Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz is vowing to form a government that will include neither the indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor the Arab parties in parliament.
In a series of TV interviews two weeks before national elections, Gantz looked to project confidence that the March 2 vote will provide the decisive outcome that eluded the two previous elections last year.
Gantz's Blue and White party is currently polling ahead of Netanyahu's Likud, although neither appears to have a clear path to a parliamentary majority required to form a coalition government.
Gantz laid out two potential paths while speaking to Channel 12 News on Saturday night. He said he's either going to partner with a broad range of "Jewish and democratic" parties — including the ultra-nationalist party led by apparent kingmaker Avigdor Lieberman. Or he could team up with the ruling Likud Party, but only if it gets rid of longtime leader Netanyahu, who's fending off a slew of criminal corruption charges.
"Netanyahu has ended his historic role from a political standpoint. The Likud with Bibi cannot form a government, and without Bibi there's unity," he said, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname.
Gantz, a former military chief, has been campaigning furiously in pursuit of a knockout punch as the election grows nearer. He appears to have grown closer to Lieberman, whose nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party has bolted from Netanyahu's right-wing camp and sparked the unprecedented stalemate in Israeli politics that led to the multiple repeat elections.
Both deny they have reached any pre-election alliance, but Lieberman has all but ruled out sitting in government with his former mentor.
"The Netanyahu era is over," Lieberman said Saturday, expressing a newfound openness to sitting in government with left-wing parties he once shunned.
Still, the numbers don't seem to add up without at least the tacit support of the Arab parties who are anathema to Lieberman's hard-line brand of politics. Netanyahu has based his campaign on linking Gantz to the Arab parties, who represent the country's 20% minority, saying he has no option of forming a government without them. Gantz denied he will invite them into his government, saying there is too wide an ideological gap between them.
Even with the corruption indictment against Netanyahu and the unveiling of President Donald Trump's Mideast plan, polls are predicting a similar outcome to the previous election in September, when neither Gantz not Netanyahu could form a coalition in the time allotted to them. Netanyahu has since fended off an internal challenge to his Likud leadership. But Gantz is banking on a surge in support this time around, after judges have already been selected to preside over Netanyahu's upcoming trial. The public also seems weary of the prospect of yet another deadlocked result and the potential for a fourth election.
Israel's attorney general charged Netanyahu in November on three counts of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Netanyahu is desperate to remain in office to fight the charges. Under Israeli law, public officials are required to resign if charged with a crime. But that law does not apply to the prime minister, who can use his office as a bully pulpit against prosecutors and try to push parliament to grant him immunity from prosecution.
Netanyahu has failed in that effort, and with the looming trial Gantz has been pushing for a fresh start.
"He's about to go to trial. Just imagine that while he is sitting down to prepare for trial with a battery of lawyers about fateful issues from his personal standpoint, the military chief of staff needs to hold a very urgent meeting at night from a security standpoint," Gantz said.
Multiple people were shot at a Connecticut nightclub, leaving one person dead, police said early Sunday.
Preliminary information indicated four others were wounded, Hartford police Lt. Paul Cicero told The Associated Press.
In a tweet posted around 3 a.m., police described the location as a nightclub in Hartford's South End. The address provided in the tweet corresponds to the location of Majestic Lounge. A phone call to the number listed on Majestic Lounge's Facebook pages was not answered.
Further details, including information about the shooter, weren't immediately available. Just before 4:30 a.m., Cicero said police were still in the early stages of investigating and there were "a lot of moving parts."
Foreign ministers and other top officials from about a dozen countries gathered Sunday in Germany to keep up the push for peace in Libya after countries with interests in its long-running civil war agreed to respect a much-violated arms embargo and back a full cease-fire.
With this meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, Germany and the U.N. were seeking to keep up a drive to cut off outside military support for the warring parties. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the Jan. 19 agreement by leaders in Berlin has been repeatedly violated by continuing arms deliveries and escalating fighting.
Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a civil war toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed.
A weak U.N.-recognized administration that now holds the capital of Tripoli and parts of the country's west is backed by Turkey, which recently sent thousands of soldiers to Libya, and to a lesser degree Qatar and Italy as well as local militias.
On the other side is a rival government in the east that supports self-styled Gen. Khalifa Hifter, whose forces launched an offensive to capture the Libyan capital of Tripoli last April. They are backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, France and Russia.
Since the Berlin summit, the rival Libyan military factions have met in Geneva in a U.N.-led effort to forge a lasting truce. A first round faltered when officials concluded negotiations without signing an agreement, though another round of talks is expected next week.
On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council endorsed a 55-point road map for ending the war in Libya and condemned the recent increase in violence in the oil-rich North African country.
The European Union, whose foreign ministers are set to discuss Libya on Monday, is considering whether and how to have naval ships enforce the U.N. arms embargo against Libya.
At least four rockets hit near the sprawling U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and a Iraqi base hosting American troops inside the Green Zone early Sunday, but caused no casualties and only minor damage, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.
The attack came just before 3:30 a.m. local time, according to Col. Myles B. Caggins III, a spokesman for the U.S. military operation in Iraq. He only said the rockets hit the base hosting U.S. and other coalition forces.
However, three Iraqi security officials said two of the rockets fell inside the U.S. Embassy compound, while another hit near the coalition base. The Iraqi officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The attack was the latest in a recent series of rocket and mortar strikes on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. On Thursday, a mortar shell exploded in the K1 Iraqi military airbase in Kirkuk province in northern Iraq. No casualties were reported, Iraqi security officials said.
An Iranian missile attack on Iraq's Ain al-Asad air base on Jan. 8 injured dozens of U.S service members. It was in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike in Baghdad that killed Iran's most powerful general, Qassem Soleimani, on Jan. 3.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has also been a flashpoint amid wider U.S.-Iran tensions in the region, which have played out inside Iraq in recent weeks. Iraqi supporters of an Iran-backed militia stormed the embassy compound Dec. 31, smashing the main door and setting fire to the reception area.
Myanmar authorities have seized a large haul of narcotic drugs including 6.6 kg of heroin and 89,300 stimulant tablets in Sagaing region, according to a release from the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) on Sunday.
The confiscation was made by a joint police force in Indaw Township on Friday.
Soap boxes filled with heroin worth 660 million kyats (440,000 U.S. dollars) and stimulants worth 446.5 million kyats (297,666 U.S. dollars) were seized from a car.
The township police filed a case against the suspect who ran away from the scene under the country's Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law, the release said.
According to a recent release from the President's Office, a total of 971 drug-related cases were logged across Myanmar while 1,503 suspects were charged as of Feb. 8 this year, since the formation of the Drug Activity Special Complaint Department on June 26, 2018.