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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news
A U.S. Special Operations strike in the Baghdad capital yesterday killed a senior leader of Katai’ib Hezbollah, which is the Iran-backed militia that U.S. officials blame for the attack in Jordan, the Pentagon said. A senior Katai’ib Hezbollah official and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps both said that two commanders had been killed in the strike. A U.S. official said the strike was a “dynamic” hit on the commander, whom American intelligence had been tracking for some time. Helene Cooper and Alissa J. Rubin report for the New York Times.
Iraq has issued a warning to the United States in response to yesterday’s airstrike in Baghdad, calling the attack a “new aggression” by Washington that “undermine[s] all understandings” between Iraq and the United States. A spokesperson for Iraq’s Joint Operation Command added that the strikes are a “violation of Iraqi sovereignty.” Mohamed Tawfeeq reports for CNN.
Repeated U.S. strikes against Iran-backed groups in Iraq are pushing the government to end the mission of the U.S.-led coalition in the country, the prime minister of Iraq’s military spokesperson Yahya Rasool said today. Reuters reports.
European diplomats have proposed measures to reduce tensions along the Lebanon-Israel border, officials said yesterday. The proposal includes a pullback by Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah and the deployment of thousands of additional Lebanese troops, and would be based on the “partial implementation” of the U.N. Security Council resolution that ended the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006, two Lebanese political officials and a Lebanese diplomat said. Bassem Mroue reports for AP News.
The Syrian army said Israel struck targets in the Homs province, killing or injuring several people. The attacks targeted Shuyrat air base and nearby sites, a Syrian military source said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor group, said four people were killed in the attacks, including two civilians. Patrick Johnson reports for BBC News.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected Hamas’s counteroffer to a ceasefire proposal yesterday, adding that negotiations with the group were “not going anywhere” and describing their terms as “bizarre.” Israel was expected to take issue with Hamas’s counter-offer, but its response was a categorical rebuke, indicating that Israeli officials see Hamas’s effort to end the war on its terms as unacceptable. BBC News reports.
Israel’s military has proposed immediately extending the length of military service for conscripts and reservists, increasing the compulsory enlistment period to 36 months for all service members. The plan, proposed yesterday, requires legislative approval before going into effect. Under current Israeli law, men must serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for 32 months, and women for 24 months. Lars Dolder reports for the New York Times.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — REGIONAL RESPONSE
Jordanian King, Abdullah II, has departed for a tour of several Western capitals including a meeting with President Biden in Washington to press for a ceasefire. “The royal tour aims to mobilize international support for a ceasefire in Gaza, protect civilians, [and] provide humanitarian aid to the Strip on a permanent and sufficient basis,” a statement from Jordan’s Royal Hashemite Court said today. Ibrahim Dahman and Vasco Cotovio report for CNN.
A Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo today for talks on Gaza, the militant group said in a statement. “A delegation from the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas arrived Thursday morning, headed by Dr. Khalil Al-Hayya, deputy head of the movement in Gaza, traveled to Cairo to complete talks related to the ceasefire.” Ibrahim Dahman reports for CNN.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
French President Emmanuel Macron described the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks as the “largest antisemitic attack of our century” during a ceremony yesterday for French victims in the attacks in the Invalides military complex in Paris. A total of 42 French and dual French-Israeli nationals were killed in the attacks, and six were injured. Three remain missing and are presumed to have been taken hostage by Hamas. Laura Gozzi reports for BBC News.
The southern Gaza city of Rafah is a “humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said. Rafah is where “hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been squeezed in a desperate search for safety,” Guterres added, urgently calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the unconditional release of all hostages.” Richard Both and Eyad Kourdi report for CNN.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — U.S. RESPONSE
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday that he still hopes a deal could be reached between Israel and Hamas for a fighting pause despite “nonstarters” in Hamas’s response. “We’ve looked very carefully at what came back from Hamas and there are clearly nonstarters in what it’s put forward,” he said during a visit to Israel. “But we also see space in what came back to pursue negotiations to see if we can get to an agreement, and that’s what we intend to do.” Zolan Kanno-Youngs reports for the New York Times.
Blinken told Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Jerusalem yesterday that the Biden administration is concerned about the possible expansion of Israel’s military operation into Rafah, an Israeli official and a source briefed on the issue said. Over one million Palestinians, many of whom are displaced from elsewhere in Gaza, are in Rafah and the surrounding areas along the border between Gaza and Egypt. Washington is concerned the operation will lead to mass casualties without evacuating the civilian population, and fears tens of thousands of Palestinians will be pushed into Egypt. The Egyptian government has previously warned the displacement of Palestinians into Egypt would rupture relations with Israel. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.
Blinken met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah yesterday. Blinken and Abbas discussed “developments in the ongoing efforts to stop the aggression against our people,” according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA. Abbas reiterated “it is not possible to accept or deal with the plans of the occupation authorities to separate [the Gaza Strip], or cut off any inch of its land, and it falls under the responsibility of the State of Palestine and under its administration,” WAFA reported. Ibrahim Hazboun and Eyad Kourdi report for CNN.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) arrested an American woman in the West Bank on Monday for “incitement on social media” during an operation in the Silwad village area, the IDF told the Washington Post yesterday. “Suspects arrested in the operation were transferred to the security forces for further questioning,” the IDF said, without providing further information about Esmail’s alleged social media activity. The State Department said it was aware of the arrest and was seeking additional information. Niha Masih reports for the Washington Post.
Russia’s election commission has rejected anti-war challenger Boris Nadezhdin as a candidate in next month’s presidential vote. Nadezhdin had been openly critical of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and tried to challenge claims by the election commission that over 15% of the signatures he submitted with his application were flawed. BBC News reports.
At least five people were killed in militant attacks in Pakistan yesterday as the country voted in a general election following the government temporarily suspending mobile phone services and closing some land borders. Pakistan’s interior ministry said it took the measures after at least 26 people were killed in two blasts in close proximity to the offices of electoral candidates in the Balochistan province, attacks for which the self-styled Islamic state militant group later claimed responsibility. Asif Shahzad and Ariba Shahid report for Reuters.
At least five agents of Haiti’s BSAP, an armed environmental agency that has evolved into a paramilitary body, were killed in a shootout with police in Port-au-Prince yesterday. Reuters reports.
A former civilian member of Canada’s national police force has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for leaking intelligence to organized crime figures. Nadine Yousif reports for BBC News.
U.N. sanctions monitors are investigating dozens of suspected cyber attacks by North Korea that raked in $3 billion to further its nuclear development program, according to excerpts of an unpublished U.N. report reviewed by Reuters.
North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly voted to end all agreements with South Korea on promoting economic cooperation, the official KCNA news agency reported today. Jack Kim reports for Reuters.
Russian missile and drone strikes yesterday targeted cities across Ukraine, killing at least five people and wounding dozens more, Ukrainian authorities said. The country was put under air alert and attacks were reported as far west as Lviv, near the Polish border. Patrick Jackson reports for BBC News.
A two-month-old baby was killed and his mother injured when a Russian missile hit a three-storey hotel in the village of Zolochiv, the Kharkiv regional governor said. Two other women were also injured. Paul Kirby reports for BBC News.
Large numbers of Russian troops are attacking the city of Avdiivka from all directions, its mayor said yesterday. “The enemy is pressuring from all directions. They are storming with very numerous forces,” Avdiivka mayor Vitaliy Barabash said. Reuters reports.
Robert Hur, the Special Counsel examining President Biden’s handling of classified documents following his vice presidency, has completed his investigation, Attorney General Merrick Garland told congressional leaders yesterday. In a letter, Garland said he is “committed to making as much of the Special Counsel’s report public as possible” following the White House’s completion of a review for potential executive privilege information. Rebecca Falconer reports for Axios.
The Department of Justice announced charges in two separate cases yesterday over allegedly “sophisticated schemes to transfer sensitive technology, goods, and information” to benefit the governments of China and Iran. In one case, a U.S. citizen born in China is accused of stealing trade secrets which “would be dangerous to U.S. national security if obtained by international actors,” according to court documents. Separately, two Iranian nationals in New York were charged with conspiring to export aerospace equipment to Iran. Rebecca Falconer reports for Axios.
A U.S. official in charge of diplomatic security was arrested Tuesday for alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Kevin Alstrup, who worked for the State Department during the incident, faces four misdemeanor charges. Alstrup is no longer employed by the federal agency. Brandon Drenon reports for BBC News.
Senate Republicans yesterday defeated 49-50 a bipartisan bill to strengthen border security that had taken months to negotiate, but lawmakers said they may approve aid for Ukraine and Israel that had been tied up in the deal. Patricia Zengerle, Makini Brice, and Richard Cowan report for Reuters.
U.S. House of Representatives Education Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) warned Harvard University yesterday that failure to provide documents related to the committee’s investigation into antisemitism on U.S. college campuses could result in a subpoena. Shauneen Miranda reports for Axios.
The stabbing of a Palestinian-American man protesting against the war in Gaza meets the police definition of a hate crime, Texas investigators say. The alleged attack occurred on Sunday near the University of Texas in Austin. Max Matza reports for BBC News.