The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s events as they unfolded.
Pittsburgh shooter told police he wanted all Jews to die
Police say the suspect in the deadly mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue told officers that Jews were committing genocide and that he wanted them all to die.
Pittsburgh police said in an arrest affidavit made public early this morning that Robert Gregory Bowers killed eight men and three women in the Tree of Life Synagogue before a tactical police team tracked him down and shot him.
A Pittsburgh police officer says in the warrant that Bowers was being treated for his injuries when he said Jews were “committing genocide to his people.”
Bowers is charged with 11 counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation.
The police affidavit says calls began coming in to 911 just before 10 a.m. Saturday, reporting “they were being attacked.”
Pope decries US synagogue attack as ‘inhuman act of violence’
Pope Francis calls the deadly attack on a synagogue in the United States “an inhuman act of violence,” expressing his “closeness to the Jewish community.”
A man suspected of bursting into the synagogue in Pittsburgh yesterday during Shabbat services and gunning down 11 people has been charged with murder, in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in recent US history.
“We are all, in truth, wounded by this inhuman act of violence,” Francis says at the end of the Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square.
“May the Lord help us put out the flames of hate that develop in our societies, strengthening the sense of humanity, respect for life, moral and civil values and holy fear of God.”
Polls open in Brazil presidential run-off, far-right candidate favorite
Brazil begins voting today in a divisive presidential run-off election whose front-runner, far-right former army captain Jair Bolsonaro, is vowing to rescue the country from crisis with a firm grip.
Bolsonaro has tapped into deep anti-establishment anger, but repulsed part of the electorate with his denigrating remarks about women, gays and blacks. He faces leftist Fernando Haddad, a former mayor of Sao Paulo.
Polls close at 2200 GMT, with the results expected around 2300 GMT.
German leader stress need to fight anti-Semitism after synagogue attack
German leaders are mourning the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and stressing the need to push back against anti-Semitism.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman quotes Merkel on Twitter as offering her condolences and saying that “all of us must confront anti-Semitism with determination — everywhere.”
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier voiced his dismay at the attack, which left 11 dead, in a condolence message to US President Donald Trump.
Steinmeier writes that “this abhorrent crime reminds us all to do what is in our power to advocate against hatred and violence, against anti-Semitism and exclusion, and to counter with determination those who incite them.”
Sephardic chief rabbi condemns ‘despicable’ synagogue attacker
Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef condemns the gunman who opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue yesterday as “despicable.”
“I was horrified to hear of the murder of innocent Jews in Pittsburgh, targeted just because they were Jews by a despicable murderer overflowing with anti-Semitic hatred,” he says in a statement.
Yosef also warns that anti-Semitim is rising in the US, and urges American Jews to “exercise caution” in the coming future.
US military ‘concerned’ Israeli strikes in Syria could cause backlash against American troops
Despite support from the White House, Israel’s ongoing military operations in Syria is increasingly worrying US military officials, the Wall Street Journal reports.
A senior military official tells the paper the Israeli airstrikes targeting Iran-backed groups in Syria could backfire against the US if Tehran believes Washington is behind the bombing raids.
He says there is a “growing concern” the Israeli campaign could prompt Iran-linked groups to target US troops in Iraq or Syria.
Turkey said to shell US-backed Kurdish militia positions in Syria
Turkey’s military on Sunday fired artillery shells on positions in Syria of a Kurdish militia backed by the United States but deemed a terrorist group by Ankara, the state-run Anadolu news agency reports.
The shells targeted “shelters” of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) east of the Euphrates River in the Kobane region of northern Syria, Anadolu says.
Synagogue shooter to make first court appearance tomorrow
Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers will make his first court appearance tomorrow afternoon, US Attorney Scott Brady says in a press conference.
FBI Special Agent Robert Jones says investigators are searching Bowers’s home and vehicle. The spokesperson says it could take up to a week to process the crime scene at the Tree of Life synagogue.
Mayor says synagogue shooting ‘darkest day in Pittsburgh history’
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto says at a press conference that yesterday’s shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue was “the darkest day in Pittsburgh history.”
But he says that Pittsburgh was “strong city” and would overcome the tragedy. “We have been knocked down, but we have always stood back up.”
Pittsburgh authorities release identities of synagogue shooting victims
The Pennsylvania medical examiner Dr. Karl Williams releases name of 11 victims killed in the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue.
The victims range in age from 54 to 97, including two brothers and a married couple.
Joyce Feinberg, age 75
Richard Gottfried, age 65
Rose Mallinger, age 97
Jerry Rabinowitz, age 66
Cecil Rosenthal, age 59
David Rosenthal, age 54
Bernice Simon, age 84
Sylvan Simon, age 86
Daniel Stein, age 71
Melvin Wax, age 88
Irving Younger, age 69
Pittsburgh mayor calls for gun control after synagogue massacre
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto calls for taking guns away from would-be hate criminals, rather than assigning armed guards to houses of worship as suggested by US President Donald Trump in the wake of yesterday’s synagogue massacre.
“I don’t think the answer to this problem is having our synagogues, mosques, and churches filled with armed guards, or schools filled with armed guards,” he says at a press conference.
“I think the approach that we need to be looking at is how we take the guns — which is the common denominator of every mass shooting in America — out of the hands of those that are looking to express hatred through murder,” Peduto says.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto: "I think the approach that we need to be looking at is how we take the guns — which is the common denominator of every mass shooting in America — out of the hands of those that are looking to express hatred through murder." #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/2ibYMQIK5U
— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) October 28, 2018
Abbas hosts Omani envoy days after Netanyahu met sultan
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hosted Omani envoy Salim bin Habib al-Amiri in Ramallah, who gave him a letter from Omani leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the official PA news site Wafa reports.
In the letter, Qaboos thanks Abbas for visiting Oman last week, the Wafa report says.
Abbas met with Qaboos last Monday, three days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to the Omani capital and met the Omani leader.
The last known visit of an Israeli prime minister to Oman took place more than two decades ago.
— Adam Rasgon
Security forces searching for driver in checkpoint hit-and-run
Police are searching the Jerusalem area for a driver who rammed an officer at a checkpoint before fleeing the scene.
In a statement, police say the driver began to “drive wildly” when asked to pull over at the Beitar Illit checkpoint. He then hit and injured an officer before driving off.
According to paramedics, the officer was taken to Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem with moderate injuries.
Police say the incident is under investigation.
Liberman submits his pick for IDF chief to vetting panel
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman formally submits his pick for the next IDF chief of staff to an official vetting committee whose approval is needed before the nomination can be finalized by the government.
In a letter to the chair of the Senior Appointments Advisory Committee, Liberman says that current Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi is “the most suitable candidate” to take over as the military’s commanding officer.
Israeli judoka takes gold at UAE tourney, ‘Hatikva’ to play in Abu Dhabi for first time
Israeli judoka Sagi Muki wins the gold medal at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam 2018, meaning that the Israeli national anthem will be played in the United Arab Emirates for the first time ever.
Muki beat Belgium’s Matthias Casse in the under 81kg category to take the title in the international ceremony.
First gold medal 🥇for Israel 🇮🇱at the #Judo🥋 Grand Slam tournament which is held in Abu Dhabi!
Sagi Muki just won the gold at the 81kg weight class! Congrats! pic.twitter.com/ra8gRAMUJV
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) October 28, 2018
The tournament is allowing Israeli athletes to compete under their national symbols for first time, so “Hatikva” will be played at the medal ceremony later.
Palestinian envoy to Britain denounces ‘evil’ synagogue shooting
Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization mission to the United Kingdom, denounces the deadly shooting attack in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“This murderous attack is pure evil & must unite Jews, Christians and Muslims for an uncompromising fight against all forms of hatred and racism,” Zomlot tweets. “My heart goes with the families of the victims and the American people.”
A gunman, who entered the Jewish place of worship on Saturday, shot dead 11 people and injured six others.
— Adam Rasgon
Israeli national anthem plays in UAE for first time ever
Israel national anthem plays in the United Arab Emirates for the first time ever, after Israel’s Sagi Muki won the Gold medal at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tournament.
Sports and Culture Minister Miri Regev is moved to tears as she presents Muki with his medal.
— SussexFriendsIsrael (@SussexFriends) October 28, 2018
The tournament is allowing Israeli athletes to compete under their national symbols for first time. Regev attended the competition despite the fact that Israel has no diplomatic relations with the UAE.
Following Netanyahu visit, top cabinet minister to head to Oman
Transportation Minister Israel Katz says he will travel to Oman next week, days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Gulf state.
Katz’s adviser Arye Shalicar says the minister will participate in an international transportation conference. He says Katz, who’s also Israel’s minister of intelligence, will share his proposal for building a rail link between Israel and Arab Gulf countries.
Israel and Oman on Friday confirmed Netanyahu’s trip to Oman, the first such visit by an Israeli leader in 22 years. Israel and Oman do not have formal diplomatic relations.
Netanyahu frequently boasts of warming behind-the-scenes ties with Arab countries. In another sign of those ties, Israel’s sports minister is in the United Arab Emirates for an international judo competition.
Jerusalem-Ben Gurion Airport train suspended due to smoke alarm
The new service between Jerusalem and Ben Gurion Airport has been temporarily suspended due to a smoke alarm on the tracks inside one of the tunnels.
Israel Railways says workers are looking into the problem, and that train service will resume as soon as it’s safe to do so.
So far, the 4:30 and 5:30 trains have been canceled. Further cancellations have not been announced.
Synagogue shooter’s neighbor: ‘Terrifying … how normal he seemed’
A neighbor of the man charged in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre says the suspect kept to himself.
Chris Hall says he never heard or saw anything to indicate that 46-year-old Robert Bowers harbored anti-Semitic views or posed a threat.
Hall says nothing stood out about Bowers. He says “the most terrifying thing is just how normal he seemed.”
Authorities say Bowers killed eight men and three women inside the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday during worship services before a tactical police team shot and wounded him. Bowers faces state and federal charges.
Six others were wounded in the attack, including four officers, one of whom remains in critical condition. Two worshipers also remain hospitalized, one of them in critical condition.
Iran sells oil on exchange in bid to counter new US sanctions
Iran sells oil to private buyers through its energy exchange for the first time on Sunday, as part of its efforts to counter the imminent return of US sanctions.
Only 280,000 barrels are sold out of one million offered, and went for $74.85 per barrel, more than $4 below the initial asking price.
The identity of the buyer remains a secret, with the conservative Fars news agency saying only that a conglomerate of private firms had made the purchase through three brokerages.
The US is set to reimpose sanctions on Iran’s oil industry on November 5, following President Donald Trump’s decision to walk out of the 2015 nuclear deal in May.
The plan to sell oil to private companies on the energy exchange was floated back in July by first vice-president Eshaq Jahangiri with the aim of “defeating America’s efforts … to stop Iran’s oil exports.”
The government hopes selling to private buyers, rather than direct to foreign clients, will make it harder for the US to monitor and stop its sales.
Ending speculation, Pakistan’s president says no ties with Israel
Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi says the country will not be establishing ties with Israel and that it supports the Palestinians because the Gaza Strip has also faced “unprecedented atrocities” like Kashmir.
Alvi, before departing to Ankara on a three-day visit, tells reporters that all speculation about the landing of an Israeli jet at an Islamabad airport was baseless. Since he assumed office last month, this is Alvi’s first foreign visit following an invitation from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
— avi scharf (@avischarf) October 25, 2018
Israeli journalist Avi Scharf tweeted on Thursday that a private Israeli business jet had flown to Islamabad from Tel Aviv and remained in the Pakistani capital for nearly 10 hours, fueling media speculation. Several Pakistani ministers and the Civil Aviation Authority denied the report.
Hamas condemns ‘heinous ‘ Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
The Hamas terrorist organization condemns yesterday’s massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
In a statement, top Hamas official Basem Naim says the group was “sorry to hear about the terror attack.”
“As Palestinians and victims of the terror of Israeli occupation, we know the meaning of terror and its horrific outcomes,” Naim says.
“This heinous attack, especially in a place of worship, proves that terror has no religion or nationality,” he says.
Pittsburgh Steelers to hold moment of silence for synagogue massacre victims
The Pittsburgh Steelers will hold a moment of silence tonight before their game against the Cleveland Browns to honor the victims of yesterday’s synagogue massacre.
“Our hearts are heavy, but we must stand against anti-Semitism and hate crimes of any nature and come together to preserve our values and our community,” team president Art Rooney Jr. says in a statement.
Statement from Steelers President Art Rooney II. pic.twitter.com/GFwFISshZd
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 28, 2018
Residents of southern Israel block Tel Aviv intersection in security protest
Residents of Gaza-adjacent communities are protesting the security situation in southern Israel outside the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, blocking a major intersection in the city.
Some 350 protesters simulated the incoming rocket sirens, chanting slogans like “We want to sleep quietly” and “Tel Aviv wake up, the south is burning.”
Some protesters are blocking the nearby Azrieli junction.
The protest comes days after a major flareup in violence in the Gaza Strip.
— חדשות עשר (@news10) October 28, 2018
Rivlin tells Pittsburgh Jews: ‘We are with you’
President Reuven Rivlin sends his condolences and a message of unity to the Jewish community in Pittsburgh who are holding a vigil a day after the deadly synagogue shooting.
“We must say loud and clear – this was an act of anti-Semitism,” Rivlin says in a video message that will be played at a community memorial service later today.
“Our brothers and sisters, friends and family, were murdered because they were Jews. We cannot, we must not, we will not ignore it or tolerate it,” he says.
“In your time of pain, in your time of loss, we are with you. One people. One family. Unbreakable. Eternal.”
Gal Gadot ‘heartbroken’ by synagogue massacre
Israeli actress Gal Gadot says her “heart is broken,” following the shooting attack at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue yesterday that left 11 people dead.
“All of humanity is connected to the same tree of life,” Gadot says in an Instagram post. “My heart is broken and goes out to the families in Pennsylvania. May we all be free to embrace each other, spirit and soul.”
Pittsburgh Steelers mourn synagogue massacre victims
The Pittsburgh Steelers have held a moment of silence at Heinz Field, just six miles from the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, minutes before kicking off against AFC North rivals Cleveland Browns.
The Steelers earlier changed their three-star online logo to include a Jewish star and words “Stronger than hate.”
— Rachele Mongiovi (@4RacheleM) October 27, 2018
“Hopefully football can provide a small escape for this city,” TV announcer Ian Eagle says.
— Josh Davidovich
Official says synagogue shooter had gun license
A law enforcement official says the man accused of killing 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue had a license to carry firearms and legally owned his guns.
The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Police say Robert Bowers killed eight men and three women in the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday, before a tactical police team tracked him down and shot him. The victims ranged in age from 54 to 97 and included brothers and a husband and wife.
Court papers say Bowers made statements about genocide and killing Jewish people.
Federal prosecutors have charged Bowers with 29 criminal offenses and state authorities have also leveled charges. Bowers is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday.
Abbas vows to continue terrorist stipends, even with PA’s last ‘penny’
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas vows to continue the policy of paying stipends to Palestinian prisoners including many convicted terrorists and the families of “martyrs.”
“The stipends of our prisoners, martyrs and wounded persons are a red line,” he says at a Ramallah meeting of the Palestinian Central Council, a top Palestine Liberation Organization body. “This issue for us is an holy…We must pay all of them. If we had one [penny] left, it would be for them.”
— Adam Rasgon
Muslim groups raise over $50,000 for Pittsburgh synagogue victims
A Muslim-initiated crowdfunding campaign has raised over $50,000 for the victims of yesterday’s synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh.
The campaign started yesterday by two American Muslim NGOs reached its $25,000 goal in less than six hours, and is now working to raise $75,000 for the Pittsburgh Jewish community.
“The Muslim-American community extends its hands to help the shooting victims, whether it is the injured victims or the Jewish families who have lost loved ones,” the fundraising page says.
“We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action.”
The groups say the funds will help victims with immediate expenses, including costs expenses and hospital bills.
Israeli strike on Gazans approaching border said to kill 2
An Israeli airstrike targeting a group of Palestinians approaching the Gaza border fence kills two, according to reports in Palestinian media.
Palestinian media says Israel is preventing the Red Cross from reaching the scene east of Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza.
Solidarity message for Pittsburgh Jews projected on Jerusalem’s Old City
Jerusalem municipality is showing solidarity with the Pittsburgh Jewish community following the shooting attack at the Tree of Life synagogue, by projecting a message of solidity on the walls of Old City.
“We are with you Pittsburgh,” reads the message projected on the walls between Jaffa and New Gates.
IDF strikes Gazans during alleged attempt to sabotage border
The IDF says it carried out an airstrike this evening targeting three “terrorists who were attempting to sabotage [the fence] and plant an explosive device.”
The statement does not mention any casualties. Earlier this evening, Palestinian media outlets reports that an Israeli drone strike killed two Gazans east of Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza.
Peace envoy Greenblatt arrives in Pittsburgh for interfaith vigil
US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt arrives in Pittsburgh to attend an interfaith memorial service for the victims of yesterday’s synagogue massacre.
In a tweet, Greenblatt says he is “stunned by this horrific & tragic Anti-Semitic attack” on Pittsburgh’s Jewish community.
Just arrived in Pittsburgh to attend an interfaith gathering & vigil. Walking through the airport with a heavy heart and pit in my stomach. Stunned by this horrific & tragic Anti-Semitic attack on the Jewish community here. We stand with Pittsburgh.
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) October 28, 2018
Palestinian group says hunger-striking prisoner suffering major health issues
Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan is suffering serious health issues, as a result of his 57-day fast, a Palestinian group says.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Club says Adnan was transferred to a medical clinic after he stopped taking supplements to help him survive the long fast.
Adnan is protesting his incarceration without trial.
Israel says Adnan is a senior member of the Iran-affiliated Islamic Jihad terror group in the West Bank.
Abbas again vows to thwart any Trump peace plan
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas vows to oppose any peace proposal by US President Donald Trump as PLO officials convene a rare meeting to consider their next moves.
Abbas says Palestinians are facing perhaps the “most dangerous stage” in their history, highlighting a series of measures taken by Trump including recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Abbas compares the expected Trump proposal to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which saw the British government commit to the creation of a state for Jews in Palestine.
“If the Balfour Declaration passed, this deal will not pass,” he pledges at the start of the PLO central council’s meeting.
— with AFP
NYC mayor vows to protect Jewish communities after synagogue massacre
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is joining the city’s religious leaders and other elected officials to condemn the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and vowing to protect the city’s Jewish communities from violence.
The Democrat speaks outside a Manhattan synagogue this afternoon with Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders, including Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
De Blasio says the people of New York stand with the 11 victims of Saturday’s shooting and their families. He says, “Violence against people because of their faith does not represent our values.”
De Blasio says city police will be out in force to protect synagogues and Jewish centers.
Abbas: Hamas serving US interests by refusing to relinquish power
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is accusing his Hamas rivals of serving US interests by refusing to relinquish control of the Gaza Strip.
Abbas fears the US is planning a proposal that would offer the Palestinians limited statehood in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and some autonomy in parts of the West Bank. Abbas demands full independence in both territories.
In a speech to the PLO central council, Abbas says that Hamas’s refusal to give up control of Gaza is “accepting the thoughts of the enemy, who plans to have a mini-state in Gaza and autonomy in West Bank.”