Israeli PM tests positive for COVID, is working from home

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israel’s prime minister has tested positive for the coronavirus and is working from home, his office said Monday, after he held a series of in-person meetings that included U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Naftali Bennett’s office said the premier was feeling well and would continue his schedule as planned, which includes a briefing on an attack late Sunday that killed officers of Israel’s paramilitary border police. After meeting with Blinken, Bennett rushed to the city of Hadera, the scene of the shooting, to meet with authorities responding to the attack.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday that Blinken will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “including by masking and undergoing appropriate testing.”

Israel is experiencing a modest increase in COVID-19 infections as an omicron subvariant spreads there as in many other countries. Bennett and nearly half of Israel have received three vaccinations.

And hours before the test, Bennett rushed to the city of Hadera, where gunmen killed two Border Police officers and wounded four others before they were shot and killed.

The government said the shooters were supporters of the militant Islamic State group, and IS has claimed responsibility. It was the second deadly attack carried out in an Israeli city in less than a week ahead of the volatile period leading up to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Authorities are on high alert.

The attack also threatened to cast a shadow over a gathering of foreign ministers in the Negev desert, where the Iranian nuclear deal was expected to top the agenda. The attendees at the gathering, from the United States and four Arab countries, condemned the shooting.

Last Tuesday, a lone attacker inspired by the Islamic State group killed four people in a stabbing rampage in southern Israel before he was killed by passersby.

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