In our Monday news wrap, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to dissolve Parliament and call for early elections, in April. The announcement came upon mounting divisions within his right-wing coalition, including the recent resignation of his defense minister. Also, in Afghanistan, at least 29 people died in an hours-long assault on a government office in Kabul.
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In the day's other news: Wall Street crashed into Christmas with another big sell-off, driven in part by President Trump's weekend attacks on the Federal Reserve.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 653 points to close at 21792. The Nasdaq fell 140 points, and the S&P 500 shed 65. We will have a full analysis after the news summary.
Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to dissolve Parliament and call for early elections in April. His announcement came amid mounting divisions within his right-wing coalition, including last month's resignation of his defense minister. Netanyahu said he made the move after his small parliamentary majority appeared to come up short on a key vote.
We knew what we were doing. It was right not to go to elections then, and I think it's perfectly sensible to go to elections now. We had a complete agreement, by the way, of all the partners, complete unanimity.
Netanyahu is heavily favored to win reelection, but he is also facing an ongoing corruption probe. Today, Israel's attorney general said an early vote wouldn't affect that investigation.
In Afghanistan, at least 29 people died in an hours-long assault on a government building in Kabul. It began with a suicide car bombing, followed by gunmen storming the public welfare department. Both the Taliban and Islamic State militants have carried out similar attacks in the past.
In Somalia, the death toll rose to 26 today, after Saturday's twin car bombings in Mogadishu. The extremist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for detonating a car bomb near the presidential palace and a smaller one by an underground prison.
And on this Christmas Eve, people all over the world mark the holiday with prayers for peace. In Bethlehem, Palestinian scouts paraded in Manger Square, playing bagpipes and drums. Pilgrims filed into the Church of Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus. And at the Vatican, worshipers filled St. Peter's Basilica, where Pope Francis took part in the traditional celebration of midnight mass.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": Wall Street in turmoil — we examine the causes of the market's worst month in a decade; how the president's decision to force out Defense Secretary James Mattis will affect U.S. policy in Syria and Afghanistan; our Politics Monday team breaks down the impact of the federal shutdown and more of the latest political news; plus much more.