Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu faces new questions in graft probe

Public radio said an investigation into suspicions Netanyahu received luxury gifts from wealthy supporters was nearing completion. (Ruters)
Updated 15 December 2017
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Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu faces new questions in graft probe

JERUSALEM: Fraud squad detectives questioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his Jerusalem residence on Friday, the seventh time in a nearly year-long corruption probe, police said.
“Police questioned the PM today for a number of hours as part of an ongoing investigation,” a brief police statement said.
Public radio said an investigation into suspicions Netanyahu received luxury gifts from wealthy supporters, including Israeli businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian tycoon James Packer, was nearing completion.
“This is likely to be his last interrogation” on the gifts case, it said.
“After that the police intend to wrap up the case within a short time.”
The Maariv newspaper reported that detectives believed they had sufficient evidence to pass the file to the state prosecutor.
“The police are still deliberating whether to attribute to Netanyahu the offense of bribe-taking or receiving benefits,” Maariv said.
The prime minister was first questioned on January 2.
Investigations are expected to continue in a second case in which police suspect that Netanyahu sought a secret pact for favorable coverage with the publisher of the top-selling Yediot Aharonot newspaper.
The alleged scheme, not believed to have been finalized, would have seen Netanyahu receive favorable coverage in return for helping curb Yediot’s competitor, the pro-Netanyahu freesheet Israel Hayom.
Netanyahu has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and says he has been the target of a smear campaign by political opponents.
 


Gaza truce holds after Israeli strikes over soldier death

Updated 57 sec ago
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Gaza truce holds after Israeli strikes over soldier death

  • Israel’s army and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to confirm a truce was reached
  • The United Nations urged all sides to step “back from the brink” after months of increasing tensions

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: A cease-fire announced by Hamas largely held Saturday after a wave of deadly strikes across the Palestinian enclave sparked by the death of an Israeli soldier shot near the border.
Israel did not confirm the deal announced by Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas, which went into effect around midnight Friday.
Since then there have been no reports of Israeli air strikes on the blockaded enclave or of mortar fire from Gaza toward Israel.
“With Egyptian and UN efforts, we reached (an agreement) to return to the previous state of calm between the (Israeli) occupation and the Palestinian factions,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.
He gave no details of the deal.
Israel’s army and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to confirm a truce was reached.
“All we can say is that there have been no incidents or Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip since the last wave of airstrikes on Friday night,” a military spokeswoman told AFP.
On Friday, three Hamas militants were killed as air raids sent fireballs exploding into the sky over Gaza, while Israel said rockets had been fired back at its territory. A fourth Palestinian was shot dead in protests near the border.
The United Nations urged all sides to step “back from the brink” after months of increasing tensions.
The soldier, shot dead along the border in southern Gaza, was the first to be killed in and around the Palestinian enclave since a 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.
Friday’s flare-up is the latest as demonstrations and clashes on the frontier since March have seen at least 149 Palestinians killed.
The Israeli army said they struck 60 Hamas sites including weapon manufacturing sites, a drone warehouse and a military operations room.
The cease-fire is the second since in a week.
Last weekend saw the most severe exchange of fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since the 2014 war.