The New York Times 2024-07-10 20:09:47


Middle East Crisis: At Least 25 Reported Killed in Israeli Strike at School-Turned-Shelter in Gaza

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The Israeli military said it was ‘looking into reports that civilians were harmed.’

An Israeli airstrike near a school building being used as a shelter by displaced Palestinians killed at least 25 people and injured more than 50 on Tuesday outside of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, the Gaza Ministry of Health said. Many of the injured were in critical condition, and the death toll was expected to rise, it added.

The strike hit the entrance of Al Awda School in the town of Abassan, on the eastern outskirts of Khan Younis, according to the health ministry. The Israeli military said that the strike was targeting a Hamas member who took part in the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, and that it was “looking into reports that civilians were harmed.”

The strike was condemned by Josep Borrell Fontelles, the European Union’s top diplomat, who asked in a post on social media, “For how long are innocent civilians going to bear the brunt of this conflict? We condemn any violation of international law: those responsible must be held accountable.”

Tuesday’s strike was at least the fourth in four days in which the Israeli military bombed school buildings or struck in their immediate vicinity. In each instance, the military said the buildings were being used by Hamas or other militant groups.

At least 16 people were killed on Saturday in an Israeli strike at a school operated by UNRWA, the main United Nations agency that assists Palestinian refugees, in Nuseirat, in central Gaza, according to the health ministry. The following morning, Israeli forces bombarded a Catholic school in Gaza City where hundreds of civilians were sheltering, according to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which runs the facility. And on Monday, the Israeli military said it had carried out a strike on militants who had been “using the structures of a school in the area of Nuseirat as cover.”

According to the United Nations, more than 80 percent of Gaza’s schools have been severely damaged or destroyed by fighting, including all of the enclave’s 12 universities. Many of them had been converted into makeshift shelters for people displaced during the war.

Last month, an Israeli airstrike in central Gaza killed dozens of people at a U.N. school complex that thousands of displaced Palestinians were using as a shelter. Palestinian officials said the strike killed civilians, including many women and children.

Israel also struck schools that were being used as shelters in May, killing more than a dozen people, and last November, killing at least 24. In each case, Israel said it had been targeting Hamas fighters.

Images of the strike on Tuesday were posted online by Palestine TV, a network affiliated with the Palestinian Authority, a rival to Hamas based in the West Bank, and by Agence France-Presse, an international news agency.

The photos published by Agence France-Presse and Reuters showed the bodies of gravely injured Palestinians sprawled on the floor of a hospital emergency room and piled onto the back of a pickup truck and a dirty cart pulled by a motorcycle.

In others, a woman and a child can be seen grieving next to body bags lying on the blood-streaked hospital floor. In another, a man cradles the bloody body of a child.

Palestine TV showed footage of panicked men and women ferrying the injured to an emergency room. Some rushed there in a battered ambulance, others in a sedan packed with children, its windows shattered and cracked. In one video, a man runs through the crowd to the hospital entrance shouting for mercy from God. In his arms is the body of a child, limp and flailing. The New York Times could not independently verify the videos.

In a statement, Hamas condemned the strike as “a continuation of the genocidal war and massacres by the Zionist terrorist government against our people.”

The group, which led the Oct. 7 attacks, in which hundreds of civilians in Israel were killed and abducted, said the strike on Tuesday showed Israel’s disregard for “the laws and treaties designed to protect civilians in war.”

Ephrat Livni contributed reporting.

Key Developments

Israeli officials expected in Qatar for cease-fire talks, and other news.

  • A delegation of senior Israeli officials was expected in Qatar on Wednesday for further negotiations on a cease-fire and hostage release deal as mediators try to narrow wide gaps between Israel and Hamas. The delegation includes David Barnea, the head of the Mossad intelligence agency, and Ronen Bar, the head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service, according to Majed al-Ansari, the spokesman for Qatar’s Foreign Ministry, and an Israeli official familiar with the matter. The Israeli security chiefs were also expected to meet with William J. Burns, the C.I.A. director, and with the Qatari prime minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, they said. Mr. al-Ansari described the talks as “progressing positively” in recent weeks but added, “We are by no means out of the woods.”

  • An apparent Israeli drone strike in Syria prompted Hezbollah to respond with rocket fire on Tuesday into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, an attack that killed two people. Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, said it had targeted an Israeli military base in response to what it called an “assassination” in Syria earlier in the day. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, reported on Tuesday that two Hezbollah members had been killed in an Israeli drone strike on their vehicle close to the Lebanese border. Hezbollah did not say whether anyone had been killed in its strike, and Israel did not claim responsibility. The Israeli military has ramped up airstrikes in Syria, often targeting Hezbollah and other Iran-backed groups.

  • Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, approved a plan on Tuesday to start drafting ultra-Orthodox Jewish men into the military over the next month after a Supreme Court ruling on June 25 found that there was no legal basis to give them an exemption. The Defense Ministry said that Mr. Gallant had approved orders for the screening and evaluation of ultra-Orthodox conscripts. The Supreme Court decision pit secular Israelis against the ultra-Orthodox, who say their religious study is as essential and protective as military service, and exposed cracks in the coalition government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which relies on two ultra-Orthodox parties.

A Biden Confidant Emerges as a Crucial Mideast Diplomat

A few weeks before Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, a senior White House official visited eastern Lebanon for a sightseeing trip that doubled as a dramatic political statement.

The official, Amos Hochstein, one of President Biden’s most trusted national security advisers, toured the ancient ruins of Baalbek in an area well known as a stronghold of Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terrorist group sponsored by Iran.

Wearing white pants and a golf shirt, and with no security entourage, Mr. Hochstein marveled at the artifacts and snapped photos of the onetime Roman city’s crumbling stone walls and columns. Keeping watch from a distance were several muscular men in black T-shirts — presumed Hezbollah militiamen.

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Forces on Both Left and Right Battle for Europe’s Political Soul

Primed to celebrate victory but left explaining why his party finished third, the leader of France’s hard-right National Rally blamed Sunday’s surprise election result on the “caricature” of his party as extremist. That “disinformation,” he said, handed victory to “formations of the extreme left.”

The speech to glum supporters on election night by Jordan Bardella, leader of the nationalist party formerly known as the National Front, captured a Europe-wide trend: intense political polarization in which each side denounces the other as “extremist.”

Europe is far from what the British historian Eric Hobsbawm termed the “age of extremes” in the 20th century, when the continent succumbed to the twin extremist ideologies of fascism and communism. There are no violent street battles in Berlin, Paris or Vienna as there were before and sometimes after World War II between rival camps, or urban terror campaigns like those in the 1970s and ’80s by the would-be left-wing revolutionaries of Germany’s Red Army Faction and France’s Direct Action.

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Berlin Honors Earliest Settlers, Whose Bones Shared Their Secrets

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From under a parking lot in the center of Berlin, a team of archaeologists unearthed ancient human skeletons of nearly 4,000 forgotten dead from a bygone church cemetery paved over by a former Communist regime.

That was nearly two decades ago. In that time, scientists plumbed information from inside bones — some older than 1160 — and in between ancient teeth. They made startling discoveries, including that the city was inhabited nearly a century earlier than believed.

But bones hold only so many secrets. With much of the research on these earliest Berliners complete, the remains of 100 medieval and early modern babies, children and adults have now been returned to the heart of the city. They will rest in state in a museum, Petri Berlin, at the same place where they had been ignominiously blacktopped over.

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Rwanda Says It Doesn’t Have to Repay U.K. for Scrapped Migration Plan

Rwanda does not have to repay the hundreds of millions of pounds it received from Britain as part of a contentious policy aimed at sending migrants on a one-way flight to the Central African nation, two senior Rwandan government officials say.

Rwanda’s president had previously suggested that such money could be returned.

As part of the deal, Britain was set to give Rwanda as much as about half a billion pounds in development funding in exchange for taking in the migrants. Britain’s independent public spending watchdog said in early March that the country had already paid Rwanda £220 million, about $280 million, even though no asylum seekers had been deported to the African nation.

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They Called It ‘Improper’ to Have Women in the Olympics. But She Persisted.

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Reporting from Paris and Nice, France

It was 1922, two years before the last time the Olympics were held in Paris. On a warm August day, about 20,000 people came to Pershing Stadium to watch 77 athletes in track and field, including a team from the United States. There was a parade of nations. There were world records. There were 27 journalists and news coverage around the world.

And at the start, a 38-year-old woman named Alice Milliat welcomed the world to Paris. She was the founder of the International Women’s Sports Federation, known in her native France as the Fédération Sportive Féminine International.

Every competitor that day was a woman.

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You Are Cordially Invited to Euro 2024’s Best Party. Please Wear Orange.

It started with an old double-decker bus.

About 20 years ago, a group of friends who had met while following the Dutch soccer team around the world decided over beers that it would be fun to buy an old bus. They would paint it orange, the Dutch national color. They would outfit it with a bar and some very strong loudspeakers, and then they would take it on the road to watch their team.

But the bus is no longer just a bus. In the years since it first hit the road, it has morphed into something else: an internationally recognized grand marshal to a parade of tens of thousands of orange-clad Dutch fans who sing, chant and skip from left to right in unison on their way to the stadium every time and everywhere the national team plays.

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They Fled Oppression at Home, but It Followed Them Abroad

The line outside the Venezuelan Consulate in Madrid stretched down the block. Pregnant women, families with small children, older people and those with disabilities arrived as early as 4 a.m. — five hours before the office opened — trying to register to vote in Venezuela’s highly anticipated presidential election.

Adriana Rodríguez, 47, who left Venezuela in 2018, showed up at 8 a.m., two days in a row. Both times, she waited four hours before reaching the front of the line, only to be turned away, she said, always with the same explanation: “They could not register any more people.”

With Venezuela’s authoritarian president, Nicolás Maduro, trailing badly in polls ahead of the July 28 vote, the government has imposed stringent rules making registering to vote nearly impossible for millions of Venezuelans living abroad, including in the United States, Spain and Latin American countries.

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