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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 Defense Forces (IDF) have ramped up airstrikes on Gaza, hitting over 400 militant targets last night, the IDF said. Dozens of Hamas fighters, including three deputy battalion commanders, were killed, the Israeli military added. Israeli Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi said yesterday, “we are well prepared for the ground operations in the south.” The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said that over 5,000 people have been killed since the Israel-Hamas war began. Nidal Al-Mughrabi and Ari Rabinovitch report for Reuters.
Hamas released two more hostages – Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85 – citing humanitarian and health grounds. The pair were released to representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Israel thanked Egypt as well as the NGO for its assistance. Hamas took over 200 hostages following their initial attack, Israel says. BBC News reports.
At least 2,000 children have been killed in Gaza and 27 in the West Bank, Save the Children, an aid agency, said yesterday. Hospitals and medical centers are struggling to treat the injured as fuel shortages threaten closures. The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said that 12 hospitals and 32 medical centers are out of service due to Israeli airstrikes and fuel shortages. Helen Regan, Kareem El Damanhoury, and Jomana Karadsheh report for CNN.
Militancy in the West Bank is increasing following a rise in Israeli counterterrorism operations. Palestinian officials said over 1,400 people have been arrested in the West Bank since the Israel-Hamas war began. Israel’s pre-emptive operations in the West Bank to hinder armed action have had a counterproductive effect, prompting the radicalization of young men, Tahani Mustafa, a senior analyst on Palestinian affairs at the International Crisis Group, said. Susannah George and Sufian Taha reports for the Washington Post.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which are poised to invade Gaza, continue waiting for political leaders’ greenlight. The government tried to quell concerns that it was in disarray yesterday when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and military chief of staff, Lt. General Herzi Halevi, jointly stated their “total and mutual trust.” While the delay may allow Israel to continue hostage negotiations and drain Hama’s resistance with airstrikes, the delay could also weaken international support for Israel’s invasion. Isabel Kershner reports for the New York Times.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – U.S. RESPONSE
The Biden administration is planning for the possibility that hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens in the Middle East will need to be evacuated if the Israel-Hamas war continues, U.S. officials have said. The State Department estimates that around 600,000 U.S. citizens are in Israel, and another 86,000 were in Lebanon when Hamas attacked. Officials consider this large-scale evacuation to be a worst-case scenario, with other outcomes seen as more likely. Yasmeen Abutaleb, Dan Lamothe, John Hudson and Michael Birnbaum report for the Washington Post.
The Pentagon has sent military advisers, including a Marine Corps general, and air defense systems to Israel in support of its anticipated invasion of Gaza. The advisers will share lessons with Israel that the United States learned in its urban warfare in Iraq. It is hoped the advisers will help minimize civilian casualties. The Pentagon hopes this will both prevent the escalation of the Israel-Hamas war and help protect U.S. personnel who have been attacked in actions they claim were likely endorsed by Iran.Tara Copp and Aamer Madhani report for AP News.
President Biden confirms willingness to engage in ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas on the condition that remaining hostages are released. He added, “we should have those hostages released and then we can talk.” John Kirby, national security spokesperson, said yesterday that a number of Americans are still being detained as hostages, and over 10 Americans remain unaccounted for. Alex Gangitano reports for The Hill.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
French President Emmanuel Macron flies to Israel today to show solidarity with Israel, prevent an escalation in the Israel-Hamas war, free hostages, and pursue a two-state solution. The move comes after the French government’s blanket ban on all pro-Palestinian protests, although this has since been reversed by the courts. Seven French citizens are missing following the Hamas attack, one appeared as a hostage in a Hamas-released video. Michael Rose reports for Reuters.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sent Sweden’s NATO accession bid to parliament for ratification in a move that ends the long-standing uncertainty over whether Ankara would delay the process further. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson confirmed that “parliamentary procedures will now commence.” Turkey has opposed Sweden’s NATO application over claims Sweden is harboring terrorists of Turkish opposition groups, with Turkish parliamentarians calling for anti-terrorism measures to increase in Sweden in recent weeks. Stuart Lau reports for POLITICO.
Early results from a primary vote called by the Venezuela opposition show a lead for unity candidate, María Corina Machado, in the 2024 presidential election. Machado is subject to a 15-year public office ban following allegations of corruption by the comptroller general at the time, Elvis Amoroso. No proof of corruption has been provided. It is uncertain at present whether the ban will be lifted before the presidential election next year. The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that sanctions could be reapplied if the government did not lift the bans on all opposition candidates by the end of November. Vanessa Buschschlüter reports for BBC News.
The Canadian government claimed yesterday that it has detected a China-related “Spamouflage” campaign involving bots posting propaganda and misinformation on the social media accounts of several Canadian parliamentarians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Spamouflage campaign targeted cross-party lawmakers’ and included social media messages alleging that the Haawaiian wildfires were caused by a U.S. “weather weapon.” The Chinese embassy strongly denies all allegations, adding that “for some time now, the Canadian side has been falsely accusing China of spreading false information against Canadian politicians…in the absence of any direct and substantive evidence.” Ismail Shakil and Liz Lee report for Reuters.
Armita Geravand, the 16-year-old Iranian girl dragged out of a train carriage unconscious on her way to school, was pronounced brain-dead by state-owned media on Sunday. Geravand entered the train with her hair uncovered, and CCTV footage shows her being dragged from the train by officers shortly after. It is unclear what happened inside the train, but people familiar with the matter said officers were enforcing a dress code. The government claimed that Geravand collapsed due to low blood sugar levels after allegedly skipping breakfast. Geravand’s case shares parallels with the death of Mahsa Amini, which caused widespread protests in Iran. Emma Bubola and Leily Nikounazar report for the New York Times.
Ukrainian spy agencies have been conducting operations against Russia, following training and equipment deliveries from the CIA, according to current and former Ukrainian and U.S. officials. The CIA has a significant presence in Kyiv and has trained and shared technology and intelligence with its Ukrainian counterparts since 2015. While the CIA has not been involved in targeted killings, it has enhanced Ukraine’s intelligence capabilities. Greg Miller and Isabelle Khurshudyan report for the Washington Post.
Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed they have increased bilateral relations with Iran, following a meeting between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran. The meeting took place in a “trusting atmosphere,” and there was an “emphasis on further building up the entire complex of multifaceted Russian-Iranian partnership,” the Russian foreign ministry’s statement said. Lavrov also participated in talks hosted by Iran, intended to bring peace to the South Caucasus following Azerbaijani’s recapture of Nagorno-Karabakh, which forced thousands of ethnic Armenians to vacate the area. Lidia Kelly reports for Reuters.
Alsu Kurmasheva, the U.S. journalist and dual U.S.-Russian national, has been formally arrested in Russia and is being held in pretrial detention because she allegedly failed to register as a “foreign agent.” Kurmasheva will be held at least until Dec. 5, a representative of the court in the city of Kazan said. She was initially detained on Oct. 18. Ann M. Simmons reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Aleksei Navalny, the jailed Russian opposition leader, was forcibly removed from his cell yesterday following his protest after prison authorities took away his writing tools. Navalny missed a hearing via video link because he refused to leave his cell. The hearing was part of a series of lawsuits he has filed against the prison authorities. The removal of his writing tools is part of a broader effort to isolate Navalny, with three of his lawyers being charged for taking part in an “extremist group.” Ivan Nechepurenko reports for the New York Times.
U.S. intelligence indicates that Iranian-backed militant groups in the Middle East are poised to escalate their attacks on U.S. troops. There is a direct connection between these militant groups and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said yesterday. While Iran is not directing the groups, it encourages them to carry out attacks. The United States has indicated that it would hold Iran responsible for such attacks. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said, “…these are militias that [Iran has] sponsored, and they’re responsible for.” Natasha Bertrand, Katie Bo Lillis, Zachary Cohen, and Jennifer Hansler report for CNN.
The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Washington this week in a move that will mark the highest-level visit of a Chinese official since U.S-China tensions increased earlier this year as a result of a Chinese spy balloon entering U.S. airspace. The meetings are due to commence this Thursday, amid predictions that this visit will pave the way for a future visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who last visited the United States. in 2017. The visit comes as the Biden administration attempts to exert pressure on Iran not to interfere in the Israel-Hamas war, which could include urging Beijing, a major partner of Tehran, to use its influence. Michael Birnbaum reports for the Washington Post.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS
Former President Trump is attempting to challenge his indictment in the federal election interference case, citing the First Amendment and the impeachment acquittal by the Senate. In filings submitted yesterday, Trump argues the indictment criminalizes “core political speech and advocacy that lies at the heart of the First Amendment.” He further argued that the failed impeachment process was the correct venue to decide his guilt. In filings, Trump also claimed the prosecution’s case was too vague, for example, by failing to show deceitful intent in Trump’s alleged conspiracy to defraud the United States. Spencer S. Hsu and Perry Stein report for the Washington Post.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
House Republicans’ inability to coalesce around a speaker is indicative of the party’s broader leadership issue, with Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) defending his ability to lead following public freezes and former President Trump facing 91 felony charges. Republican infighting may have adverse consequences for the party in the upcoming elections as Democrats attempt to frame themselves as proactive on significant issues, such as the Israel-Hamas war. Lisa Lerer and Michael C. Bender report for the New York Times.
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging he acted as a foreign agent of Egypt while serving Congress. The Senator is accused of sharing sensitive U.S. government information to assist the Egyptian government in return for bribes, including a luxury car and gold bars. It is claimed that Menendez encouraged fellow senators to release $300 million in aid and increase military sales to Egypt during his time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. BBC News reports.