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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
Two hostages of Hamas — Carmela Dan, 80, and her 12-year-old granddaughter Noya Dan — have been found dead, Israel said on X, formerly Twitter. The Israeli Defense Forces believe 203 hostages were taken following Hamas’ large-scale assault. BBC News reports.
There has been a “significant escalation” at the Israel-Lebanon border, as the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group fired “numerous antitank missiles” at Israel, killing a civilian, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said. Kelsey Ables reports for the Washington Post.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Israel today. Sunak is expected to offer condolences to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the Hamas attack and to discuss the Israel-Hamas war. Reuters reports.
Hamas used North Korean weapons during its large-scale assault on Israel, experts and analysis suggest. A Hamas video and weapons seized by Israel since the assault indicate that the militant group used rocket-propelled grenade launchers from North Korea. This may be evidence of Pyongyang’s elicit trade networks to fund its nuclear weapons program. North Korea has denied the “groundless and false rumor.” Hyung-jin Kim, Kim Tong-Hyung and Jon Gambrell report for AP News.
Two petrol bombs were thrown at a Berlin synagogue and Jewish community center yesterday amid increased antisemitic incidents across Europe. Violence also broke out elsewhere in Berlin during the anti-Israel protests overnight, where protestors set fire to barricades with one demonstration estimated to include 700 people. BBC News reports.
A historic synagogue in Tunisia was destroyed earlier this week by protestors following an explosion at Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City. The synagogue in the Tunisian city of Al Hammah was not an active place of worship. There is no Jewish community in Al Hammah. Andrew Lapin reports for the Times of Israel.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – U.S. RESPONSE
President Biden is expected to seek Congress’ approval for about $100 billion in emergency funds to arm Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan, sources familiar with the matter said. Some of the funding would also be used to fortify the U.S.-Mexico border. The funding, which would cover an entire year, is intended to ensure U.S. security interests are not hampered by partisanship in Congress. It is unclear if Congress can quickly approve such a request, given that the House cannot undertake legislative activity without a speaker. Karoun Demirjian reports for the New York Times.
The United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution yesterday because it failed to acknowledge Israel’s right to self-defense. The resolution condemned Hamas’s terrorist attack on Israel. It also called for aid access and protection of civilians in Gaza and the immediate release of Israeli hostages. U.S. ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the latest resolution could have impeded U.S. President Biden’s diplomatic efforts in the region. Farnaz Fassihi reports for the New York Times.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control yesterday imposed sanctions targeting Hamas’ financial network and ten of its members. The sanctions will block access to funds held in the United States and prevent those sanctioned from doing business with U.S. firms and citizens. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed that the sanctions are “directed at Hamas terrorists and their support network, not Palestinians.” Fatima Hussein reports for AP News.
Early intelligence suggests the explosion at Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, which killed hundreds of people, was caused by a misfired rocket launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, U.S. officials said. The officials cautioned that the intelligence was preliminary and that more evidence was being gathered. The Palestinian militant group has denied these allegations, blaming the Israeli Defense Forces instead. Yet, some fighters in Gaza also believe an errant rocket launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad may have caused the explosion, Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said. Julian E. Barnes, Patrick Kingsley, Helene Cooper, and Adam Entous report for the New York Times.
Three hundred protestors calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war were arrested on Capitol Hill yesterday. Two Jewish anti-Zionist groups organized the protests. Further protests are planned at the National Mall tomorrow. Ephrat Livni reports for the New York Times.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping, with Russian President Vladimir Putin by his side, yesterday said the West is holding back developing nations with trade sanctions and demands for political reform. Xi offered an alternative path for developing countries with a revamped “Belt and Road” investment initiative. “We do not engage in ideological confrontation, geopolitical games, or form confrontational political cliques,” Xi said. While the initiative has shifted from investing in large infrastructure projects to smaller technology projects, it remains a central plank in Xi’s effort to exert Chinese influence globally. Christian Shepherd and Lyric Li report for the Washington Post.
A second underwater telecommunications cable was damaged without explanation in the Baltic Sea, Sweden said earlier this week, following an earlier disruption of a gas pipeline and telecommunications cable between Finland and Estonia. The disruption to underwater infrastructure is suspected to be an act of sabotage. Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation is investigating several ships that were in the area during the incident, including Russian and Chinese-owned vessels. Georgi Kantchev reports for the Wall Street Journal.
A congressional panel in Brazil yesterday recommended that former President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with attempting to stage a coup. The lawmakers, mostly aligned with the current left-leaning government, voted 20-11 to adopt the damning 1,300-page report that accused Bolsonaro of instigating Brazil’s Jan. 8 attack on government buildings. The move is primarily symbolic as federal law enforcement officials are already investigating his role in the attack. Diane Jeantet reports for AP News.
The United States yesterday called on Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to stop shelling in Omdurman and South Darfur amid reports that the RSF has increased their attacks. U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller yesterday called for the immediate ceasing of shelling of civilian neighborhoods. The fight between the RSF and the Sudanese army broke out on April 15 following long-standing tensions over a planned move to Sudanese civilian rule. Reuters reports.
Ukraine’s economy is beginning to rebound as the country adjusts to the war, with a predicted growth of 3.5 percent this year. Domestic spending and continued foreign aid account for the growth. Ukraine’s economic output remains smaller than before the full-scale invasion. “Today, most Ukrainians understand that the war may be prolonged, and they need to continue living in these new circumstances,” said Andriy Cherukha, a Ukrainian business owner. Constant Méheut reports for the New York Times.
President Emmanuel Macron reasserted France’s support for Ukraine during a telephone call yesterday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Their conversation comes amidst concern that the Israel-Hamas war may affect the West’s support for Ukraine as it continues to fight Russia. However, NATO members affirmed to Zelenskyy earlier this month that they would sustain military support to Ukraine as winter sets in. Macron’s office said the “proliferation of crises would not weaken French and European support for Ukraine.” Sudip Kar-Gapta reports for Reuters.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov thanked North Korea for its support in the ongoing war on Ukraine, just days after the White House claimed North Korea had shipped more than 1,000 containers of munitions and military equipment to Russia. North Korea’s Foreign Minister said the countries were building “an unbreakable comradely relationship.” Lavrov also praised North Korea for “firmly defending its sovereignty and security and remaining unfazed by any pressure of the U.S. and the West.” NBC reports.
Three drone attacks on two U.S. military bases in Iraq yesterday caused minor injuries to Coalition forces at one location, U.S. defense officials said. Last week, Iranian-aligned groups in Iraq and Yemen vowed to target U.S. interests if Washington intervened in support of Israel during its war with Hamas. Ellen Mitchell reports for The Hill.
The Biden administration yesterday announced the easing of sanctions against Venezuela’s oil and gas sector following an agreement between President Nicolás Maduro’s government and the opposition for electoral guarantees. The Treasury Department suspended its prohibition on financial transactions in Venezuela’s energy sector and gold mining industry for six months. It also ended a ban on trading Venezuelan government bonds. The easing of sanctions is expected to lead to the release of some of the eight U.S. citizens detained in Venezuela. Kejal Vyas and Patricia Garip reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The Treasury Department yesterday imposed new sanctions on entities and individuals who are enabling Iran’s ballistic missile and drone programs. The sanctions targeted 11 individuals, eight entities, and one vessel based in Iran, Hong Kong, China, and Venezuela. Tara Suter reports for The Hill.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
Several House Republicans said they have been subject to intimidation tactics, including death threats, from allies of Jim Jordan (R-OH) amid his speakership bid. Intimidation was reported following Jordan’s failure to secure sufficient ballots in the second vote for speaker yesterday. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) said she had “received credible death threats and a barrage of threatening calls” after she declined to support Jordan. Jordan has denied any involvement in the pressure campaign. “No American should accost another for their beliefs,” he added. Holly Honderich reports for BBC News.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has proposed changing state law to make crossing the border from Mexico without authorization a crime. The move would allow Texas police to arrest people crossing the Rio Grande, including asylum seekers. Abbott previously used the tactic of bussing migrants to Democrat-controlled cities to force the federal government to curb migration. While this effort contributed to hardening attitudes toward migration nationally, it largely failed to stem migration. J. David Goodman reports for the New York Times.
Douglass Mackey, a right-wing influencer using the alias Ricky Vaughn, was sentenced to seven months in prison for spreading falsehoods on social media to suppress Democratic turnout in the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors said Mackey falsely posted that supporters of Democrat Hillary Clinton could vote for her by text message or social media post. POLITICO reports.