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Israel: Health Minister considers nationwide lockdown if daily coronavirus cases suprass 2000
Portrait of Yuli Edelstein
Portrait of Yuli Edelstein Credit: ראובן קופיצ'ינסקי / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said he's considering a nationwide lockdown in case the country surpasses 2000 daily Coronavirus cases. Israel reported 1600 cases between Wednesday and Thursday evening.

Edelstein reportedly told associates: "If we reach 2,000 patients a day, this will be a flashing red light. We’re trying not to get there, but this will likely lead us to a general lockdown."

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Israel: Parts of 5 cities go into lockdown
Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel
Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel Credit: unsplash.com/Sander Crombach

Parts of five Israeli cities that are particularly affected by coronavirus outbreak went into lockdown on 1pm Friday. Among them are neighbourhoods that became "restricted zones" in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Lod, Ramle and Kiryat Malachi. Lockdown will be lifted on Jul 17th, 8am.

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Erdogan signs decree converting Istanbul's Hagia Sophia into mosque
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia Credit: Igor Vita (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Turkey's top administrative court, the Council of State, ruled Friday that Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia could be converted into a mosque. After the decision President Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree handing control of Hagia Sophia to the country’s religious directorate and to reopen it for worship.

Hagia Sophia was the Byzantine Empire’s main cathedral until it was changed into a mosque following the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic, then turned the domed building into a museum that attracts millions of tourists each year.

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Iran mandates face masks in public amid surge in Covid-19 cases
Iran mandates face masks in public amid surge in Covid-19 cases
Credit: unsplash.com/Go to Kate Trifo's profile Kate Trifo

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has instituted mandatory wearing of face masks in public as the country experiences a rise in Covid-19 cases. The new measure took effect on Sunday. Employees are only allowed to work "if they wear masks and obey different health protocols" and people need to "observe protective and health protocols and wear masks" in order to get service from the state or any other organisation.

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Iran issued arrest warrant for Donald Trump "on charges of murder and terrorist action"
Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qasem Soleimani in 2019
Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qasem Soleimani in 2019 Credit: khamenei.ir / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Iran has issued an arrest warrant for Donald Trump and more than 30 other unnamed individuals for their alleged involvement in the killing of General Qassem Soleimani in January 2020. The warrants have been issued on the charges of murder and terrorist action, and Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr has asked Interpol to put out a "red notice", the highest-level notice by Interpol, for Trump and the others involved.

A red notice allows local authorities to arrests suspects on behalf of the country that made the request. Interpol's involvement is unlikely as the notice forbids "from undertaking any intervention or activities of a political" nature.

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Yemen's Houthis attack Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with armed drones and ballistic missiles
Houthis protest against airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition on Sana'a in September 2015.
Houthis protest against airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition on Sana'a in September 2015. Credit: Henry Ridgwell (VOA) (Public Domain)

The cabinet of Saudi Arabia has condemned Yemen's Houthis for attacking Riyadh. In a statement, Saudi Arabia called the attacks "terroristic" and stated that it was carried out by eight armed drones and three ballistic missiles. According to Aljazeera, two large explosions have been heard in Riyadh. There are no reports of injuries or damages, but the Houthi movement claims that they've hit the defence ministry and a military base while Saudi Arabia claims that they have shot a missile down.

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Second night of protests in Lebanon
Lebanon protests of 2019
Lebanon protests of 2019 Credit: Charbel Msallem

Protesters in Lebanon set fire to roads and clashed with the police for the second night on Friday, according to witnesses and Lebanese media.

After the crash of the pound, that lost 70% of its value since last October, protests erupted on Thursday in several Lebanese cities including Beirut and Tripoli.

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Israeli police shot an autistic Palestinian man

Eyad Hallaq was 32 years old and was autistic. As he and his caregiver ran in a police patrol, he did not undertand the policeman orders and started to panic. His caregiver insisted to the police officers that he was disabled, but they shot him anyway.

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Protests erupt in Jerusalem after killing of unarmed, autistic Palestinian by police

Palestinians have started protesting against police violence in Israel following the death of an unarmed, autistic Palestinian man. The man was shot by the police inside the Est Jerusalem's Old City on his way to special needs school. The police stated that they stopped Eyad al-Halaq, 32, for a search and found a "suspicious object that looked like a pistol". The man was, according to statements made by his family, rushing away as he was "spooked by the police" and has "the mental age of a six-year-old child". The police chased the man and started shooting several rounds, killing him in the process. The police than released a statement that they "suspect" got "neutralized" by them and found no weapons in his posession.

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Corruption trial against Israeli prime minister Netanyahu to begin

Three years after the police have searched Netanyahu's residence for the first time, his trial is scheduled to begin on Sunday. The prime minister of Israel who's been sworn in for his fifth time in the last week is accused on charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery. The trial had been postponed from March because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and marks the first time that a sitting prime minister will be tried in court. Netanyahu has repeatedly denied all allegations against him.

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Son of murdered journalist Khashoggi says that his family forgives the murderers

In a tweet the son of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has announced: "that we pardon those who killed our father, seeking reward God almighty". The journalist was murdered in October 2018 when he went into the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul where he wanted to pick up documents for his planned wedding.

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Netanyahu, Gantz to end a 500-days political crisis with a unity government

In Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, today Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz were sworn in as prime minister and alternate prime minister respectively.

The three-year coalition government was formally approved by a 73 to 46 vote and puts to end more than 500 days of a political crisis in the country.

Benjamin Netanyahu belongs to the right-wing Likud party, while Benny Gantz leads the centrist Blue and White alliance.

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Israeli Supreme Court rules Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may form government

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may form a new government while under indictment for corruption charges.

The unanimous decision, clears the way for Netanyahu and his rival, Benny Gantz, to proceed with the formation of their emergency government.

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Israel extends cell phone surveillance by three weeks

In order to keep tracking carriers of the coronavirus, the subcommittee for the intelligence service of the Knesset has approved an extension of the smartphone surveillance program for another three weeks. The government originally advocated for an extension until June 16, but the committee only permitted one until May 26. The chair of the subcommittee, Gabi Ashkenazi, said that he sees it "as the right balance between not using this tool for the entire period and ensuring there is a legislative process".

Regional News • Middle East
Turkey Deployed Over 2,800 Military Vehicles In Syria’s Greater Idlib

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed Turkish military has deployed 2,810 vehicles in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib since the ceasefire became active on March 5 and a total of 10,300 Turkish service members have been sent to the region since last February.