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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 military severed northern Gaza from the rest of the region and launched airstrikes yesterday, as ground battles with Hamas militants are expected to advance. A strike early yesterday hit the roof of Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital, killing a number of people who were sheltering on its top floor. The strike also destroyed solar panels used to help generate power for the facility, which is currently running on one generator due to a lack of fuel. Najib Jobain, Jack Jeffrey and Lee Keath report for AP News.
More than 10,000 people, including 4,000 children, have been killed in Gaza since the war broke out, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. The figure surpasses the United Nations’ estimate of approximately 5,400 deaths resulting from all Israel-Hamas conflicts following the group’s control of the territory in 2007. The Israel Defence Forces cautioned that “any information provided by a terrorist organization should be viewed with caution,” although the World Health Organization regional emergency director said he was “confident that the information management systems that the ministry of health has put in place over the years stand[s] up to analysis.” George Wright reports for BBC News.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday rejected calls for a cease-fire and said that Israel would have indefinite “overall security responsibility” in Gaza after its war with Hamas. Until all hostages are released, Netanyahu refused to entertain cease-fire talks, but said he was open to “little pauses” in the fighting to allow the delivery of aid and the hostage releases. Najib Jobain and Samy Magdy report for AP News.
Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk denied that his group killed Israeli civilians, saying “women, children and civilians were exempt” from Hamas’ attacks, while Israel says more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the attacks of Oct. 7. Marzouk said that only “conscripts […] or soldiers” were killed, which contradicts video footage showing Hamas men shooting children and unarmed adults. Feras Kilani reports for BBC News.
Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, 22, was arrested by Israeli troops in the West Bank yesterday on suspicion of inciting violence and calling for terrorist activity. Tamimi is widely regarded as a hero following her slapping an Israeli soldier during a village raid, then aged 16, resulting in an eight-month prison sentence. Israeli authorities allege that Tamimi wrote an Instagram post calling for settlers to be killed and saying that what Hilter did was not enough, but her mother claims the post was fake as her daughter does not have an Instagram account. Ismael Khader and Rami Ayyub report for Reuters.
The U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned yesterday that Gaza is “becoming a graveyard for children” amid the rising death toll and intensifying violence. Guterres told reporters that a cease-fire is becoming “more urgent with every passing hour.” A spokesperson for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East also said that most of the displaced Gaza residents – estimated to be around 70% of the total population – are living in crowded and “inhumane” U.N. shelters due to a lack of resources, including food, clean water and sanitation. Richard Roth, Hamdi Alkhshali, Pierre Meilhan and Jessie Yeung report for CNN.
An Indonesian hospital in Gaza has denied accusations made by the Israeli military that its hospital facility was used by Hamas to launch an attack. Israel accuses Hamas of using hospitals as a cover for its underground operations. The chairman of the voluntary group operating the hospital said that the hospital was built “according to the needs of Gazans,” and that “Israel’s accusation is a precondition” to them attacking the hospital. Ananda Teresia reports for Reuters.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – REGIONAL RESPONSE
South Africa recalled its ambassador and diplomats from Israel yesterday and called Israel’s actions a “genocide” in Gaza. The South African government, led by the African National Congress party which has strong ties to Palestine, also threatened action against the Israeli ambassador over his alleged disparaging remarks on their stance toward the Israel-Hamas war, although no details about the remarks have been provided. Mogomotsi Magome reports for AP News.
Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh said he is leaving “all options open” in response to Israel’s “aggression on Gaza.” He denied Israel’s claim that they are acting in self-defense and said Israel’s attacks do not “discriminate between civilian and military targets.” In a statement, Israel said its “relations with Jordan are of strategic importance to both countries and we regret the inflammatory comments from Jordan’s leadership.” Suleiman Al-Khalidi reports for Reuters.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
Israel has attempted to gain international support for the transfer of several hundred thousands of civilians from Gaza to Egypt, according to six senior anonymous foreign diplomats. The idea – which was proposed as a humanitarian initiative that would permit civilians to escape to refugee camps in Egypt – was dismissed by most countries, including the US and the UK, because of the risk of permanent displacement. The risk that Egypt would become destabilized due to the mass migration, leaving a significant number of civilians displaced, was also cited by Israel interlocutors as reasons for their concern. Patrick Kingsley reports for the New York Times.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – U.S. RESPONSE
A 69-year-old man died on Sunday from a head injury during an altercation in Ventura County, Southern Califonia, where pro-Palestine and pro-Israel demonstrations were taking place, the county’s Sheriff’s Office said yesterday. Paul Kessler “fell backwards and struck his head on the ground” following a “physical altercation” with at least one counter-protester, the Sheriff’s office said,referring to Kessler as a “pro-Israeli protestor.” No suspect has been named but the Sheriff’s office said it “has not ruled out the possibility of a hate crime” as investigations are underway. Taylor Romine reports for CNN.
Concern grows over the United States’ influence over Israel as the Biden administration’s attempts to secure a pause in Israel’s fighting remain a “work in progress”, said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Blinken said U.S. diplomacy was multi-regional and was not solely Israel-focused, adding that “sometimes, the absence of something bad happening may not be the most obvious evidence of progress, but it is.” Dan De Luce, Keir SImmons and Abigail Williams report for NBC News.
Russia formally withdrew from an international treaty yesterday which limited categories of military equipment, blaming the United States for expanding the NATO alliance and undermining post-Cold war security. The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) was signed to prevent a future swift offensive between either side of the Cold war, although Russia suspended its participation in the CFE in 2007 and has not been actively involved since 2015. Russia’s foreign ministry said the treaty was unacceptable from a “fundamental security interest” viewpoint, and that the United States’ encouragement for NATO expansion led to countries “openly circumventing” the treaty’s restrictions. Guy Faulconbridge and Lidia Kelly report for Reuters.
Russia claims its fiber optic cable under the Baltic Sea was damaged last month, and, soon after, nearby countries Finland, Estonia, and Sweden experienced similar issues with their Balticconnector pipeline. It is uncertain whether Russia’s incident is linked to the earlier incidents as it occurred a few days apart. Claudia Chappa reports for POLITICO.
Tunisia has arrested five convicts who escaped from prison last week serving time for killing two secular politicians and policemen. The Tunisian security said the five men were “very dangerous terrorists,” and four of the escapees were captured on a mountain near Tunis this morning. Tarek Amara reports for Reuters.
Fighting between the Ethiopian army and a local militia in the northern Amhara region raises safety concerns for historic churches in the holy town of Lalibela. Ethiopian soldiers on Sunday fired weapons 11 times from locations near the churches, an anonymous deacon claimed, sending shockwaves through monuments dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries. The churches were designated as a world heritage site by the UN in 1978. Giulia Paravicini, Dawit Endeshaw, and Giulia Paravicini report for Reuters.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited former U.S. President Donald Trump to visit Ukraine, following Trump’s claims that he could end the war if reelected in 2024. Zelenskyy said “if he can come here, I will need…not more than 24 minutes to explain [to] President Trump that he can’t manage this war” in that time frame. Zelenskyy added he was doubtful Trump would support Ukraine if he were to be reelected, adding that he has not had any contact with Trump since the former president left office in 2021. Kristen Welker reports for NBC News.
Ukraine urges world leaders to continue their support following Italy’s Prime Minister Georgia Meloni saying there is “a lot of fatigue…from all sides” during a call with Russian pranksters last week. Meloni thought she was speaking to the president of the African Union. In response, Andrii Yermak, the head of the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said that “even if there are people who feel this fatigue, I’m sure they don’t want to wake up in a world tomorrow where there will be less freedom and less security, and the consequences of this last for decades.” Yermak claimed the narrative of war fatigue was being propelled by Russia to weaken western allies’ resolve in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war. Anne Mcelvoy reports for POLITICO.
Senate Republicans have released a set of proposals as a condition of sending aid to Ukraine, including plans to resume construction of the US-Mexico border wall and making it more difficult for migrants to qualify for asylum. The announcement comes after the ongoing House dispute over the Ukraine and Israel aid packages. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said that increasing border enforcement “is the best way to get nine Republican senators on board,” referencing the number of GOP senators needed to pass legislation, on the assumption that all Democrats are supportive. Mary Clare Jalonick, Lisa Mascaro and Stephen Groves report for AP News.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS
Former President Donald Trump repeatedly clashed with a judge during his testimony in his New York civil fraud trial yesterday, with Justice Engoron telling Trump’s attorney “this is not a political rally, this is a courtroom…I beseech you to control him.” In testimony lasting nearly four hours, Trump’s lengthy and indirect responses led to multiple heated exchanges. When questioned on his property valuations, which prosecutors say were intentionally overvalued in order to secure better insurance policies and loans, Trump said he is “worth billions of dollars more than the financial statements,” adding that the property valuations are “very conservative.” Trump later attacked Engoron, saying “I’m sure the judge will rule against me because he always rules against me.” Judge Engoron responded “you can attack me in whichever way you want, but please answer the questions,” before later describing Trump as a “broken record.” Madeline Halpert, Chloe Kim and Bernd Debusmann report for BBC News.
Trump conceded on the witness stand yesterday that he helped assemble annual financial statements, saying he “would look at them…see them…and would maybe on occasion have some suggestions.” The admission seemingly strengthened the attorney general’s case, although Trump claimed that banks paid little attention to the financial statements, before unexpectedly promising that some of his bankers would testify in his defense. Trump also said he directed his employees to reduce the value of his Westchester County Seven Springs estate because he “thought it was too high,” marking another admission of his involvement in the financial statements. Jonah E. Bromwich and Ben Protess report for the New York Times.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
A second Colorado police officer standing trial for the death of Elijah McClain, a Black man who died in police custody, was acquitted yesterday by a 12-person jury after a week-long trial. Officer Nathan Woodyard put McClain in a neck hold before paramedics arrived at the scene and injected him with ketamine; McClain died several days later after being taken off life support. Prosecutors argued Woodyard’s neck hold contributed to his death, although the defense argued that Woodyard was not present when McClain’s health deteriorated and placed blame with the ambulance staff. An autopsy report found that McClain died from a ketamine injection too large for his body and two paramedics are due to stand trial later this month. Of the three officers charged in total, only one has been found guilty. An earlier trial found the third officer guilty of negligent homicide and third-degree assault. Lauren Sforza reports for The Hill.
A private university has banned a student chapter of the national Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) on its campus. Brandeis University in Massachusetts, founded as a nonsectarian Jewish university in 1948, said the SJP’s chapter “engage[s] in conduct that supports Hamas in its call for the elimination of the only Jewish state in the world,” but added that “students are welcome to express their support for Palestinians in a manner that complies with [their] rights and responsibilities.” The move comes after Florida officials ordered state colleges and universities to disband chapters in the SJP two weeks ago. Olafmihan Oshin reports for The Hill.