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


Israel will send a high-level delegation headed by its Mossad chief to Qatar today for mediated talks with Hamas in efforts to secure a six-week Gaza ceasefire under which Hamas would free 40 hostages, an Israeli official said. This stage of the negotiations could take at least two weeks, the official estimated, citing difficulties that Hamas’ foreign delegates may have in communicating with the group. Reuters reports.

Israel “cannot, and will not, succumb” to international pressure to stop its military campaign in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a government meeting yesterday. “In the international community, there are those who are trying to stop the war now, before all of its goals have been achieved,” he said. “They are doing so by means of an effort to bring about elections now, at the height of the war. They are doing this because they know that elections now will halt the war and paralyze the country for at least six months. If we stop the war now, before all of its goals are achieved, this means that Israel will have lost the war, and this we will not allow.” Netanyahu’s comments came in response to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) —  the highest-ranking Jewish official in the United States and a longstanding ally of Israel — who gave a speech Thursday in which he called for new elections in Israel and said Netanyahu’s rule risks Israel becoming a “pariah.” President Biden later praised Schumer for a “good speech.” Niha Masih, Jennifer Hassan, and Sarah Dadouch report for the Washington Post

Netanyahu reaffirmed his determination to launch an offensive in Rafah, defying international criticism. Netanyahu said the offensive in the city “will happen” and will take “several weeks.” 

The Israeli military launched an overnight raid on Gaza’s largest hospital, al-Shifa, acting on what it said was Israeli intelligence that the complex was being used by senior Hamas members. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) described the raid as a “precise operation” and said around 80 people were arrested, adding that measures were being taken to protect patients and medical workers. Hamas officials accused Israel of directly targeting hospital buildings without concern for staff, patients, or displaced people sheltering within. The Hamas-run health ministry called the raid a “flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.” The Washington Post reports. 

The United Nations human rights office has documented more than two dozen attacks on Gazans waiting for aid since January. The office has not blamed any side for the attacks, with the office recording at least 26 such attacks since mid-January. Raja Abdulrahim reports for the New York Times.


White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby said yesterday that it is up to the Israeli people and their government to decide to hold new elections, days after Schumer called for such a move. Kirby said Biden “understands that that’s up to the Israeli people” on whether they hold new elections, adding that Israel is “a democratic country” and cited Washington’s need to “respect their sovereignty.” “In the meantime, [Netanyahu] is the prime minister of Israel. [Biden and Netanyahu] are two leaders that have had a long working relationship. They don’t agree on everything. We don’t agree on everything with respect to what’s going on in Gaza, but that’s the government that is in place, and that’s the government, the war cabinet, that we’re gonna continue to work with,” Kirby said. Shauneen Miranda reports for Axios.

Kirby said yesterday that the White House still has not seen a “credible” plan from the Israeli government on how it would protect civilians in Rafah if it moves ahead with an offensive in the city. “We will not support, cannot support, an operation in Rafah that doesn’t have an executable, verifiable, achievable plan to take care of the 1.5 million people that are trying to find refuge in Rafah,” Kirby said. He added that while the Israeli government has said they have an evacuation plan using “humanitarian islands,” the United States is only open to “any credible plan plan[sic] to take care of them. But we haven’t seen it yet.” Sam Fossum reports for CNN.

Former President Trump called on Netanyahu to end the war quickly and said Israel should “finish the problem,” marking the first time Trump has called for an end to the war since Oct. 7. “You had a horrible invasion. It took place,” he said, adding that he would tell Netanyahu, “You have to finish it up and do it quickly and get back to the world of peace. We need peace in the world … we need peace in the Middle East.” Barak Ravid reports for Axios

Claims that the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is a Hamas “proxy” are “just flat-out lies,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said yesterday on CBS News’ Face the Nation. “If you look at the person who’s in charge of operations on the ground in Gaza for UNRWA, it’s about a 20-year U.S. Army veteran. You can be sure he is not in cahoots with Hamas …  Netanyahu has wanted to get rid of UNRWA since at least 2017,” Hollen said. Referencing Netanyahu’s allegations that up to 14 UNRWA staff members were involved in Oct. 7, Hollen said, “We should investigate it, we should hold all those people accountable. But for goodness’ sakes, let’s not hold 2 million innocent Palestinian civilians who are dying of starvation, let’s not hold them, essentially, accountable for the bad acts of 14 people.” David Cohen reports for POLITICO; CBS News transcript.


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz questioned yesterday the “terribly high costs” of Israel’s offensive on Hamas in Gaza, saying the world could not simply stand by and watch as Palestinians risk starvation. Scholz met with Netanyahu in Jordan yesterday, where Scholz said he shared concerns about the insufficient aid and civilian death toll in Gaza. “The more desperate the situation of the people in Gaza becomes, the more this begs the question: No matter how important the goal can it justify such terribly high costs, or are there other ways to achieve your goal?” Scholz said at a joint appearance with Netanyahu. Sarah Marsh reports for Reuters.


The Jordanian army said today its air defense radar system had detected suspicious aerial movements from an unknown source along the border with Syria, which a regional security source said were likely missiles fired by pro-Iranian militias from Iraq. Witnesses said that jets believed to be Jordanian had been heard hovering over the Jordanian city of Irbid and areas near the border crossing with Syria. Another regional security source said two missiles that came from the direction of the Iraqi border in an area where pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias have a presence were intercepted. Suleiman Al-Khalidi reports for Reuters.


Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed a landslide victory in Russia’s presidential election, with election officials giving him more than 87% of the vote. Putin faced no credible opponent and several Western countries condemned the election as a sham. Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi congratulated Putin on his “decisive” win, and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said, “Our older brother has triumphed, which bodes well for the world.” Meanwhile, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said Putin’s election victory lacked legitimacy, and Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky labeled the election a “farce and parody.” A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry congratulated Putin and said Putin’s reelection will allow bilateral relations to “move forward” in “the new era.” ​​BBC News reports. 

Afghanistan’s Taliban said today that Pakistan carried out two air strikes on its territory, killing five women and three children, and that its security forces launched heavy weapons at the Pakistani military in response. Pakistan authorities have not commented at the time of writing. The strikes came as the neighboring countries trade blame over who is responsible for a recent spate of militant attacks in Pakistan, with Pakistan saying the attacks were launched from Afghanistan, which the Taliban deny. Reuters reports. 

The first charter flight carrying dozens of U.S. citizens escaping violence in Haiti arrived in Miami yesterday, one day after the U.S. State Department announced plans for the flight from the port city of Cap-Haïtien. A State Department spokesperson said in a media statement that over 30 U.S. citizens were on the charter flight. Rebecca Falconer reports for Axios.

Niger’s junta has ended a military agreement that allowed U.S. personnel to be deployed in the country. Announced on Saturday, the move came in the week that a U.S. delegation had been in Niamey for talks with the country’s military leadership. “The U.S. presence on the territory of the Republic of Niger is illegal and violates all the constitutional and democratic rules which would require the sovereign people … to be consulted on the installation of a foreign army on its territory,” a Niger military spokesperson said in a televised statement. The spokesperson also alleged that the U.S. delegation had accused Niger of making a secret deal to supply Iran with uranium, and labeled the accusation “cynical” and “reminiscent of the second Iraq war.” BBC News reports 

North Korea filed multiple short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters this morning, its neighboring countries said, days after the end of the South Korean-U.S. military drills that the North says it views as an invasion rehearsal. The launches came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Seoul for a conference. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a parliamentary session that Pyongyang’s missiles landed in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, all outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone. No damage or injuries have been reported. Hyung-Jin Kim and Mari Yamaguchi report for AP News.

The European Union announced yesterday a 7.4 billion-euro (U.S. $8 billion) aid package for cash-strapped Egypt as concerns grow that economic pressure and conflicts in neighboring countries could drive more migrants to Europe. The deal was signed in Cairo by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, with leaders from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, and Italy also in attendance. Samy Magdy reports for AP News.


Putin warned the West today that a direct conflict between Russia and the U.S.-led NATO military alliance would mean the planet was one step away from World War III. Asked about the remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron that deployment of ground troops in Ukraine could not be ruled out, Putin said, “It is clear to everyone that this will be one step away from a full-scale World War Three. I think hardly anyone is interested in this.” Putin added that NATO military personnel were already present in Ukraine, with Russian troops picking up on both English and French being spoken on the battlefield. Guy Faulconbridge reports for Reuters.

Ukraine launched a fresh wave of attacks inside Russian territory yesterday, killing at least two people, according to local officials. The Russian Defense Ministry reported downing 35 Ukrainian drones overnight, including four in the Moscow region. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that a fifth drone, close to the capital’s Domodedovo airport, was downed yesterday morning. The Defense Ministry added that four drones were shot down in the Yaroslavl region, located around 500 miles from the Ukrainian border, marking some of the farthest launched by Ukraine so far. Katie Marie Davies reports for AP News.


Former President Trump said there will be a “bloodbath” if he loses the presidential elections in November. The remark came as Trump promised a “100% tariff” on cars made outside of the United States, claiming that domestic auto manufacturing would only be protected if he wins the election. President Biden’s campaign condemned Trump’s use of the word “bloodbath,” and accused Trump of “want[ing] another January 6.” In response, a spokesperson for Trump’s campaign said he was referring to autoworkers, adding that “Biden’s policies will create an economic bloodbath for the auto industry and autoworkers.” Arit John, Kit Maher, and Alayna Treene report for CNN.

Trump doubled down yesterday on his description of immigrants as “poisoning the blood” of the country and said there are “terrorists pouring in at levels we have never seen before.” When asked by a Fox News interviewer on why he uses “the kind of language that Hitler and Mussolini used,” Trump replied, “Because our country is being poisoned.” Trump repeated his claims that migrants crossing the southern border are criminals flooding in from prisons and mental institutions. Trump also called migrants “animals” on Saturday in a speech in Ohio, saying, “I don’t know if you call them ‘people,’ in some cases. They’re not people, in my opinion.” Maggie Astor reports for the New York Times.