Jerusalem, Dec 13 (AP/UNB) — Israeli security forces tracked down a Palestinian accused of killing two Israelis and shot and killed him on Thursday, ending a two-month manhunt hours after troops killed another Palestinian wanted in a separate attack.
Israeli police said Ashraf Naalweh was found armed near the West Bank city of Nablus and was killed during an arrest raid.
Israel accuses Naalweh of shooting to death two Israelis and wounding another at an attack on a West Bank industrial zone in October. He fled the scene and Israeli forces have been searching for him since.
"Israel's long arm will reach anyone who harms Israeli citizens," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Police said it had made a number of arrests in its attempt to hunt down Naalweh and suspected he was planning on carrying out another attack.
On Wednesday, Israeli forces killed Salah Barghouti, a Palestinian suspect wanted in a drive-by shooting earlier this week at a West Bank bus stop, shooting him just hours after an Israeli baby delivered prematurely as a result of the attack died.
In Sunday night's attack, assailants in a Palestinian vehicle opened fire at a bus stop outside a West Bank settlement, wounding seven people, including a 21-year-old pregnant woman, before speeding away.
The militant Hamas group that rules the Gaza Strip said that both Barghouti and Naalweh were its members but stopped short of claiming responsibility for the attacks the two carried out.
"The flame of resistance in the (West) Bank will remain alive until the occupation is defeated on all our land," Hamas said.
Also Thursday, police said an assailant stabbed two officers in Jerusalem's Old City, wounding them lightly. The officers opened fire on the attacker and he was killed, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Police identified the man as a 26-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank. It released security camera footage that shows the man lunging toward the officers and appearing to stab them.
Ankara, Dec 13 (AP/UNB) — A high-speed train hit a railway engine and crashed into a pedestrian overpass at a station in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday, killing nine people and injuring 47 others, officials said.
The 6:30 a.m. (0330 GMT) train from Ankara to the central Turkish city of Konya collided head-on with the engine, which was checking the tracks at the capital's small Marsandiz station, Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan told reporters after inspecting the site. The high-speed train transits that station without stopping.
At least two cars derailed, hitting the station's overpass which then collapsed onto the train.
Three engine drivers and six passengers were killed in the crash, Turhan said. One of the passengers died of injuries after being hospitalized while others were killed at the scene.
Television footage showed emergency services working to rescue passengers from wrangled cars and debris. Hurriyet newspaper said sniffer dogs assisted efforts to find survivors.
Turhan said everyone had been removed from the debris and no one else was believed to be trapped.
It wasn't immediately clear if a signaling problem caused the crash. Ankara Gov. Vasip Sahin said a technical inspection has begun while NTV television, quoting unnamed officials, said three prosecutors were assigned to investigate.
In July, 10 people were killed and more than 70 injured when most of a passenger train derailed in northwestern Turkey, after torrential rains caused part of the rail tracks to collapse. Last month, 15 people were injured when a passenger train collided with a freight train in Turkey's central province of Sivas.
Konya, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) south of Ankara, is home to the tomb of the Sufi mystic and poet Jalaladdin Rumi, attracting thousands of pilgrims and tourists. The crash occurred during an annual week of remembrance for Rumi when many travel to Konya to watch Whirling Dervishes perform.
Honolulu, Dec 13 (AP/UNB) — A Hawaii Air National Guard civilian contractor was in serious condition Wednesday after his plane crashed off the coast of Honolulu during a military exercise, authorities said.
The pilot of the Hawker Hunter jet ejected safely from the plane, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam said in a statement. He was initially rescued by a private sailboat and then transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Honolulu Emergency Services spokesman Dustin Malama said the 47-year-old appeared to have traumatic injuries and was taken to a hospital.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said a Hawker Hunter jet went down in the ocean around 2:25 p.m. after taking off from Honolulu's airport.
The pilot was rescued about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) south of Oahu near Honolulu's Sand Island, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The pilot had been participating in a military exercise called Sentry Aloha, which was temporarily suspended after the crash. The Hawaii Air National Guard was hosting the exercise, which involved about 800 personnel and 30 aircraft from nine states.
The cause of the crash was under investigation, the military said.
Departing flights from the Honolulu airport were held as a precaution for about 20 minutes, said Tim Sakahara, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.
The Hawker Hunter is a British jet developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s, said the website of defense contractor BAE Systems.
Initially, a single-seat version was used as a maneuverable fighter aircraft. It was later used as both a fighter and bomber and for reconnaissance missions.
The British navy and air force continued to use a two-seat version into the early 1990s.
Britain exported the plane, and it was also used by the air forces of 21 other nations.
Toronto, Dec 13 (AP/UNB) — A second Canadian man is feared detained in China in what appears to be retaliation for Canada's arrest of a top executive of telecommunications giant Huawei. The possible arrest raises the stakes in an international dispute that threatens relations.
Canada's Global Affairs department on Wednesday said Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur who is one of the only Westerners to have met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, had gone missing in China. Spavor's disappearance follows China's detention of a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing earlier this week.
"We have been unable to make contact (with Spavor) since he let us know he was being questioned by Chinese authorities," Global Affairs spokesman Guillaume Bérubé said. "We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we continue to raise this with the Chinese government."
Spavor is a fluent Korean speaker with longstanding ties to the North through his company, Paektu Cultural Exchange. He was instrumental in bringing NBA player Dennis Rodman to Pyongyang in 2013 and has organized a number of tours and joint cultural projects with the North since then. His disappearance sparked immediate concern in the circle of people who travel to North Korea. Acquaintances said he was due in Seoul on Monday, but never showed up.
Canada's announcement came hours after Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said she was worried another citizen had been detained in China following Monday's arrest of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig in Beijing.
At the root of the dispute is Canada's recent arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, for possible extradition to the United States.
A Canadian court on Tuesday released Meng on bail, confining her to Vancouver and its suburbs while she awaits possible extradition. The U.S. accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to do business with Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.
The detention of Kovrig and possible detention of Spavor reflect an increasingly bold approach to international disputes under President Xi Jinping, who has overseen a vast expansion of China's diplomatic, military and economic power. China has often retaliated against foreign governments and corporations in diplomatic disputes, but rarely by holding foreign nationals.
The United States and China have taken pains this week to emphasize that their trade talks are entirely separate from the U.S. case against the top Chinese technology executive. But with a few words, President Donald Trump obliterated the distinction on Tuesday, saying he'd wade into the case if it would help produce a trade agreement with China.
"If I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what's good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary," Trump told Reuters in an interview.
The comment suggests Meng could be a political pawn in negotiations and makes things more awkward for Canada, which arrested her on America's behalf during a Dec. 1 layover at the Vancouver airport.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau bristled at Trump's assertion, saying: "Regardless of what goes on in other countries, Canada is, and will always remain, a country of the rule of law."
Freeland said it was "quite obvious" any foreign country requesting extradition should ensure "the process is not politicized."
Canada has also asked China for extra security at its embassy because of protests and anti-Canadian sentiment and has advised foreign service staff to take precautions, a senior Canadian official told reporters.
Meng's arrest came the same day that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed over dinner in Buenos Aires to a 90-day cease-fire in a trade war that has shaken global financial markets and raised worries about the impact on the world economy.
The truce was meant to buy time for more substantive talks over U.S. allegations that China steals U.S. technology and forces American companies to hand over trade secrets in exchange for access to the Chinese market.
U.S. officials have insisted the sanctions case against Meng had nothing to do with the ongoing trade talks. Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told "Fox News Sunday" that "there's a trade lane ... and there is the law enforcement lane. They are different."
"Both Canadian and American officials have emphasized that the Meng arrest is separate from the trade talks," said Gregory Yaeger, special counsel at the Stroock law firm and a former Justice Department trial attorney.
"Trump's remarks could be interpreted as creating the appearance that the arrest also had political motivations. This could undermine the US's reputation as a country that follows the 'rule of law,' and could ultimately undermine both the Meng prosecution and the trade talks."
Still, there is precedent for Trump intervening on behalf of a Chinese company accused of violating U.S. sanctions.
Trump drew fire from Capitol Hill in June when he reached a deal that spared another Chinese telecommunications company, ZTE, from U.S. sanctions that probably would have put it out of business after it was accused of selling equipment to Iran and North Korea. U.S. regulators planned to bar it from receiving U.S. components that it depended on, effectively a corporate death sentence.
But Trump issued a reprieve, perhaps partly because U.S. tech companies, major suppliers to ZTE, would also have been scorched. ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, change its board and management, and let American regulators monitor its operations.
Speaking outside the White House Wednesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urged reporters not to jump to the conclusion that Trump will actually intervene in Meng's case.
"Let's see what he actually decides," Ross said. "Let's see where we go from there."
Philip Levy, senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and an economic adviser in President George W. Bush's White House, noted that "there's a real value to keeping these things separate."
"Do we want China to seize an (American) executive when they want to get a concession on trade talks in the future?" he asked.
San Antonio, Dec 13 (AP/UNB) — Former Obama housing chief Julian Castro says he's taking a step toward a possible White House campaign in 2020 by forming a presidential exploratory committee. The Texas Democrat tells The Associated Press that he will announce a decision January 12.
The move Wednesday gives the 44-year-old former San Antonio mayor an early start to what's shaping up as a crowded Democratic field without a clear front-runner to challenge President Donald Trump.
Castro indicated in an AP interview that his mind was all but made up.
"I know where I'm leaning, for sure," said Castro, who has said for weeks that it was likely he would seek the nomination.
An exploratory committee usually is a formality before a candidate launches a presidential campaign. It legally allows potential candidates to begin raising money.
But just as important for Castro, the step gives him an early jump on bigger name Democrats who are considering running but are taking a slower approach.
No potential contender is more ascendant than outgoing Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who lost last month in a surprisingly close race against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. O'Rourke has excited donors and activists who are now prodding him to seek the presidency.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey, along with former Vice President Joe Biden, are also potential candidates.
Castro would be among the youngest candidates in the field and the most prominent Latino. He played down the attention that others are generating and pointed to past election cycles in which early favorites ended up faltering.
"People might say right now, 'Well, hey, you're way down here in polling that's taken.' The most dangerous place to be right now is actually in the pole position," Castro said. "It doesn't bother me that in December of 2018 I'm not right up at the top of the list. If I decide to run, it would be because I believe I have a compelling message and I'm going to work hard and get to the voters and I believe I can be successful."
Castro, who attended O'Rourke's election-night party in El Paso last month, said O'Rourke doesn't complicate his own chances.
"He's talented. He ran a good race against Ted Cruz," Castro said. "I'll let him talk about his future."
Castro said he has not spoken to former President Barack Obama about his potential candidacy but plans on consulting Democratic leaders. Obama has spoken to O'Rourke, who has said he won't make a decision on 2020 until after leaving Congress in January.
Obama picked Castro to take over the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2014. Two years later, Castro was on the short list of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's potential running mates.
For Castro, running for president would fulfill a destiny that Democrats have projected since he was elected San Antonio mayor at 34, followed by his star-making turn as the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.
He is the grandson of a Mexican immigrant and son of a Latina activist. His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a Democratic congressman from Texas. Julian Castro said the Latino community has been treated "like a pinata" under Trump and deserved a candidate in the field.
"I'm also very mindful, especially now for the Latino community, that there's a particular meaning to my candidacy," Castro said. "We can't go through the 2020 cycle with nobody on that stage because of what's happened over the last couple of years."
Young and telegenic, Castro rose to national prominence early in his career as a Latino leader from a state that Democrats are eager to retake after decades of Republican dominance. But in Texas, O'Rourke has eclipsed Castro after getting closer to a statewide victory than any Democrat in a generation. It now puts Texas in the formerly unthinkable position of having two Democratic presidential candidates in the same year.
The last Texas Democrat to run for president was Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, who had a short-lived campaign in 1976.
Maryland Rep. John Delaney is the only declared 2020 Democratic presidential candidate so far. Others are expected to announce their intentions in the coming weeks.