A powerful tornado blasted an area outside of Oklahoma City on Monday, ripping roofs off buildings, leveling homes and leaving a massive band of destruction in its wake.
In the desperate seconds and minutes after the storm passed, the human toll was not yet clear.
Survivors emerged from shelters to see an apocalyptic vision -- the remnants of cars twisted and piled on each other to make what had been a parking lot look like a junk yard. Bright orange flames roaring from a structure that was blazing even as rain continued to fall.
At least one school was in the tornado's devastation zone in Moore, Oklahoma. Lance West, a reporter for CNN affiliate KFOR, said that rescuers were searching for students trapped in debris at the elementary school. There were no immediate reports on the condition of the children.
A tornado at least a half mile-wide with 200 mph winds churned through Oklahoma City's suburbs Monday afternoon, causing significant property damage for the second day in a row, forcing rescue crews to search for survivors in the debris of flattened homes and businesses.
At least 20 of the 51 people killed by a devastating monster tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla., were children, the Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner said this evening, as searchers picked through the rubble of two elementary schools, and homes and businesses leveled by the storm. First responders continue to look for survivors.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive for another visit to the region this week, as part of significant efforts to renew the peace process. Kerry will land in Israel this Tuesday and spend two days there. During his visit, he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem.
From left, Moshe Ya'alon, Yair Lapid, and Tzipi Livni at a Cabinet meeting last week. (photo credit: Emil Salman/Pool/Flash90)
Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid says U.S. should push three-year plan to realize final border agreement for Palestinian state. He believes that reaching a final peace agreement with the Palestinians is unrealistic at the current time and the sides should instead pursue an interim arrangement.
In his first interview to foreign press since taking office, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid acknowledged that tens of thousands of Jews would someday be uprooted from what he described as “remote settlements” in the West Bank, something he called “heartbreaking.” But he said that problem should be set aside for now, advocating the immediate creation of an interim Palestinian state in parts of the West Bank where no Jews live, with final borders drawn in perhaps three, four or five years. Palestinian leaders have roundly rejected temporary borders.
Lapid said he would not stop the so-called “natural expansion” of settlements in the West Bank, nor curtail the financial incentives offered to Israelis to move there. He said the large swaths of land known as East Jerusalem that Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war and later annexed must stay Israeli because “we didn’t come here for nothing.”
To allay Palestinian concerns, Lapid told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily that U.S. President Barack Obama should set a three-year timeline for determining the final borders of a Palestinian state. As a gesture to the Israelis, he also called on Obama to endorse the position laid out by President George W. Bush in 2004, allowing Israel to keep some of the Jewish settlements it has built in Judea and Samaria.
In remarks left out of a New York Times interview, Finance Minister Yair Lapid praised outgoing Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s concept of Palestinian statehood, said Israel and the Palestinians need American help toward a peace agreement, and advised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make peace a priority to secure his “place in history.”
The ongoing labor dispute between Foreign Ministry employees and the Finance Ministry has ground the issuance of diplomatic passports to a halt. As a result, cabinet ministers have been denied the necessary documentation for official travel abroad.
In the case of Tzipi Livni, this means she might not be able to attend upcoming peace talks with her Palestinian counterparts.
Sunday Times reports the deployment of Syria's advanced Tishreen missile batteries, which carry 500-kilogram (1100-pound) warheads and have standing orders to fire at Tel Aviv if Israel carries out any military strike on Syrian territory.
Responding to a report in The Sunday Times suggesting that Syria has prepared its most advanced missiles to hit Tel Aviv if Israel launches a strike on its territory, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday that Israel was prepared for any scenario.
Netanyahu speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting on May 19, 2013. (photo credit: Reuters, Ronen Zvulun)
Amid escalating rhetoric between Jerusalem and Damascus in the wake of reported Israeli airstrikes in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Sunday to continue to act to prevent advanced weaponry from being transferred to Lebanese terror group Hezbollah via Syria.
“The Israeli government has acted responsibly and prudently to ensure the security of Israeli citizens and to prevent advanced weapons from reaching Hezbollah and [other] terrorist organizations… and we will do so in the future,” Netanyahu said during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
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