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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the weekend. Here’s today’s news
Egypt was set to reopen the only remaining border crossing into Gaza following diplomatic efforts to get aid in and foreign passport holders out, security sources in Egypt said. However, the situation at the border crossing remains uncertain, with ceasefire plans stalled. “There is currently no truce and humanitarian aid in Gaza in exchange for getting foreigners out,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said. Humeyra Pamuk, Nandita Bose, and Nidal Al-Mughrabi report for Reuters.
At least 70 civilians – mostly women and children – have been killed in an apparent airstrike as their convoy fled northern Gaza for the south, BBC has verified. The Israeli Defence Forces deny they conducted the strike. Paul Brown and Jemimah Herd report for BBC News.
Violence has surged in the West Bank following Israel’s bombing of Gaza, raising fears of another front opening. Jewish settlers have attacked Palestinians as security forces clashed with demonstrators. Israeli forces closed Israel-West Bank border crossings and used checkpoints and roadblocks to split the north from the south. According to the Palestinian health authorities, at least 56 Palestinians have been killed. Over 1,100 have been injured. Sune Engel Rasmussen and Fatima AbdulKarim reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Israel resumed the water supply to the southern Gaza Strip yesterday after pressure from the Biden administration, two Israeli officials confirmed. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon launched attacks on Israeli army posts and a northern border village yesterday, and Israel retaliated with strikes on Lebanon as fears of escalation mount. “We have no interest in a war in the north. We don’t want to escalate the situation,” Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said yesterday, suggesting that if Hezbollah restrains itself, then Israel will keep the situation along the border as it is. Reuters reports.
While Egypt has expressed willingness to allow foreign passport holders to cross the border from Gaza, it has said hosting Gazans fleeing the war is unacceptable. Under a tentative deal, U.S. citizens would be the first to be allowed across the border at Rafah, the last remaining exit out of Gaza. The United States estimates that between 500 and 600 Americans are in Gaza. Regarding the possibility of Gazans fleeing to Egypt, the Egyptian National Security Council said it “rejects and condemns the policy of forced displacement and any attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause at the expense of neighboring countries.” Chao Deng, Summer Said, and Vivian Salama report for the Wall Street Journal.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – U.S. RESPONSE
U.S. President Biden said a new Israeli occupation of Gaza would be a “big mistake,” acknowledging that while Hamas must be eliminated, the militant group does not represent all Palestinians. According to Palestinian officials, about 2,700 people have been killed in Gaza, and 9,600 have been wounded. Aid agencies have said about 600,000 people have been displaced from the north of Gaza. The Washington Post reports.
U.S. President Biden is considering visiting Israel following an invitation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. No concrete plan has yet been announced. Biden’s visit would signal strong U.S. support for Israel to other countries in the region. Kevin Liptak reports for CNN.
Classified CIA intelligence reports issued before Hamas’ attack warned of a potential rocket attack but did not predict the large-scale assault, according to U.S. officials. Intelligence agencies’ failure to detect Hamas’ preparations has raised the possibility that agencies underestimated the militant group or have devoted too few resources to monitoring it amid other global crises. Hamas may also have found means of blocking intelligence agencies from intercepting their communications. Julian E. Barnes, Adam Entous, Edward Wong, and Adam Goldman report for the New York Times.
As cross-border clashes between Israel and Lebanon intensify, the United States is deploying more military hardware and engaging in diplomatic efforts to de-escalate. The United States sent a second aircraft carrier, Dwight D. Eisenhower, to the eastern Mediterranean. A Hamas representative said Iran’s foreign minister and Hamas’ political head agreed to create “a wider front against Israel,” Iran’s state news agency reported. “We can’t rule out that Iran would choose to get directly engaged some way,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said yesterday. Peter Baker and Farnaz Fassihi reports for the New York Times.
France raised its terrorist threat alert to the highest level on Friday after what the French government described as an Islamist terror attack. A knife-wielding man entered a school in northern France, killing a teacher and injuring three others. The attacker had previously been flagged on a database of people believed to be threats but who are not necessarily being continuously monitored. The police took the attacker into custody the day before the attack, but officers found no signs of an immediate threat. Aurelien Breeden for the New York Times.
Azerbaijan may attempt to connect to Nakhchivan, an exclave separated from Azerbaijan proper by Armenia. Opening a corridor to the exclave, which has long been a priority, may now be in direct focus after Azerbaijan’s recapture of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan has hinted at the possible use of force, if necessary, to open up lucrative transport links. Regional power Russia is supportive of the move, as it hopes to use the route to circumvent Western sanctions. However, Iran, which backs Armenia, is opposed. Francesca Ebel reports for the Washington Post.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – U.S. RESPONSE
The Biden administration intends to push Congress into adopting an emergency aid package that pairs support for Ukraine and Israel, according to a senior White House official. The White House hopes that by pairing the two, Republicans will support funding for Ukraine despite growing opposition. The package may also further Republican priorities, such as funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall and aid to Taiwan. Speaking in Israel yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised to put an aid package to a floor vote in the next few weeks. Karoun Demirjian reports for the New York Times.
Ukrainian pilots are expected to begin training to fly F-16 fighter jets in Arizona this week, according to four U.S. officials. Some Ukrainian pilots training in Europe are already training in F-16 flight simulators. Lara Seligman reports for POLITICO.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet the Chinese leadership in Beijing this week, marking the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. Putin said he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping will discuss growing economic and financial ties. Christopher Bodeen reports for AP News.
North Korea sent over 1,000 containers of weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine in recent weeks, U.S. officials said on Friday. It is uncertain what kind of munitions were sent. The United States is concerned that Russia will exchange sophisticated military technology with North Korea. Peter Baker reports for the New York Times.
Russia has released four Ukrainian children, allowing them to be returned to their families following mediation by Qatar. The successful mediation could pave the way for further returns. Ukraine says thousands of children have been transferred to Russia, while Russia says the number is in the hundreds. Siobhán O’Grady reports for the Washington Post.
An Illinois man stabbed a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy to death and wounded his mother in an apparent hate crime motivated by the Israel-Hamas war. Authorities charged a 71-year-old with the attack. Jon Kamp reports for the Wall Street Journal.
FBI Director Christopher Wray yesterday said there has been a rise in threats against Jews and Muslims in the United States since Hamas attacked Israel. “We cannot and do not discount the possibility that Hamas or other foreign terrorist organizations could exploit the conflict to call on their supporters to conduct attacks on our own soil,” Wray said. FBI officials declined to provide specific numbers about the threats but confirmed many had been made online and were not credible. Julian E. Barnes reports for the New York Times.
Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) is the Republican nominee to become Speaker of the House. However, the nominee, backed by former President Trump, faces mounting opposition from within the Republican party. He has no clear path to the speakership. Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb report for CNN.