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News Wrap: Israel likely to face 3rd election after Gantz fails to secure majority

In our news wrap Wednesday, Israel will likely have an unprecedented third election this year, after center-right leader Benny Gantz announced he could not secure a ruling majority in parliament. Also, in neighboring Syria, Israeli airstrikes struck dozens of sites used by Iranian forces to support the Syrian regime. An activist group reported 23 people were killed, including two civilians.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Israel is headed toward an unprecedented third election in less than a year, after a key opposition figure failed to form a government. Center-right leader Benny Gantz announced that he could not secure a ruling majority in Parliament. Right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had already fallen short.

    The potential kingmaker, longtime politician Avigdor Lieberman, refused to endorse either man for prime minister.

  • Avigdor Lieberman¬†(through translator):

    If we roll towards election, it's because of lack of leadership. One, Gantz, wasn't ready to accept the president's plan for unity, and the other, Netanyahu, wasn't willing to separate from his ultra-orthodox messianic bloc.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Under Israeli law, any member of Parliament may now try to form a government over the next three weeks. Otherwise, the country's voters will have go back to the polls.

    In neighboring Syria, Israeli airstrikes hit dozens of sites used by Iranian forces to support the Syrian regime. An activist group reported that 23 were killed, including two civilians. State TV showed people gathered around crumbled bricks and damaged homes just south of Damascus.

    But Syria claimed that it shot down most of the missiles. The strikes were retaliation for rocket fire on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

    The president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, claimed victory today, after a crackdown on protesters. He praised thousands of pro-government demonstrators shown on state TV chanting anti-American slogans. And he told a Cabinet meeting that the protests over gasoline prices were fomented from outside.

  • President Hassan Rouhani¬†(through translator):

    The rebels were organized and armed and were precisely following a scheme plotted by the backward states of the region, as well as the Zionists and Americans.

    Our people have come out victorious in different incidents and in the face of enemies' plots. This time also in riots that were the enemy's plot for creating insecurity, our people gained complete victory.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Amnesty International says more than 100 people have been killed Iran's crackdown. Tehran says that number is speculative.

    Britain's Prince Andrew is giving up his public duties amid an outcry over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. The prince said today that the issue has become a major disruption to the royal family's charitable work. Epstein was charged with sex trafficking in the United States, before he committed suicide in jail last August.

    Andrew was widely accused of appearing insensitive toward Epstein's victims in an interview this past weekend.

    Back in this country, the president of the United Auto Workers has resigned after being implicated in a federal probe of bribery and embezzlement. Gary Jones stepped down, shortly after the union moved to oust him.

    Also today, General Motors filed a lawsuit claiming that Fiat Chrysler bribed UAW officials for special breaks in labor agreements.

    A new wave of forced power blackouts is under way for some 170,000 people across Northern and Central California. Pacific Gas & Electric began the shutoffs today to prevent high winds from downing power lines and sparking more wildfires. It's the latest in a string of much-criticized outages, and it could last into Thursday.

    And on Wall Street, stocks fell, amid new doubts about trade talks with China. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 113 points to close at 27821. The Nasdaq gave up 44 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 11.

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