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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the weekend. Here’s today’s news
An Israeli military sniper killed a mother and daughter inside the Holy Family Parish in Gaza on Saturday, according to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which oversees Catholic Churches across Cyprus, Jordan, Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. Seven others were wounded from the attack on the complex, which is housing most of Gaza’s Christian families seeking safety. Pope Francis condemned the attack and said that “unarmed civilians are targets for bombs and gunfire. And this has happened even within the parish complex of the Holy Family, where there are no terrorists, but families, children, people who are sick and have disabilities, sisters.” Maija Ehlinger, Jomana Karadsheh, Kareem El Damanhoury, and Heather Chen report for CNN.
Three Israeli hostages who were mistakenly killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza on Friday, were holding a white cloth, the Israeli military said. Israel confirmed an investigation is underway “at the highest level” and that the case was “against our rules of engagement.” An Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) official said one of its soldiers felt threatened by the men before declaring them “terrorists” and opening fire. The hostages were either abandoned by their captors or had escaped, according to the official. Hugo Bachega reports for BBC News.
Questions of Israel’s pre-war Hamas intelligence have been raised following the Israeli military saying yesterday, in a post on X, it has discovered the largest tunnel in Gaza which facilitated the transit of militants, equipment, and vehicles just a few hundred yards away from the nearby Israeli military base and fortified Erez crossing. The military said the tunnel shaft is over 2.5 miles in length and links up with Hamas’ wider tunnel network throughout Gaza. Israeli military spokesperson Major Nir Dinar said, “As far as I know, this tunnel doesn’t cross from Gaza into Israel and stops within 400 meters from the border, which means the indicators won’t indicate that a tunnel is being built.” His statement is a reference that while Israel was aware of the presence of Hamas tunnels prior to Oct. 7, it was not aware of the extent of such a tunnel network. POLITICO reports.
The U.N. has called for an investigation into the deaths at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza following an Israeli military raid in the medical facility. Israel claimed its armed forces detained several Hamas members and discovered a trove of weaponry and military equipment, some of which was allegedly hidden inside an incubator and a newborn resuscitation station. The military withdrew from the hospital on Saturday after initially entering last Tuesday. The IDF said yesterday that its military personnel communicated with medical staff prior to entering, and that all but “a few dozen” civilians refused to evacuate the hospital. Fatima AbdulKarim, Saeed Shah, and Margherita Stancati report for the Wall Street Journal.
Humanitarian aid entered the Gaza Strip through a second border crossing yesterday, the U.N. said. A spokesperson for the U.N. agency said that Israel has agreed to allow up to 200 trucks a day through the Kerem Shalom crossing, in addition to the aid passing via Rafah. Meanwhile Israel’s agency overseeing policy for the Palestinian territories, known as COGAT, said yesterday that 79 humanitarian aid trucks were inspected and able to pass through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Vivian Yee reports for the New York Times.
At least 110 people were killed and dozens more injured in the past 24 hours following Israeli attacks on Jabalia in northern Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. CNN reports.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — REGIONAL RESPONSE
Israel and Hamas are open to a renewed ceasefire and hostage release deal, according to two Egyptian security sources. Both Egypt and Qatar – which brokered the original deal – demanded the opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing before negotiations could begin, the sources said. Hamas is insisting on setting the list of hostages unilaterally and for Israel to withdraw behind specific lines, while Israel is demanding a timeline to see the list before agreeing on details of a cease-fire, according to the sources. Reuters reports.
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan asked U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a phone call yesterday for Washington to use its influence and leverage over Israel to end the attacks in Gaza, according to a Turkish diplomatic source. “Fidan emphasized the need for Israel to be made to sit at the (negotiating) table after a full ceasefire is achieved, in order to start a process aimed at realizing a fair and lasting peace based on a two-state solution,” the source added. Reuters reports.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
France called for an “immediate and durable truce” in the war, as French foreign minister Catherine Colonna met with Israeli foreign minister, Eli Cohen. A statement released by the French foreign ministry prior to the visit said Colona would call for a truce which should “lead to a lasting ceasefire with the aim of releasing all hostages and delivering aid to Gaza.” Mr Cohen reiterated Israel’s stance during the meeting that there would not be a ceasefire, but said that France could have an important role in preventing regional tensions arising from the war. France’s foreign ministry also insisted Israel explain an airstrike which killed one of its staff in Rafah last week. BBC News reports.
U.K’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron and Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said yesterday in a jointly authored Sunday Times piece that they would like to see a “sustainable ceasefire.” It follows the U.K abstention last week in the UN Security Council vote for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire. “We do not believe that calling right now for a general and immediate ceasefire, hoping it somehow becomes permanent, is the way forward,” Cameron added. Andre Rhoden-Paul reports for BBC News.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — U.S. RESPONSE
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to visit Israel and three Persian Gulf nations this week, following the Biden administration’s recent urges for Israel to move to a more narrowly focused phase in the war. Austin will meet with Netanyahu and Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, where discussions are to focus on how Israel can carry out this new phase of war involving smaller groups of forces, U.S. officials said. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will also join Austin for the talks. Eric Schmitt reports for the New York Times.
The Biden administration is exploring options to strike back against the Houthis following new attacks over the weekend, according to two U.S. officials. The USS Carney shot down 14 one-way drones launched from a Houthi-controlled region in Yemen on Saturday morning, while the British-HMS Diamond shot down a Houthi drone. On Friday, the Houthis struck a Liberian-flagged vessel in the Red Sea and launched two ballistic missiles toward the Bab el-Mandeb strait, which struck another LIberian-flagged vessel. A Pentagon spokesperson declined to comment on ongoing plans, although three additional destroyers have been moved into the Mediterranean Sea this week, and one official said a Carrier Strike Group vessel has been moved into the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Yemen, to support U.S. defense in the area. Lara Seligman and Alexander Ward report for POLITICO.
Israel said yesterday it struck the Iran-backed Hezbollah weapon launch sites and facilities in Lebanon in response to attacks with tank fire, airstrikes, and artillery, while Hezbollah said it attacked Israeli army targets along the border including barracks and a command center. Israel did not report any casualties from the attacks. Reuters reports.
North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile which flew 354 miles before landing into the sea in a “clear violation” of U.N. Security Council resolutions, South Korea said. Seoul’s military said it was sharing the information with the United States and Japan to further assess details, while maintaining plans against future North Korean military activities. High-level security talks between the White House and South Korean officials took place over the weekend, where contingencies were agreed to update nuclear deterrence and incorporate nuclear strategy scenarios in their combined military exercises, scheduled to take place next summer. North Korea’s Defense Ministry condemned the Seoul-Washington relationship, and said their decision to include nuclear strategies in their upcoming joint drills is an open threat. POLITICO reports.
Two Chinese balloons flew north of Taiwan and crossed the Taiwan Strait yesterday, the island’s Defense Ministry said today. It marks the second time this month a Chinese balloon was spotted near Taiwan’s territory, and on this occasion, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry did not confirm whether it suspects the balloon was used for surveillance purposes. AP News reports.
The United States will continue to cooperate and work with Vietnam despite Hanoi’s announcement last week that it has strengthened relations with China on defense matters. “Our relationship with Vietnam is not about any third country,” a spokesperson at the U.S. embassy in Hanoi said. Francesco Guarascio reports for Reuters.
Chile rejected a new constitution in a referendum held yesterday proposed by conservative delegates which would have changed laws on abortion access, the right to strike, and the rights of indigenous people. The draft constitution was rejected on a 56% vote share. Christy Cooney reports for BBC News.
Pro-democracy media tycoon and Apple Daily newspaper founder Jimmy Lai begins his long-awaited 80-day estimated trial in Hong Kong court on charges that he “colluded with foreign forces.” Lai, 76, faces life imprisonment if found guilty, and has been jailed pending trial since December 2020. Lai is one of more than 250 activists, protesters, and lawmakers, who have been detained under National Security Law (NSL) and sedition charges since 2020. Lai was born in China and moved to Hong Kong as a child, and is now a U.K. citizen. David Cameron, British foreign secretary, said he is “particularly concerned at the politically motivated prosecution of British national [Lai],” adding that Lai was “targeted in a clear attempt to stop the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and association”. Meanwhile the Chinese embassy in the U.K. said, “The UK’s backing of an anti-China, Hong Kong destabiliser who broke the law constitutes a flagrant interference in a case that has already entered judicial proceedings.” Kelly Ng reports for BBC News.
Ukraine and Russia exchanged drone attacks for a second straight day yesterday, with one attack reportedly striking a Russian military airport. The Russian Defense Ministry said at least 35 Ukrainian drones were shot down overnight in southwestern Russia, and a Russian Telegram channel critical of Moscow said a Russian air base storing bomber aircraft was targeted by Ukraine. A major Ukrainian newspaper said yesterday that Kyiv’s military successfully struck the Morozovsk air base, causing “significant damage” to Moscow’s military equipment. Karl Ritter reports for AP News.
The Senate is unlikely to advance aid for Ukraine this side of the year following yesterday’s negotiation meetings. Despite negotiations taking place almost daily, the hold up centers around the border security measures demanded by Senate Republicans as a condition of passing President Biden’s $106 billion aid package, which includes Ukraine and Israel aid. Burgess Everett and Myah Ward report for POLITICO.
A sedan plowed into a parked U.S. Secret Service SUV guarding President Biden’s motorcade last night, during a visit by Biden to his campaign headquarters; both the President and the first lady were unharmed. The sedan tried to continue into a closed-off intersection, before Secret Service personnel drew weapons, surrounded the vehicle, and forced the driver to raise his arms. The Secret Service has not responded to comment at the time of writing. Colleen Long reports for AP News.
Former President Trump said on Saturday that immigrants coming to the United States are “poisoning the blood of our country.” That’s what they’ve done. They poison mental institutions and prisons all over the world, not just in South America, not just to three or four countries that we think about, but all over the world,” Trump said, adding that he “think[s] the real number is 15, 16 million people into our country.” Trump also posted on his Truth Social site in an all-caps post saying, “illegal immigration is poisoning the blood of our nation.” The term ‘blood poisoning’ was used by Hitler in his “Mein Kampf” manifesto, which the Biden campaign remarked on, saying “Donald Trump channeled his role models as he parroted Adolf Hitler, praised Kim Jong Un, and quoted Vladimir Putin while running for president on a promise to rule as a dictator and threaten American democracy.” Ginger Gibson reports for NBC News.
Hoax threats were sent to several synagogues and other Jewish institutions in at least eight states and Washington D.C., officials said. Most of the threats were about bombs and sent via email, although it was unclear whether the threats were all related. The FBI said they are continuing to work with law enforcement to gather, share and act upon threat information. Colin Sheeley Erick Mendoza, Danielle Jackson and Emilie Dorn report for NBC News.