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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not approve sending an Israeli delegation to Cairo today for follow-up talks over a possible hostage deal, two Israeli officials said. Mossad director David Barnea and Shin Bet head Ronen Bar tried to convince Netanyahu to send the delegation and said they believe progress can be made, but he rejected their recommendation, one official said. Netanyahu believes there is no point in further talks until Hamas agrees to soften its position on the number of prisoners it demands to be released, according to both officials. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.

Israeli forces stormed the Nasser Medical Complex today hours after an Israeli strike hit the hospital, killing at least one person and wounding six others, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. The Israeli army said its operation was “precise and limited,” and sought to recover the remains of hostages taken by Hamas. Wafaa Shurafa and Bassem Mroue report for AP News.

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) expressed fears yesterday that the Nasser Medical Complex might soon stop functioning, saying it had been cut off by heavy fighting and that Israel had refused to allow in medical resupply missions. The hospital has been surrounded for over a week by Israeli forces, and on Tuesday the Israeli military ordered civilians sheltering there to evacuate. The W.H.O. said it last had access to the hospital on Jan. 29 and had applied to Israel this week to conduct resupply missions and assess the hospital’s condition, but Israel had denied both requests. Nick Cumming-Bruce reports for the New York Times

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Hamas to “quickly” reach a deal to release hostages in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported. He urged the group to conclude the deal to “protect Palestinian people and avoid an attack on Rafah,” also calling on the United States and Arab nations to “work seriously to complete the deal.” Mostafa Salem and Hamdi Alkhshali report for CNN.

The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said today it will hit a “negative cashflow” in March that will only get worse in April if funding suspended by several countries does not resume. Reuters reports. 


South Africa’s request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to consider whether Israel’s planned Rafah offensive requires additional emergency measures to protect Palestinians serves Hamas and is an attempt to stop Israel from defending itself, the Israeli foreign ministry said yesterday. “South Africa continues to represent the interests of the Hamas terrorist organization and is trying to deny Israel the fundamental right to defend itself and its citizens,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat. Reuters reports. 

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his first visit to Egypt since 2012 yesterday, where he is due to discuss the situation in Gaza, including a potential ceasefire and delivering aid. Sharon Braithwaite reports for CNN.

Arab countries at the U.N. are preparing to introduce a Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and unimpeded humanitarian relief. The resolution would also block any transfer of Gaza residents to a different location, which Arab countries insist is collective punishment prohibited under international law. The United States has publicly stated it opposed the draft resolution. Richard Roth reports for CNN.


German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock condemned Israel’s plans to launch a ground offensive in Rafah, saying it would create a “humanitarian catastrophe.” “More than half of Gaza’s population is currently seeking shelter in Rafah,” Baerbock said at a news conference after meeting with Netanyahu. “These people cannot simply vanish into thin air. If the Israeli army were to launch an offensive on Rafah under these conditions, it would be a humanitarian catastrophe in the making.” Baerbock also said she pushed for “more border crossings [to] be opened quickly” so more humanitarian aid can reach people in Gaza. Niamh Kennedy reports for CNN.

The prime ministers of Spain and Ireland asked the European Commission yesterday to urgently review whether Israel is complying with its human rights obligations. In a joint letter, both leaders said attacking Rafah posed “a grave and imminent threat that the international community must urgently confront.” The European Commission confirmed receipt of the letter, with a spokesperson saying, “We do urge all sides when it comes to Israel to respect international law.” Reuters reports. 

The leaders of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand today called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, according to a joint statement released in response to reports about Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. “The protection of civilians is paramount and a requirement under international humanitarian law,” the statement said. “Palestinian civilians cannot be made to pay the price of defeating Hamas.” Lewis Jackson reports for Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed “firm opposition” to an Israeli ground operation in Rafah during a phone call with Netanyahu yesterday. According to a readout from the Élysée Palace, Macron warned that such an operation would “constitute violations of the international humanitarian law and would pose an additional risk of regional escalation.” Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana reports for POLITICO.

Relatives of hostages being held in Gaza flew from Israel to The Hague yesterday on a trip to draw attention to a complaint filed on Tuesday against Hamas’s leaders at the International Criminal Court (ICC), accusing them of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The case is being led by the legal team of the Hostage and Missing Families Forum, an Israeli nongovernmental organization advocating for the hostages’ release, and the Canada-based Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights. The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, must now evaluate the evidence submitted to the court before deciding whether to press charges against the accused Hamas leaders. Isabel Kershner reports for the New York Times


President Biden yesterday protected thousands of Palestinians in the United States from deportation for the next 18 months, using an obscure immigration authority as he faces mounting criticism over U.S. support for Israel’s war in Gaza. Approximately 6,000 Palestinians will be eligible under the Deferred Enforced Departure program, which allows immigrants whose homelands are in crisis to remain and work legally in the United States. Palestinians who have been convicted of felonies or those “who are otherwise deemed to pose a public safety threat” would not be protected, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said. Hamed Aleaziz reports for the New York Times.

FBI Director Christopher Wray made an unannounced trip to Israel yesterday to meet with the country’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Adam Goldman reports for the New York Times

The United States imposed sanctions on a subsidiary of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), along with two entities in the United Arab Emirates, one in Turkey, and on three individuals accused of smuggling U.S. technology to the CBI. The sanctions represent Washington’s latest efforts to punish Tehran, whose proxies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Gaza have attacked U.S. and Israeli targets. Reuters reports. 


The civilian death toll from two Israeli air strikes in Lebanon yesterday has risen to 10, according to Lebanese state media, making Wednesday the deadliest day in over four months of cross-border exchanges. Hezbollah has vowed to retaliate for the strikes. On Tuesday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah also warned, “To those who threaten us with a widening of the war: if you widen, we will too,” adding that “those who think the resistance might be afraid are very mistaken.” Mohammed Zaatari and Bassem Mroue report for ABC News.

Some Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, are restricting the United States from using military facilities on their territory to launch strikes on Iranian proxies, according to a U.S. official, a congressional aide, and two Western officials. The U.S. official said some countries have implemented measures including restricting access to basing and overflight for assets participating in the strikes, without specifying how many countries are taking this action. Laura Seligman, Alexander Ward, and Nahal Toosi report for POLITICO.

Iran will reciprocate if its ships are seized, the legal adviser to Iran’s President told state media today, after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement this month announcing the seizure of more than 500,000 barrels of Iranian fuel to clamp down on black-market oil sails used to its “criminal activities, including its support of the [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps], Hamas, Hizballah, and other Iranian aligned terrorist groups.” Reuters reports. 


The United States has intelligence on Russian advances on a new, space-based nuclear weapon designed to threaten America’s satellite network, according to current and former officials briefed on the matter. Officials said the weapon raises questions over Russia’s future compliance with the Outer Space Treaty 1967, which bans all orbital nuclear weapons. Because Russia does not appear close to deploying the weapon, they said, it is not considered an urgent threat. Julian E. Barnes, Karoun Demirjian, Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger report for the New York Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that President Biden would be better for Russia as president than Donald Trump. “[Biden] is a more experienced, predictable person. He is a politician of the old school. But we will work with any leader of the United States, who is trusted by the American people,” Putin said in an interview. Trump called Putin’s comment a “great compliment.” Joe Stanley-Smith reports for POLITICO.

South Korea has established diplomatic relations with Cuba, one of North Korea’s Cold War-era allies, the foreign ministry said yesterday, adding that the news ties mark an “important turnround” for South Korea in its efforts to strengthen diplomacy in the Latin American region. Reuters reports. 


British foreign secretary David Cameron urged Congress to pass the national security supplemental bill that includes funding for Ukraine. Writing for The Hill, Cameron said, “the funding package before Congress … matters greatly to UK and European security. This assistance is making a difference. We have already destroyed almost half of Russia’s prewar military capacity, at the cost of less than 10 percent of any national defense budget. [Putin] believes we are weak. He believes he can get away with the most shocking act of national aggression we have seen in our lifetimes. Our economic strength outweighs Russia’s by a factor of around 25 to one. They are having to turn to Pyongyang for help. All we need to do is make our strength pay. The question is: Do we have the will?” 

The Netherlands is joining a military coalition with allies including Britain that will supply Ukraine with advanced drone technology, the Dutch defense minister said. Anthony Duetsch reports for Reuters

France and Ukraine will sign a bilateral agreement on security commitments this Friday. “As Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine will soon enter its third year, this visit will be an opportunity to reaffirm France’s determination to continue to provide … unwavering support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” the French presidency said today, adding that the accord would outline the framework for long-term humanitarian and financial aid commitment, support for reconstruction, and military assistance. Reuters reports. 


One person was killed and more than 20 others wounded in a shooting at yesterday’s Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory rally. A children’s hospital received 11 child patients, nine of whom had been shot, while four hospitals together received 19 patients with gunshot wounds. The Kansas City Police Chief said three people have been detained and an unspecified number of guns recovered. A motive is still being investigated and no suspects have been named at the time of writing. Nouran Salahieh reports for CNN.


Special counsel Jack Smith asked the Supreme Court yesterday to reject Trump’s application that sought to delay the criminal trial of the former President arising from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. “Delay in the resolution of these charges threatens to frustrate the public interest in a speedy and fair verdict — a compelling interest in every criminal case and one that has unique national importance here,” Smith wrote in his filing

A judge will weigh misconduct allegations today against Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis, leading Trump’s election subversion case in that state. Willis has admitted to having a relationship with Nathan Wade, an attorney she hired forming part of the prosecution team, but denies it was unethical. Madeline Halpert reports for BBC News.