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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
Hundreds of people were killed in an explosion at Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City. Palestinian health ministry spokesperson Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra said many victims were children and women and that many injuries sustained are “beyond the capabilities of our medical teams.” Hamas has blamed the Israeli Defense Forces for the attack. Israel said the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an armed group based in Gaza, is responsible due to a misfired rocket. BBC News reports.
At least 3,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the fighting began, including 1,032 girls and 940 boys, and around 12,500 people have been wounded, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said yesterday. Jessie Yeung, Tara John, and Zahid Mahmood report for CNN.
The Israeli Defense Forces yesterday said it intensified the bombing campaign on southern Gaza despite having told people to evacuate to the south to avoid the strikes in the north. The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday warned that the evacuation order and the imposition of a “complete siege” on Gaza might amount to a forcible transfer of civilians, illegal under international law. Nicholas Casey, Monika Pronczuk, and Aaron Boxerman report for the New York Times.
Hamas expressed a willingness to release women and children it holds hostage, a former U.S. official briefed on the matter said. While Hamas said it could release hostages within a few hours if demands are met, there is no clear indication that a release will happen soon. Some hostages are held by others, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a separate militant group. Keir Simmons and Ken Dilanian report for NBC News.
The Hamas’ attack on Israeli civilians and the subsequent Israel-Hamas war has led to violations of international law. The U.N. Commission of Inquiry began collecting evidence of war crimes by all sides in the conflict. Under Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions 1977, it is unlawful to target civilians, and militaries must distinguish between civilians and combatants. The Palestinian Authority, which nominally covers Gaza, has acceded to Protocol I. Israel has not ratified it but recognizes the same principles as customary international law. Jess Bravin reports for the Wall Street Journal.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
Hamas is closely coordinating its next steps with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon, Ahmed Abdul-Hadi, the head of Hamas’ political bureau in Beirut, said. However, Abdul-Hadi denied that Hezbollah had prior knowledge of Hamas’ large-scale attack on Israeli civilians. Jamie Dettmer reports for POLITICO.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – U.S. RESPONSE
U.S. President Biden yesterday said he was “outraged and deeply saddened” by the hundreds of people killed in a hospital in Gaza. His comments come as he travels to show solidarity with Israel while urging it to avoid civilian casualties. Katie Rogers and Peter Baker report for the New York Times.
U.S. President Biden today said the strike on a Gaza hospital in which hundreds of people were killed was not carried out by Israel. Biden said, “based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you.” Betsy Klein, Kyle Feldscher, Kayla Tausche, and MJ Lee report for CNN.
The United States’ “ironclad” support for Israel has drawn intense criticism in the region, even from U.S. allies. In interviews since the Israel-Hamas war began, many in the region have said the rhetoric used by U.S. and Israeli officials is dehumanizing. Many in the Middle East view Israel as a colonial-style occupier, enabled by the United States. Vivian Nereim, Alissa J. Rubin, and Euan Ward report for the New York Times.
Jordan has canceled its planned meeting with President Biden and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi. President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas also canceled his meeting with Biden. Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the meeting would proceed when the parties agree to end the “war and the massacres against Palestinians.” Jordan’s King Abdullah said Israel’s response to Hamas’ attack exceeded the right of self-defense and was collective punishment of Palestinian civilians. Suleiman Al-Khalidi reports for Reuters.
The Venezuelan government and the opposition agreed to electoral guarantees in the upcoming elections in 2024, including allowing E.U. and U.N. observers. However, the deal did not lift bans on opposition candidates barred from public office. The agreement may ease U.S. sanctions if the United States deems the government gave enough ground to the opposition. Deisy Buitrago, Vivian Sequera, and Matt Spetalnick reports for Reuters.
Deadly attacks in France and Belgium have raised fears of terrorism in Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday warned that “all European states are vulnerable” to a return of terrorist violence. Although neither attack appeared linked to the Israel-Hamas war, European governments fear the conflict could spark domestic violence. Emily Rauhala and Beatriz Ríos report for the Washington Post.
The U.K. intelligence chief warned of Chinese espionage on an “epic scale” during a meeting of the Five Eyes alliance, comprising the United States, U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand. They warned that Chinese companies are trying to steal sophisticated technology. At least 20,000 people in the U.K. have been approached online by Chinese spies, Ken McCallum, the head of MI5, said. Gordon Corera reports for BBC News.
The United States secretly sent long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine in recent days, according to multiple officials. The Ukrainian military said on social media yesterday that it destroyed several Russian helicopters, an ammunition depot, and an air defense launcher. It is believed ATACMSs were used in the strike, though Ukraine has not confirmed this. The missiles were sent covertly in a bid to catch the Russians by surprise, an official said. Natasha Bertrand and Oren Liebermann report for CNN.
The U.S. decision to send ATACMS missiles to Ukraine was a grave mistake, Russia’s ambassador to the United States said today. “The consequences of this step, which was deliberately hidden from the public, will be of the most serious nature,” he said on social media. Reuters reports.
About two-thirds of American voters say supporting Ukraine is in the national interest, according to a Quinnipiac poll.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected in North Korea today, in a sign of deepening ties between the two countries. The visit comes as reports of North Korean weapons transfers to Russia mount. Josh Smith reports for Reuters.
The Pentagon has released new footage of Chinese fighter jets “buzzing” U.S. military aircraft over the East and South China seas. Over 180 encounters with Chinese aircraft have occurred in the past two years, marking a significant rise. Eric Bazail-Eimil and Lara Seligman report for POLITICO.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) has lost the first votes in his bid to become Speaker of the House as the remaining Republican holdouts stiffen their opposition. Twenty Republicans remain opposed to his speakership bid, leaving him just 17 votes shy. A new vote will be held this morning. Bernd Debusmann Jr and Brandon Drenon report for BBC News.
Rachel Marie Powell, known as the “bullhorn lady,” was sentenced to more than four years in prison yesterday for her actions during the Jan. 6 attack. Powell was convicted of obstructing an official proceeding, destroying government property, entering a restricted area with a weapon, and engaging in violence on Capitol grounds. Powell will also pay $2,753 in restitution and a $5,000 fine. Lauren Irwin reports for The Hill.