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Media Summary

IAEA chief says nuclear material found at undeclared nuclear sites in Iran

BBC News, The Telegraph and The Independent report that a journalist for Al Jazeera, Shereen Abu Aqleh, was shot in the head and killed by Israeli forces during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin. Al Jazeera said she was shot “deliberately” and “in cold blood” while the Israeli military said it did not target journalists and was looking into the possibility that she was “hit by Palestinian gunmen”. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said: “Journalists must be protected in conflict zones and we all have a responsibility to get to the truth.”

Reuters reports that according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has not been forthcoming about certain aspects of its past nuclear activities. IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told the EU parliament: “I am not trying to pass an alarmist message that we are at a dead end but the situation does not look very good. Iran has not been forthcoming in the type of information we need from them.” The IAEA has been trying to gather information about uranium particles that were discovered at three old and uncleared sites in Iran. This information suggests that Iran had nuclear material at the sites that were not declared to the IAEA, and while not technically part of the nuclear deal it has caused distrust between Iran and the West and further jeopardises prospects of a return to the JCPOA.

BBC News and The Guardian report that a flight from Israel to Turkey aborted its take-off after passengers received images of a plane crash on their phones as the plane was taxiing for take-off. The flight took off without incident five hours later after the passengers and crew were taken off the plane and all the luggage was re-inspected. Nine individuals have been arrested over the incident. Israeli authorities said the suspects were all Israeli citizens and had reportedly sent the pictures through Apple’s AirDrop function.

BBC News reports on a group of 30 Israeli and Arab school principals from Jerusalem who are visiting schools in Belfast to learn about how the city’s shared education programmes work. One of the principals said: “Seeing a society who politically resolved issues is something that gives me a lot of hope.”

The Associated Press reports on the difficulties facing Dubai’s Jewish community as it seeks to build a permanent synagogue. The state’s official religion is Islam, which has meant that any non-Muslim religious practise is controlled and religious buildings are limited. The Jewish community has relied on villas, hotel banquet halls and luxury apartments so far for prayer, but a senior Rabbi of the Jewish Council of the emirates said “you cannot grow a community in a hotel. It gives the feeling of instability, of not belonging”.

In the Israeli media, Walla follows the diplomatic spat between Jordan and Israel over the Temple Mount. Yesterday the Prime Minister’s Office said it rejected a request from Jordan to increase the number of Waqf guards on the Temple Mount by about 50 guards. It was also reported that in recent weeks, six Hamas-backed Waqf guards have been removed from the Temple Mount, and 12 new Waqf members have been staffed under existing standards. “There is no change or new development in the situation on the Temple Mount – Israel’s sovereignty is preserved,” the Prime Minister’s Office said. Yesterday evening, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi responded saying: “There is no Israeli sovereignty in the holy places in Jerusalem – this is occupied Palestinian land. Israel has no sovereignty in the al-Aqsa Mosque – it is a place of Muslim worship, only the Jordanian Waqf has full authority over the management of the compound.” The Jordanian minister made the remarks on the eve of the meeting to be held on Friday at the White House between King Abdullah II and US President Joe Biden.

Kan Radio reports that Syria has accused Israel of targeting military positions in Quneitra last night. According to a report by the state Syrian news agency, no one was injured in the attack but damage was caused. Lebanese media outlets reported that four missiles were fired at a Syrian military position in northern Quneitra, near the border with Israel.

The Jerusalem Post notes that Israel has sworn in its first-ever Muslim judge to sit on the Supreme Court. In a swearing in ceremony on Monday at the President’s Residence, presided over by President Isaac Herzog and witnessed by Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Khaled Kabub was appointed as a permanent member of the Supreme Court. With the retirement of Neal Hendel, Uzi Fogelman was appointed deputy Supreme Court president, but will not succeed Hayut when she retires next year. Instead, the next president will be Yitzhak Amit. The new appointments include one deputy Supreme Court president, 14 district court judges, three regional labour court judges, 38 magistrate’s court judges, five family court judges, six traffic court judges and 15 court registrars. Supreme Court President Esther Hayut explained that judicial appointments could not be made under a caretaker government, and the resulting backlog of court cases had been such that it was essential to appoint a much larger cohort of judges than usual.

Channel 12 News reports that Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov left a Knesset event commemorating Victory Day prematurely yesterday after lawmakers criticised Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine. The envoy reportedly stormed out of the session while expressing anger over the lawmakers’ remarks. One dissenting voice was Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, a Ukrainian-born former Prisoner of Zion under the Soviet Union, who said Russia was “cynically” using Victory Day to justify its invasion and accused the country of deliberately killing civilians. The Russian Embassy has tried to downplay the event, saying that the ambassador simply left to reach the next event on his schedule.

Yediot Ahronot reports that the Israeli Airport Authorities was forced to delay a flight to Turkey yesterday over unsolicited image of a plane crash sent to passengers shortly before take-off. The authorities said 160 passengers aboard Turkish Airlines subsidiary Anadolu Jet’s flight were forced to return to a terminal at Ben Gurion Airport after some received a picture of Istanbul-bound plane that crashed at take-off in 2009, killing 9 people. Nine suspects were later arrested, described by police as Israeli citizens and among the passengers. The nine could be prosecuted for disseminating false information, the authority said. The offense carries a maximum three-year prison term in Israel.

Maariv follows the latest developments in the trial of Benjamin Netanyahu. Yesterday the defence continued its cross-examination of state witness Shlomo Filber, with Netanyahu present in the courtroom for the first time in a month. During the interrogation Netanyahu’s defence lawyer Boaz Ben Zur attempted to convince the court that Filber’s testimony about an initial meeting with Bezeq as “a representative of the prime minister” was false. He claimed that when questioned by police before he turned state witness, Filber said Netanyahu gave him “free rein” in all matters concerning [Bezeq owner] Elovitch.

Israel Hayom reports that The IDF has begun its largest war drill in decades, dubbed “Chariots of Fire”. The month-long exercise will prepare forces for intense multi-arena combat in the air, at sea, on land and in the cyber arena, a statement by the military stated. Yesterday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, and other high-ranking generals joined IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi at the military’s Kirya headquarters in Tel Aviv to view the launch of the exercise. The army described the operation as one that “aims to both increase the IDF’s defensive readiness and examine its preparedness for an intensive and prolonged campaign”. It will include regular and reserve IDF personnel from all commands.