An Israeli scientist conducts coronavirus tests in Tel Aviv. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

Israel's foreign intelligence service, Mossad, stepped in to help secure much-needed coronavirus tests from countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations, only to find they were the wrong ones, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: Israel has serious shortages of medical equipment needed to fight the outbreak, leaving Israeli embassies and even intelligence agencies scrambling to get their hands on everything from medical masks to test kits.

The backstory: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had requested Mossad's help, hoping the intelligence service could use its web of secret contacts around the world to find relevant medical supplies.

  • Mossad starting approaching Arab and Muslim countries that were better supplied, but with which Israel has no diplomatic relations.

How it happened: Mossad bought 100,000 tests, which arrived in Israel last night. The agency began to brief reporters on its achievement, but the headlines turned out to be less exciting than they'd hoped.

  • Israel's Ministry of Health wanted swabs and test tubes for collecting samples from patients, Israeli officials say, while Mossad bought kits for a different part of the test that aren't currently needed. The officials blamed "miscommunication."
  • Netanyahu's office went into damage-control mode, saying the supplies would be used for other purposes and asking the Ministry of Health to issue statements praising Mossad.

Go deeper

Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 12,607,510 — Total deaths: 562,338 — Total recoveries — 6,948,863Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 3,228,884 — Total deaths: 134,600 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,919,421Map.
  3. Public health: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives" Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  4. Food: How the coronavirus pandemic boosted alternative meat.
  5. Sports: Charge of "money grab" by college football.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.