JERUSALEM | Israel is moving forward with plans for two major settlement projects in East Jerusalem, a spokeswoman said Tuesday, even as a senior Palestinian official warned that his government could pursue war crimes charges if Israel doesn’t halt such construction.
International anger over Israeli settlement construction has snowballed in recent days, following last week’s U.N. recognition of a state of Palestine — in lands Israel has occupied since 1967 — as a nonmember observer in the General Assembly.
Israel retaliated for U.N. recognition of Palestine in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem by announcing plans to build 3,000 homes for Jews in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as preparations for construction of an especially sensitive project near Jerusalem, known as E-1.
A senior Palestinian official, Nabil Shaath, said late Monday that “by continuing these war crimes of settlement activities on our lands and stealing our money, Israel is pushing and forcing us to go to the [International Criminal Court].”
TEHRAN — Iran claimed Tuesday it had captured a U.S. drone after it entered Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf — even showing an image of a purportedly downed craft on state TV — but the U.S. Navy said all of its unmanned aircraft in the region were “fully accounted for.”
The conflicting accounts still leave the possibility that the drone claimed by Iran, a Boeing-designed ScanEagle, could have been plucked from the sea in the past and unveiled for maximum effect following escalating tensions over U.S. surveillance missions in the Gulf.
Other countries in the region — such as the United Arab Emirates — also have ScanEagle drones in their fleets.
Cmdr. Jason Salata, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet in Bahrain, said ScanEagles operated by the Navy “have been lost into the water” over the years, but there is no “record of that occurring most recently.”
The Iranian announcement did not give details on the time or location of the claimed drone capture.
Suspect in Benghazi attack ‘refuses to speak to FBI’
TUNIS — A Tunisian suspected of involvement in the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is refusing to be interrogated by FBI agents, his lawyer said.
“They wanted to interrogate him as a witness, but he has refused,” Abdelbasset Ben Mbarek said late Monday, referring to his client, Ali Hamzi, and denouncing what he called “interference” in the Tunisian judicial system.View Entire Story
By Elaine Donnelly
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