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story.lead_photo.caption In this Nov. 11, 2018, file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara attend ceremonies at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Prosecutors said Wednesday, June 12, 2019, that Sara Netanyahu, has agreed to a plea bargain settling allegations that she misused some $100,000 of state money on lavish meals. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool, File)

Netanyahu's wife fined in fraud case

JERUSALEM -- Sara Netanyahu, wife of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, struck a guilty-plea deal Wednesday settling allegations that she overspent some $100,000 of state money on lavish meals, state prosecutors said.

Sara Netanyahu, 60, will pay around $15,000 in fines to quietly close the case, which accused her of running up large tabs at luxury restaurants for friends and family members while the official prime minister's residence employed a full-time chef.

Last year, she was indicted on charges of fraud and breach of trust. According to the indictment, she strove "to circumvent the rules and conditions governing the prime minister's official residence in order to fraudulently obtain state funding for various expenses" from 2010 to 2013.

In the plea deal, which was finalized in a Jerusalem court Wednesday, Sara Netanyahu admitted to a more minor charge of "intentionally exploiting the mistake of someone else," specifically by misleading officials who didn't realize she already benefited from chefs on the government payroll.

Under the terms of the bargain, she agreed to pay $2,800 in fines and hand the remaining $12,500 back to the state. The settlement also reduced the overspending at stake to around $50,000.

Syria says Israel hit inside territory

BEIRUT -- Syria's state-run news agency said Wednesday that Israel attacked a military position in southern Syria, causing damage.

The Syrian Arab News Agency said Syrian air defenses shot down some of the Israeli missiles before they reached their target during the early morning attack on al-Harra hill.

The agency said that "after the aggression," the Israeli military began jamming Syrian military radars.

Israel does not usually comment on reports concerning its strikes in neighboring Syria, though it has recently acknowledged striking Iranian targets there.

Hours after the incident, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a message saying that Israel responds "decisively and forcibly to any attack against us."

"In a systematic and consistent manner we are working to prevent our enemies from establishing attack bases against us nearby," he said during a state memorial ceremony.

Hours after the reported Israeli strike in Syria, the Israeli military said it observed an unmanned aircraft briefly entering its airspace from neighboring Lebanon.

Russians protest arrest of journalist

MOSCOW -- Hundreds of people were detained Wednesday as they marched in the Russian capital to protest what they called police fabrications in the wake of the arrest of Ivan Golunov, an investigative journalist, on drug charges that later were dropped when the government admitted there was no evidence he committed a crime.

"We should not stand down, even if Ivan is free. There are a number of other people in his situation in this country," said Maxim Reznik, a member of the St. Petersburg City Council who attended a smaller demonstration in that city.

Police said more than 200 were detained in the Moscow demonstration, but the OVD-Info organization that monitors political arrests put the figure at more than 400.

The Interior Ministry said about 1,200 people took part in the Moscow demonstration, and those arrested faced charges that could jail them for up to 20 days, state news agency Tass reported. Among them was Alexei Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's most prominent foe.

Golunov, a reporter for the website Meduza, was arrested June 6 after he was accused of dealing synthetic stimulants. Many believed he was set up as retaliation for his reporting on Moscow City Hall and the city's crime-ridden funeral industry.

A Section on 06/13/2019

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