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Israeli prosecutor accuses Benjamin Netanyahu of fraud, abuse of trust

Both Bezeq and Walla are controlled by the same businessman Shaul Elovitch, who is also charged with his wife Iris.

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Netanyahu Israel

Jerusalem, Nov 22 : Israel’s attorney general has charged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three separate cases.

Attorney general Avijai Mandelblit formalized the indictment against the acting leader on Thursday, which is a new blow to the unstable and gridlocked Israeli political landscape, Efe news reported.

The prosecution has accused the head of government in connection with three cases, known as Case 1,000, Case 2,000 and Case 3,000, the Ministry of Justice said in a statement.

Mandelblit is expected to present all the allegations in public at a press conference on Thursday evening.

In all three cases, Netanyahu has been accused of fraud and abuse of trust, and in addition in Case 4,000 he is alleged to have committed bribery, the most serious accusation that puts his position in question.

In Case 4,000, also called the Bezeq Case, Netanyahu is accused of having done favors between 2012 and 2017 to Israeli telephony giant Bezeq in exchange for favorable coverage of him and his wife Sara on the Walla news website.

Both Bezeq and Walla are controlled by the same businessman Shaul Elovitch, who is also charged with his wife Iris.

In Case 1,000 he is suspected of accepting luxurious gifts from two millionaires for him and his family, including expensive cigars, jewelry, travel and French champagne worth almost $290,000, in exchange for favors.

Case 2,000 relates to an alleged pact attempt with Arnon Mozes, who is also accused, editor of the national Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot, to get more positive coverage of him in exchange for damaging the distribution of newspaper rival Israel Hayom.

As a defendant, Netanyahu would not be obliged to leave his post as prime minister or deputy, but if he was convicted, parliament could vote for his dismissal if the crime involves “moral depravity” as is the case with the bribery accusation, according to Israeli law.

Mandelblit called a hearing in October to receive the defense’s arguments before finalizing the indictment that now opens the door to a trial.

After publishing the accusation, the prosecutor’s office sent a copy of the document to the Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein “in order to allow the prime minister to notify the Knesset if he wishes to request immunity,” something that a specially created committee should deliberate but that cannot be formed without a new government.

The accusation came amid a political deadlock in Israel which has been without an executive since the September elections.

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Middle East

4 rockets hit military base near Baghdad, 6 injured

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Baghdad, Dec 9 : Four rockets struck a military base near the Baghdad airport, leaving six army personnel injured, Iraqi authorities said Monday.

According to a statement by the media office affiliated with the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, forces searched the areas around the military base and found a rocket launcher left with some unfired rockets because of malfunction, Xinhua news agency reported

The statement however, did not say when the attack took place or identified which base was hit.

Meanwhile, an Interior Ministry official told Xinhua that the targeted base was where US troops were stationed.

Military bases housing US troops across Iraq and the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad have been frequently targeted by insurgents’ mortar and rocket attacks.

Over 5,000 .S troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against the Islamic State (IS) militants, mainly providing training and advice to the Iraqi forces.

The troops are part of the US-led international coalition that has been conducting air raids against IS targets in both Iraq and Syria.

The incident came as mass demonstrations have continued in Baghdad and other cities in central and southern Iraq since early October, demanding comprehensive reform, accountability for corruption, improvement of public services and job opportunities.

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Middle East

Deadly car bombs target Turkish-held town in north Syria

The car bombs were detonated on Thursday in swift succession at the al-A’laf roundabout in Ras al-Ayn, the report said.

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Car Bomb in Syria

Damascus, Dec 6 : At least two civilians were killed when two car bombs went off in Syria’s northeastern city of Ras al-Ayn controlled by the Turkey-backed rebels, state-run SANA news agency reported.

The car bombs were detonated on Thursday in swift succession at the al-A’laf roundabout in Ras al-Ayn, the report said.

Six people were also wounded in the bombing attack, it added.

The attack is the latest in series of bombings targeting the areas that have been recently stormed by the Turkey-backed rebels and Turkish forces, Xinhua news agency reported.

The previous day, at least five Turkish soldiers were killed when a car bomb targeted their convoy in the city of Jarablus in northern Aleppo province when it was en route to a Turkish-run base on the outskirts of the city, SANA reported.

It added that 12 other Turkish soldiers were wounded and later sent across the border to Turkish hospitals.

There have been a series of bombings and explosions targeting the Turkey-backed rebels and Turkish forces in northern Syria since Turkey launched an offensive against the Syrian Kurdish forces in October.

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Middle East

Israel PM Netanyahu indicted for fraud, bribery

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Netanyahu Israel

Jerusalem, Dec 3 :Netanyahu Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted for fraud, bribery and breach of trust in three separate corruption cases.

Israeli Attorney General Avihai Mendelblit publicly released an official indictment on Monday, allowing a period of 30 days during which the long-time leader may request the parliament to grant him immunity from standing trial, Xinhua reported.

The 77-page indictment charges Netanyahu with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three separate corruption scandals.

According to the indictment, the trial will be held at the Jerusalem District Court. The date of the trial has not yet been published.

The document contains a list of 333 witnesses the prosecution may call to testify against Netanyahu, including Sheldon Adelson, an American Jewish business magnate and one of US President Donald Trump’s major donors, and Arnon Milchan, an Israeli billionaire and Hollywood producer, and other businessmen and politicians.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying the indictment is part of “an orchestrated witch hunt”.

He is the first Israeli Prime Minister, who has been served with an indictment while being in office.

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