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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the weekend. Here’s today’s news
A child is killed on average every 10 minutes in the Gaza Strip, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the UNSC on Friday that “nowhere and no one is safe.” Since the Oct.7 attacks, the WHO has verified more than 250 attacks on healthcare facilities in the West Bank and Gaza, while Israel suffered 25 attacks on healthcare facilities. He said half of Gaza’s 36 hospitals were not functioning, describing how “hospital corridors [are] crammed with the injured, the sick, the dying. Morgues overflowing. Surgery without anesthesia. Tens of thousands of displaced people sheltering at hospitals.” Michelle Nichols reports for Reuters.
Premature babies at Gaza’s largest hospital are being wrapped in foil and placed next to hot water in extreme measures to keep them alive as a result of oxygen supplies running out, the hospital director has warned. The doctor said several children have died in the intensive care unit, with images showing several newborn babies being placed in one bed having been taken off incubators. None of the hospital’s operating rooms are working due to a lack of electricity. A journalist inside Al-Shifa described how the hospital has no life-support system and that dozens of bodies are yet to be buried, as medics work by candlelight amid food rationing. Conditions at Al-Shifa hospital were described as “catastrophic” over the weekend, as bombardment of Gaza and the surrounding Al-Shifa area continued. An Israeli military spokesperson said its forces were engaged in “ongoing intense fighting,” but denied targeting the hospital. Hamdi Alkhshai, Jo Shelley and Helen Regen report for CNN.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to confirm speculation of a possible deal with Hamas to release Israeli hostages, saying in an interview yesterday that “there could be [a deal], but I think the less I said about it, the more I’ll increase the chances that it materializes…I can say that we weren’t close at all until we started the ground operation.” Kelly Garrity reports for POLITICO.
Israel says Hamas refused an offer of fuel yesterday for Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital. “Hamas, (which) is hiding in the hospitals and placing itself there, doesn’t want the fuel for the hospital…they want to get fuel that they’ll take from the hospitals to their tunnels, to their war machine,” Benjamin Netanyahu said. Hamas firmly denies Israeli allegations that it is housing command posts or tunnel networks under Gaza hospitals. Rami Ayyub reports for Reuters.
Netanyahu refused to answer whether he takes responsibility for failing to prevent the Oct.7 attacks, saying that while it is “a question that needs to be asked,” his focus is on “unit[ing] the country for one purpose; to achieve victory.” Netanyahu said Israel is doing all it can “around the clock” to release the hostages. He said the temporary evacuation corridors are “not a pause,” and that the only halt in the fighting Israel would accept is “one in which we have our hostages released.” “If you’re talking about stopping the fighting, that’s exactly what Hamas wants…an endless series of pauses that basically dissipate the battle against them.” Nadeen Ebrahim, Sophie Tanno and Amarachi Orie report for CNN.
Calls for Gaza to be “demilitarized” and “deradicalized” were echoed by Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday. He said the only force able to take military responsibility for Gaza was the Israeli force because “so far, we haven’t seen any Palestinian force, including the Palestinian Authority, that is able to do it.” When questioned about who could govern Gaza, Netanyahu said it was “too early to say” and that defeating Hamas is the “first task we have to achieve.” His comments appear at odds with the Biden administration, who last week said that there should not be any “re-occupation” of Gaza post-war. Isabel Kershner reports for the New York Times.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog denied that Israel is striking Gaza’s largest hospital, saying that “everything is operating” at the hospital. The WHO said it lost communications with its contacts inside Al-Shifa hospital due to the rising fighting, but Herzog said any suggestions of a lack of fuel or incubators for newborns was untrue, saying “we deny this at all, there is a lot of spin by Hamas…but there’s electricity in Shifa, everything is operating.” He also said his country’s strikes in Gaza were carried out “according to the rules of international humanitarian law,” adding that Israel gives “humanitarian pauses” so people can evacuate south. Herzog also said a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf was found on the body of a Hamas fighter in northern Gaza, which he says shows Hamas are learning “Hitler’s ideology of hating the Jews.” BBC News reports.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – REGIONAL RESPONSE
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that two motor shells were fired from Lebanon into Israel and landed in an open area following an alert being activated in the Galilee area. No casualties were reported. In an update on X, formerly Twitter, the IDF said it attacked an “armed terrorist cell” overnight in Lebanese territory. BBC News reports.
The head of Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah said they will continue pressuring Israel in a “battle of steadfastness and patience” and claimed it was striking deeper into Israeli territory. “There has been a quantitative improvement in terms of the number of operations and the type of weapon used,” referencing that Hezbollah used drones and new missiles against Israeli forces in recent days for the first time, some of which contained 1,100 pounds of explosives. Last week, Hezbollah fired at the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona following an Israeli drone killing a woman and three girls in southern Lebanon, and on Friday, Israeli airstrikes targeted Hezbollah weapon depots after a series of Hezbollah attacks seriously injured four Israeli soldiers. Hwaida Saad and Yara Bayoumy report for the New York Times.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
French President Emmanual Macron urged Israel to consider a cease-fire. He said, “de facto – today, civilians are bombed – de facto. These babies, these ladies, these old people are bombed and killed. So there is no reason for that and no legitimacy. So we do urge Israel to stop.” Macron emphasized his condemnation for “the terrorist” actions of Hamas, but added that he does not agree the best way for Israel to “protect itself is having a large bombing in Gaza.” Macron was asked whether he believes Israel has broken international law and responded “I’m not a judge, I’m a head of state.” Katya Adler and Toby Luckhurst reports for BBC News.
An estimated 105,000 demonstrators joined an antisemitism march in Paris yesterday, marking the largest mobilization against antisemitism since 1990. Among the protesters were former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, who can be seen holding a banner with the words “for the Republic, against antisemitism.” Macron did not join the march but said he condemned “the unbearable resurgence of unbridled antisemitism” in a letter in a French newspaper on Saturday. He said his country has seen over 1,000 antisemitic acts in the past month alone – three times more than the incident rate over the past entire year. Radina Gigova and Eve Brennan report for CNN.
US AND IRAN-BACKED MILITANTS
The United States carried out another round of airstrikes yesterday against facilities used by Iran and its proxies in eastern Syria, likely killing or injuring an undetermined number of people, Pentagon officials confirmed. Air Force fighter jets struck buildings in Abu Kamal used for storing munitions and training, as well as a safe house in Mayadin which was being used as a headquarters, officials said. The strikes come at a time of rising tensions between the United States and Iran-backed groups, with the Pentagon saying that there had been at least 48 attacks against U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq since Oct.17, injuring at least 56 U.S. troops. Eric Schmitt reports for the New York Times.
President Joe Biden wants to restore military ties with China as “it’s in the U.S. national security interest,” according to the White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, as Biden is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping this wednesday. He said the re-establishment of military ties could be made on leadership and operational levels, saying “we need those lines of communication so that there aren’t mistakes or miscalculations or miscommunication.” Katharine Jackson, Arshad Mohammed, and Andrea Shalal report for Reuters.
Nigeria’s ruling party has won elections in two states, amid concerns of violence and election rigging, as two people accused of trying to steal ballot boxes were reportedly shot dead. The electoral commission said the reports of fraud were not enough to impact the election victories. Chris Ewokor reports for BBC News.
Ukraine’s capital Kyiv was struck on Saturday in the first Russian air attack in 52 days. Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said “strong explosions were heard” and that preliminary intelligence suggests air defense systems intercepted the missiles, as local residents have been ordered to take refuge in air raid shelters. No reports of casualties have been made following the attack. Fiona Nimoni reports for BBC News.
A senior Ukrainian military officer with ties to the country’s intelligence services is alleged to have coordinated the bombing of the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines last year, according to officials in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe. Roman Chervinsky, a 48-year-old colonel, is said to have managed logistics in the attack as part of a six-person team that used deep-sea diving equipment to place explosives on gas pipelines running from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. Chervinksy’s involvement in the attack contradicts Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s public denials that his country was involved, and provides the most direct evidence to date tying Ukraine’s military and security leadership to a controversial act of sabotage that has spawned multiple criminal investigations. Shane Harris and Isabelle Khurshudyan report for the Washington Post.
Germany will double Ukraine military aid over the next year. German chancellor Olaf Sholz’s governing coalition is said to have agreed in principle to the boost, a source said. A spokesperson for Germany’s Ministry of Defense said negotiations had not finished and declined to provide further details. A formal meeting of the budget committee of the lower house of parliament is due to take place this Thursday. Gursimran Kaur in Bengaluru, Holger Hansen in Berlin, and Vera Eckert in Frankfurt report for Reuters.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS
Donald Trump Junior is set to testify as a defense witness today in his father’s civil fraud trial, marking the second time he has given evidence so far. Jack Queen reports for Reuters.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
Former President Donald Trump is planning to expand his crackdown on legal and illegal immigration if he returns to power in 2025, with plans including banning entry by people from certain Muslim-majority countries, canceling visas of foreign students who participated in anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian protests, and detaining undocumented people in camps while awaiting deportation. Trump is seeking to build the large camps to assist pressure on Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and will redirect money in the military budget should there be any Congress refusal for the necessary funds. Further plans include ending the birthright citizenship for babies born in the United States, and revoking the protected status for people from unsafe countries, including tens of thousands of Afghans who were allowed to enter following the Taliban takeover. Charlie Savage, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan report for the New York Times.
Lone Black Republican Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) dropped out of the 2024 Republican presidential election nomination yesterday. He said “I think the voters, who are the most remarkable people on the planet, have been really clear that they’re telling me: ‘Not now Tim.” Scott affirmed his support for Nikki Haley for the campaign, with two major donors to his campaign allegedly switching support to Hayley soon after his exit. Gram Slattery, Alexandra Ulmer, and Dan Whitcomb report for Reuters.
Five American service members died in a helicopter crash in the eastern Mediterranean, the U.S. military says. The aircraft suffered a refueling mishap during a routine training exercise, but the military statement did not confirm where the aircraft was flying from or the exact crash location. President Joe Biden paid tribute and said service members were putting “their lives on the line for our country every day.” BBC News reports.