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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
The Israeli hostage crisis is deepening as Hamas has threatened to broadcast the execution of some of their hostages if the Israeli military fails to give advance notice of their bombardment of Gaza. Hamas reportedly is holding at least 100 hostages. Egyptian officials said Israel is already exploring a possible deal to secure the release of women and children, using Egypt as an intermediary. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces pressure from the right of his governing coalition to retaliate against Hamas’ surprise attack without necessarily securing the hostages’ release. David S. Cloud and Anat Peled report for the Wall Street Journal.
The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is rapidly worsening as waves of airstrikes hit the enclave and electricity, food, water, and fuel supplies are cut off. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, 200 targets were struck last night. So far, over 900 people reportedly have been killed in Gaza. U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees has turned 83 schools in Gaza into shelters, which were already at 90% capacity on Monday. Over 137,000 people sought cover from Israeli strikes. Nadeen Ebrahim, Abeer Salman, and Kareem Khadder report for CNN.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
Strikes across the Israel-Lebanon border entered their third day yesterday, leading to growing fears of a broader conflict that could draw in the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) also said strikes were launched from Syria into Israel yesterday. Two senior Lebanese army officials alleged that Israel had used munitions containing white phosphorus, banned under international law in civilian areas, to respond to attacks from Lebanon. An IDF spokesperson denied these claims. Euan Ward reports for the New York Times.
The mandate of the International Criminal Court prosecutor to investigate “the situation in the State of Palestine” for alleged war crimes committed since 13 June 2014 includes the presently unfolding war, the prosecutor’s office has said. Reuters reports.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – U.S. RESPONSE
U.S. President Joe Biden urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza, two Biden administration officials said. The phone call suggests the Biden administration will be attuned to any excessive use of force or breaches of international law as Israel responds to the attack. Monica Alba, Carol E. Lee, and Peter Nicholas report for NBC News.
President Biden condemned Hamas’ surprise large-scale attack on Israel as an “act of sheer evil.” According to Israeli public radio, over 1,200 are dead as of this morning, including at least 14 U.S. citizens. About 20 Americans remain unaccounted for, according to U.S. officials. Jared Malsin, Ken Thomas, and Nancy A. Youssef report for the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group has arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean as the United States seeks to deter any actor “seeking to escalate the situation or widen this war,” U.S Central Command has stated.
The United States is considering sending a second aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower, to the Eastern Mediterranean. The potential deployment of a second carrier, along with the associated cruisers, destroyers, and fighter jets, would serve deterrence and messaging purposes. Lara Seligman reports for POLITICO.
The first shipment of U.S. advanced weaponry arrived in Israel yesterday, fulfilling an earlier promise made by President Biden. Israel Defense Force spokesperson Daniel Hagari, acknowledging the delivery, said the weapons will “enable significant strikes and preparations for additional scenarios.” Lauren Sforza reports for The Hill.
The gridlock over federal spending and the House speaker vacancy has cast doubt over the United States’ ability to send aid to Israel promptly, even as there is bipartisan approval for sending further emergency military aid to Israel. Over 390 members of the House have signed on to a resolution that the United States should send Israel all the means necessary to defeat Hamas. However, there is less agreement about how much should be spent and whether it should be tied to broader aid spending, particularly for Ukraine. Questions have also been raised about what Congress can do without a speaker. Karoun Demirjian reports for the New York Times.
Finland and Estonia are investigating a possible act of sabotage on the underwater natural gas Baltic connector pipeline that was probably caused by “external activity.” A Norwegian seismological institute, Norsar, detected a “probable explosion” along Finland’s Baltic Sea coast over the weekend, contradicting Finland’s claim that there were “no indications” that explosives had been used. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on X that the alliance was “sharing information & stands ready to support Allies concerned.” Kathryn Armstrong & Vishala Sri-Pathma reports for BBC News.
Poland’s Chief of General Staff and Operational Commander, the two highest-ranking military generals, quit days before a critical election. While no reason was given for their resignation, the generals are reportedly concerned about attempts by the right-wing government to politicize the military. Poland will hold elections on Sunday, where the populist, right-wing United Right coalition will seek a third term. The bitter campaigning has also led to questions about Poland’s support for Ukraine with military equipment. Jaroslav Lukiv reports for BBC News.
Russia has not secured a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council following a General Assembly vote. While Russia lost to Albania and Romania, it secured 83 votes, nearly half of the assembly, indicating that Russia is not totally isolated. Russia was expelled from the council last year following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Constant Méheut reports for the New York Times.
The United States has formally designated the military’s takeover of Niger in July as a coup, cutting off more than $500m in aid. U.S. troops are expected to remain in Niger, despite the designation. Richard Hamilton reports for BBC News.
Wenheng “Thomas” Zhao, a U.S. Navy petty officer, pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy and receiving almost $15,000 in bribes from a Chinese intelligence officer. Wenheng “Thomas” Zhao took the bribe in exchange for photographs of unclassified private U.S. military information. He faces 20 years in prison for what prosecutors described as a betrayal of his country. Andrew Goudsward reports for Reuters.
Representative George Santos (R-NY) has been charged with stealing the identities of donors to his campaign and using their credit cards to make $44,000 worth of unauthorized charges. Santos is also accused of false reporting to the Federal Elections Commission, claiming he loaned his campaign $500,000. Santos is on bail in connection with a separate 13-count federal indictment relating to campaign expenses. Jake Offenhartz reports for AP News.
Read the new indictment relating to Representative George Santos’ (R-NY) campaign finance fraud case, as reported by CNN.
Ex-finance chief of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg, said the organization’s financial statements inflated the value and size of some assets. Weisselberg answered questions as a witness in former President Trump’s New York fraud case. When Weisselberg was asked whether the Trump Organization fulfilled its “fundamental obligation” under accepted accounting principles, he replied “no.” Erin Mulvaney reports for the Wall Street Journal.