Minister: Trump’s warning about Israeli price to pay ’cause for concern’
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Transportation minister: Bridge construction to be delayed 6 months

Responding to criticism that he bent to ultra-Orthodox pressure by halting Shabbat work on overpass, Israel Katz says he won’t allow closure of Ayalon highway during week either

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Transportation Minister Israel Katz in front of a map of the proposed rail network on April 5, 2017. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Transportation Minister Israel Katz in front of a map of the proposed rail network on April 5, 2017. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

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

Liberman met with Qatar foreign minister on sidelines of Gaza talks — report

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman met with Qatari Foreign Minister  Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani while in Cyprus last June, Walla news reports.

The Hebrew news site says that contrary to a Channel 10 report earlier this month that claimed Liberman had met secretly with Qatar’s envoy to Gaza Muhammad al-Amadi, the defense minister actually sat down with al-Thani.

According to Walla, which cited a senior Israeli official, a meeting with al-Amadi would not have had to take place in Cyprus as the Qatari envoy is frequently in Israel. However, a sit-down with as high-ranking an official as al-Thani required Liberman to travel abroad.

The get-together took place on the sidelines of talks the defense minister was holding in Cyprus regarding the possibility of constructing a seaport in Cyprus for Gaza in addition to a possible long-term truce between Israel and Hamas.

Likud minister vows to ‘push back’ against Trump’s promised price for embassy move

Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi says Israel will “push back against dictates or pressure” after US President Donald Trump said that it will pay “a higher price” in peace talks with the Palestinians due to his recognition of the city as the Jewish state’s capital.

“There is no need to worry,” Hanegbi says in a Facebook post. “If the Palestinians return to the negotiating table… we will know how to stand up for our own interests and push back against and dictates or pressure.”

Hanegbi nonetheless says, “The fundamental principles [over future negotiations] that have been presented by Prime Minister Netanyahu are accepted by the Trump administration.”

According to those principles, which Hanegbi says have vast support among the Israeli public, “under any future deal, only Israel will have responsibility in all of the Judea and Samaria area [the West Bank], and Jerusalem will be our eternal capital.”

— Raoul Wootliff

Abbas adviser says ‘price’ Trump wants Israel to pay better include recognizing Palestine

The only “compensation” the US could provide to the Palestinians for its Jerusalem moves would be recognizing the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and designating the two-state solution as the “sole solution,” says Madji al-Khaldi, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s senior diplomatic adviser.

Khaldi made the remarks in response to statements US President Donald Trump made at a rally in West Virginia on Tuesday.

At the rally, Trump said that he took the issue of “Jerusalem becoming the capital of Israel” off the table, referring to his December declaration that the US recognizes Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital and would move the American embassy to the city. However, he also said that Israel would have “to pay a higher price” in negotiations because of those moves and added that “the Palestinians will get something very good, because it’s their turn next.”

He did not define what he said was the “price” Israel would have to pay.

“The American administration made a major mistake when it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved its embassy there,” Khaldi tells The Times of Israel. “There is no compensation the administration could offer for those moves other than recognizing the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and clearly defining the two-state solution as the sole solution.”

— Adam Rasgon

Israel green lights over 1,000 settlement homes, hundreds more to be marketed

The Defense Ministry committee responsible for authorizing settlement construction advances plans for over 1,000 homes in the West Bank, with hundreds more expected to be marketed in the coming days.

Of the 1,002 homes green-lighted by the Civil Administration’s High Planning subcommittee, 382 gain final approval for construction while 620 clear an earlier planning stage known as a “deposit.”

The Defense Ministry is also slated to approve hundreds of homes for “marketing,” an extra stage required for projects in larger settlements. According to a Civil Administration official, these projects include ones in Alfei Menashe east of Kfar Saba and Ma’ale Efraim in the Jordan Valley.

Earlier in August, over 500 homes were approved for marketing in the Beit Aryeh settlement, southeast of Rosh Ha’ayin.

Among the plans advanced for deposit is a project for 370 homes in the central West Bank settlement of Adam, where Yotam Ovadia was stabbed to death in a terror attack last month.

After the incident, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced he would be advancing a plan for hundreds of homes to be built in the settlement. While he did not say so explicitly, he was referring to the already existing plan advanced today.

Right-wing lawmakers lambaste PM for dropping pair of controversial settlement projects

There were two plans among the nearly two dozen on the docket for approval by the Civil Administration Wednesday that right-wing lawmakers say were removed at the last minute following a directive from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The heads of the Knesset’s Land of Israel Lobby, Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) and Yoav Kisch (Likud), slam the decision and called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to act with greater rigor to promote settlement, rather than doing the opposite.”

The controversial projects would have seen the legalization of two outposts.

The first is near the small ultra-Orthodox settlement of Ma’ale Amos which counts among its neighborhoods Ibei Hanahal, a cluster of some 100 homes that were built without permits. Before it was removed from Wednesday’s agenda, the Defense Ministry body had been slated to approve for deposit a plan which would have seen the outpost legalized by demolishing the homes in Ibei Hanachal and having them rebuilt again with the proper permits.

A second outpost that had been slated for legalization before being dropped at the last minute is adjacent to the settlement of Kfar Adumim. The central West Bank town is planning on building an educational center that will include dormitories.

Peace Now: Government ‘nurturing welfare state’ beyond Green Line rather than solving housing crisis in Israel proper

The Peace Now settlement watchdog slams the Defense Ministry body’s advancement of over 1,000 settlement homes in the West Bank.

“The government awards prizes to construction offenders in the settlements and continues to adopt a ‘discrimination, cultivation and annexation’ approach.”

“Instead of solving the housing crisis inside Israel (proper), the government prefers to deprive most of its citizens and nurture the welfare state beyond the Green Line, while giving tailwind to the annexation plans of the settler right and harming chances for peace,” said the left-wing NGO in a statement.

Yesha Council lashes out at government for insufficient number of settlement approvals

The Yesha settlement umbrella council lashes out at the government for what it views as an insufficient number of settlement homes that were advanced through various planning stages.

Reacting to the 1,002 homes that were green-lit, the umbrella body points out that previous Civil Administration sessions this year saw the advancement of 2,000 and even 3,000 homes.

“We call upon the prime minister to remove the restrictions and to enact broad construction throughout Judea and Samaria (West Bank), as in the rest of the country. This must be done today.”

Syria jihadist chief warns Idlib rebels against talks with regime

The head of Syria’s leading jihadist alliance warns opposition factions in Idlib against taking part in any talks with the regime toward a government takeover of the province.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) chief Abu Mohamed al-Jolani speaks after President Bashar Assad warned that he aimed to retake control of the northwestern province on the Turkish border.

The head of HTS, a former Al-Qaeda affiliate, warns fellow jihadists and other opposition fighters in Idlib, Syria’s last rebel-held province, against handing over their arms in surrender deals with the regime.

“The weapons of the revolution and jihad… are a red line on which concessions are unacceptable, and they will never be put on the negotiations table,” he says.

— AFP

IDF arrests two Gazans trying to cross border into Israel

IDF troops have arrested a pair of Gazans trying to cross the border of the coastal enclave into Israel, the army says.

The Palestinians managed to climb over the fence before they were detained. The IDF says the pair were only found with a wire cutter and not other weapons.

The suspects have been transferred for questioning.

Trump recommends public avoid hiring Michael Cohen

US President Donald Trump offers a bit of legal advice to the public from his Twitter account.

The post comes hours after Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts, including violations of campaign finance rules during the 2016 presidential race — and implicated his former boss in the process.

Prime minister to borrow 2,600-year-old ‘Netanyahu tablet’

A 2,600-year-old clay tablet bearing the name “Benayahu ben Netanyahu” will be loaned to the Prime Minister’s Office for the coming year, according to a Wednesday report.

The contract of debt, dated 511 BCE, was written during the Babylonian exile, after the destruction of the biblical First Temple. The tablet will be shown by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visiting dignitaries to demonstrate the long history of the Jewish people and their exile from the land of Israel, Ynet news reports.

The clay tablet is part of the Al-Yahudu collection, dating from the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, owned by Cindy and David Sofer and on display at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.

Experts in cuneiform writing, one of the world’s earliest scripts, say the collection of 110 cracker-sized clay tablets provides the earliest written evidence of the Biblical exile of the Judeans in what is now southern Iraq, offering new insight into a formative period of early Judaism.

Trump praises Manafort: ‘Such respect for a brave man’

US President Donald Trump praises his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was found guilty of eight financial crimes unrelated to the campaign.

“Such respect for a brave man,” the president said of Manafort.

Regarding his former attorney Michael Cohen who pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations yesterday, Trump accused him of making up stories

— with AFP

Minister: Trump’s warning about Israeli price to pay ’cause for concern’

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel tells Channel 20 that Trump’s assertion yesterday at a West Virginia rally that Israel will have to pay a heavy price in return for the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem is “cause for concern.”

However, the right-wing Jewish Home member says the comments only encourage him to further buckle down in his efforts on behalf of the settlement movement.

Russia says over 63,000 troops have fought in Syria

Russia has sent over 63,000 troops to Syria over the course of its involvement in the conflict, the Russian defence ministry says.

A total of 63,012 Russian personnel have “received combat experience” in the war-torn country, the ministry says in a video about Russia’s campaign to support the Syrian regime dating back to September 2015.

This number includes 25,738 ranking officers and 434 generals as well as 4,349 artillery and rocket specialists, it says.

Previously Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in December 2017 that over 48,000 military personnel had taken part in the Syrian campaign.

— AFP

Steven Cohen resigns from Hebrew Union College following sexual misconduct investigation

Sociologist Steven M. Cohen, one of the foremost experts on contemporary Judaism, resigns from his position as tenured professor at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, following an internal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

Last month, several women accused him of sexual misconduct in an article in the New York Jewish Week. HUC launched a Title IX investigation into the allegations, which came from women who have worked with Cohen or associated professionally with him.

In a statement Wednesday announcing his resignation, Hebrew Union College explains that it had “received several complaints of sexual misconduct by Dr. Cohen and commenced an internal investigation. Dr. Cohen did not dispute some of the conduct alleged.”

HUC says that it would not comment on specific allegations.

— JTA

Gabbay after train work frozen: Government doesn’t care if we sit in traffic

Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay pans the government for bowing to pressure from ultra-Orthodox parties by canceling construction bridge construction work planned to take place on Shabbat.

“This government does not care if we sit in traffic, just as they do not care about hospital overcrowding,” Gabbai said.

“As prime minister, I will preserve our interests and will not surrender to small political interests… Instead of tackling the problem, this government simply worsens it.”

68 cases of West Nile fever reported in Israel; twice as many as last year

Sixty-eight Israelis have been hospitalized due to West Nile fever, twice as many cases as last year, Hadashot news reports.

One of them, an 18-year old resident of Israel’s south is suffering from organ failure, and is being kept sedated and on a respirator in Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center where he has been treated for the past two days, Ynet news reports.

Earlier this week, tests confirmed that mosquitoes carrying the virus were found in coastal areas, including the Menashe Regional Council, Alona Regional Council, Pardes Hannah, Binyamina and Caesarea. The Environment Ministry warned residents to protect themselves against insect bites and called on the local authorities to spray insecticide in areas where the are large numbers of mosquitoes or larvae.

The peak season for the West Nile fever in Israel is between August and October. The incubation period in humans is 3-15 days

Putin says US sanctions ‘counterproductive and senseless’

Russian President Vladimir Putin calls US sanctions against Moscow “counterproductive and senseless” after Washington warned that more “economic pain” was to come.

“Sanctions are actions that are counterproductive and senseless, especially against a country like Russia,” Putin says during a press conference with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto.

Putin adds that he hoped Washington would eventually realize “this policy has no future.”

Putin’s remarks come after a senior US Treasury official, Sigal Mandelker, said Tuesday that the US can inflict “much more economic pain… and will not hesitate to do so” if Russia does not cease what she called “malign activity.”

The US government has sanctioned Russian entities over the past several years for meddling in Ukraine, attempting to influence US elections, playing a role in a nerve agent attack in Britain and violating United Nations sanctions on North Korea.

— AFP

Joint List head calls for street in Ramallah to be named after late Israeli peace activist

Joint (Arab) List chairman Ayman Odeh calls for a street in Ramallah in the West Bank to be named after the late peace activist Uri Avnery.

“Thus we will convey a message on the desire for peace,” he says.

 

Jordan submits candidate for new envoy to Israel

Jordan has asked for Israel’s approval to appoint diplomat Ghassan Majali to serve as its next envoy to the Jewish state, but has yet to receive a response, a source told The Times of Israel.

Majali previously served as the Jordanian ambassador to Spain. If approved and appointed, he would become the Hashemite Kingdom’s sixth ambassador to serve in Israel, and would replace Walid Obeidat, who recently left Tel Aviv after serving in the post for more than five years.

When asked if he could confirm if Israel received a Jordanian request to approve Majali, Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Ohad Kaynar says “these are issues discussed through diplomatic channels. The Foreign Ministry will provide updates in accordance with further developments.”

— Adam Rasgon

German police arrest Russian over alleged jihadist bomb plot

German police commandos arrest a Russian suspected Islamist militant accused of having plotted an explosives attack in the country.

Identified only as 31-year-old Magomed-Ali C., he was allegedly an accomplice of Clement Baur, who was arrested in Marseilles shortly before the 2017 French elections accused of plotting an imminent attack.

The Russian man “is suspected of having plotted, together with Clement B., detained in France, a serious act of violence against the state,” German federal prosecutors say in a statement.

Commandos of the elite police unit GSG 9 had stormed the man’s Berlin apartment in an operation which prosecutors said was linked to the Baur case.

“No explosives were found during today’s search operations,” federal prosecutors’ spokeswoman Frauke Koehler says.

Baur and another suspect, who had both pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, were arrested in April 2017 in a Marseilles apartment.

French police found an IS flag, a loaded Uzi sub-machine gun, two pistols, a homemade grenade and TATP, a volatile explosive dubbed “mother of Satan.”

The German prosecutors said that Magomed-Ali C. and Baur planned an explosives attack “at an unknown location in Germany, meant to maim or kill the greatest possible number of people.”

For this purpose, Magomed-Ali C. had kept in his Berlin flat “a substantial amount” of TATP since at least October 2016.

However their plan was foiled by an unspecified German “preventive police operation,” which led the accomplices to split up and Baur to travel to France, said the prosecutors.

— AFP

Netanyahu to hold Baltic talks in first visit by an Israeli PM to Lithuania

Benjamin Netanyahu will on Thursday become the first Israeli prime minister to visit Lithuania, where he will hold talks with the leaders of the three Baltic countries.

Netanyahu’s trip comes as he seeks to improve ties with eastern European countries who may be more sympathetic to Israel in international bodies than other EU nations.

He will meet the leaders of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia together during his visit, which will last until Sunday, according to an Israeli official.

Netanyahu is constantly seeking sympathetic ears within the EU, particularly among countries that can serve as a counterweight to the criticism Israel often receives from western European nations with regards to the Palestinians.

He has also been eager to convince European countries to exert more pressure on Iran after the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and reimposed sanctions, as he had advocated.

European countries have sought to rescue the deal, saying it is working as intended in keeping Iran, Israel’s main enemy, from obtaining nuclear weapons for now.

Separately from the Baltics, Netanyahu has found common cause among eastern and central European countries with nationalist leaders, notably the so-called Visegrad Group of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

During a visit to Hungary last year, he denounced “absolutely crazy” EU demands of Israel, such as those related to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, in closed-door remarks picked up by a microphone and overheard by journalists.

The visit to Lithuania is also likely to include trade discussions.

— AFP

US avoids condemning Israeli settlement approvals; thanks Jerusalem for considering its concerns

The US avoids condemning Israel for advancing plans for over 1,000 settlement homes in the West Bank.

Asked for comment on the approvals, the State Department says, “the President has made his position on the settlements clear, and we encourage all parties to continue to work towards peace.”

“The Israeli government has made clear that its intent is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes the president’s concerns into consideration. The United States welcomes this.”

— Eric Cortellessa 

Israeli official downplays Trump’s warning of price to be paid for embassy move

An Israeli official is downplaying a remark made by Donald Trump yesterday in which the US president said Israel would pay a heavy price to compensate for Washington’s decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

“National Security Adviser Bolton clarified his (Trump’s) remarks earlier today, and Israel is very pleased with the excellent visit by the national security adviser, which further strengthens the strong relations between Israel and the United States,” an official says, referring to an earlier assertion from the NSA that there would be no quid pro quo involved in the embassy move.

In veiled criticism of minister, PMO official says closing Ayalon ‘unreasonable’

An official in the Prime Minister’s Office says it would be “unreasonable” to close Tel Aviv’s Ayalon highway for construction of a new bridge.

The statement appeared to represent veiled criticism of Transportation Minister Israel Katz, who ordered that construction of the bridge on Shabbat be prevented due to pressure from ultra-Orthodox parties.

The directive would likely force the city to have construction carried out during the week, which the Prime Minister’s Office opposes.

Head of UN Gaza violence probe resigns

US academic David Crane, head of a United Nations Human Rights council commission to investigate recent violence on the Gaza Strip border, has resigned for “personal reasons” less than a month after he was appointed, the council says.

Vojislav Suc, Slovenian ambassador to the UN in Geneva and president of the council, has accepted the resignation and will have the task of appointing a new president of the commission, which also includes lawyers Sara Hossein from Bangladesh and Betty Murungi from Kenya, an official statement says.

Crane, an expert in international law who is currently a professor at Syracuse University, is also a former prosecutor at the international court in Sierra Leone.

He was appointed on July 25 to investigate the recent violence on the Gaza Strip border.

Protests and clashes began on the border on March 30 and have continued at varying levels since then. At least 171 Gazans have been killed by Israeli fire during that time.

Jerusalem says that Hamas is orchestrating the demonstrations and purposely placing people in harm’s way.

— AFP

Seeking to calm concerns, US says it won’t impose unacceptable conditions on Jerusalem — report

Seeking to calm Israeli concerns following comments yesterday by US President Donald Trump that the Jewish state will have to pay a heavy price for Washington’s decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, senior US officials tell Channel 10 that the White House will not impose unacceptable conditions on Israel in its peace plan.

The intention of the president had been for Israel to reciprocate following the president’s positive’s initiatives, US officials tell Channel 10.

Afghan stabbed teenage sister 28 times in Austria ‘honor’ killing

An Austrian court sentences an Afghan man to life in prison for fatally stabbing his teenage sister 28 times in a so-called “honor” killing.

The man, in his early twenties, pleaded guilty to murdering his younger sister in September 2017. He received the maximum penalty.

The victim, who was aged around 17 or 18, had fled domestic violence at the hands of both her father and brother and sought refuge in a shelter when her brother found her and confronted her on her way to school.

The motive came from a “wrongheaded sense of honor that is not in line with the values of central European society,” judge Stefan Apostol was quoted by Austrian news agency APA as saying.

The man, who came to Vienna in 2013, is appealing the sentence.

“I want to ask for forgiveness. I committed a crime,” the perpetrator, who was not named, is quoted as saying in court, adding that he did it “because of the culture.”

A recent report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) examined hundreds of cases in which women were murdered, including many in which the killings were carried out in the name of so-called “honor.”

In such cases, women are killed — often by male relatives — for bringing what is described as “shame” on the family.

— AFP

Transportation minister says he won’t allow Ayalon closure during week or weekend

Transportation Minister Israel Katz says he will not allow, neither during the week or the weekend, the closure of the Ayalon Highway for the construction of a major pedestrian bridge.

The comments came amid veiled criticism from the Prime Minister’s Office of his decision to order construction of the bridge over the Sabbath be halted due to pressure from the ultra-Orthodox parties.

Many believe the move will consequently require the construction for the project to be carried out during the week, but Katz insists to Hadashot news that will not be the case.

However, in rejecting the possibility for work on the bridge to be done during any day of the week, the assertion raised the question as to whether the project will ever be completed.

Afghanistan has ‘unprecedented’ opportunity for peace — US general

The top commander for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan says that warring parties now have an “unprecedented” opportunity for peace, and insisted President Donald Trump’s strategy for the beleaguered country is working.

General John Nicholson, the outgoing commander of NATO’s Resolute Support mission, speaks to Pentagon reporters a year after Trump unveiled his Afghanistan strategy, which increased the US troop presence and now includes a renewed push to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity, or window of opportunity, for peace right now,” Nicholson says.

Despite a wave of violence that has rocked Afghanistan and its capital Kabul in recent weeks, killing scores of civilians and Afghan security forces, Nicholson said he was seeing signs of hope.

“There’s been progress on the peace process,” he says, pointing to a short ceasefire in June, the first since the US-led invasion in 2001 that toppled the Taliban regime.

— AFP

Israelis, Palestinians pay respects to late peace activist

Senior Israeli opposition leaders and Palestinian officials are paying their respects to late Israeli journalist and peace activist Uri Avnery, who died this week at age 94.

Dozens of people, including a delegation of Palestinian officials, attended a memorial for Avnery on Wednesday in Tel Aviv.

Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, says he came to “remember a great man of peace,” and that the “commitment to peace is still alive because there are people in Israel like Uri Avnery.”

Avnery, a member of Israel’s founding generation, was a symbol of Israel’s peace camp for decades and championed the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a journalist, he famously sneaked into besieged Beirut during the 1982 Lebanon War to talk to Israel’s then-nemesis, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat.

— AP

Polish Auschwitz survivor to take Nazi camp row to EU court

A 97-year-old Auschwitz survivor hopes to take German public broadcaster ZDF to Europe’s top court for calling Nazi camps “Polish,” his lawyer says.

The announcement is the latest development in a dispute that started when ZDF — while publicizing a 2013 documentary — erroneously described the Nazi-German death camps Auschwitz and Majdanek in occupied Poland as “Polish extermination camps.”

The issue is highly sensitive in Poland, which this year passed a law to penalise statements that ascribe “responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich.”

After complaints from the Polish embassy, ZDF corrected the wording of its trailer and later repeatedly apologised, but a Krakow court in 2016 ruled that it must publish a specifically-worded apology on its website.

Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, however, on Tuesday said that the Polish ruling against ZDF had no legal force in Germany, adding that the “exercise of state coercion to publish the pre-formulated statement… would manifestly violate the defendant’s right of freedom of expression.”

— AFP

Trump says ex-lawyer’s hush payments ‘not even a campaign violation’

US President Donald Trump claims that hush payments made by his former lawyer before the 2016 election did not breach campaign finance rules.

“They didn’t come out of the campaign, they came from me and I tweeted about it,” Trump says in an interview with news show “Fox and Friends” about the payments. “It’s not even a campaign violation.”

Ex-attorney Michael Cohen told a federal judge Tuesday the payments were made at his boss’s request to women alleging affairs with Trump — who denies any knowledge at the time.

“Later on I knew,” Trump reiterates in the interview.

— AFP

At least 1 killed in Belgium stabbing; mayor says not terror

A man stabbed several people in eastern Belgium, killing at least one in an attack that wasn’t terror-related, a mayor and media reports say.

Thierry Wimmer, the mayor of Plombieres, said that there were “several victims,” while local media reported at least one dead and several injured after a knife-wielding man entered a restaurant in the town of Moresnet-Chapelle and started attacking people. Moresnet is part of the Plombieres region and is close to the eastern city of Liege.

Wimmer says on his Facebook page that “this act does not present any terrorist character” and is likely a domestic dispute. He says even though there was a police cordon in the area, there was no more danger.

But it isn’t immediately clear if the attacker was in custody.

Media had earlier showed scenes of police sealing off streets in Moresnet-Chapelle shortly after the attack.

— AP

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Minister: Trump’s warning about Israeli price to pay ’cause for concern’

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel tells Channel 20 that Trump’s assertion yesterday at a West Virginia rally that Israel will have to pay a heavy price in return for the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem is “cause for concern.”

However, the right-wing Jewish Home member says the comments only encourage him to further buckle down in his efforts on behalf of the settlement movement.