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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 brushed aside disagreement with the Biden administration over a planned invasion of Rafah, saying yesterday that his government would press ahead despite pleas for restraint from the United States and other key allies. Netanyahu insisted that sending troops into Rafah was necessary to eliminate what he said were Hamas battalions in the city, telling Israeli lawmakers he made it “as clear as possible to [president Biden] that we are determined to complete the elimination of these battalions in Rafah, and there is no way to do this without a ground incursion.” He emphasized to the Knesset that Israel has “a debate with the Americans over the need to enter Rafah, not over the need to eliminate Hamas,” adding that “out of respect” for Biden, he had agreed to send a team to Washington so U.S. officials could “present us with their ideas, especially on the humanitarian side.” Cassandra Vinograd reports for the New York Times.

Mossad chief David Barnea has returned from ceasefire talks in Doha, an Israeli official said yesterday, although talks there are continuing amid another intensive diplomatic push to secure a pause in the fighting. A spokesperson for the Qatari Foreign Ministry said that “technical teams” seeking to hash out finer details of a potential agreement were continuing to meet in Doha and that while there has not been a breakthrough in the talks, Qatar remains “cautiously optimistic.” Aaron Boxerman reports for the New York Times.

The Israeli military said today it had killed around 90 gunmen and arrested 160 in a raid on Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. “Over the past day, the troops have eliminated terrorists and located weapons in the hospital area, while preventing harm to civilians, patients, medical teams, and medical equipment,” the military said in a statement. Hamas has denied the claim and said all of those killed had been wounded patients and displaced persons inside the hospital. Reuters reports.


Netanyahu is tentatively scheduled to speak virtually to Senate Republicans during their regular lunch meeting today, two Senate sources familiar with the plan told Axios

Secretary of State Antony Blinken today will make his sixth trip to the Middle East since the Oct. 7 attacks. Blinken will visit Saudi Arabia and Egypt in his latest attempt to foster a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas, a plan on how to govern post-war Gaza, and a potential deal for Riyadh to normalize relations with Israel. But in a sign of the increasingly chilly relationship between top U.S. leaders and Netanyahu, this could be the first visit to the region without a stop in Israel — an extraordinary rebuke of Washington’s closest ally in the Middle East. Michael Birnbaum reports for the Washington Post.

The White House is expected to meet with an Israeli delegation early next week to discuss Israel’s plans for an invasion of Rafah. Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One yesterday that the Biden administration expected the Israeli officials to arrive in Washington “likely” early next week. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, yesterday reiterated the Biden administration’s increasingly deep rift with Netanyahu over his handling of the war. Brown said he has not seen Israel’s blueprint for its offensive in Rafah, while Austin warned that Israel could end up facing “strategic defeat” if it fails to adequately protect civilians. “Israel has a right to defend itself,” Austin said. “But there’s also a need to protect the civilians in the battlespace. And again, the two things aren’t mutually exclusive.” Missy Ryan reports for the Washington Post.


Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron said today that a ceasefire was vital for a pause in fighting in Gaza to enable the release of hostages, but that a lot of conditions first needed to be met for a lasting ceasefire. “Crucially what we must try to do is to turn that pause into a permanent sustainable ceasefire. We will only do that if a whole lot of conditions are fulfilled … we’ve got to get Hamas leaders out of Gaza, we have to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure,” he said. Panu Wongcha-um reports for Reuters.

The United Kingdom’s largest aid delivery to Gaza has entered the enclave, the British Foreign Office said today. More than 2,000 tons of food aid that entered Gaza via the Jordanian land corridor were being distributed by the World Food Programme and will feed “more than 275,000 people,” the office added.


Hong Kong’s legislature unanimously passed sweeping new powers yesterday that critics warned would align its national security laws more closely with those used on the Chinese mainland, deepening an ongoing crackdown on dissent. The national security bill comes into effect on Saturday and introduces 39 new national security crimes, adding to an already powerful national security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong in 2020 after mass pro-democracy protests the year before. Chris Lau reports for CNN.

North Korea successfully tested a solid-fuel engine for its new-type intermediate-range hypersonic missile, state media reported today, claiming a progress in efforts to develop a more powerful missile designed to strike U.S. targets in the region. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un yesterday guided the ground jet test of the engine at Pyongyang’s northwestern rocket launch facility, according to the KCNA, citing Kim as saying the strategic value of the missile is as important as intercontinental ballistic missiles targeting the U.S. mainland and that “enemies better know about it.” Hyung-Jin Kim reports for AP News.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel blasted the United States as “interventionist” and for having “contempt” toward the Cuban people and the Cuban revolution in an interview with NBC News in Havana yesterday. The Cuban government on Monday accused Washington of “firing up” protestors who have taken to the streets in recent days over food and power shortages, accusations the U.S. State Department called “absurd.” Orlando Matos, Roberto Leon, and Carmen Sesin report for NBC News.

Pope Francis issued a fresh call today for peace through negotiation as he deplored the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza. “We should never forget that war is always a defeat, we cannot continue in war, we should make all efforts to mediate, to negotiate an end to the war,” the pontiff said in brief remarks at the end of the audience, citing “martyred” Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict. Reuters reports. 

India will bring in and prosecute 35 Somali pirates its navy captured on a hijacked ship off Somalia, a navy official said. The move is a departure from its recent practice of rescuing vessels and crew but leaving the disarmed pirates at sea. The captured pirates are due to arrive in India on Saturday before being transferred to law enforcement agencies. Krishn Kaushik reports for Reuters

Turkey carried out a new round of airstrikes targeting Kurdish militants in Iraq yesterday, Turkey’s defense ministry said, hours after a Turkish soldier was killed and four others wounded in an attack in the region. AP News reports. 

Brazil’s former leader Jair Bolsonaro has been indicted by the country’s federal police on suspicion of fraud over allegations that he falsified Covid-19 vaccination data while he was still president, CNN Brasil reported yesterday. Police say Bolsonaro allegedly ordered one of his aides to enter false vaccination data into the Ministry of Health’s system for himself and his daughter. Bolsonaro’s closest aide and 15 others were also indicted for allegedly participating in the same scheme. Bolsonaro’s lawyer called the indictment “absurd” and said, “While serving as president, he was completely exempt from presenting any type of certificate on his trips.” Tara John and Abel Alvarado report for CNN.

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) is taking the independent electoral body and a rival political party headed by a former president to court, underscoring a fractious buildup to what could be the country’s most crucial election in 30 years. The case could see the new party, known as MK led by South African ex-president and ANC leader President Jacob Zuma, deregistered and barred from standing in the May elections. MK officials said they would not accept being disqualified, with one threatening a “civil war.” Gerald Imray reports for AP News.


The European Union is pressing ahead with a plan to use profits generated from Russian assets frozen in Europe to help provide weapons and other funds for Ukraine, a senior official said yesterday. E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell received the go ahead for the plan from most of the bloc’s foreign ministers this week and hopes that E.U. leaders will endorse it at a summit starting in Brussels tomorrow. The European Union is holding around $217 billion in Russian central bank assets, most of it frozen in Belgium, which the bloc estimates could provide around 3 billion euros in interest each year. Lorne Cook reports for AP News.

Russia plans to evacuate about 9,000 children from the border region of Belgorod because it is being shelled continuously by Ukraine, an official said yesterday, reflecting Kyiv’s increasing focus on striking targets behind a barely shifting frontline. The region’s governor said the children will be moved farther east, away from the Ukraine border, in one of the biggest evacuations publicly announced in the region since the war began in Feb. 2022. AP News reports. 


Former President Trump said he would “100%” keep the United States in NATO if he returns to the presidency so long as European countries pay their “fair share” and “play fair.” Trump added that he believes Washington pays “90% of NATO,” calling it the “most unfair thing.” “It’s more important for [European countries] than it is to us. We have an ocean in between [us and] some problems … They took advantage of us on trade,” he said. Trump also addressed his previous comments that he would “encourage” Russia “to do whatever the hell they want” to countries not meeting the spending target, and said his remarks were a “form of negotiation.” Shaureen Miranda reports for Axios.

A federal appeals court has frozen Texas’s controversial immigration law, just hours after the Supreme Court allowed the measure to take effect pending an appeal. The law, SB4, is one of the strictest laws of its kind enacted by a U.S. state in modern times, allowing Texas law enforcement officials to detain and prosecute unauthorized migrants. Mexico has said it will refuse to accept any migrants deported by Texas authorities. Bernd Debusmann, Max Matza, and Mattea Bubalo report for BBC News; and Lindsay Whitehurst reports for the Associated Press.


Trump told the Supreme Court yesterday he should be granted absolute immunity for his effort to overturn the 2020 election results that culminated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, saying a ruling against him would “incapacitate every future president.” Trump’s legal team filed a brief outlining its legal arguments ahead of oral arguments set for April 25, saying, “The president cannot function, and the presidency itself cannot retain its vital independence, if the president faces criminal prosecution for official acts once he leaves office.” Trump’s team also left open the possibility that, if the Court rejects his bid to find he is completely immune from prosecution, it could remand the case to the district court for further fact-finding on whether the charges involve official acts that receive a more qualified immunity. Lawrence Hurley reports for NBC News.