Friday Briefing: Israel Continues to Search Al-Shifa

A satellite image of Al-Shifa Hospital and its surroundings in Gaza on Saturday.Credit…Maxar Technologies, via Associated Press

Israeli forces search Al-Shifa for the second day

Israeli soldiers yesterday were still combing Al-Shifa Hospital, which the Israeli military has said concealed a secret Hamas base. The Gaza health ministry said that thousands of people remained inside the Al-Shifa Hospital compound with little food and water.

A communications blackout swept through Gaza, making it exceedingly difficult to reach anyone at Al-Shifa or at other hospitals. Fighting continued around the complex, and the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Iran-backed armed group in Gaza, said on Telegram that it was battling Israeli forces near the hospital.

Israel has released videos showing about a dozen guns, a grenade, protective vests and military uniforms that it said soldiers had found within an M.R.I. unit; a white pickup truck on the hospital grounds and, laid out on the ground near it, the arsenal the narrator said had been its contents, which included rifles, ammunition and grenades; and what it described as a tunnel entrance. The images could not be independently verified.

A spokesman for the Israeli military, Maj. Nir Dinar, said that Israel needed more time to find and present evidence.

“It takes time because Hamas knew we were coming, and they’ve tried to hide evidence of their war crimes,” Major Dinar said. “They’ve messed up the scene, they’ve brought in sand to cover some of the floors and they’ve created double walls.”

Here’s the latest.

Pressure on Israel: Israel’s ability to prove its claim could be key to whether its foreign allies continue to support its military response. White House officials have said they believe, based on intelligence gathered independently of Israeli sources, that Hamas used the hospital as a base.

Diplomacy: The U.S. did not block a U.N. resolution calling for humanitarian pauses, the first time that Washington has refrained from blocking a resolution that does not also condemn the Hamas attack. President Biden said that he and his aides had been negotiating with Arab nations on next steps, and that the endpoint of the conflict needed to be a “real” Palestinian state.

President Biden and President Xi Jinping of China in California on Wednesday.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Xi aims to assure and assert in talks with Biden

President Biden and President Xi Jinping of China spoke for four hours on Wednesday, reaching significant agreements on curbing fentanyl production and on the resumption of military-to-military communications, Biden said. But little progress was made on issues such as semiconductors, A.I. or enlisting China’s peacekeeping efforts in the war in Gaza.

As depicted by official Chinese summaries, Xi’s message to world leaders at the APEC summit in San Francisco was that he is willing to engage with the U.S., in part to lure back foreign investment. But he also wanted to show the Chinese people that he strongly defended Beijing’s interests and burnished its image as a world power on par with the U.S.

Here’s a breakdown of what the talks accomplished (and didn’t).

Pandas, Ping-Pong and profits: Xi emphasized friendship in an address to American business leaders on Wednesday. Among those who paid thousands of dollars to attend the event were the Apple chief executive Tim Cook and Jerry Brown, the former governor of California. They mingled with executives from Boeing, Pfizer, Nike and FedEx. Elon Musk popped by during the cocktail hour to greet Xi.

Fighting broke out between two rival military factions in Sudan in April.Credit…Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters

Paramilitary forces are accused of atrocities in Darfur

Seven months into Sudan’s disastrous civil war, a powerful paramilitary group has in recent weeks scored a succession of sweeping victories over the country’s army in the Darfur region.

The paramilitary group, called the Rapid Support Forces, and its allies have captured three of Darfur’s five state capitals and are on the verge of seizing the entire Darfur region, according to residents, analysts and U.N. officials. Aid workers and witnesses reported sexual violence, torture and killings of members of the Masalit, an ethnic African group with a long history of conflict with ethnic Arabs.

“People are dying like insects,” an aid worker said.


Asia Pacific

A fire at the Yongju Coal Industry Joint Building in Luliang City, China.Credit…via Reuters
  • A fire at the offices of a coal company in northern China killed at least 26 people.

  • Forty workers have been trapped in a Himalayan road tunnel for four days, subsisting on food and water sent through a pipe.

  • Tennis turned David Lewis and his brothers into royalty in New Zealand. To his daughters, it brought tragedy.

Around the World

A child in the intensive care section of a measles ward in Afghanistan.Credit…Kiana Hayeri for The New York Times
  • Measles cases worldwide rose 18 percent and deaths increased by more than 40 percent from 2021 to 2022, according to the W.H.O.

  • Representative George Santos will not seek re-election after the House Ethics Committee found “substantial evidence” that he violated federal law.

  • Finland said that it was closing part of its border with Russia after a dramatic increase in migrant crossings.

  • SpaceX planned the second launch of Starship, its moon and Mars rocket, today.

Other Big Stories

  • A man was charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of a 69-year-old Jewish protester during demonstrations in California.

  • A leak revealed that a top German journalist received 600,000 euros from an ally of President Vladimir Putin.

  • Cryptocurrencies surged with the expectation that U.S. regulators will approve an exchange traded fund that tracks the price of Bitcoin.

  • A man exonerated in the murder of Malcolm X sued the U.S., a case that could pry open secrets about the assassination.

A Morning Read

In Alan Wake 2, an F.B.I. works to solve a murder with supernatural dimensions.Credit…Remedy Entertainment/Epic Games

The video game Alan Wake 2 has drawn effusive praise for its tense atmosphere, innovative style and sophisticated writing.

My colleagues on the Culture desk spoke with Sam Lake, the game’s writer and director, about crafting its story, which is full of surreal and mind-bending digressions inspired by unorthodox novels, films and plays like “Fight Club,” “House of Leaves” and “Twin Peaks.”


Credit…The New York Times

The African artists driving a renaissance

For centuries, the connection between Black people on and off the continent of Africa has been complex, bound up in a painful history of slavery, separation and, at times, suspicion. Yet the relationship has also thrived. Today, for the booming young population of the continent and the African diaspora, the relationship is more direct. There’s a reciprocity of inspiration, fueled by a multitude of creative efforts and propelled by social media platforms.

My colleagues spoke to 12 leading creators who hail from Africa and the diaspora, as far afield as Asia, Europe and the U.S. They include Ruth E. Carter, the first Black woman to win an Oscar for her costume design work on the films “Black Panther” and “Wakanda Forever”; Zhong Feifei, a Congolese Chinese singer and model; and the Hugo-award-winning novelist Nnedi Okorafor.

Learn more about the global web of creators who are making the world more African.


Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times

Cook: this carrot tart with ricotta and feta.

Read: Justin Torres won the National Book Award for his genre-defying novel “Blackouts.”

Solve: 30 crossword puzzles to celebrate Will Shortz’s 30th anniversary as the Crossword editor of The Times.

Eat: Plant-based foods are linked to a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, a new study shows.

Play Spelling Bee, the Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku. Find all our games here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you Monday. — Justin

P.S. The Times won two first-place awards from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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