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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the weekend. Here’s today’s news
Israel’s military said today it had conducted a “wave of attacks” on the southern Gazan city of Rafah to cover as soldiers freed two hostages held by Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ignored warnings by Israel’s main allies – including the United States and the United Kingdom – not to proceed with the plan to send troops into Rafah, saying that Israel had no choice but to finish its assault on Hamas, which it says is hiding members among the civilians in Rafah. Yan Zhuang, Gabby Sobelman, and Andrés R. Martínez report for the New York Times.
Hamas condemned what it called a “horrific massacre” by Israel against civilians in Rafah after Israel confirmed it conducted airstrikes near the city. “We’ve had conflicting reports on this, with heath[sic] ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra saying 67 people were killed in Rafah. But the AFP news agency, also citing the ministry, is reporting more than 100 killed in the city on the border with Egypt,” BBC News reports.
The war in Gaza has killed 28,340 and injured 67,984, the Hamas-run health ministry said today.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — REGIONAL RESPONSE
King Abdullah II of Jordan will meet with President Biden today in Washington to discuss “efforts to produce an enduring end to the crisis” and the “vision for a durable peace to include a two-state solution with Israel’s security guaranteed,” a White House statement confirmed.
Israel’s planned ground offensive into Rafah would have “dire consequences,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shourky said on Saturday. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, which has conditioned normalization with Israel on an end to the war and steps toward Palestinian statehood, issued a statement warning of “the extremely dangerous repercussions of storming and targeting the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip” as the city is “the last refuge for hundreds of thousands of people.” The Times of Israel reports.
Qatar “condemns in the strongest terms the Israeli threats to storm the city of Rafah” and “calls on the U.N. Security Council to take urgent action to prevent the prevent the Israeli occupation forces from invading Rafah and committing genocide, and to provide full protection to civilians under international law,” a statement issued by the Qatari ministry of foreign affairs said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Doha yesterday, where he is expected to meet with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, today to continue discussions to stop Israel’s “aggression,” according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA. Jo Shelley reports for CNN.
Thousands of Morroccans protested against Israel in Rabat yesterday, calling for an end to normalization with Israel over its actions in Gaza. BBC News reports.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
Argentina’s President Javier Milei praised Israel for rescuing two of its citizens from Gaza today.
U.K. foreign secretary David Cameron said in a post on X that he is “deeply concerned” by the planned Israeli military offensive into Rafah, adding that, “The priority must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out, then progress towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire.”
E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned that Israel’s incursion into Rafah would lead to an “unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe” and “grave tensions with Egypt.”
U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories Francesca Albanese rejected French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks that the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks were the “largest anti-semitic massacre of the 21st century.” “No, Mr. Macron. The victims of October 7 were not killed because of their Judaism, but in response to Israel’s oppression. France and the international community did nothing to prevent it,” Albanese said. Mitchell McCluskey reports for CNN.
A Dutch appeals court today ordered the government to block all exports of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel over concerns they were being used in violation of international law during Israel’s Gaza offensive. “It is undeniable that there is a clear risk the exported F-35 parts are used in serious violations of international humanitarian law,” the court said. It said the state had seven days to comply with the order and dismissed a request by government lawyers to suspend the order pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. The Dutch government has eight weeks to appeal against the decision. Stephanie van den Berg reports for Reuters.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — U.S. RESPONSE
President Biden spoke to Netanyahu yesterday and cautioned him against conducting a military operation in Rafah without planning for the evacuation of Palestinian civilians. A senior U.S. official said that Israeli government officials made it clear to the Biden administration that allowing a military operation in Rafah is conditional and would not take place before an evacuation of the civilian population. A readout of the call also said Biden “emphasized the need to capitalize on progress made” during hostage release negotiations to have hostages released as soon as possible. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.
MILITARY CONFLICT WITH HOUTHIS
Yemen’s Houthis said today they had targeted a cargo ship in the Red Sea, the latest such strike since the start of the Gaza war. The group’s military spokesperson Yahya Saree said the ship was American, but maritime-shipping trackers said the Marshall Islands-flagged ship was Greek-owned. Reuters reports.
Former U.S. President Trump’s suggestion that he would not protect NATO allies failing to meet defense spending requirements “undermines all of our security,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said. Stoltenberg also said it put U.S. and European troops at greater risk. Trump said he had told allies he would “encourage” Russia to attack any NATO member that failed to meet the alliance’s target of at least 2% of their GDP. President Biden called Trump’s comments “appalling and dangerous,” suggesting Trump intended to give Russian President Vladimir Putin a “green light for more war and violence.” Adam Durbin reports for BBC News.
At least five people, including Somali military officials and a United Arab Emirates (UAE) soldier, were killed on Saturday after a soldier opened fire in a military base in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu, an army officer and hospital staff told Reuters. The UAE’s defense ministry, however, said three members of its armed forces and one Bahraini officer were killed in the “terrorist act” while they were training Somali armed forces. The Al Shabaab group, linked to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack via a statement on its Radio al Andalus and said its fighters killed 17 soldiers. Reuters reports.
Two Afghan prisoners who were held in U.S. custody for at least 14 years at Guantanamo Bay were released from house arrest in Oman, a Taliban spokesperson said yesterday. The two men were held in Guantanamo from 2002 until 2017, when they were transferred to Oman. Rahim Faiez reports for ABC News.
Iran yesterday marked the 45th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Thousands of Iranians marched through Tehran, with crowds waving placards saying “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” and some burning U.S. and Israeli flags, a common practice at pro-government rallies. Multiple high-ranking Iranian officials attended the celebrations, including Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Amir Vahdat reports for AP News.
The President of Hungary, Katalin Novak, resigned on Saturday amid public outcry over her decision to pardon a man involved in a sex abuse scandal at a children’s home. Andrew Higgins reports for the New York Times.
The administration of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has arrested human rights activist and lawyer Rocio San Miguel, the government confirmed yesterday. Miguel, 57, specialized in studying Venezuela’s corrupt armed forces. Venezuela’s attorney general wrote on his social media accounts that Miguel has been arrested on charges of conspiracy but did not offer details of the case. AP News reports.
A Qatari court has released eight former Indian naval officers previously held on death row for unspecified charges. Seven of the men have returned to India, Delhi’s foreign ministry confirmed today. BBC News reports.
Finland elected the center-right politician Andrew Stubb as its new President yesterday, in the first national election since the country joined NATO. Erika Solomon and Johanna Lemola report for the New York Times.
Russian forces are using Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellite system near the front line in occupied areas of Ukraine, Kyiv’s military intelligence said. The system, known as Starlink, has enabled Ukrainian forces to communicate via secure chat apps without relying on radio signals, which could be intercepted. In response, Musk said, “A number of false news reports claim that SpaceX is selling Starlink terminals to Russia. To the best of our knowledge, no Starlinks have been sold directly or indirectly to Russia.” Ian Lovett and Micah Maidenberg report for the Wall Street Journal.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized again yesterday, this time “to be seen for symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue,” the Pentagon announced. A statement by hospital doctors last night said Austin’s “cancer prognosis remains excellent” but “at this time, it is not clear how long Secretary Austin will remain hospitalized.” Rebecca Falconer reports for Axios.
Former President Trump is expected to attend a hearing by District Judge Aileen Cannon today over his classified documents case. Attorneys are expected to address issues surrounding the classified materials, arising out of Trump’s alleged refusal to return hundreds of classified documents after leaving office and thwarting government efforts to return them. The hearing will be under seal and held in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, a secure room for viewing highly-classified materials. Trump’s co-defendants, Walt Nuata and Carlos De Oliveira, will not attend. Laura Romero and Katherine Faulders report for ABC News. (The hearing arrangements are pursuant to an order from Judge Cannon earlier this month.)