The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s developments as they unfolded.
Gush Katif lands to be divided among Hamas officials
Hamas announces that it will distribute land in the Gaza Strip to officials as compensation for the nearly two years in which many government employees received only partial salary payments.
Most of the land set to be handed out are in the area of Gush Katif settlements, which were evacuated by Israel in 2005 during the unilateral pullout from the Strip.
The Fatah party criticizes the move and says the decision is both dangerous and illegal, and symbolizes the Hamas government’s corruption.
5 new communities to be established in Negev
The government approves the establishment of five new settlements in the Negev, in accordance with a draft proposal on the matter by Housing Minister Yoav Galant.
“The establishment of the settlements is essential for the strengthening of low-population areas of national importance in the Negev,” Galant says following the approval. “Alongside the construction of new settlements, we will continue to strengthen the older communities, while increasing the number of housing units within their borders in order to strengthen the entire Negev.”
The names of the new settlements are, Shelah, Neve Gurion, Daniel, Eshel Hanasi, and Dia, the Ynet news site reports.
Minibus with 26 undocumented Palestinian workers caught
A minibus carrying 26 undocumented Palestinian workers is stopped near Mevasseret Zion, close to Jerusalem.
The minibus, which was traveling from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, did not respond to calls to halt, and was forced to a stop after a short chase by police.
While the exterior of the minibus was painted so that appeared to belong to the Egged bus company, an investigation revealed that the vehicle was not registered with the corporation.
All 26 passengers and the driver of the minibus, a 23-year-old resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, are taken in for questioning. The driver’s license is not valid, and several grams of hashish are found during a police search of his belongings.
Iran says it arrested IS-linked cell near Iraq border
Iranian security forces arrested members of a jihadist cell linked with the Islamic State group near the country’s western borders with Iraq, the head of the Revolutionary Guards says.
Quoted by the ISNA news agency, General Mohammad Ali Jafari says Iranian security forces were monitoring attempts to “create insecurity” in Iran.
“IS has multi-layered support networks. One such network was identified in Kermanshah province (in western Iran) and its members were arrested,” Jafari tells reporters.
He provides no details on how many people were arrested or when the arrests took place.
“The rest of the groups are also on our intelligence radar and they will be dealt with as necessary,” Jafari says.
Hezbollah, Hamas officials meet in Beirut
Hezbollah top official Naim Qassem meets with a delegation of Hamas headed by Moussa Abu Marzouq in Beirut, Ynet reports.
At the meeting, the two terrorist groups agree to support the Palestinian “uprising” and protect residents of Gaza and the West Bank from the “Zionist enterprise.”
Russia’s Mediterranean drills end
Russia wraps up military drills that disrupted air traffic in and out of Beirut, allowing flights to resume on their normal routes, Lebanon’s transportation minister says.
The state-run National News Agency quoted the minister, Ghazi Zeaiter, as saying that Russia informed Lebanon that the aerial exercises over the Mediterranean were complete.
Russia began the drills on Friday. Although flights continued in and out of Beirut, carriers had to take different routes that avoid flying over Syria’s waters, and some airlines canceled flights.
Russia has been carrying out airstrikes in neighboring Syria and has intensified those strikes in recent days after confirmation that a bomb brought down a Russian plane over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Brussels official: City still faces grave threat
The mayor of one of Brussels’ many municipalities tells Belgian media that the capital is still facing a grave threat, according to the prime minister.
Schaerbeek Mayor Bernard Clerfayt says: “There are two terrorists in the Brussels region that could commit very dangerous acts.”
One of the suspected Paris attackers, Salah Abdeslam, is at large and is known to have crossed into Belgium the morning after the November 13 attacks. The source of the mayor’s information about a second suspect wasn’t immediately clear and the prime minister’s office declined to comment.
Belgium’s national Crisis Center on Saturday raised the threat alert in the Brussels region to Level 4, which indicates a “serious and immediate threat.”
Clerfayt says it was necessary to try to anticipate and prevent any such acts and their consequences.
He says: “As long as this threat is present, we must be very attentive.”
Stabbing at Etzion Bloc
An Israeli girl is injured in a stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion Junction, near the West Bank settlements of Efrat and Alon Shvut.
The girl is receiving medical treatment at the scene and ambulances are set to evacuate her to a nearby hospital.
The suspected attacker is shot by security forces. His condition is not yet known
More details to come.
Stabber at Etzion Bloc appears to have been shot dead
The suspected stabber at the Etzion Junction appears to have been shot dead.
An Israeli teenage girl is severely wounded in attack and is rushed to Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem.
— Judah Ari Gross
Teenage stabbing victim is rushed to hospital in Jerusalem
The victim of a stabbing attack at the Etzion Junction in the West Bank, a girl of around 17, is rushed to the Shaare Zedek hospital. She is seriously wounded and appears to have been stabbed in the head.
— Judah Ari Gross
Etzion Bloc stabber is dead
The perpetrator of a stabbing attack at the Etzion Junction in the West Bank who was shot by security forces at the scene is dead, a Times of Israel reporter at the scene says.
The attacker managed to stab an Israeli teenage girl, wounding her in the upper body. She is in serious condition and has been rushed to the Shaare Zedek hospital for emergency treatment.
An IDF spokesperson at the scene says the army is still investigating the incident.
— Judah Ari Gross
Etzion Council head: Close off Palestinian villages to prevent terror
Davidi Pearl, the head of the Etzion Regional Council, says the IDF must restrict Palestinians’ freedom of movement and close off villages in order to prevent terror attacks in the future.
“We need to close down surrounding villages for a week or two,” Pearl tells a Times of Israel reporter, pointing to the Palestinian cars driving around the Etzion Junction
KaDeWe to put Israeli goods back on shelves
KaDeWe, Berlin’s largest department store, which pulled some Israeli goods from its shelves following the publication of a European Union guideline that ruled out “Made in Israel” tags for products made in West Bank Jewish settlements or in the Golan Heights, apologizes for the move and says it will sell restock the goods.
“As of today the 8 Israeli wines will be back in our assortment,” a statement on KaDeWe’s official Facebook page reads.
“In this matter, which was about a European Union recommendation, we acted too quickly and insensitively. We regret that this wrong behavior of the KaDeWe Group led to misunderstandings and would like to apologize for this.”
KaDeWe, established in 1907 by a Jewish businessman, is the largest department store in continental Europe, serving tens of thousands of customers each day. In 1927, KaDeWe was purchased by a Jewish family business enterprise and was later boycotted by the Nazis, who finally seized the store in 1933. The department store reopened after World War II and is currently owned by a Thai company.
The EU rule on the labeling of West Bank and Golan Heights goods has triggered a fierce backlash from the Israeli government as well as opposition leaders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the 28-nation bloc’s ruling as “hypocritical” and accused the EU of double standards. One of his cabinet members called the rule “disguised anti-Semitism.”
PA says Israel ‘planting knives’ on Palestinians
The Palestinian Authority cabinet claims in a statement that Israeli forces planted knives on Palestinians in order to frame them for terrorist attacks.
The move, the statement says, is intended “to distract from [Israel’s] constant crimes,” according to a Reuters reporter.
Hamas calls for murder of official who thwarted terror attack
Hamas calls to murder Gershon Mesika, formerly the head of the Samaria Regional Council, who rammed his car into a Palestinian woman after seeing her attempting to stab an Israeli civilian at a bus stop near the West Bank city of Nablus. The attacker was subsequently shot dead by security forces at the scene.
Earlier, the official Twitter account run by the political party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas posts an image threatening the former local politician. The photo posted on Fatah’s Twitter brands Mesika a “child killer” and depicts the former council head next to a blood spatter with a large target over his face. The image is captioned: ”The criminal Gershon Mesika who ran over a Palestinian girl at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus.”
According to NRG, Mesika filed a complaint with police.
Woman stabbed in Etzion Bloc attack dies
A 20-year-old woman stabbed by a Palestinian at the Etzion Junction in the West Bank is pronounced dead.
Terrorist who stabbed woman at Etzion Junction named
The terrorist who carried out a stabbing attack at the Etzion Junction is named by the Shin Bet security service as Wissam Tawabte, a 34-year-old resident of the West Bank Palestinian village of Beit Fajar, near the city of Bethlehem.
He was shot and killed during the attack.
The terrorist has no prior security background.
Czechs would offer 200 troops in IS ground op
The Czech Republic’s defense minister says that his country would be able to deploy about 200 soldiers in the case of an international ground operation against the Islamic State group.
Martin Stropnicky says most of them would be members of an anti-chemical warfare unit, while the rest would be medical personnel.
Speaking Sunday on Czech public television, Stropnicky said the Czechs would participate if there were a NATO ground operation.
He said a preferable solution would be the current airstrikes alongside a ground attack by forces from the countries in the region while the West would help provide weapons to their armies.
The minister says that after the Paris attacks “the probability of a ground operation is increasing, but nothing has been decided yet.”
Russia: 11 allied with IS group killed in North Caucasus
Russian law enforcement officers raid a hideout in the North Caucasus of armed militants allied with the Islamic State group, killing all 11 of them in an exchange of fire, the counter-terrorism agency says.
The reinforced base in a wooded, mountainous area on the outskirts of Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria republic, contained a workshop for producing explosive devices and a stockpile of weapons and ammunition, the National Anti-Terrorist Committee says in a statement. It says all 11 militants were killed after opening fire on the officers and using grenades, while there were no fatalities among the officers.
An Islamic insurgency has long simmered in the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus republics of southern Russia. The region, which includes Chechnya and Dagestan, has become fertile ground for IS propaganda and recruitment, and the majority of the estimated 3,000 Russians fighting in Syria are believed to come from the North Caucasus.
The agency says the group of militants killed in Sunday’s raid were allied with IS and had helped to send local residents to Syria to fight with IS.
Terrorists planned to blow up 3 bombs in Germany
Terrorists planned to detonate explosives at the Hannover soccer stadium in Germany last week, a security source is quoted by the The Guardian as saying. The security source adds that the attack was planned at the stadium during a friendly match held between Germany and the Netherlands.
The planned attack was thwarted by security forces and thousands of spectators were evacuated from the stadium.
The security says that although no explosives made their way into the stadium and no arrests have been made, German authorities believe that the terrorist cell behind the planned attack is still in the country.
Woman killed in stabbing named as Hadar Buchris, 21
The Israeli woman killed in the stabbing at Etzion Junction has been named as Hadar Buchris, 21, from Safed.
Lapid says IDF should ‘shoot to kill’ terrorists
Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid says security forces must “shoot to kill, without hesitation” any terrorist attempting to attack Israeli civilians and soldiers.
Lapid says the murder of Hadar Buchris, 21, who was stabbed to death earlier today by a Palestinian assailant at the Gush Etzion Junction — near the West Bank settlements of Efrat and Alon Shvut — displays the “murderous and heinous” acts by terrorists “who will stop at nothing, including killing girls and innocent people.”
Eagles of Death Metal singer recalls Bataclan carnage
Jesse Hughes, the Eagles of Death Metal singer who was performing at the Bataclan theater in Paris when gunmen attacked November 13, says many spectators died attempting to protect their friends.
“A great reason why so many were killed is because so many people wouldn’t leave their friends. So many people put themselves in front of people,” he said in an excerpted interview with Vice.com.
Several people tried to escape by hiding in the band’s dressing room, to little avail, he says.
“The killers were able to get in and killed every one of them except for a kid who was hiding under my leather jacket,” Hughes says, choking back sobs.
Josh Homme, the group’s cofounder who was not at the concert, listened sadly as Hugues recalled the events to Vice founder Shane Smith. The interview is scheduled to be aired in its entirety next week.
Gunmen attacked almost simultaneously at several points across Paris, killing 130 people, 89 of them at the Bataclan music hall.
Jewish Home MK calls to place terrorists’ families in detention
Jewish Home MK Moti Yogev proposes to deport terrorists’ families to the Holot detention facility in the Negev, a site originally intended to hold refugees and migrants who crossed the Israeli border.
“It is time… to make the terrorist think twice before carrying out an attack,” he says. “I suggested actions that will deter terrorists from carrying out attacks.”
Belgium maintains highest threat alert level
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel says that the terror alert remains at the highest level for a sustained “serious and imminent” threat against the capital.
Michel states that, like last weekend, authorities fear a Paris-like attack, “even perhaps at several locations.”
He adds that schools and the subway system in Brussels will remain closed.
IDF considering erecting security corridors at Etzion Junction
The IDF is examining the possibility of installing security corridors on the sidewalks near the Etzion Junction, in an effort to curb terrorist attacks at the site.
The corridors, if erected, are expected to serve both as checkpoints and as buffers.
President Rivlin comments on stabbing attack at Etzion Junction
President Rivlin speaks of the latest terror attack, in which 21-year-old Hadar Buchris was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist.
“This evening’s event is painfully sullied by the terrible terror attack which took place today, and against the background of the ongoing terror attacks in the Gush, as in Tel Aviv, Rivlin says.
“The State of Israel, and all the free world, is in the situation whereby the home front has become the front line. Terror threatens the citizens of Mali, Paris, Brussels, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Gush Etzion. We will not allow terrorism to dictate our lives, and I am proud that we do not close down our cities due to the threats.”
“At the same time,” states the president, “we will neither rest, nor be silent, until we return calm to the streets and to all the citizens of Israel. We shall neither rest, nor be silent, until the whole world recognizes this enemy, and strikes it wherever it may hide. We, the citizens of Israel, will not surrender.”
Paris police release photo of 3rd stadium suicide bomber
French police release a photo of the third of three suicide bombers who blew themselves up outside France’s national stadium during the November 13 Paris attacks.
Investigators said Friday that the assailant turned up among refugees on the Greek island of Leros on October 3, along with another attacker whose photo has been released but who remains unidentified.
Only one of the three assailants at the Stade de France, north of Paris, has been identified so far — French national Bilal Hadfi, 20, who lived in Belgium.
The man in the photo released presented a Syrian passport in the name of Mohammad al-Mahmod to Greek authorities, a source close to the investigation says.
He and the other attacker who landed on Leros then took a ferry to the Greek port of Piraeus on October 8 before joining the migrant flow toward Serbia.
They were among seven gunmen and suicide bombers in the wave of coordinated attacks in Paris that left 130 dead and around 350 wounded.
Investigators are still hunting for Salah Abdeslam, suspected of fleeing the scene and heading to Belgium.
One person was killed when the three suicide bombers blew themselves up near the Stade de France the night of the attacks claimed by the Islamic State group, which also targeted the Bataclan concert hall and several bars and restaurants in a trendy part of eastern Paris.
Brussel hotel in lockdown due to terror threat
A major hotel in the center of Brussels is raided by Belgian soldiers and placed in lockdown for fear that terrorists are holed up in the locations, reports say.
Guests at the Radisson Blu are told to stay in their rooms, and residents of the area are told to stay indoors.
— Stuart Webb (@Worldwidewebb1) November 22, 2015
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