iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- A string of clashes between Palestinians and Israelis prompts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ban all members of parliament from visiting the Temple Mount and al Aqsa mosque.
The ban comes a day before Friday prayers at the mosque. According to The Guardian, Muslims hold a deep respect for the area because they believe the prophet Muhammad ascended into heaven at the site.
The prime minister held a press conference on Thursday to discuss the attacks saying the country was prepared to "act aggressively against the Islamic movement in Israel and other elements who are inciting."
"There is no magical solution," he said. "It might take time, but our actions will prevail."
Netanyahu also said more terror wasn't an answer to stop the clashes.
The first incident on Thursday happened with a Palestinian teen lashing out at an Israeli in Jerusalem and stabbing him in the neck. The victim was seriously wounded and the attacker was detained.
Another Palestinian was shot dead by security forces later in Tel Aviv when he wounded a female Israel Defense Forces soldier and another Israeli.
On Thursday, two Palestinians were killed and several injured because of clashes, according to Israeli police. Fifteen Israelis were also injured.
Since last week, seven Palestinians were shot dead in the attacks and more than 1,000 injured. Four Israelis have been killed in that time and more than a dozen were injured.
In the past few weeks, Israel has seen several similar attacks.
ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images(BEIJING) -- If you think your commute is a headache, a recent traffic jam in Beijing might make you reconsider.
Thousands of cars were stuck for hours on the 50-lane-wide G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway on Wednesday, according to Chinese newspaper The People's Daily.
A newly installed checkpoint forced traffic to merge down to 20 lanes, creating a bottleneck that backed up traffic for miles, the People's Daily reported.
A drone also caught stunning aerial footage of the massive gridlock.
Over 750 million people, or half of China's population, were estimated to be traveling this past week for National Day celebrations, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing data released by China's Transport Ministry.
Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(BRUSSELS) -- Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Thursday that he expects that Russian forces in Syria “will begin to suffer casualties" in "coming days” as they participate in a ground offensive launched Wednesday by the Bashar al-Assad regime.
“Russia has chosen to double-down on their longstanding relationship with Assad, committing additional military hardware capabilities and personnel,” Carter told reporters Thursday in Brussels following a meeting of NATO defense ministers.
“This will have consequences for Russia itself,” Carter said. “And I also expect that in coming days, the Russians will begin to suffer casualties in Syria.”
Syria launched a ground offensive Wednesday against rebel positions around the Al-Ghab Valley near Hama in central-western Syria, U.S. officials said.
Russia has supported that offensive through airstrikes conducted by Russian aircraft and Wednesday's launch of 26 cruise missiles from Russian navy ships in the Caspian Sea, 900 miles away. At least four of those missiles did not make it to Syria but crashed in Iran as they flew through that country's airspace en route to Syria, U.S. officials said.
Russian troops near Hama also supported the ground offensive by using howitzer artillery and multiple rocket launch systems to fire at rebel fighters, U.S. officials told ABC News.
It marks the first time since Russian troops began arriving in early September that they have engaged in ground combat in Syria, though they are seen mainly as being in a supporting role to enable the Syrian ground offensive with their precise weaponry.
The U.S. estimates there are now at least 2,000 Russian military personnel at the airbase in Latakia, Syria, from which Russia has launched its air campaign.
“We've seen increasingly unprofessional behavior from Russian forces,” Carter said. “They violated Turkish airspace, which as all of us here made clear earlier this week, and strongly affirmed today here in Brussels, is NATO airspace. They've shot cruise missiles from a ship in the Caspian Sea without warning. They've come within just a few miles of one of our unmanned aerial vehicles. They have initiated a joint ground offensive with the Syrian regime, shattering the facade that they're there to fight ISIL.”
Carter reiterated that Russia has not been targeting ISIL -- also known as ISIS -- as it has claimed, and that the U.S. "will not agree to cooperate with Russia so long as they continue to pursue this misguided strategy.”
The United States’ approach in Syria will remain focused on the anti-ISIS air campaign over Syria, Carter said, supporting the moderate Syrian opposition and reaching a technical agreement “on professional safety procedures” for American and Russian pilots flying over Syria.
Carter said that Russia’s actions in Syria will not prove a distraction from Russian military aggression in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
“If anything, they're a reminder of erratic and self-defeating behavior and the need for the NATO alliance and its other partners in Europe to stand strong and stand united and stand steady," Carter said.
“It remains our hope that Russia will see that tethering itself to a sinking ship is a losing strategy because Russia has the opportunity to change course and do the right thing,” he added. “I don't know if they will.”
The defense secretary described Russia’s growing isolation from the international community “is a phenomenon that I think Russia's going to have to reckon with," and he cautioned that Russia has developed a pattern of “saying one thing and doing another.”
“We have to watch behavior and not take at face value what Russia says because our experience here -- Ukraine and elsewhere -- is that sometimes, the deeds and the words don't match up,” Carter said.
NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI(NEW YORK) -- NASA's New Horizons space probe sent back stunning photos from the dwarf planet, revealing it has blue skies and water ice on its surface.
"Who would have expected a blue sky in the Kuiper Belt? It’s gorgeous," Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, said in a statement.
The sky is painted blue when haze particles, which NASA said are likely gray or red, scatter blue light.
The second finding released on Thursday shows small regions of water ice on Pluto, although it wasn't initially obvious until scientists reviewed data from the Ralph spectral composition mapper on New Horizons.
"Large expanses of Pluto don’t show exposed water ice because it’s apparently masked by other, more volatile ices across most of the planet," Jason Cook, a science team member at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, said in a statement. "Understanding why water appears exactly where it does, and not in other places, is a challenge that we are digging into."
The piano-sized probe is speeding through the Kuiper Belt, an area at the edge of earth's solar system. After the intensive data transmission process, NASA is considering another flyby of a Kuiper belt object known as 2014 MU69 that orbits nearly a billion miles beyond Pluto.
New Horizons loses about a few watts of power each year, according to NASA, but is estimated to have as much as 20 years left in its life expectancy. NASA said in its latest update the probe is 3.1 billion miles from earth and all systems continue to operate normally.
Mustafa Bag/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(KUNDUZ, Afghanistan) -- There are still 24 staffers from Doctors Without Borders missing after the airstrike that hit the charity's hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
At least 22 people died in the Saturday morning strike, including 12 staffers, the charity's international president said Wednesday.
The organization is known internationally as Medecins Sans Frontieres, or by the acronym MSF.
Guilhem Molinie, its representative for Afghanistan, said that of the 461 staffers who were in the hospital at the time of the strike, there are still 24 missing. Of the patients, there are still nine missing.
"Our largest loss of life has occurred at the hands of American forces," he said.
President Obama called MSF international president Dr. Joanne Liu Wednesday to apologize for the strike.
MSF has called for an independent investigation into the fatal air strike, saying an outside group must get involved, "given the inconsistencies in the U.S. and Afghan accounts of what happened," Liu said Tuesday.
Among the claims made since the strike was that U.S. or Afghan troops may have felt threatened by Taliban fighters who were shooting at them from around the hospital, though that has not yet been confirmed.
MSF General Director Christopher Stokes said that the charity's hospital was operating under the agreement of all parties involved in the conflict. He said that they had shared their GPS coordinates with military authorities and their staff and patients felt safe as a result.
iStock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- The most important Vatican gathering to update the Catholic church's stance on marriage, family and sex is happening -- except women don't get a say.
For the next two weeks, the Vatican family meeting will be looking at everything from divorce and contraception to the Catholic church's approach to LGBT followers. But among the almost 300 church members at the meeting, only 30 are women -- and they only get to listen, not vote.
When asked if he thought the total women's voices from this conference on family and sexuality skewed the issues, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier from South Africa said, "No, I don't think so. It's a bishop's synod, if it was a mother's union, I'd understand if people were excluded."
Catholic women's groups pushing for equality in their church say they're disappointed in Pope Francis. While he's made comments about the need to give women more important roles in the church, he has so far failed to deliver, they say.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Get ready for prime time sky gazing Thursday night when the annual Draconid meteor shower hits its peak.
The meteor shower occurs each year when Earth collides with debris from the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner.
The debris burns up in Earth's upper atmosphere, creating the streaks of light moving across the night sky. The annual spectacle gets its name from Draco because the meteors appear to streak out of the constellation.
This year's show isn't expected to include a barrage of meteors, however it should still make for spectacular viewing with a few meteors per hour streaking across the evening sky. The meteor shower is expected to be at its busiest around 1:40 a.m. ET Friday, according to National Geographic.
The best way to watch: Find a dark, clear sky. Bring a reclining chair or a blanket, sit back, relax and enjoy the show as meteors streak across the sky.
If you miss this one, there will be another chance later this month.
The Orionids meteor shower, which is known for having bright and quick meteors from the debris of Halley's comet, is expected to peak between Oct. 21 and 22.
Photo by Pool / Supreme Leadership Press Office/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(TEHRAN, Iran) -- Iran's supreme leader said on Wednesday that further negotiation with the United States is "forbidden," accusing the American government of infiltrating Iran's borders.
"There is a reason we are against talks with US," Ayatollah Khamenei said on Twitter. "IRAN's negotiation with US means infiltration." Khamenei accused the U.S. of wanting to "pave the way for imposition."
There is a reason we are against talks with US; IRAN's negotiation with US means infiltration. They want to pave the way for imposition.
He also included a nod to the U.S. airstrike that hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan last week. "They consider no value for human lives," Khamenei accused. "They attack a hospital, murder tens of patients and simply say 'sorry, it was a mistake!.'"
They consider no value for human lives; they attack a hospital, murder tens of patients and simply say sorry, it was a mistake! #Kunduz
Ivan Cholakov/iStock/Thinkstock(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- In the wake of a U.S. airstrike that mistakenly hit a Doctors Without Borders clinic in Kunduz, Afghanistan, a New York-based advocacy agency says Russian air strikes have destroyed multiple medical facilities in Syria.
"Bashar al-Assad's forces have been relentlessly attacking Syria's health care system for the past four years," Widney Brown, director of programs for Physicians for Human rights said, "and the Russian government is now following in their footsteps." Calling the attacks "inexcusable," Brown Russian claims that the strikes were targeting ISIS militants. "Claiming that the fight is against terrorists does not give any government the right to tear up the laws of war, which specifically protect health workers and facilities."
Russia, Brown says, is damaging hospitals, depriving civilians of access to healthcare and putting both patients and medical staffers at risk.
PHR says that Russian strikes last week damaged a field hospital in Latamneh, injuring multiple medical staffers, partially destroyed an ambulance depot and emergency response center in Benin, and damaged a hospital in Latakia which was the only facility in the region with an obstetrics/gynecology unit.
On Wednesday, Russia's Defense Ministry released video of cruise missile launches from the Caspian Sea.
One U.S. official says that Russian artillery and rockets were fired at positions held by Syrian rebels, and not ISIS on Tuesday. The equipment was believed to be manned by Russian military personnel, as Syrians had not yet been trained.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Wednesday that Russia has continued to strike non-ISIS targets. "We believe this is a fundamental mistake," Carter said, "we have not agreed to cooperate with Russia so long as they continue to pursue a mistaken strategy and hit these targets."
Carter reiterated his regret over the U.S. strike in Kunduz, acknowledging a "full and transparent investigation" into the incident.
Carter also said that the U.S. remains and has "long been concerned by the Assad regime's use of violence against its own people." And Russia's enabling of that use of violence represents a part of the reason why Carter believes Russia is "making a mistake in their actions in Syria."
Israeli soldiers fire tear gas into Palestinian demonstrators (not seen) during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Hebron. Photo by Anna Ferensowicz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Following nearly a week of violent shootings and stabbings in Jerusalem, two more attacks Wednesday stoked fears that the latest surge of unrest may have staying power.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled a scheduled trip on Thursday to Germany, advising citizens to be on "maximum alert" as the Israeli police beefed up security around the country.
PM Netanyahu: Civilians are at the forefront of the war against terrorism and must also be on maximum alert.
On Wednesday, an Israeli man in his mid-30s shot an 18-year-old Palestinian after she stabbed him, according to Israeli police. Several hours later, in Kiryat Gat, a town rarely in the headlines, a 19-year-old Palestinian teen stabbed an Israel Defense Forces soldier after grabbing his gun.
Later, an Israeli woman was injured when Palestinians hurled rocks at her car, authorities said. Elsewhere, in the West Bank, two Palestinian students were shot and injured by Israeli forces after throwing stones at settlers' cars. More than 1,000 Palestinians and fewer than a dozen Israelis have been injured since last Thursday. In total, four Israelis have been killed, according to the Israeli police, and five Palestinians have been shot dead.
Wednesday marks the sixth straight day of scattered incidents. Over the weekend, protests throughout the West Bank, Jerusalem and even in Jaffa, right next to Tel Aviv, erupted after both the Israeli and Palestinian death tolls increased within 48 hours.
Fueled by the ongoing confrontations around Jerusalem's al Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest shrine that Jews also claim as the site of two ancient temples, the recent wave kicked off in force last week.
Last Thursday, two Israeli settlers -- one of whom was an American citizen -- were shot to death in front of their four children.
Days later, the IDF rounded up five members of what the police called a Hamas terror cell. On Monday, the Israeli military demolished the homes in East Jerusalem of alleged Palestinian militants accused of attacks nearly a year ago.
In response to the serious rise in Palestinian terror, the IDF has increased its presence in Judea and Samaria. pic.twitter.com/mYp36a8OX0
Sayed Khodaberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Doctors Without Borders called on Wednesday for an independent investigation into the airstrike that hit a hospital it runs in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
At least 22 people died in the airstrike, including a dozen doctors, seven adult patients and three children, according to Doctors Without Borders, a non-governmental organization known internationally by its French name Medecins Sans Frontieres or its acronym MSF.
"Today, we say enough. Even war has rules," MSF Executive Director Jason Cone said Wednesday during a news conference in New York.
His comments echoed those of MSF's international president, Dr. Joanne Liu, during a news conference in Geneva Wednesday morning.
"In Kunduz, our patients burned in their beds. MSF doctors, nurses and other staff were killed as they worked. Our colleagues had to operate on each other. One of our doctors died on an improvised operating table -- an office desk -- while his colleagues tried to save his life," Liu said.
Earlier Wednesday in Geneva, Liu called for the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission to investigate the possible violations of international humanitarian law.
This would be the first time that the commission has ever been used. It was initially formed in 1991 but it has never launched a fact-finding investigation.
"It requires one of the 76 signatory states to sponsor an inquiry. Governments up to now have been too polite or afraid to set a precedent. The tool exists and it is time it is activated," Liu said on Wednesday.
The main reason for involving the never-before-used agency is because the MSF is calling for it to be "investigated independently and impartially," which they believe would not be possible if either government involved was at the helm of a probe.
The questions raised about the partiality of the players involved was raised "given the inconsistencies in the U.S. and Afghan accounts of what happened over recent days," Liu said.
"It is unacceptable that states hide behind ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ and in doing so create a free-for-all and an environment of impunity. It is unacceptable that the bombing of a hospital and the killing of staff and patients can be dismissed as collateral damage or brushed aside as a mistake," she said.
What the U.S. Has Said
Gen. John Campbell, the commander of the Resolute Support training mission in Afghanistan, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday and said that though the airstrikes that struck the MSF hospital in Kunduz were requested by Afghan forces, they were approved by the American chain of command.
"On Saturday morning, our forces provided close air support to Afghan forces at their request. To be clear, the decision to provide aerial fires was a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command. A hospital was mistakenly struck. We would never intentionally target a protected medical facility," he said.
While Campbell admitted it was a mistake, no U.S. official has apologized.
What Happens Now
There are three investigations under way.
On the American front, the ongoing government-backed internal military investigation in Afghanistan headed by Brig. Gen. Richard Kim will continue as well as a complete review of operating procedures.
Gen. Campbell said Tuesday that the "entire force" has to be re-trained and review the rules of engagement that the U.S. military operates under, saying that it was ordered "to prevent any future incidences of this nature."
The rules of engagement for American and Afghan troops in Afghanistan to request airstrikes are that they can be called in for counter-terrorism strikes, force protection, or in extremis situations to prevent casualties.
The U.S. is also participating in two other investigations with the Afghan government and NATO.
iStock/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) -- A man recently drove an allegedly stolen car into the ocean in an attempt to escape police during a chase in western Australia, according to police and video of the incident.
The chase on Tuesday lasted for nearly two hours before the driver decided to go off-road, through sand dunes and then into the ocean, the Yanchep Local Police Team told ABC News partner 9 News in Australia.
As the four-wheel vehicle began sinking, the suspect got out and climbed to the roof, police said. Several officers were forced to wade into the waves to rescue the suspect before apprehending him, they added.
A helicopter caught the failed escape attempt on video.
Yanchep Police wrote about the incident on Twitter, where it thanked Guilderton Caravan Park, Lancelin Police and the Queensland Police Service's helicopter POLAIR for their assistance in the chase.
MTI/Varga Gyorgy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A Hungarian photographer's recent refugee-themed fashion photo shoot — including scantily clad models wearing headscarves — has sparked outrage on social media.
Some of Norbert Baska's photographs from the shoot show a model wearing headscarves while baring skin, while others show the same model copying the way refugees have been dragged by police to stop them from crossing the border. Most of the photos are are set against the backdrop of barbed wire, signifying the 25-mile barbed wire fence recently put up on Hungary's border with Croatia.
The shoot, which is filed under the "FASHION" section of Baska's official website, is titled "DER MIGRANT," which is German for "The Migrant."
Many users on social media have referred to the shoot as "migrant chic" and criticized the way it sexualizes the refugee crisis and trivializes the tragedy on Hungary's border.
The country recently made headlines after its parliament approved the use of rubber bullets, tear gas and grenades against refugees trying to cross the border.
"Well now this is utterly sick," Twitter user @LewisKayBush wrote. "'Migrant chic' fashion shoot."
Twitter user @chmeredith shared the photos, saying, "Apparently this migrant and refugee inspired photoshoot is 'raising awareness' about the totally chic crisis," Twitter user @chmeredith wrote.
"Wow that designer definitely lacks empathy that he would use refugee crisis as a fashion shoot concept," another user @excogitate123 commented.
Despite such reactions, Baska told ABC News that he stands by his work and that he actually "expected extreme reactions."
"The shooting is not intended to glamourize this clearly bad situation, but rather," he said, "to draw the attention to the problem and make people think about it. Artists around the world regularly attract the public’s attention to current problems through ‘shocking’ installations and pictures. This is another example of such art."
He said the shoot was designed to shed light on contradictory information about the migrant situation.
"This is exactly what we wanted to picture: you see a suffering woman, who is also beautiful and despite her situation, has some high quality pieces of outfit and an smartphone," he said in the statement.
iStock/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- There are signs that Israel may be moving away from its 2007 policy of banning nearly all exports from Gaza -- a policy it implemented after the terrorist group Hamas took control of the coastal enclave.
Last year, Israel began allowing household Gazan exports to the West Bank. Later in March, Gazan tomatoes and eggplants were sold in Israel, and on Wednesday, more products began flowing in.
Trucks carrying Gazan textiles, furniture and ironware are now leaving the Strip and heading for sale in Israel. Government officials say the move is meant to improve the Strip's economy and reduce the high unemployment rate, which currently stands at 41 percent.
Israel believes more economic stability may reduce the chances of another military conflict with Hamas. The country has fought the Islamist terror group three times in seven years.
whitewizzard/iStock/ThinkStock(ROME, Italy) -- A new poll shows that the vast majority of praciticing Catholics in Italy want the church to include divorced and remarried people in the church.
The poll showed that 85 percent of active Catholics in Italy think their church should start allowing divorced and remarried followers receive the sacraments, something they are now banned from taking part in.
It's one of the contentious issues, at least for the bishop in Rome who has convened for part two of the Vatican synod on family and sex.
Just a handful of women have been invited to the synod, not as participants but as observers.
The head of the Vatican synod office, Cardinal Baldisseri, said the tiny female presence was included to help the bishops look at family with the "tender, attentive, and compassionate," way of women.