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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
Israel has said it would not allow electricity, water, or fuel supplies to enter Gaza until Hamas releases the hostages they captured over the weekend. Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz, in a post on X (Twitter).
Israel is targeting tunnels believed to be used by Hamas militants in Gaza. “What Hamas has done since they took control almost 20 years ago was to build a network of tunnels…under Gaza City,” Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesperson, said. “These are not bunkers for the Gazan civilians to have access to when Israel is striking,” he added. BBC New reports.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed an emergency unity government yesterday by adding two opposition lawmakers to his cabinet. Both lawmakers are former army chiefs. The additional expertise may give the government greater legitimacy to make difficult military decisions. Justin Porter reports for the New York Times.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
A preliminary unclassified assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies stated that, while Iran likely knew Hamas was planning an attack, the timing and scale of Saturday’s attack appears to have taken Tehran by surprise. “We have not currently seen anything to suggest Iran supported or was behind the attack,” a U.S. official said. Warren P. Strobel and Michael R. Gordon reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Strikes across the Israel-Lebanon border entered their fourth day yesterday, with various Palestinian militant factions in Lebanon claiming responsibility. There are growing fears that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon could also be drawn into the fight. Hezbollah and Hamas have strengthened ties over the past year, with Hamas reportedly calling on Hezbollah to join the fight on Saturday. Euan Ward reports for the New York Times.
The European Union gave Meta 24 hours to implement “proportionate and effective” measures that address the spread of “disinformation” on its social media platforms after Hamas’ attack on Israel. The bloc issued a similar warning to X. The European Union requires social media companies to prevent the spread of harmful content related to Hamas, which is on the E.U. terrorist list. James Gregory and Tom Gerken report for BBC News.
Taiwan established a task force to learn lessons from Hamas’ large-scale surprise attack on Israel as the island nation counters Chinese threats, Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said today. “The initial (lesson) is that intelligence work is very important. With intelligence, many countermeasures can be made. A war can even be avoided,” Chiu said. Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard reports for Reuters.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – U.S. RESPONSE
The United States has been in talks with Israel and Egypt to create a safe passage that will enable Americans and other foreign nationals to leave Gaza, according to U.S. and Israeli officials. Officials said there are over 500 Americans and hundreds of other foreign nationals in Gaza. The Israeli airstrikes and the sealing of the border have made it effectively impossible to leave Gaza. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.
U.S. President Joe Biden yesterday condemned Hamas’ attack on Israel as the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust. Over 2,200 people have been killed on both sides. 22 Americans are also known to have been killed, and at least 17 more remain unaccounted for, the State Department said. Matthew Lee and Aamer Madhani report for AP News.
The Biden administration has been deliberating what actions might trigger its military involvement in a conflict that threatens to draw in the region. A large-scale incursion into Israel from the north by fighters from the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah militant group could lead to more direct U.S. involvement, officials said this week. So far, the United States does not intend to send ground troops into Israel or Gaza, the administration said. Vivian Salama reports for the Wall Street Journal.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel this morning. Blinken will meet Israeli officials and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a rival to Hamas based in the West Bank. BBC News reports.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen yesterday signaled that additional sanctions could be coming in response to Hamas’ attack on Israel. Yellen said that the Treasury Department will continue to review its sanctions on Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah. “I wouldn’t take anything off the table in terms of future possible actions,” she added in relation to the $6 billion of Iranian funds that the United States released in exchange for American hostages, an issue which is separate from the Gaza conflict. Alan Rappeport reports for the New York Times.
Niger’s military junta has given the U.N. diplomatic mission 72 hours to leave the country. The junta accused the U.N. of “underhanded maneuvers” to stop Niger from fully participating in last month’s U.N. General Assembly and other international fora. Gloria Aradi and Basillioh Rukanga report for BBC News.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed the Israeli-Hamas war yesterday, marking their first telephone call since the countries resumed ties following a China-brokered deal in March. The two leaders discussed the “need to end war crimes against Palestine,” Iranian state media said. Reuters reports.
Russia has intensified attacks along an eastern stretch of the front line in recent days. Ukraine yesterday said it repelled one of Russia’s heaviest assaults in months on the city of Avdiivka, with bombings also reported near the eastern towns of Lyman and Kupiansk. The Russian effort is part of the ongoing back-and-forth that has not led to significant gains for either side. Constant Méheut and Andrew E. Kramer report for the New York Times.
Belgium will create a $1.8 billion fund for Ukraine using tax revenue from seized Russian central bank assets. The move is part of a broader discussion in the West about using the roughly $280 billion in Russian assets frozen under Western sanctions to aid Ukraine. Some European leaders, including European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, fear that using the frozen Russian assets could cause financial instability and investors to shun euro assets. Laurence Norman and Chelsey Dulaney report for the Wall Street Journal.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited NATO headquarters yesterday as he sought to ensure western support as allies turned their attention to the Israel-Hamas war. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reassured Zelenskyy, “Your fight is our fight, your security is our security, and your values are our values.” Top NATO officials pledged over $2 billion in additional military support to be delivered before the winter. However, senior NATO officials conceded that the Israel-Hamas war, as well as the uncertainty surrounding the U.S. budget, may lead to a decline in material support for Ukraine. Lara Jakes and Constant Méheut report for the New York Times.
The United States will lead in training Ukrainian pilots to use F-16 fighter jets alongside the Netherlands and Denmark, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said yesterday. While it is unclear when exactly Ukrainians will fly F-16s in battle, Austin said the “earliest is next spring when we can see an initial capability.” The announcement follows NATO members’ decision to form smaller “capability coalitions” focusing on specific support areas for Kyiv. Joshua Posaner and Paul McLeary report for POLITICO.
There are growing concerns that U.S. troops in the Middle East could be targeted by Iran and its proxies as the Israel-Hamas war affects the region, according to Defense Department officials. The Army is “aware of malign actors who may seek to capitalize on conflicts and instability in the region,” said Major Geoffrey Carmichael, the spokesperson for the U.S. military operation to counter the self-styled Islamic State militant group in Syria and Iraq. Lara Seligman reports for POLITICO.
The U.S. embassy in Tunisia will close to the public tomorrow and Friday due to expected pro-Palestinian protests. The embassy made the decision “in an abundance of caution” and said there was no specific or credible threat at this time. Reuters reports.
The United States has accepted an invitation to attend the Xiangshan Forum, China’s top annual security forum, in late October. The acceptance is a “limited” early sign of potentially warming ties between the two militaries, U.S. officials suggested. Michael Martina and Idrees Ali report for Reuters.
House Republicans have nominated Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) to be speaker. He must now secure 217 votes on the House floor to replace the ousted Kevin McCarthy. Scalise has an unclear path ahead as nearly half of the Republican conference voted for Jim Jordan (R-OH). Mary Clare Jalonick reports for AP News.
The Supreme Court appears poised to allow a South Carolina congressional voting map that the lower courts deemed racially biased. White voters in South Carolina favor Republicans, while Black voters are solidly Democratic. This racially polarized voting pattern caused Justice Clarence Thomas to question how to “constitutionally disentangle” instances where there is a high correlation between race and political affiliation. Jess Bravin reports for the Wall Street Journal.