-Tech tells Ynet. “The first phase in the morning will include widespread rain along with thunderstorms or even hail, potential floods, and we could see unusually powerful phenomena compared with what we’re used to.”

Motorists plow their vehicles through flooded streets after a winter storm hit the Israeli coastal town of Netanya, north of Tel Aviv, on January 25, 2018. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/File)

The storm is so potent because cold air reaching the area will mix with the current hot autumn weather, creating the strong winds, Waxman adds.

He says winds could reach 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph), tree branches could fall off and trees could even be uprooted and cause damage. Floods are a particular concern in the Negev Desert in the south and along the coast.

Authorities call on the public to follow media reports and police orders, to refrain from hiking in flood-prone areas and refrain from driving on flooded roads.

Dutch public broadcaster calls Soros ‘a Jew with tentacles’

Holland’s main public broadcaster refers to George Soros as “the Jew Soros [who] supports organizations openly critical of governments and has tentacles” in American politics.

The assertion was removed from an online article following an outcry on social media.

The text, which critics say is reminiscent of 1930s propaganda, has been removed from an article published yesterday evening by the NOS broadcaster about an explosive device that was found near the New York home of Soros, a Hungary-born liberal billionaire who is the target of many anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on the far right and far left. It was found in the home’s mail box and he was not home at the time.

George Soros speaks during a forum at the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Washington on September 24, 2011. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

In a statement, NOS calls the language it used to describe Soros “careless and incorrect.” Editor-in-chief Marcel Gelauff tells the NRC daily that it was “absurd” and “wrong,” and that it was meant to show how Soros’s critics “frame” him.

— JTA

Prominent Austrian Holocaust survivor Rudolf Gelbard dies at 87

Rudolf Gelbard, a prominent Austrian journalist and Holocaust survivor, has died. He was 87.

Vienna’s Jewish community says Gelbard died overnight after a long illness. President Alexander Van der Bellen says that “Austria has lost an important witness of the Shoah, a vigilant warning voice against anti-Semitism and a committed fighter for democracy.”

Gelbard and his Jewish parents were deported when he was 11 to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia, where they — unlike many relatives — survived until its May 1945 liberation.

Holocaust survivor Rudolf Gelbard at the Burgtheater in Vienna, Austria, on November 14, 2014. (CC-BY-SA-4.0 Wikipedia/Christian Michelides)

After the war, Gelbard spoke in schools, universities and elsewhere about his experiences during the Holocaust.

He worked for the Kurier daily newspaper from 1975 to 1990 and was a leading member of the Federation of Social Democratic Freedom Fighters, an anti-fascist group.

— AP

Man’s body found in Italy near where Israeli disappeared — ministry

Israel’s Foreign Ministry says a man’s body has been found in Italy, in the area where an Israeli sailor went missing earlier this month.

The ministry says a DNA test will be conducted to verify whether it is indeed the body of a 60-year-old Israeli man who has been missing since October 10 after disembarking from his yacht on the Italian island of Capri.

The Israeli man took part in a yacht trip to the islands off Italy’s western coastline, boarded a rubber dinghy to the island of Capri and disappeared.

The ministry, along with Israel’s deputy ambassador to Italy Ofra Farhi and Israeli insurance company The Phoenix, have been helping in the two-week search operation on the coast using choppers, planes and drones, as well as sonar equipment and divers.

US envoy Friedman says he’s an ‘unapologetic right wing defender of Israel’

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman says that apathy, not disagreements over the Western Wall or other issues, is the greatest threat to US-Israel relations.

“Let me speak for a minute about the disagreements that pop up from time to time between Israel and Diaspora Jewry. They will never go away completely. They just won’t,” he says at a speech to the Jewish Federations of North America’s annual General Assembly in Tel Aviv.

US ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks at the Jewish Federation’s annual General Assembly in Tel Aviv, on October 24, 2018. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

“To paraphrase the famous observation, Israel is from Mars and the Diaspora is from Venus. But as they sometimes say about the original subject of that observation, “Viva la Difference.”

Friedman also refers to himself as an “unapologetic right wing defender of Israel and a security hawk,” adding that some delegates in the audience may have disagreements with him regarding Israel.

— Raphael Ahren

France vows ‘punitive measures’ if Riyadh’s role in Khashoggi murder proven

France will take “punitive measures” if Saudi Arabia is “proven” to be behind the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux says, adding that Paris will first have to verify Riyadh’s involvement.

“In the event that Saudi Arabia’s responsibility is proven, we will then draw the consequences and take punitive measures,” Griveaux says after a cabinet meeting, while emphasizing that Riyadh’s role will have to be “corroborated by our intelligence services” first.

— AFP

Turkish intelligence, security unit saved Japan journalist in Syria — official

The governor of Turkey’s southern Hatay province says a Japanese journalist was rescued as a result of efforts by Turkish intelligence and security units.

Japan confirmed today that the man freed from Syria is Jumpei Yasuda, a Japanese freelance journalist kidnapped in 2015, and that he is in good health.

Governor Erdal Ata says Yasuda had no identification with him when he was brought from Syria, which he had entered illegally.

Ata says Yasuda will be handed over to Japanese officials as soon as necessary procedures on the Turkish side are completed.

— AP

Explosive device found at Clintons’ NY home — US official

A US official says a “functional explosive device” was found at Hillary and Bill Clinton’s suburban New York home.

The official says investigators believe the explosive is linked to one found Monday at the compound of liberal billionaire George Soros.

The official isn’t authorized to publicly discuss an ongoing investigation and speaks on condition of anonymity.

The device was discovered in the early morning hours at the Clintons’ home in Chappaqua, New York.

Police in New Castle, New York — who cover Chappaqua — say they assisted the FBI, Secret Service and Westchester County authorities in “the investigation of a suspicious package.”

— AP

Israeli drones strike 2 posts in Gaza — Palestinian media

Israeli drones fire at two “resistance” posts in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian new website Shehab reports.

One of the posts is in northern Gaza and the other is in Rafah in southern Gaza, the Shehab report says.

Other Palestinian reports say there have been no injuries in the strikes.

The Israeli military is yet to comment.

— with Adam Rasgon

After Clintons, Secret Service intercepts suspected bomb sent to Obama residence

The US Secret Service says it has intercepted suspect packages, identified as potential explosive devices, sent to the homes of former president Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

The Secret Service said it recovered a single package addressed to Clinton in Westchester, a suburb north of Manhattan, and a second package addressed to the Obama residence in Washington.

“The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such,” the Secret Service says in a statement.

“The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them.”

— AFP

White House says attempted attacks on Obama, Clinton ‘despicable’

The White House is condemning attempted attacks made against former US president Barack Obama, and former US president Bill Clinton and secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says in a statement: “These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

She adds: “The United States Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies are investigating and will take all appropriate actions to protect anyone threatened by these cowards.”

— AP

Suspicious packages sent to White House, CNN bureau in New York

US news network CNN announces on its screens that it had evacuated its New York bureau over a suspicious package similar to those addressed to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

New York police confirm to AFP that its officers have been called to the Time Warner Center, where the CNN bureau in the US financial capital is located, to investigate reports of a suspicious package.

CNN has reported that a fourth suspected bomb was sent to the White House in Washington and intercepted at an off-site facility.

— with AFP

Erdogan speaks on phone with Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi: presidency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken on the phone with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the first time since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a presidential source says.

The two discussed “the issue of joint efforts and the steps that need to be taken in order to shed light on the Jamal Khashoggi murder in all its aspects,” the source adds.

— AFP

Israeli army says it targeted Hamas post where fire balloons were launched

The Israeli military says it conducted a strike in the southern Gaza Strip, targeting a Hamas post from which incendiary balloons were launched.

The statement partially confirms earlier reports in the Palestinian media that Israeli drones struck two targets in Gaza — one in the north and one in the south.

Incendiary balloons from Gaza start 8 fires in Israeli territory

Firefighters are working to extinguish eight blazes caused by incendiary balloons near Israeli towns along the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Israeli Fire and Rescue Services says.

— Jacob Magid

No suspicious package sent to White House — Secret Service

The US Secret Service says media reports that it has intercepted a suspicious package bound for the White House “are incorrect.”

Earlier, Reuters and CNN both reported that a suspected bomb addressed to the US government office in Washington and was intercepted in an off-site facility.

Saudi crown prince says killing of Khashoggi ‘a heinous crime’

Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince calls the killing of Jamal Khashoggi a “heinous crime that cannot be justified.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman separately says that the killing of the Washington Post columnist will not “drive a wedge” between the kingdom and Turkey.

His comments come at the Future Investment Initiative. This year’s summit, however, has been overshadowed by the killing October 2 of Khashoggi. Turkish officials say a 15-man Saudi team killed the writer at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. A member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage was allegedly at the consulate at the time.

International business leaders have pulled out from attending the summit over the killing.

— AP

Trump, Pence condemn bomb threats as ‘cowardly’

US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are condemning “attempted attacks” against former president Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and CNN.

Pence tweets: “These cowardly actions are despicable & have no place in this Country.”

He thanks law enforcement and adds: “Those responsible will be brought to justice.”

Trump afterward shares Pence’s tweet, writing: “I agree wholeheartedly!”

The US Secret Service said today that it had intercepted a bomb that was addressed to Hillary Clinton and also discovered a possible explosive that was sent to Obama. Also today, a police bomb squad was sent to CNN’s offices in New York City and the newsroom was evacuated because of a suspicious package.

— AP

Suspicious package sent to Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Florida office

US police say another suspicious package has been found at the office of Democratic Rep. Deborah Wasserman Schultz, in Sunrise, Florida, after similar suspected bombs were sent to the homes of former US presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and to CNN’s New York headquarters.

A bomb squad and firefighters are responding to the scene, according to US media reports.

Wasserman Schultz’s name had been listed on one of the previous packages as the return address, an ironic reference to the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

CNN device was pipe bomb, addressed to CIA director Brennan

Two law enforcement officials say a suspicious package that prompted an evacuation of CNN’s offices in New York City is believed to contain a pipe bomb.

The officials say the CNN bomb was crude but operational and was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who appears on air on other broadcast and cable outlets.

The officials say the device discovered today appeared to be similar to explosives sent to former US President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and billionaire George Soros.

A separate law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that the explosive discovered at Soros’ suburban New York compound on Monday was a pipe bomb.

All three officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

The Secret Service hasn’t provided details about the devices that were sent to Clinton and Obama.

— AP

San Diego Union-Tribune offices evacuated due to suspicious package

The offices of US website San Diego Union-Tribune are evacuated and a street is cordoned off after a suspicious package is found outside the building, US media reports.

It is yet unclear whether the incident is connected with other suspected bombs sent to the homes of former US presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and to CNN’s New York headquarters.

Cathay Pacific hit by data leak, affects 9.4 million passengers

Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific says it has suffered a data leak affecting up to 9.4 million passengers.

“We acted immediately to contain the event, commence a thorough investigation with the assistance of a leading cybersecurity firm, and to further strengthen our IT security measures,” Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Officer Rupert Hogg says in a statement on the airline’s website.

“We have no evidence that any personal data has been misused,” he adds.

— AFP

US Republicans deplore attempts ‘to terrorize’ officials

US Republican leaders say that the person or people who sent explosives to the homes of Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama should be brought to justice.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says they were “reprehensible acts” and “we cannot tolerate any attempt to terrorize public figures.”

The US Secret Service said today that it intercepted a bomb that was addressed to Clinton and also discovered a possible explosive sent to Obama.

Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 3 Republican in the House, says “this is a dangerous path and it cannot become the new normal.” He says the attempted attacks are “pure terror.”

Scalise survived life-threatening injuries after he was shot at a congressional baseball practice in 2017. He tweets that he’s experienced “first-hand the effects of political violence.”

— AP

Turkish media say Saudi vehicle scouted forest before Khashoggi killing

Turkish media publish a security camera image allegedly showing a vehicle belonging to the Saudi consulate “scouting” a forest in the outskirts of Istanbul before the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The image obtained by state television TRT and other media today shows a black car with a diplomatic license plate at an entrance to Belgrade Forest.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that consulate officials had made “reconnaissance” trips to the forest as well as the city of Yalova a day before Khashoggi was killed, while Turkish officials have told the AP that investigators are looking into the possibility that the journalist’s remains may have been disposed at those two locations.

The photo is the latest in a string of images leaked by security officials to media organizations, in an apparent effort to exert pressure on Saudi officials.

— AP

Netanyahu slams Likud ex-minister for ‘brewing a subversive plot’ against him

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashes out at a former minister in his own party, accusing him of plotting against him.

While the premier doesn’t name the ex-minister, there is little doubt he is referring to Gideon Sa’ar, an erstwhile education minister for the ruling Likud party and a potential challenger to Netanyahu in future elections.

A report today in a newspaper that backs Netanyahu said the prime minister has been delaying a decision on bringing forward the 2019 elections, due to fears that President Reuven Rivlin could task someone else with forming a government.

Gideon Sa’ar speaks at a Likud party conference in Lod, on December 31, 2017. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The reported plot had reportedly originated from Sa’ar. Both Rivlin and Sa’ar denied the report.

“For the last few weeks I have known that a former Likud minister has been talking with coalition members and brewing a subversive plot, which would have me bring Likud to a sweeping election victory, and then it would be made sure I’m not appointed prime minister, against the public’s will, against democracy,” Netanyahu says at his 69th birthday party at his home.

Retired US general says war with China likely in 15 years

The former commander of the US Army in Europe says it’s likely the United States will be at war with China in 15 years.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges says at a Warsaw security forum that European allies will have to do more to ensure their own defenses against Russia as Americans focus more on the Pacific.

Hodges says: “I think in 15 years — it’s not inevitable, but it is a very strong likelihood — that we will be at war with China. The United States does not have the capacity to do everything it has to do in Europe and in the Pacific to deal with the Chinese threat.”

Hodges, now with the Center for European Policy Analysis, was US Army commander in Europe during 2014-17.

— AP

Jewish Agency affirms commitment to Declaration of Independence

The Jewish Agency for Israel’s board of governors passes a resolution reaffirming the Jewish people’s commitment to the basic values outlined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, as a protest against the Jewish nation-state law passed in the Knesset which defines Israel as the national home of the Jewish people.

The resolution, which emphasizes the part of the 1948 document noting that Israel will guarantee freedom and equality for all its citizens, says it is meant “as an expression of solidarity with the State of Israel and as an acknowledgement of its unique, democratic and egalitarian characteristics.”

The Agency’s head Isaac Herzog initiated and promoted the decision.

Many, including Israel’s Druze population, have fiercely opposed the nation-state law and argued it marginalizes non-Jewish communities.

Before passing the resolution, the Jewish Agency members honored Sheikh Muafak Tarif, the spiritual leader of the Druze community, who hails its “important” part in Israeli society but says it still suffers from discrimination.

Hillary Clinton says ‘troubling time’ in US after bomb threats

Former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says America is in “a troubling time” and appeals for national unity after she was among a number of high-profile Democrats targeted in bomb threats.

“We are fine, thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made its way to our home,” she says.

“But it is a troubling time, isn’t it? And it’s a time of deep divisions, and we have to do everything we can to bring our country together.”

— AFP

Collapse of weapons treaty would lead to new ‘arms race’: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that a collapse of arms control treaties will lead to a new arms race after US leader Donald Trump promised to jettison a key Cold War-era treaty.

Putin says if the United States abandons a nuclear treaty known as the INF and refuses to renew an agreement known as the New START then the “situation would be extremely dangerous.” “There would be nothing left except an arms race,” he says.

— AFP

NYPD: Package sent to CNN had possible live bomb, white powder

New York City’s police commissioner says a package sent to CNN’s offices in New York contained what appears to be a live explosive and an envelope containing white powder.

At a briefing near Manhattan’s Time Warner Center, Commissioner James O’Neill pledges to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The police department’s top counterterrorism official, John Miller, says the substance is being tested to see if it is dangerous.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says at the briefing that “we will not allow these terrorist thugs to change the way we live our lives.”

Investigators say the device appears to be similar to explosives sent to former US president Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and billionaire George Soros.

— AP

Suspicious device sent to NY state governor’s office: Cuomo

New York’s Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo announces that a suspicious device was also sent to his office in Manhattan, after apparent pipe bombs were sent to CNN and Hillary Clinton’s home in the state.

“A device has been sent to my office in Manhattan,” Cuomo tells a news conference. “The device sent to my office has been identified and is being handled as we speak.”

The governor, who is a trenchant critic of US President Donald Trump and who is seeking a third term as chief executive of the country’s fourth most populous state, says he “wouldn’t be at all surprised” if more devices show up.

— AFP

Netanyahu said to ask Macron to renew police protection for his associate

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surprised French President Emmanuel Macron last year by requesting that France renew security protection for French Jewish parliament member Meyer Habib, Channel 10 reports.

Netanyahu made the unusual request at a meeting with Macron in Paris in December 2017, the TV network says citing two French sources with knowledge of the affair.

Habib, a pro-Israel businessman and close associate of the Israeli leader, has been a frequent target for threats on his life. Most recently, the French parliament was evacuated in August due to white powder sent to his office. In the past he had police protection, but authorities stopped providing it after deeming him safe.

French-Jewish lawmaker Meyer Habib with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in May 2017. (Screenshot)

The French sources say Macron was surprised Netanyahu would make such a request, both because it involves a specific French citizen and since it deals with internal French affairs.

Despite that, security around Habib was reinstated a month after the request.

Auschwitz museum obtains baton of camp orchestra’s conductor

The Auschwitz museum has obtained a new relic from the death camp Nazi Germany operated during World War II: the baton of the inmate orchestra’s conductor.

Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum spokesman Bartosz Bartyzel says the wood-and-ivory baton with a plaque reading “F. Nierychlo 1940 (A)” was obtained from a private individual.

Franciszek Nierychlo, a musician, was brought to Auschwitz in June 1940 in a transport of Polish prisoners and made the Nazis’ supervising “kapo” in the camp kitchen. According to the museum, survivors described him as cruel and cooperative with the Germans.

This October 24, 2018 photo publicly provided by the Museum of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau shows the wood-and-ivory baton of Franciszek Nierychlo, Auschwitz prisoner and controversial organizer and first conductor of the inmates’ orchestra, in Oswiecim, Poland. Birkenau/Marcin Inglot via AP)

The orchestra Nierychlo organized on Nazi orders played lively tunes while Auschwitz inmates were maltreated. The museum said it helped save musicians, who received more food and had better conditions.

Some 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, perished in Auschwitz.

— AP

NYPD: Devices all similar crude pipe bombs, likely made by the same person

NYPD’s chief of counterterrorism says the explosive device sent to CNN’s headquarters in New York appears to be sent by the same person who mailed pipe bombs to George Soros, Hillary Clinton and former US president Barack Obama.

John Miller and FBI officials say at a news conference that the devices all appeared to be crude pipe bombs. The New York device was black and had wires.

Miller says the case started on Monday night with the device sent to Soros. He says they’re looking at the devices as a pattern, and they have not made any arrests.

No one was injured by any of the devices.

— AP

Jewish Agency NY offices go on alert following spate of explosive devices

The Jewish Agency’s offices in New York go on alert following the wave of explosive devices sent to various US targets.

A spokesperson for the agency’s head Isaac Herzog notes that the offices are located in the same 3rd Avenue building as the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, which was among the targets that have received suspicious packages.

The entire building is evacuated as police remove the suspected bomb.

Egypt angered by scuffle at Jerusalem church

A scuffle between Israeli police and Coptic priests at a major Christian holy site in Jerusalem has drawn condemnation from Egypt.

Police and Coptic priests wrangled today outside a contested chapel at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

The Copts were protesting the start of restoration work by the Israel Antiquities Authority at the St. Michael the Archangel Chapel, which both the Ethiopian and Egyptian Orthodox churches claim.

The police forcibly removed the priests after they barred entry to the workers.

Israel Police officers restrain a Coptic cleric during a protest against safety maintenance work at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, October 24, 2018. (Patriarchate of the Orthodox Copts in Jerusalem/Facebook)

Mazen Qupti, a lawyer for the Coptic church, says one priest was briefly detained and several suffered minor injuries.

Egypt’s foreign ministry expresses a “total rejection” of Israeli police “violence” and says it’s “closely monitoring the situation.”

George Soros’s son links bomb attacks to anti-Semitism, Trump campaign

The son of Jewish billionaire George Soros says a bomb placed in the mailbox of his father’s home, as well as explosive devices sent to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are not “divorced” from the anti-Semitism he says has emerged from US President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“While the responsibility lies with the individual or individuals who sent these lethal devices to my family home and Mr. Obama’s and Ms. Clinton’s offices, I cannot see it divorced from the new normal of political demonization that plagues us today,” Alexander Soros writes in The New York Times.

Philanthropist Alexander Soros, son of billionaire Holocaust survivor George Soros. (Wikimedia commons/Nathalie Schuller)

The younger Soros in the op-ed says his father’s liberal and political philanthropy was inspired by his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. Until Trump’s 2016 campaign, he says, his father suffered anti-Semitic attacks, but only on the fringes.

“Mr. Trump’s final TV ad famously featured my father; Janet Yellen, chairwoman of the Federal Reserve; and Lloyd Blankfein, chairman of Goldman Sachs — all of them Jewish — amid dog-whistle language about ‘special interests’ and ‘global special interests’,” he writes. “A genie was let out of the bottle, which may take generations to put back in, and it wasn’t confined to the United States.”

At the time of the ad, a number of Jewish groups condemned what they said were its anti-Semitic insinuations.

Suspicious package sent to US Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters

US police have intercepted a suspicious package sent to Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, according to several US media reports.

The suspected bomb targeting the California lawmaker was intercepted at a mail facility in Maryland by Capitol Hill police.

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Jewish Agency affirms commitment to Declaration of Independence

The Jewish Agency for Israel’s board of governors passes a resolution reaffirming the Jewish people’s commitment to the basic values outlined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, as a protest against the Jewish nation-state law passed in the Knesset which defines Israel as the national home of the Jewish people.

The resolution, which emphasizes the part of the 1948 document noting that Israel will guarantee freedom and equality for all its citizens, says it is meant “as an expression of solidarity with the State of Israel and as an acknowledgement of its unique, democratic and egalitarian characteristics.”

The Agency’s head Isaac Herzog initiated and promoted the decision.

Many, including Israel’s Druze population, have fiercely opposed the nation-state law and argued it marginalizes non-Jewish communities.

Before passing the resolution, the Jewish Agency members honored Sheikh Muafak Tarif, the spiritual leader of the Druze community, who hails its “important” part in Israeli society but says it still suffers from discrimination.