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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) conducted more targeted raids yesterday in central Gaza, deploying ground forces, fighter jets, and drones. Dozens of targets were struck, including anti-tank missile launch sites, military command and control centers, and Hamas fighters. The IDF claims to have killed a senior Hamas commander who helped plan the Oct. 7 attack. BBC News reports.
Fuel shortages in Gaza have led to the closure of bakeries, while shelters housing tens of thousands of families are turning off the lights in a bid to conserve energy. The U.N. has said that a dozen of the 35 hospitals in Gaza and around two-thirds of 72 primary healthcare clinics have been forced to shut down. The Israeli Defense Forces have disputed that Gaza has a fuel shortage by referring to the thousands of rockets Hamas continues to fire at Israel. Chao Deng reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The Health Ministry in Gaza published a list of the 6,747 named people it claims have been killed in Israel’s bombing campaign. The list appears to respond to President Biden’s earlier comments that he had “no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.” The list includes 2,665 children. A further 281 bodies could not be identified, bringing the total to 7,028 deaths. Vivian Yee reports for the New York Times.
Forty-nine percent of Israelis believe “it would be better to wait” rather than invade Gaza immediately, according to a poll published today. A similar poll from a week ago found 65 percent support for a large-scale ground offensive. The newspaper publishing the recent poll has suggested the hostage situation may account for the lower approval rating. Hamas claims about 50 hostages have been killed by Israeli strikes on Gaza. Reuters reports.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – U.S. RESPONSE
The U.S. Air Force conducted two airstrikes against weapons and ammunition storage facilities used by Iran’s military and proxies in Syria earlier today. The strikes were a response to the recent attacks on U.S. troops in the Middle East, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin said. Striking targets used by Iran, not just its proxies, is an escalation in the rising tensions between the United States and Iran. Eric Schmitt reports for the New York Times.
About 900 more U.S. troops are deploying to the Middle East amid rising tensions, the Pentagon said. The deployments include air defense systems. No troops will be sent to Israel, but they are “intended to support regional deterrence efforts and further bolster U.S. force protection capabilities.” The news follows several attacks on U.S. troops in the Middle East, which caused minor injuries to 21 U.S. service members between Oct. 17 and 18. Haley Britzky report for CNN.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
Members of the Hamas leadership met with senior Russian officials in Moscow yesterday, discussing the hostage situation and the evacuation of Russian nationals. An Iranian deputy foreign minister was also in Moscow. The meetings may be part of Russia’s efforts to provide an alternative, non-western, platform for addressing global issues. Israel said Russia’s invitation of Hamas members was “a reprehensible step that gives support to terrorism and legitimacy to the horrific acts of Hamas terrorists.” Ivan Nechepurenko reports for the New York Times.
E.U. leaders yesterday called for “humanitarian corridors and pauses” in the fighting to allow aid into Gaza. The focus on a pause in fighting comes after disagreement among member states on how to word their declaration, with some countries wary of limiting Israel’s ability to defend itself. A formal declaration will be published at the end of the two-day summit. It is expected to include a call for a peace conference on a two-state solution. Lisa O’Carroll reports for the Guardian.
France is deploying an amphibious helicopter carrier to the eastern Mediterranean to provide humanitarian assistance. The ship, which has a small hospital onboard, will deliver medical relief to Gaza. The deployment may indicate France’s effort to assuage Arab countries after it came out strongly in support of Israel. The vessel may be useful for evacuating French citizens if the conflict widens. Hugh Schofield reports for BBC News.
Slovakia is stopping arms deliveries to Ukraine following the new appointment of Prime Minister Robert Fico, who said his country still supports non-military aid to Ukraine. This would make Slovakia the first country to end support among those who have provided military aid. The chairperson of the national security and defense committee in Lithuana’s parliament commented the “decision may not have a practical impact…but it poisons the unity of Western nations striving to support Ukraine.” Andrew Higgins reports for the New York Times.
Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has seized control of Nyala, Sudan’s second-largest city. An eyewitness said local residents hoped this would mark the end of the violence, as over 670,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since the war broke out. Sudan’s army has not yet commented on their defeat in the capture of Nyala. Zeinab Mohammed Salih reports for BBC News.
Finland’s Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said he could ask for E.U. funding to repair the Balticonnector pipeline, which was potentially damaged by a Chinese ship. “We are cooperating with China to find the role of the Chinese ship…they have promised to do good collaboration,” Orpo claimed. Orpo is set to discuss the pipeline with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during a meeting at the upcoming E.U. summit. Laura Hülsemann and Elena Giordano report for POLITICO.
Former Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, has died of a “sudden heart attack” at age 68. Keqiang served as China’s premier from 2013 until March this year. Keqiang, once considered a possible president, favored economic reform and liberalization. Seb Starcevic reports for POLITICO.
Russia is executing soldiers who attempt to retreat from eastern Ukraine, the White House has claimed. The United States says that some Russian casualties suffered near Avdiivka were “on the orders of their own leaders.” The frontline town of Avdiivka has been subject to intense fighting by both sides, with Ukraine estimating there have been around 5,000 Russian casualties in the region. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has previously described the situation in the area as “particularly tough.” Laura Gozzi reports for BBC News.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has hinted that Russia is benefitting from the Israel-Hamas war. The claim comes as senior Hamas officials arrived in Moscow for talks on the release of hostages, according to Russian news agencies. Zelenskyy addressed E.U. leaders at a Brussels summit and announced that “the enemies of freedom are very interested in bringing the free world to the second front…we must clearly see this scenario and counter it.” Paul Dallison reports for POLITICO.
China’s jet fighters harassed U.S. military aircraft, coming within 10 feet of a U.S. bomber on one occasion, footage has shown. There are concerns the United States will be roped into the China-Philippine clash over control of an outpost in the South China Sea, with President Biden confirming on Wednesday that the United States stands by its legal commitment to defend its ally, the Philippines. The Pentagon hopes Beijing’s security forum next week will assist in military communications between both sides. Alistair Gale reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi yesterday. Yi is on a three-day visit to Washington, and he acknowledged that China and the United States have “disagreements,” but said the two countries “share important common interests…and face challenges that [they] need to respond to together.” Blinken confirmed he agreed with Yi’s comments. Yi is expected to meet with President Biden today. Shannon K. Crawford reports for ABC News.
The U.S. Senate rejected legislation that would have forced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Niger, a West African nation where the military seized power in July. The United States declared earlier this month that there had been a military coup in Niger, which had partnered with the United States in the fight against Islamist insurgents. U.S. officials said there are no plans to withdraw the troops, as Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) commented that they “don’t want to signal that [the United States] is abandoning that part of the world.” Patricia Zengerle reports for Reuters.
Mike Johnson, the newly elected U.S. Speaker of the House, said yesterday that funding for Ukraine and Israel should be handled separately. It suggests that Johnson does not support President Biden’s $106 billion combined aid package for both countries. “Our consensus among House Republicans is we need to bifurcate those issues.” He added that the House will “bring forward a standalone Israel funding measure” of $14 billion, as well as funding of $61 billion for Ukraine. Reuters reports.
The search for Robert Card, the suspected mass shooter in Lewiston, Maine, entered its second day following a shooting at a bowling alley that left at least 18 people dead and 13 injured. Hundreds of police officers are engaged in the search. Representative Jared Golden (D-ME), previously a staunch opponent of gun control, called for an assault weapons ban yesterday. The Washington Post reports.
The Texas House yesterday voted to allow police to arrest and jail unauthorized migrants, including asylum seekers, or order them back to Mexico. In addition to creating a state-level crime for entering the United States from Mexico between ports of entry, Texas also approved an additional $1.5 billion for border barriers. The move is likely to set Texas on a collision course with the federal government, which, after a 2012 Supreme Court decision, retains the primary role in developing immigration policy. J. David Goodman reports for the New York Times.
A federal judge in Atlanta, Georgia, yesterday struck down Republican-drawn voting maps that diluted the power of Black voters. Judge Steve C. Jones ordered that new maps must be drawn for the 2024 elections. “If an acceptable remedy is not produced, there will be time for the court to fashion one,” Jones said of the timeline. Emily Cochrane and Rick Rojas report for the New York Times.