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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 fought Hamas militants in the north of the Gaza Strip today, as both sides claim to have inflicted heavy losses from the attacks. Gaza City residents say Israeli tanks are stationed around the City and that forces are moving closer to two local hospitals. Israeli soldiers claim they discovered a Hamas site, storing and manufacturing weapons, in a residential building in the Sheikh Rawan region of northern Gaza. Nidal Al-Mughrabia and Maytaal Angel report for Reuters.
Israel launched intense airstrikes in Gaza City overnight and into this morning, as ground forces continue to fight Hamas in urban areas which saw tens of thousands of people fleeing this week. The director of Al-Shifa hospital in downtown Gaza said Israeli troops were around 3 miles from the hospital. Israel says Hamas’ main command center is located in a tunnel complex under the hospital, something Hamas and medical staff firmly deny and say the military is using as a pretext to a future attack. Najib Jobain, Samy Magdy and Kareem Chehayeb report for AP News.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have taken control of a Hamas outpost in Jabalia, northern Gaza, according to their post on X, formerly Twitter. The post said it took “10 hours of fighting, during which they eliminated terrorists, captured many weapons, uncovered terrorist tunnel shafts, including a shaft located near a kindergarten and leading to an extensive underground route.” BBC News reports.
Yesterday saw 50,000 Palestinians flee northern Gaza to the south, the IDF said, as it opened a brief corridor along Salah al-Din Road, running down the center of the Gaza strip. The figure was provided yesterday in a briefing by Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, an IDF spokesperson. Chantal Da Silva and Mithil Aggarwal report for NBC News.
The U.N. human rights chief accused both Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes over the past month. “The atrocities perpetrated by Palestinian armed groups on October 7 were heinous, brutal and shocking, they were war crimes – as is the continued holding of hostages,” said Volker Türk, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. He also said, “The collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians amounts also to a war crime, as does the unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians.” Michael Rios and Jessie Yeung report for CNN.
The Rafah border crossing into Gaza was closed yesterday due to a “security circumstance” but officials were working to get it reopened, a U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson said. The Rafah crossing suspended evacuations on Saturday and Sunday following an Israeli strike on an ambulance traveling to Rafah, but the crossing reopened on Monday and Tuesday. Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis report for Reuters.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – REGIONAL RESPONSE
Israel’s spy agency worked with Brazil and other international agencies to thwart an attack aimed at Israeli and Jewish targets in Brazil planned by the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said yesterday. Brazil confirmed they have arrested two people on terrorism charges in Sao Paulo. Israel’s spy agency Mossad said the plan “was operated by Hezbollah in order to carry out an attack on Israeli and Jewish targets in Brazil,” adding that it was “directed and financed by the Iranian regime.” Rodrigo Viga Gaier and Gabriel Stargardter report for Reuters.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
French President Emmanuel Macron is convening an international conference in Paris today to secure funding for humanitarian aid to Gaza and to discuss the release of hostages held by Hamas. Attendees are expected to include officials from the U.N., the International Committee of the Red Cross, along with E.U. officials and a U.S. representative. Israel is not sending a representative despite French officials coordinating the agenda with their Israeli counterparts following Macron’s talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. The French presidency said Paris is planning on significantly increasing its financial contributions and is also working on how European countries could take in wounded Palestinian civilians. Aurelien Breeden reports for the New York Times.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – U.S. RESPONSE
U.S. officials say Hamas is discussing the conditional release of a small number of hostages, including some Americans, in return for a three-day pause in Israel’s fighting in Gaza. The terms negotiated are said to include the release of up to 15 hostages for a pause in the fighting which would bide time for humanitarian aid to be shipped into Gaza and hostages to be transported out of the enclave. Details of the hostages, including specific numbers, were not provided, but C.I.A. director William J. Burns facilitated the talks, according to officials. Lisa Friedman, Julian E. Barnes and Edward Wong report for the New York Times.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday that Gaza should be unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority once the war ends. He said there must be “affirmative elements to get a sustained peace…these must include the Palestinian people’s voices and aspirations at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza…it must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.” Blinken did not expand further, although national security council spokesperson John Kirby said, “we don’t have it all figured out right now…but we know that it has to be something different than what it was under Hamas.” Michael D.Shear reports for the New York Times.
Blinken escalated his opposition to a cease-fire saying yesterday that “those calling for an immediate cease-fire have an obligation to explain how to address the unacceptable result that would likely bring.” He said humanitarian pauses “would advance key objectives” but reiterated that “Israel has repeatedly told us that there is no going back to … before the barbaric attacks by Hamas – we fully agree.” Jennifer Hansler reports for CNN.
South Africa will deploy 3,300 army personnel to help combat illegal mining across all provinces, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said today. The South African National Defense Force deployment is expected to cost $26 million and will maintain law and order under “Operation Prosper.” Tannur Anders and Nelson Banya report for Reuters.
China expressed strong disagreement with the China-related comments made by G7 ministers, a statement issued by its embassy in Japan said today. The statement issued by the G7 ministers urged China not to support Russia in the Ukraine war, as well as encouraging Beijing to address its non-market policies, allow autonomy for Hong Kong, and maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait. “China will resolutely counter any smear campaigns from external forces,” the embassy said. Albee Zhang, Ryan Woo and Ben Blanchard report for Reuters.
Leaders of the G7 group insisted yesterday that their support for Ukraine “will never waiver” despite the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The foreign ministers said they agreed on the need to impose sanctions on Russia and that they would continue to provide economic and military support for Kyiv “even in today’s international situation,” a statement from the Japanese foreign ministry confirmed. Ido Vock reports for BBC News.
Ukraine is ready to begin the process of joining the European Union, according to the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Speaking yesterday, she said, “the Commission recommends that the Council opens accession negotiations with Ukraine and with Moldova.” The comment came on the same day that the Commission published a report recommending that accession talks should commence, nearly 18 months since they accepted Ukraine as a candidate. Responding to the announcement, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “Ukrainians have always been and remain part of our common European family. Our country must be in the European Union. Ukrainians deserve it both for their defense of European values and for the fact that even in times of full-scale war, we keep our word and develop state institutions.” Luke McGee reports for CNN.
US-IRAN BACKED MILITANTS
Two U.S. fighter jets conducted an airstrike in eastern Syria on a weapons storage facility in “a clear message to Iran” that they “hold it accountable for the attacks on U.S. forces,” a senior defense official said yesterday. In a statement, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the facility was being used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups. The anonymous senior military official said that he is “pretty certain there were some secondary explosions that indicated the facility was housing weapons,” which he believes “are likely used in many of the strikes that have taken place” against U.S. forces so far. He also said that he is “very certain” the strike “did not involve civilian loss” or any casualties. The strike is the second time the United States has hit facilities utilized by Iranian-backed groups, following the near daily attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria by Iranian proxies since October. Haley Britzky and Natasha Bertrand report for CNN.
Iranian-backed Youthi militants shot down a U.S. military drone off the Yemeni coast, as tensions increase between Washington and the Iran-backed groups in the wake of the war. Both a U.S. official and a Houthi military spokesperson confirmed the incident. The United States recently moved military assets to the Middle East and just last month, a U.S. navy warship intercepted missiles and drones launched by the Houthis toward Israel. Oliver Slow reports for BBC News.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said today that he shares concerns with South Korea over the growing military relationship between North Korea and Russia, which he labeled as a “two-way street” of support. Blinken is currently on a visit to South Korea and said the supply of military equipment by North Korea in exchange for Russian technical support is “a real concern for the security of the Korean Peninsula, a real concern for global non-proliferation regimes, it’s a real concern for the Russian aggression of Ukraine and a real concern for the violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.” Blinken said he discussed deterrence strategies, including the use of nuclear forces for projection from attacks, with South Korean foreign minister Park Jin. Soo-Hyang Choi and Ju-min Park report for Reuters.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS
Ivanka Trump, daughter of the former President Donald Trump, testified in his civil fraud trial yesterday, saying she had “no involvement” in Trump’s statement of financial condition and that she did not know “the valuations were taken into account.” She is the fourth and final member of Trump’s family to testify. NBC News reports.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
Republican presidential candidates all declared support for Israel but disagreed over Ukraine and China during their first debate since the Israel-Hamas war broke out. Among the five candidates was Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador, who said she would end trade relations with China “until they stop murdering Americans from fentanyl.” The candidates also responded to why they should beat former President Donald Trump, and discussed topics such as abortion rights. Michelle L.Price and Jill Colvin report for AP News.