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Report: Mossad chief visited White House to discuss Saudi normalization

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David Barnea said to meet earlier this month with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and CIA director Bill Burns as Biden hints at potential progress in securing deal

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel

The Times of Israel is liveblogging Monday’s events as they unfold.

IDF nabs 5 suspected infiltrators from Jordan

Israeli soldiers arrested five border infiltrators from Jordan early this morning, according to military sources.

Troops monitoring surveillance cameras spotted the five crossing the border, and dispatched troops to the scene.

Another two suspects were spotted by troops on the Jordanian side of the border.

The unarmed suspects are believed by the Israel Defense Forces to be work migrants.

The military will return them to Jordan later today.

Russia says it has ‘considerably increased’ strikes on Ukraine

Moscow has intensified strikes on Ukrainian military infrastructure in response to attacks on Russian-controlled territory, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says.

“Against the background of the failure of the so-called ‘counteroffensive,’ Kyiv… has focused on carrying out terrorist attacks on civilian infrastructure,” Shoigu says. “The intensity of our strikes against Ukrainian military facilities… has been considerably increased.”

Report: Mossad chief visited White House to discuss Saudi normalization

Mossad chief David Barnea reportedly visited the White House earlier this month for “secret” talks about the potential of a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

According to a report in Axios that cites two US sources, Barnea met in the White House with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan as well as Brett McGurk, the White House coordinator for the Middle East, and Amos Hochstein, Biden’s senior adviser on energy and infrastructure.

Sullivan and McGurk both traveled to Saudi Arabia in the period following their purported meetings with Barnea.

Barnea also reportedly met during his trip with CIA director Bill Burns.

On Friday US President Joe Biden hinted at potential progress in the long-sought-after deal, after months of US officials playing down the possibility, saying: “There’s a rapprochement maybe under way.”