The Israeli military said early Wednesday its troops were raiding Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, a complex of buildings where thousands of people have taken shelter and conditions for patients have grown increasingly horrific in recent days as fuel and medical supplies have run out. In a statement posted on social media, the Israel Defense Forces said it had launched “a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a specified area in the Shifa Hospital”. Over 100 soldiers took part in the raid on the al Shifa hospital in Gaza, according to the BBC, quoting a witness who was inside the facility, who also confirmed the presence of Israeli tanks on the hospital campus. He said: “I saw six tanks inside the hospital and more than a hundred commando soldiers; they entered the main emergency room, some soldiers were masked and shouting in Arabic ‘Don’t move, Don’t move’.” In Gaza the deaths are 11,320 of whom 4,650 are children, according to the Gazan Health Ministry.
US intelligence supports Hamas’ tunnels allegation
Fighting has been raging around the hospital compound for days, and the building was hit by ordnance at least four times over the weekend, killing several people, the hospital director said. Israel says Hamas fighters have built an underground operational hub and tunnels under the hospital, accusing them of using patients, doctors, and hospital workers as human shields. The United States has backed Israel’s description, saying it has intelligence supporting it. Hamas and hospital officials deny the accusations. Hamas criticised the Biden administration, saying the White House gave “a green light” for the operation.
Washington sees largest Jewish DC rally in history
Tens of thousands of Jews and pro-Israel activists converged in Washington Tuesday for a mass pro-Israel rally featuring senior Israeli and American officials that aimed to bolster support for Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, as well as the fight against antisemitism in the United States and beyond. They also called for the release of the Hamas-held hostages. The rally’s organisers – the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations – said this was the largest Jewish gathering in the history of the United States. They applied for a permit for 60,000 people, but they said that at the start of the rally there were 200,000 present, as tallied by the metal detectors at the entrance to the National Mall. An additional 100,000 watched the livestream.
China’s Xi in the US for Biden summit, APEC
Chinese President Xi Jinping has began his first visit to the United States in six years. Reuters notes the visit comes after President Biden said he aimed to restore normal communications with Beijing and his top diplomat stressed the need for freedoms that Washington says Beijing is undermining in the Asia-Pacific region. Xi is due to meet Biden at an undisclosed location in the San Francisco Bay Area this morning and then attend the annual summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Xi’s summit with Biden will be the first face-to-face meeting between the US and Chinese leaders in a year. During a fundraising event on the eve of his meeting with the Chinese leader, President Biden said China has “real problems” under the leadership of President Xi Jinping. “President Xi is another example of how the restoration of American leadership in the world is taking place. They have real problems,” Biden said.
Chinese ambassador decries EU’s “assertiveness, unilateral actions”
China’s ambassador to the European Union, Fu Cong, denounced the 27-nation bloc for its “assertiveness”, “unilateral actions” and “politically-motivated” strategy of de-risking. His comments refer to the growing shift in thinking in Brussels, where relations with China are now being closely examined through a lens of economic and national security, prompting policy initiatives to mitigate harmful dependencies, control the transfer of sensitive technologies and keep foreign subsidies in check. Euronews quotes. Fu saying many of the measures are protectionist in nature and potentially in conflict with WTO rules. “We are deeply concerned about the EU’s growing assertiveness and the unilateral actions as they cause disruptions to all bilateral trade and investment,” he said.
Anna Politkovskaya’s murderer pardoned
Former Russian police detective Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, who was convicted in 2014 for his role in the 2006 murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, has been granted a pardon after fighting in Ukraine, his lawyer said Tuesday. Khadzhikurbanov was one of five men found guilty in 2014 of the murder of Politkovskaya, a prominent reporter whose critical coverage of the Kremlin appeared in the independent investigative magazine Noyava Gazeta. She also denounced alleged abuses by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and wrote a scathing book on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rise to power. Khadzhikurbanov, a former law enforcement officer, has now been officially pardoned after taking advantage of a Russian defence ministry scheme allowing prisoners to sign up from prison to fight in Ukraine as part of what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” in return for a pardon.
Braverman accuses PM Sunak of betraying promises
Britain’s former Home Secretary issued a scathing letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak a day after she was fired following her criticism of authorities for applying a “double standard” to pro-Palestinian supporters. In her letter, Suella Braverman accused Sunak of failing to keep his promises on immigration and failing “to rise to the challenge posed by the increasingly vicious antisemitism and extremism displayed on our streets”. “I have become hoarse urging you to consider legislation to ban the hate marches and help stem the rising tide of racism, intimidation, and terrorist glorification threatening community cohesion,” she wrote.
Lancet study says deaths due to heat may rise fivefold
Climate change is set to cause a 4.7-fold surge in heat-related deaths by mid-century if government inaction on global warming continues, according to the findings of a Lancet study published Tuesday. According to the infuential medical journal’s annual ‘Countdown on Health and Climate Change’ report, the world is on track for 2.7°C of heating by 2100 unless swift action is taken to lower emissions. The report analyses what would happen if temperatures rise by 2°C by the end of the century. For the first time ever, it featured projections that outline the rapidly growing risks to population health if the Paris Agreement’s target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C is missed. 2023 is on course to be the Earth’s hottest ever year. The past eight years have been “the warmest ever recorded,” study co-author Maria Walawender said, adding the world has already seen “detrimental effects on health, including increasing hazardous heatwaves, dangerous outdoor work conditions, and heat-related deaths”.
Main photo credit: IDF