Israel captures Palestinian knife attack suspect: army

Israeli soldiers control cars at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus after according to the army, an Israeli reserve soldier was wounded in a stabbing attack, on October 11, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 12 October 2018
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Israel captures Palestinian knife attack suspect: army

  • Israeli forces detained a Palestinian suspected of stabbing and wounding a soldier.
  • A manhunt continued for a second Palestinian who shot dead two Israeli civilians.

JERUSALEM: Israeli forces detained a Palestinian suspected of stabbing and wounding a soldier but a manhunt continued for a second Palestinian who shot dead two Israeli civilians, the army said Friday.
The army spokesman’s office released video it said had been taken late on Thursday showing a cuffed and blindfolded man being led by soldiers in what appears to be a military facility.
“A short while ago, the terrorist who committed the terror attack... this afternoon was caught,” regional commander Col. Sagiv Dahan said in the Hebrew-language clip.
An army spokesman told AFP that details of the suspect and his arrest were being withheld for the time being as his interrogation was still in progress.
He is suspected of stabbing and wounding an army reservist on guard at a junction near the northern West Bank city of Nablus on Thursday afternoon.
A civilian was moderately wounded from shrapnel when soldiers fired in the direction of the fleeing assailant, the army said.
The fugitive who remains on the run is suspected of killing two Israelis and wounding a third in a shooting on Sunday in the Israeli-owned industrial zone where they all worked near the northern West Bank Jewish settlement of Barkan.
“Activity continues to catch the terrorist who carried out the shooting attack at Barkan,” an army statement said in Hebrew.
The army has named the wanted man as Ashraf Naalwa, 23, from the northern West Bank village of Shuweika.
The two attack sites and Shuweika village all lie within a 32 kilometer (20 mile) radius but so far there has been no indication of any connection.
A wave of mainly lone-wolf Palestinian attacks against Israelis erupted in 2015 but it has since largely abated.


Istanbul summit aimed at avoiding new humanitarian disaster in Idlib

Updated 22 October 2018
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Istanbul summit aimed at avoiding new humanitarian disaster in Idlib

  • The event will focus on ‘harmonizing joint efforts for finding a lasting solution to the conflict’
  • Germany and France welcomed the Turkey-Russia deal on Idlib that had set Oct. 15 as the deadline for removing all radical groups from a demilitarized zone in the province

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to attend a critical four-way summit on Syria in Istanbul next Saturday. 

They will discuss recent developments in the war-torn country as well as projections for a political settlement.

Experts have underlined the importance of this summit in providing a strong push for key EU countries to work together with regional players to end the years-long conflict in Syria as it will gather the four countries’ leaders at the highest level.

The summit will focus on the recent developments in the opposition-held northwestern province of Idlib, and the parameters of a possible political settlement.

The ways for preventing a new refugee inflow from Idlib into Europe via Turkey, which is home to about 3.5 million Syrian residents, following a possible offensive by the Assad regime will also be raised as a topic that mainly concerns France and Germany and pushes them to work more closely with Turkey and Russia.

The summit will also aim at “harmonizing joint efforts for finding a lasting solution to the conflict,” presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin announced on Friday.

Germany and France welcomed the Turkey-Russia deal on Idlib that had set Oct. 15 as the deadline for removing all radical groups from a demilitarized zone in the province. Although the withdrawal of some opposition groups from the zone has not been accomplished in due time, Ankara and Moscow have agreed to extend the deadline for Idlib, which is still a strategic area where the opposition holds out.

“Turkey and Russia want the status quo for Idlib. Although the jihadists have not withdrawn from the demilitarized zone, Russia is turning a blind eye,” said Fabrice Balanche, an associate professor and research director at the University of Lyon II.

“Turkey will make some efforts to save face. Turkish proxies have withdrawn because Turkey pays wages, so they must obey, but for the jihadists it is more complicated,” he told Arab News.

According to Balanche, without the complicity of Turkey, the Syrian regime cannot take over the north of the country.

“In exchange, Turkey wants a buffer zone in the north, all along its border. The main objective is, of course, to eliminate the Syrian Kurdish YPG from the border as it has already done in Afrin. A secondary objective is to protect its opposition allies and the Turkmen minorities, many in the province of Idlib but also between Azaz and Jarablus,” he said.

But the summit also shows that these four countries need each other in the Syrian theater as each of them has stakes regarding the settlement of the crisis.

Emre Ersen, a Syria analyst at Marmara University in Istanbul, said the main goal of the summit is to provide a major diplomatic boost to the ongoing Astana and Sochi peace processes, which have so far been led mainly by Turkey, Russia and Iran.

“A second and maybe even more important goal is to include France and Germany in the reconstruction efforts in Syria once the civil war is over,” he told Arab News.

Considering the cost of the reconstruction, estimated at about $400 billion, Ankara, Moscow and Tehran are not ready to take this enormous financial burden without the financial support of the West, Ersen said.

“Both Paris and Berlin hope that Ankara’s ongoing efforts to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Idlib can be successful. If the settlement in Idlib does not work, everybody is aware that this may lead to a big refugee crisis for both Turkey and Europe once again,” he added.

Martina Fietz, deputy spokeswoman for the German government, told a news conference in Berlin that her country is also hopeful about the forthcoming summit’s potential contribution to the stabilization of Idlib’s de-escalation zone.

“Progress in the UN-led political process, in particular the commencement of the work of the constitutional commission, will be discussed,” she said.

The chief foreign policy advisers of the quartet have met in Istanbul in recent weeks to discuss the agenda of the summit.