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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the weekend. Here’s today’s news
The Israeli military (IDF) released two videos yesterday showing what they say is a 55-meter section of a tunnel running 10 meters beneath the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. The first video showed parts of a metal staircase, while the second longer video started above ground and showed a tunnel with utility cables along one wall, which Israeli officials described as a blast proof door. They said the doors are used by Hamas to “block Israeli forces from entering the command centers and the underground assets belonging to Hamas.” Ishabel Kershner reports for the New York Times.
The Israeli military (IDF) released CCTV footage yesterday which they say shows hostages being taken into Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza during the Oct.7 attacks. IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Hagari played the footage at a news briefing, which shows armed men with one hostage on a stretcher and another appearing to be resisting. The Hamas-run health ministry said it was not able to confirm the authenticity of the footage. Nick Beake reports for BBC News.
A total of 13,000 people are now estimated to have been killed in Gaza since the war broke out, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. BBC news reports.
Israel intensified violence in northern Gaza on Saturday moving armored corps units and infantry in densely packed Gaza City regions. The IDF said in a statement it was “expanding activities” in the area “in order to target terrorists and strike Hamas infrastructure.” Claire Parker, Liz Sly, Hazem Balousha, and Loay Ayyoub reports for the Washington Post.
At least 12 people including a medical worker have been killed in an Israeli air strike on the Indonesian hospital in Gaza today, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Israeli tanks moved in on the hospital, with the IDF confirming in a statement that “troops continue to operate in the Gaza Strip, directing aircraft to strike terrorists, terrorist infrastructure, and locating weapons and military equipment.” They also said three company commanders of Hamas had been killed. Najib Jobain and Samy Magdy report for AP News.
More than 80 people were killed in two Israeli strikes on Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza on Saturday according to the Hamas-run health ministry. A U.N. school which was being used as a shelter for some 7,000 displaced people was also struck in the region, with it estimated that at least 176 displaced people have been killed while sheltering at U.N. schools since the start of Israel’s military campaign. The U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said in a statement yesterday that “our premises are inviolable,” referencing that “hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians are seeking shelter at United Nations facilities throughout Gaza.” France24 reports.
Health officials said 31 premature babies in “extremely critical condition” were safely transferred yesterday from Al-Shifa hospital and will go to Egypt, while more than 250 critically ill patients remain stranded at the hospital. The director of Gaza hospitals said the babies were receiving urgent care in Rafah and were suffering from dehydration, hypothermia, and sepsis in some cases. Najib Jobain and Samy Magdy report for AP News.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – REGIONAL RESPONSE
Arab ministers called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza today at a meeting in Beijing with Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi. In comments posted on X, the Egyptian foreign minister said “We look forward to a stronger role on the part of great powers such as China in order to stop the attacks against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Unfortunately, there are major countries that give cover to the current Israeli attacks.” Yew Lun Tian and Laurie Chen report for Reuters.
Israel said yesterday that Yemen’s Houthis seized a British owned Japanese operated cargo ship in the southern Red Sea, labeling the incident as an “Iranian act of terrorsim.” The Houthis confirmed they seized the ship, which had 25 crew members on board, but described it as Israeli, saying “we are treating the ship’s crew in accordance with Islamic principles and values.” The incident comes amid rising tensions between Israel, the US, and Iran-backed militant groups. Dan Willains, Chang-Ran Kim, Mohammed Alghobari, Mariko Katsumura and John Geddie report for Reuters.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
France will send a second hospital ship, an airplane with more than 10 tonnes of medical supplies, and civil and military planes to Gaza this week, President Emmanuel Macron’s office said in a statement yesterday. The second hospital ship, a helicopter-carrier, will arrive in Egypt in the coming days. Geert De Clercq reports for Reuters.
Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi says China “fully supports” a two-state solution in Gaza and called on the international community to “act now and take effective measures to end the humanitarian disaster.” BBC News reports.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday that she opposed the “forced displacement of Palestinians” during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Von der Leyen arrived in Egypt as part of the E.U. humanitarian convoy. In a statement posted on X, she “thanked Egypt for its key role in providing and facilitating humanitarian aid to vulnerable Palestinians,” and said both countries are “working together on a strategic, comprehensive partnership that is mutually beneficial.” France24 reports.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – US RESPONSE
Israel’s ambassador to Washington Michael Herzog said yesterday that he was “hopeful” a hostage release deal will be completed “in the coming days.” U.S. officials have been attempting to broker a deal between Hamas and Israel that could see at least a five-day pause in fighting and allow the release of an initial 50 women and children captives. Meanwhile, Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said yesterday that “we are closer than we have been perhaps at any point since these negotiations began weeks ago” in securing a deal. Hamas has been represented in the hostage discussions by Qatar, and the Qatari Prime Minister said yesterday he was “now more confident that we are close enough to reach a deal.” Karen DeYoung reports for the Washington Post.
The White House warned Israel against carrying out offensive operations in southern Gaza until it has accounted for the rise of displaced civilians in the region. Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said Israel should focus on “greater and enhanced protections for civilian life” which it can do by “narrowing the area of active combat.” He also said that the “Palestinian Authority is the only official institutional representative of the Palestinian people in the West Bank [and] that it will have to be part of any way forward when it comes to governance both in Gaza and the West Bank.” Sam Fossum reports for CNN.
Jon Finer refused to say whether Israel is following international law at an interview yesterday, saying that he was not going to “play judge and jury” on the question. When asked if the White House stands by Israel’s assessment onAl-Shifa hospital, Finer said U.S. intelligence suggests that Hamas has used Al-Shifa “in an unconscionable way as a command and control facility for the planning of terrorist attacks and the execution of terrorist attacks.” He added, “that does not, in our view, mean that Israel should conduct airstrikes on the hospital or ground assaults on the hospital. We’ve been equally clear about that.”Summer Concepcion reports for NBC News.
A letter signed by 137 signatories, including President Biden’s former chief of staff, 19 former ambassadors, and former Obama administration members expressed praise for Biden’s “moral clarity, courageous leadership and staunch support for Israel.” This letter comes before Biden is expected to receive a dissenting letter signed by 500 anonymous people demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. Organizers say the letter in support of Biden should hold more weight because it publicly lists the names of all those who signed it, including former senior officials. Michael Crowley reports for the New York Times.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged Florida’s ban on pro-Palestinian university groups in a federal lawsuit last Thursday. They argued that the ban, which ordered colleges to shut down chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine, violated students’ free speech. The lawsuit was filed against Governor Ron DeSantis, a 2024 Republican presidential hopeful and the official of several state universities. “If Florida officials think silencing pro-Palestinian students protects the Jewish community — or anyone, they’re wrong. This attack on free speech is dangerous,” said the interim executive director of ACLU. Gabriella Borter reports for Reuters.
Argentina elected right-wing libertarian Javier Milei as its new President yesterday on a 56% vote share. “We have monumental problems ahead: inflation, lack of work, and poverty,” he said, referencing Milei’s $44 billion debt program and inflation nearing 150% amid economic turmoil. “The situation is critical and there is no place for tepid half-measures,” Milei added, adding that he will not deal with “communists” and favors U.S. relations. Nicolás Misculin, Lucinda Elliott and Walter Bianchi report for Reuters.
Japan condemned the hijacking of a Japanese-operated cargo ship by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. Japan’s chief cabinet secretary said it is working towards releasing the vessel, and a Japanese government spokesperson said the car carrier was operated by Nippon Yusen. Emily McGarvey reports for BBC News.
The Philippines has approached Vietnam and Malaysia to discuss a code of conduct regarding the South China Sea, its president said yesterday. Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said tensions with China over the South China Sea have become “more dire,” and that he has taken the “initiative to approach those other countries around ASEAN with whom we have existing territorial conflicts…to make our own code of conduct” which he hopes will extend to other ASEAN countries. Mikhail Flores and Liz Lee report for Reuters.
Russia launched waves of drone attacks on Kyiv for the second night in a row, as Ukraine’s air defense systems hit around 10 drones in Kyiv and its outskirts, according to Ukraine’s head of the military administration, Serhiy Popko. No “critical damage” or casualties have been reported by Moscow or Kyiv. Ukraine said it shot down 29 out of the 28 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Russia on Saturday night, as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised his air force for their “accuracy.” Emily McGarvey reports for BBC News.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv unannounced today, in a push to continue weapons and funding to Ukraine. “I’m here today to deliver an important message — the United States will continue to stand with Ukraine in their fight for freedom against Russia’s aggression, both now and into the future,” Austin posted on X. To date, Ukraine has received more than $44 billion from the US and more than $35 billion from allies in weapons, including air defense systems, battle tanks and fighter jets. Tara Copp and Felipe Dana report for AP News.
Former President Donald Trump will remain on the Colorado primary ballot after a judge rejected an attempt to bar him from running in the Republican 2024 presidential primary on Friday. While District Judge Sarah Wallace found that Trump “engaged in an insurrection” of the Capitol riots, she ruled that the 14th amendment’s insurrection ban does not apply to presidents because Section 3 of the Amendment does not explicitly name them. The ruling is the latest setback against efforts to disqualify Trump from running in elections and similar lawsuits in Michigan, New Hampshire, and Minnesota have all failed. The organization which filed for the Colorado lawsuit, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said they would be filing an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court in due course. BBC News reports.