Apr 10, 2018

Netanyahu expecting Trump to strike in Syria

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in security consultations on Monday that he thinks there is high probability President Trump will order a military strike in Syria in retaliation for the recent chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburb of Douma, a senior Israeli official told me.

The latest: The official said Israel published a formal statement blaming the Assad regime for the attack on Monday night as a consequence of this assessment by Netanyahu. The official said the purpose was to give diplomatic support for possible U.S. military action against Syria and also for possible U.S. diplomatic action against Syria at the UN Security Council.

The statement by the Israeli foreign ministry said:

"Israel strongly condemns the chemical weapons strike carried out by Syria on April 7…The Syrian regime continues to perpetrate crimes against humanity in using these outlawed weapons. The latest attack joins a long series of similar attacks using chemical weapons perpetrated by the regime since Assad undertook to disarm from such weapons. The attack shows clearly that Syria continues to possess lethal chemical weapons capabilities and even to manufacture new ones. In so doing Syria is grossly violating its obligations and the decisions of the international community in this matter".

The Prime Minister's office declined to comment.

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O'Brien rejects intelligence report of Russia effort to re-elect Trump

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. Photo: Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected on ABC's "This Week" an assessment from a congressional briefing led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected.

Why it matters: The report put the Trump administration under fresh scrutiny in regard to steps it has been taking to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. encountered in 2016.

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Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

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Iranian state TV: Hardliners win landslide victory in low-turnout election

Photo: Iranian Supreme Leader Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iranian state TV announced Sunday that hardliners won a landslide victory in the country's parliamentary elections two days ago, including all 30 seats in Tehran, AP reports.

Why it matters: Voter turnout in the election only reached 42.57%, according to Iran's interior ministry, the first time turnout dipped below 50% since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The low turnout may signal dissatisfaction with the Iranian government and the election system.

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