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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news
Israel’s Defense Minister said yesterday that the war against Hamas “will last more than several months…but we will win and we will destroy them.”
Israel’s President Isaac Herzog yesterday said now isn’t the time to discuss a two-state solution. “What I want to urge is against just saying a two-state solution. Why? Because there is an emotional chapter here that must be dealt with. My nation is bereaving. My nation is in trauma,”Herzog said. Julia Frankel reports for AP News.
Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Wednesday that his armed Palestinian faction is “open to any ideas of initiatives” which would bring an end to the war. Haniyeh has previously said that a postwar Gaza without Hamas’ reign is “an illusion.” Aaron Boxerman reports for the New York Times.
Hamas’ tunnels “were built by well-trained and educated engineers who considered all possible attacks from the occupation, including pumping water,” spokesperson Osama Hamdan said yesterday, following reports of Israel pumping the tunnels with seawater. Hamdan said the tunnels “are an integral part of the resistance, and all consequences and expected attacks have been taken into account.” Meanwhile Israeli officials said they are only flooding tunnels which they believe do not contain any hostages. Hamdi Alkhshali reports for CNN.
A three-day military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin killed at least 12 people and wounded 34 others, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. Residents reported that Israeli military vehicles left the region yesterday afternoon, indicating an end to its military operation in the area. Hiba Yazbek reports for the New York Times.
Israeli airstrikes killed 26 people and injured many more as it struck neighborhoods in southern Gaza yesterday. Cate Brown reports for the Washington Post.
Israeli forces said yesterday they apprehended dozens of “terror operatives” and detained more than 70 individuals from Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza. It follows widespread concern of Israeli operations at Gaza’s hospitals, with the head of the W.H.O, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying earlier this week he was “extremely worried” about Israel’s reported operations in healthcare facilities. Israeli forces raided the hospital for a second consecutive day on Wednesday, UN News said. Matthew Mpoke Bigg reports for the New York Times.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society said today that its ambulances transported 10 people who were killed, and a further 15 who were injured, following a bombing in Deir al-Balah. They released a video showing paramedics carrying wounded children. The organization said it has struggled to contact its team in Gaza due to the telecoms blackout. In a post on X, they said “We feel extreme concern about the possibility of our teams continuing to provide emergency services, especially as this disruption affects the central 101 operation room and hinders the arrival of ambulances to the injured and wounded.” Doha Madani reports for NBC News.
Telecommunications were down in the Gaza Strip yesterday, marking the sixth time of communications blackout since the war broke out. “We regret to announce that all telecom services in Gaza Strip have been lost due to the ongoing aggression,” the two major Palestinian mobile networks announced on social media. It is unclear what caused the blackout and Israel has not responded to requests for comment. Ephrat Livni reports for the New York Times.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — U.S. RESPONSE
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan traveled to Israel yesterday for two days of meetings with Israeli officials. An anonymous U.S. official said the conversations will focus on “campaign, objectives, phasing, what to expect to see over the coming days and weeks.” Yesterday, Sullivan met with Mossad Director David Barnea to discuss counterterrorism, Iran, and other regional issues. Bryan Peitsch and Karen DeYoung report for the Washington Post.
Sullivan is due to meet with the Palestinian president today to discuss postwar arrangements for Gaza. Those discussions could include reintroducing Palestinian security forces to the region who were driven out by Hamas in its 2007 takeover, according to a senior U.S. official. Karin Laub, Najib Jobain, and Bassem Mroue report for AP News.
National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby in a White House press briefing said he does not “want to put a time stamp” on scaling down of the war, adding “I think you can understand the last thing we want to do is telegraph to Hamas what they’re likely to face in the coming weeks and months.” Bryan Peitsch and Karen DeYoung report for the Washington Post.
“I can only tell you that President Biden still believes in the promise and the potential of a two-state solution,” Kirby told CBS news yesterday, adding that the White House is aware a two-state solution is “elusive.” For a two-state solution to work, “it is going to require leadership on both sides,” Kirby added. Lauren Irwin reports for The Hill.
The United States has gathered intelligence about Israel and Hamas’ tactics in Gaza, according to two sources familiar with the intelligence. The data has been shared with members of Congress and includes information on the weaponry used and the casualties caused by both sides. Details of potential Israeli violations, through a system called the Civilian Harm Incident Response Guidance, is also being collected by State Department officials, according to former employee Josh Paul. Paul, who has since quit the State Department, said officials within the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs have asked the State’s legal wing to “provide information about their potential international law exposure as a result of approving these sales,” suggesting that Biden’s comment of Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing” was based on information he had from such intelligence. Erin Banco, Nahal Toosi, and Alexander Ward report for POLITICO.
Senior adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister Mark Regev said the Israeli military has shown the U.S. its “rigorous process” of how it chooses targets. “We can disagree on tactics but we share the same goal,” he said, adding that Israel has done its “utmost” to reduce civilian harm. BBC News reports.
A cargo carrying the Liberian flag caught fire in the Red Sea today after being struck by a projectile which was launched from Yemen, according to a U.S. defense official. The Iranian-backed Houthis have not yet claimed responsibility, but have launched similar attacks on international and Israeli-owned shipping since the start of the Israel-Hamas War. Jon Gambrell reports for AP News.
German authorities yesterday detained four men – alleged to be Hamas members – on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack on Jewish institutions in Germany. The arrests mark the first time since the Oct. 7 attacks that a Hamas plot to target Europe has been publicly uncovered by authorities. It follows recent E.U. warnings about the increased risk of terror attacks. Bertrand Benoit reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Former German intelligence officers who are on trial accused of selling secrets to Russia began their case in Berlin’s highest criminal court this week. The case is expected to last into next Summer, with both men facing charges of high treason. Christopher F. Scheutze reports for the New York Times.
President Biden spoke with Turkish President Erdogan yesterday, where discussions focussed on a range of issues, including bilateral relations and the war in Gaza. The White House said Biden “reiterated his support for Israel’s right to defend itself” and urged the “need for a political horizon for the Palestinian people,” during the telephone call. Meanwhile Erdogan’s office said discussions also focussed on Turkish-U.S. relations, including the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. Reuters reports.
Finland closed its border with Russia again yesterday, just two days after initially reopening it. Finland’s Interior Minister said all crossings will close tonight and remain closed until Jan. 14. Finland first closed its borders in mid-November after accusing Russia of facilitating entry for asylum seekers. Russian authorities have labeled these allegations as unsubstantiated. Johanna Lemola and Emma Bubola report for the New York Times.
The parties to a cease-fire in parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have agreed a two-week extension, according to an anonymous senior U.S. official. The deal comes ahead of the general elections taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Dec. 20. The cease-fire was announced by the White House on Monday, which was scheduled to last 72 hours, and applied equally to armed and non-state armed forces. U.S. officials said the initial cease-fire was “broadly” adhered to. Trevor Hunnicutt reports for Reuters.
Baluch militants attacked a police station in the province of Sistan-Baluchestan in southeastern Iran early today, killing 11 security persons and injuring many more, according to state-run media. The report added that members of the militant Jaish al-Adl group were also killed in the clashes. Reuters reports.
Venezuela and Guyana have agreed to “not threaten or use force against one another in any circumstance” over the ongoing dispute over the oil-rich territory of Essequibo. The country’s leaders met and issued a three-page joint declaration confirming that a joint commission of foreign ministers will be established and that both leaders will meet again in Brazil to continue dialogue. Ruth Comerford and Leanordo Rocha report for BBC News.
The Philippines is planning for a possible escalation of conflict in the South China Sea, according to a senior military official. The Chief of the Philippines’ Western Command said on Wednesday that his country is “brainstorming this, we are wargaming this and we are prepared for any contingency that will happen.” Reuters reports.
Hungary blocked $55 billion in E.U. aid for Ukraine yesterday. The aid negotiations will continue into the new year, E.U. leaders confirmed. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state media today that he tried for eight hours to stop the vote going ahead, without success. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said while the E.U. could not strike a unanimous vote, he is “fairly confident” Orban will agree a deal “early next year.” Jaroslav Lukiv reports for BBC News.
Russia launched ballistic missiles at Kyiv on Wednesday which injured more than 50 people and damaged multiple apartment buildings, marking the third attack on Ukraine’s capital in the past week. The Ukrainian Air Force said the attack involved 10 missiles, all of which were shot down, but added that the debris from the interceptions damaged residential infrastructure. Constant Méheut and John Yoon report for the New York Times.
The E.U. agreed to the 12th package of sanctions against Russia yesterday, with the new sanctions including a ban on Russian non-industrial diamond imports and increasing the proof required from companies who claim they adhere to the G7 Russian oil price cap. Julia Payne and Andrew Gray report for Reuters.
The U.S. Senate will vote on military aid for Ukraine and Israel next week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said yesterday. “So much hangs on our success. We know the world is watching,” he said. The announcement comes amid the ongoing dispute over foreign aid, with Republicans making clear that they will only vote for such funding if changes are made to border policies. Manikin Brice and Ted Hesson report for Reuters.
A thirteen-year-old boy was accused of planning a mass shooting at an Ohio synagogue, according to court documents. Reports state he is set to go to trial on Dec. 20, and the court documents state that law enforcement officials claim he “did create a detailed plan to complete a mass shooting at the Temple Israel on the Discord platform.” Sarah Fortinksy reports for The Hill.
Former FBI special agent, Charles McGonigal, who led the Counterintelligence Department at the New York Field Office, was sentenced to 50 months in prison yesterday after pleading guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to violate U.S. sanctions and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. McGonigal provided services in 2021 to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who was among the Russian officials sanctioned for meddling in the 2018 U.S. presidential elections. McGonigal is understood to have helped Deripaska investigate a rival Russian oligarch in exchange for money. Sareen Habeshian reports for Axios.