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Thursday Briefing


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government and members of the centrist opposition formed a unity government to navigate the crisis, as Israel’s warplanes rained destruction on the Gaza Strip and both sides braced for an escalating war between Israel and Hamas.

In Gaza, Israel’s military forces are carrying out an intense campaign of airstrikes. Electricity to the region has now shut down, and hospitals, already overwhelmed, reported that they would soon be unable to function. Paramedics said they would need bulldozers, which they don’t have, to pull more people from the rubble of buildings.

Villages along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon have become ghost towns. The residents who remain await the possible opening of a new front with a sense of terror.

Toll: The Israeli government said 1,200 Israelis had been killed, 169 of them soldiers, and almost 3,000 others have been wounded. An estimated 150 people are believed to have been kidnapped. Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed at least 1,127 people and wounded more than 5,300, according to Gazan health officials.

Analysis: Mounting grievances fueled Hamas’s decision to attack, but the nature of that attack was shaped by a deep thirst for revenge built up over decades of conflict, Ben Hubbard writes.

For more:

  • It took most of a day for Israeli soldiers to arrive as people tried to hide from Hamas terrorists. Here’s what the evidence shows about the response to some of the deadliest attacks.

  • Intelligence that Hamas’s attack surprised Iranian leaders has fueled doubts in the U.S. that Tehran, a supporter of the Palestinian group, played a direct role in planning the assault.

  • Graphic imagery and footage of the attacks have flooded social media. Bogus claims are also circulating and risk obscuring real evidence of atrocities.

Ukrainian air assault brigades are constantly engaged in skirmishes with Russian forces on a front line that stretches hundreds of miles. Their motto — “always first” — is testament to the fact that they are often assigned the most challenging and deadly jobs.

While attention has shifted to the south, where Ukrainian forces have been battling since June to break through heavily fortified Russian lines, furious fighting also rages on the sprawling eastern front. In some places, Ukrainian forces are on the defensive. In others, they are on the offensive. And along much of the eastern front, they are simply fighting to hold the line against a daily barrage of shelling.

Zelensky visits NATO: The Ukrainian president made a surprise visit to the alliance’s headquarters to urge NATO to maintain its flow of weapons to his country for its war against Russia.

A court in Paris convicted Mohamed Lamine Aberouz on charges of complicity in the 2016 murders of an off-duty police officer, Jean-Baptiste Salvaing, and his partner, Jessica Schneider, near Paris, part of a wave of deadly Islamist terrorist attacks that shocked France.

The court sentenced Aberouz to life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 22 years. He had always denied playing any role in the killings.

Details: The pair were murdered at home in the small town of Magnanville on June 13, 2016, by Larossi Abballa, an Islamist extremist who cut Schneider’s throat and stabbed Salvaing before taking their 3-year-old son hostage for several hours.

The world’s biggest pop star, Taylor Swift, is about to become the world’s biggest movie star, at least for a weekend. The only question is whether turnout for her concert film will be enormous or truly colossal, breaking previous records set by Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson.

Swift broke Hollywood norms in getting her film to theaters, producing and financing the movie herself and bypassing a studio altogether. She will therefore keep about 57 percent of ticket revenue, with theater chains pocketing the rest.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Natasha

P.S. How well do you know sci-fi novels adapted for the screen? Take our quiz.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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