The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they happened.
Stabbing attack reported outside West Bank army base
A stabbing attack reportedly occurred outside an army base in the northern West Bank, the army says.
The military says it received an initial report about the terror attack, which was said to have taken place near the Shomron Regional Brigade headquarters.
— Judah Ari Gross
2 said injured in reported West Bank stabbing
Two people have been injured in a stabbing near an army base in the northern West Bank, an affiliate of the Hazalah first response organization says in a statement.
A soldier injured in the stabbing was taken to the hospital, according to the statement, while a woman was lightly injured in the foot by shrapnel from a bullet fired at the attacker.
The suspected attacker fled the scene, the statement says.
Settler leader calls for ‘reprisal operations’ after reported West Bank stabbing
The head of the West Bank regional council where a stabbing attack reportedly happened today calls on the government to step up security measures in the area.
“We won’t accept a ‘trickle’ of terror incidents day after day,” Yossi Dagan says in a statement, adding Israeli residents of the West Bank are “no different from Israeli citizens in any other place.”
Earlier this week two Israelis were killed by a Palestinian coworker in a shooting attack at an industrial park in the area.
Dagan calls on the military to engage in “reprisal operations” following attacks on Israelis. He also says the government should step up the pace of settlement construction as a response to terrorism.
2 injured in reported West Bank stabbing taken to the hospital
The Magen David Adom rescue services says two people injured in a reported stabbing attack in the West Bank have been taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.
The wounded are a 30-year-old man in moderate condition with injuries to his upper body and a 26-year-old woman lightly injured in the leg by shrapnel, according to MDA.
IDF confirms West Bank stabbing, launches manhunt for attacker
The army confirms two people were injured in a stabbing attack near an army base in the northern West Bank.
It says troops are searching for the attacker, who fled the scene.
One of those injured was a reservist, according to the IDF, while the other was an Israeli woman reportedly reportedly hit by shrapnel when soldiers fired at the assailant.
The Magen David Adom ambulance service says the attack took place at a junction between the settlements of Itamar and Har Bracha.
Netanyahu praises court’s rejection of shortened sentence for terror accomplice
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praises a court’s rejection of the early release of an accomplice to a deadly terror attack in June 2017 outside Jerusalem’s Old City.
“This is the correct decision. Murderers and their accomplices need to be punished severely and to serve their sentences in full,” he says in a statement.
In the attack, Border Police officer Hadas Malka was critically injured after being stabbed in the chest by one of the three attackers. She later died of her injuries at the hospital.
The Palestinian assailants, who entered Israel illegally from the West Bank, were all killed in the attack.
Minister calls for security cabinet to convene after West Bank stabbing
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel calls on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to convene the security cabinet following a stabbing in the northern West Bank.
“We must restore deterrence immediately in order to end the Jewish bloodbath,” Ariel, a member of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, writes on Twitter.
“We must respond with a strong hand including the destruction of homes, expulsion of terrorists’ families and revocation of all the ‘benefits’ and ‘prizes’ that they receive immediately,” he adds.
Today’s stabbing, in which a reservist was moderately wounded and an Israeli woman lightly hurt by shrapnel from IDF fire, comes after two Israelis were killed in a shooting attack at a nearby industrial park on Sunday.
Rivlin, in Denmark, marks rescue of Danish Jews from Holocaust
HELSINKI — Israeli and Danish dignitaries on Thursday mark the 75th anniversary of the daring rescue of more than 7,000 Jews from Denmark by boat to neighboring Sweden during World War II.
President Reuven Rivlin and Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen pay tribute to the events in 1943 in ceremonies at the small fishing town of Gilleleje, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Copenhagen.
Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany from April 1940 to May 1945, and it’s one of the few European countries whose Jewish population was largely saved from the Holocaust.
About 7,200 Jews, or 95 percent of Denmark’s Jewish population, and some 700 of their non-Jewish relatives managed to escape by crossing the narrow waterway from Gilleleje and other coastal spots to neutral Sweden in a risky rescue mission between September and October 1943.
Rivlin and Rasmussen lay wreaths at the town’s port Thursday, before attending a ceremony at Gilleleje’s 16th century church.
Some 80 Jews were hidden in the church’s attic while waiting for maritime transportation.
The two-week rescue mission was planned and carried out largely by local authorities and the Danish underground resistance movement. It was made possible after a tip on Nazi raids on Jews from Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz, a German diplomat and attache based in Copenhagen who’s still referred to by Danes as “the good German.”
Police searching for driver after possible attempted ramming
Police say they received a report from two soldiers and a citizen at a bus stop in the northern town of Rosh Pina of a car that swerved out of its lane and drove onto the sidewalk before speeding off.
There are no injuries.
Police officers called to the scene have set up checkpoints and are searching for the driver.
Police don’t say whether they are treating the incident as an attempted ramming attack.
Egypt’s Sissi wants Libya to hand over captured jihadist
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s president says he wants a prominent jihadist captured in Libya this week extradited so that he can be “held accountable.”
Thursday’s comments by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi are the first official word in Egypt on the capture of Hisham el-Ashmawi by a self-styled Libyan military force allied with Egypt.
El-Ashmawi was captured in the city of Derna, a longtime militant bastion. He is the prime suspect in a series of high-profile terror attacks in Egypt, including a 2013 attempted assassination of Egypt’s interior minister at the time.
El-Sissi says: “We want him so we can hold him accountable.”
Libya’s chaos has enabled the rise of Islamic militants. A 2015 audio recording attributed el-Ashmawi has him proclaiming allegiance to the Islamic State group’s rival, al-Qaeda, led by Egyptian jihadist Ayman al-Zawahri.
Egypt sentences 17 to death over terror attacks on churches
CAIRO — An Egyptian military court on Thursday sentences 17 people to death over a series of terror attacks on churches that left dozens dead, a judicial source says.
Another 19 people were handed life prison terms and 10 were sentenced to between 10 and 15 years, judicial and security officials say.
Seventy-four people were killed in the attacks in 2016 and 2017 in Cairo, Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Tanta targeting Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s predominantly Sunni Muslim population.
Christian sites of worship across Egypt have been repeatedly targeted in attacks claimed by IS, prompting the authorities to impose a state of emergency.
The Egyptian army is waging a major operation focused on the Sinai Peninsula aimed at wiping out the jihadists.
Zionist Union MK said to call out faction head over poor poll results
A Zionist Union MK reportedly calls out leader Avi Gabbay over the drubbing polls indicate the opposition faction will suffer in the next Knesset elections.
“Everyone wants you to succeed and be prime minister, but let’s talk about the elephant in the room,” Channel 10 news quoted Eitan Cabel telling Gabbay at a faction meeting.
“We don’t want to be unemployed after the elections. I’m looking you in the eyes, without fear, and telling you you must show unifying leadership,” Cabel adds.
Gabbay in response implies Cabel was behind leaks to the media against him, according to the network, which Cabel denies.
A Hadashot TV news poll earlier this week said the Zionist Union would win 12 seats if elections were held today, half of its current tally.
Trump: US being ‘very tough’ on missing Saudi journalist
WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump says the United States is being “very tough” as it tries to find out what’s happened to a Saudi writer who’s been missing for a week after he went into a Saudi consulate in Turkey.
There are fears that Jamal Khashoggi, who’s contributed columns to The Washington Post, has been murdered.
Trump says in a television interview that “we have investigators over there and we’re working with Turkey and frankly we’re working with Saudi Arabia.”
The president tells “Fox & Friends” that Khashoggi “went in and it doesn’t look like he came out” from the consulate.
Trump isn’t providing any details on an investigation.
He was asked about a Post report that US intelligence intercepts outlined a Saudi plan to detain Khashoggi. Trump says: “It would be a very sad thing and we will probably know in the very short future.”
Trump describes US-Saudi relations as “excellent.” When he was asked whether the writer’s disappearance could put those ties in jeopardy, Trump says: “I have to find out what happened.”
Egypt spymaster to reportedly visit Israel next week for Gaza talks
Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel will arrive in Israel next week for talks on the Gaza Strip, Channel 10 news reports.
Quoting an unnamed senior Israeli official, the report says Kamel will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and Nadav Argaman, the head of the Shin Bet security agency.
He will also travel to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to the network.
Kamel visited in August to discuss efforts to reach a truce between Israel and Hamas, the terror group that rules Gaza.
Egypt is also overseeing reconciliation talks between Hamas and the PA leader’s Fatah party.
Israelis hurl rocks at Palestinian cars after West Bank stabbing
Following the stabbing attack outside of an IDF base in the northern West Bank, a field worker for the Yesh Din rights group films some 15 Israelis hurling rocks at Palestinian vehicles stopped at a checkpoint that had been erected in response to the attack.
The footage shows the Israelis running away after a military jeep arrives at the scene only to return and resume hurling stones after the vehicle briefly leaves. When it returns, no effort appears to be made by the soldiers to stop the Israelis.
— Jacob Magid
Prosecutors toss charge from accuser in Weinstein case
NEW YORK — Manhattan’s district attorney decides to drop part of the criminal case against Harvey Weinstein.
The development is announced in court Thursday with Weinstein looking on.
The tossed charge involves allegations made by one of the three accusers in the case, Lucia Evans, who was among the first women to publicly accuse Weinstein of sexual assault.
In an expose published in The New Yorker one year ago Wednesday, Evans accused Weinstein of forcing her to perform oral sex when they met alone in his office in 2004 to discuss her fledgling acting career. At the time, Evans was a 21-year-old college student.
Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon tells the judge that prosecutors wouldn’t oppose dismissal of the count in the case involving Evans. She insists the rest of the case, involving two other accusers, is strong.
In a statement, a lawyer for Evans says she was disappointed by the DA’s decision to “abandon” her.
“Let me be clear: the decision to throw away my client’s sexual assault charges says nothing about Weinstein’s guilt or innocence. Nor does it reflect on Lucia’s consistent allegation that she was sexually assaulted with force by Harvey Weinstein,” says attorney Carrie Goldberg. “It only speaks volumes about the Manhattan DA’s office and its mishandling of my client’s case.”
Israel said to join US in grounding F-35 fleet after crash
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon grounds the global fleet of F-35 stealth fighters on Thursday, as a result of the first ever crash of the costliest plane in history.
A Marine Corps F-35B was completely destroyed in a crash during training in South Carolina on September 28. The pilot safely ejected.
According to Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman for the F-35 program, the US and its international partners — including Britain and Israel — have temporarily suspended F-35 flight operations for a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engine on all F-35 aircraft.
“The action to perform the inspection is driven from initial data from the ongoing investigation of the F-35B that crashed in the vicinity of Beaufort, South Carolina,” DellaVedova says in a statement.
Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours.
Launched in the early 1990s, the F-35 program is considered the most expensive weapons system in US history, with an estimated cost of some $400 billion and a goal to produce 2,500 aircraft in the coming years.
Turkey denies Trump claim that US investigators working on missing Saudi case
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey on Thursday denies a claim by US President Donald Trump that American investigators are working with both Ankara and Riyadh to probe the disappearance in Turkey of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“The information that the United States has tasked investigators over the Khashoggi case is not correct,” says a Turkish diplomatic source quoted by the state-run Anadolu news agency.
Trump earlier said “we have investigators over there and we’re working with Turkey and frankly we’re working with Saudi Arabia.”
Liberman to bring plans for new Hebron homes for government approval
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman says he’ll present plans for 31 new housing units in the West Bank city of Hebron for government approval on Sunday.
Liberman says in addition to the homes, the plans also include the building of preschools and public spaces in the flashpoint city. The proposed projects have already advanced through various planning stages.
“We’ll continue to strengthen settlement in Judah and Samaria with actions, not talk,” Liberman writes on his Twitter account, using the biblical names for the West Bank.
If the government green-lights the homes, it’d be the first time in over 15 years Israel has approved new construction in the city.
Military confirms F-35 fleet grounded in wake of US crash
The IDF confirms that its fleet of F-35 fighter jets has been grounded following the crash of one of the stealth aircraft in the United States late last month.
The army says Israeli Air Force chief Amikam Norkin said the decision was made as a precautionary measure after a fuel line in the crashed plane’s motor was found to be faulty.
Though the IAF uses a different model of F-35 than the one that crashed, Israel’s fleet of 12 fighter jets were grounded in order to ensure that they don’t have the same fuel line issue.
“The examination will take place over a number of days and when it is completed, the planes will return to full service,” the army says.
The military adds that the planes will be used for operations if necessary.
— Judah Ari Gross
Liaison to Palestinians: Israel doesn’t want flareup in Gaza, but ready for it
After the IDF destroyed a Hamas tunnel leading from Gaza into Israel earlier today, the military liaison to the Palestinians says residents of the Strip are the true losers of Israeli efforts to thwart terrorism from the coastal enclave.
“We are thwarting terrorism, demolishing the tunnels, and the money is going to waste. Those who lose out in the end are you, the residents of Gaza. We will deal with every challenge – in the air, sea, and on land, and we will eliminate every threat,” Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon says in remarks posted to COGAT’s Arabic-language Facebook page.
“Just as we developed Iron Dome above the ground, so too will we continue to develop technologies for the destruction of tunnels beneath the ground, and we will respond with an iron fist against rocket fire,” he adds.
Abu Rokon stresses that Israel is not looking for an escalation in violence in Gaza but is prepared for anything.
“I want to emphasize once again – we are not facing in the direction of escalation, but we are prepared for every scenario, and will do whatever is necessary in order to defend the citizens of the State of Israel,” he says.
Suspected fire balloon lands in southern Israeli regional council
A suspected incendiary balloon has landed in the Yoav Regional Council in southern Israel, police say.
Officers have been called to the scene and police sappers are dealing with the suspicions object.
Police don’t give any indication from where the suspicious balloon was launched. The regional council is located between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where Palestinians have been launching flaming airborne devices as part of border clashes since March.
Police call on the public to avoid any suspicious objects such as kites and balloons that might contain flammable or explosive material.
‘It isn’t worth trying us,’ Netanyahu says after Hamas tunnel destroyed
After the IDF destroyed a Hamas tunnel leading from Gaza to Israel earlier today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns the terror group against testing the Jewish state.
“We are systematically dismantling Hamas’ tunnel capability. They need to understand it isn’t worth trying us,” Netanyahu says.
The prime minister speaks aboard the USS Ross, an American guided missile destroyer currently docked in Ashdod, alongside US Ambassador David Friedman.
Turning to the West Bank, Netanyahu says Israel will track down the suspected assailants behind a pair of terror attacks there this week.
He also vows Israel will continue countering Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria.
“President Trump gave full support to our policy [in Syria] and the fact that this destroy is visiting here today is an expression of that same American support,” he says.
Minister says he rejected US student’s letter asking to be allowed into Israel
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan says he rejected a letter he received from US student Lara Alqasem asking to be allowed into Israel.
“It wasn’t written in the letter that she takes back what she did in the past and that she’ll promise not to do this in the future,” Erdan tells Channel 10 news.
“It was written, more or less, that while she is studying in the State of Israel she won’t engage in boycott activity,” he says of the letter.
Erdan says he also must consider Jewish students who have had to deal with the pro-boycott Students for Justice in Palestine. Alqasem was a president of the campus group’s University of Florida chapter.
“I also have to look at the Jewish students who have suffered, and are still suffering, from the SJP movement,” Erdan says.
Alqasem, a 22-year-old American with Palestinian grandparents who has been detained for over a week since arriving in Israel, appeared in court earlier today as part of her appeal to be allowed to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Court orders New Zealand activists to pay for cancelled Lorde show
An Israeli court has ordered two New Zealand women to pay over $12,000 in damages for allegedly helping persuade the pop singer Lorde to cancel a performance in Israel.
The suit was filed under a law that allows civil lawsuits against anyone who calls for a boycott against Israel. Wednesday’s ruling is believed to be the first time the 2011 law has been applied.
The two New Zealanders, Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, had appealed to the singer in an open letter to “join the artistic boycott of Israel.” Lorde acknowledged the letter and canceled her show days later.
Attempts to reach Sachs and Abu-Shanab are unsuccessful Thursday.
Three Israeli ticket holders filed the suit, claiming the cancellation had caused emotional distress. Their lawyer, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, says the decision sends a message that boycotting Israel carries a price.
Poll: Likud would win over twice as many seats as next biggest party in election
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud would cruise to victory in fresh Knesset elections and win more than twice the number of seats than the second place party, according to a Channel 10 news poll aired this evening.
At 31 seats, Likud was by far the top vote-getter in the survey, followed by Yair Lapid’s centerish Yesh Atid party at 15 seats. The Joint (Arab) List would win 13 seats, the poll says, followed by the Jewish Home at 12.
The Zionist Union, an opposition faction that currently has 24 seats, would plummet to just 11 seats. The survey says United Torah Judaism would win 8 seats, the left-wing Meretz 7, while the center-right Kulanu, right-wing Yisrael Beytenu, and an as-yet-to-be-named party headed by independent MK Orly Levy-Abekasis would all get 6 seats.
Rounding out the poll was the ultra-Orthodox Shas party at 5 seats.
If popular former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz were to run at the head of his own party, the polls says Likud would get 29 seats, Gantz 13, Joint List 13, Yesh Atid 12, Jewish Home 10, Zionist Union 8, UTJ 8, Kulanu 6, Meretz 6, Levy-Abekasis 5, Shas 5, and Yisrael Beytenu 5.
The poll also explored voting preferences if Ehud Barak, a former Labor prime minister, were to head the Zionist Union. The results were 31 seats for Likud, 15 for Yesh Atid, 14 for Zionist Union, 13 for Joint List, 11 for Jewish Home, 8 for UTJ, 6 for Levy-Abekasis, 6 for Meretz, 6 for Yisrael Beytenu, 5 for Kulanu, and 5 for Shas.
PLO: UN peace envoy ‘no longer acceptable’ because of Gaza truce efforts
RAMALLAH, West Bank — The internationally recognized Palestinian leadership will no longer work with the UN peace envoy, a senior official says Thursday, accusing him of overstepping his role by seeking a deal between Israel and the Islamist terror group Hamas.
Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive committee, says it has informed the UN secretary-general that envoy Nickolay Mladenov is “no longer acceptable” to the Palestinian Authority government.
Mladenov has “gone beyond his role” in seeking agreements between Israel and rival Palestinian faction Hamas, which controls Gaza, he says, adding that his actions impacted “Palestinian national security and the unity of our people.”
There is no immediate comment from Mladenov or confirmation from the United Nations.
Mladenov, alongside Egypt, has been seeking a long-term truce agreement between Hamas and the Jewish state, without including PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s government in the indirect negotiations.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia form ‘joint working group’ on missing journalist
A Turkish official says Turkey and Saudi Arabia will form a “joint working group” to look into the disappearance of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.
The journalist vanished last week after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Turkish officials have said The Washington Post contributor may have been killed inside the consulate, but they haven’t offered any evidence. Saudi Arabia has denied the allegation as “baseless.”
A spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey tells the state-run Anadolu Agency that Turkey and Saudi Arabia have agreed to set up the group to jointly “shed light” on the incident.
Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin says the proposal to set up the committee was made by Saudi Arabia.