Israel Renews Intense Operations in Gaza City

Israel Renews Intense Operations in Gaza City

Welcome back to World Brief, where we’re looking at Israeli combat operations in Gaza City, NATO promising more aid for Ukraine, and U.S. tariffs on Mexican metals that come from China.

Welcome back to World Brief, where we’re looking at Israeli combat operations in Gaza City, NATO promising more aid for Ukraine, and U.S. tariffs on Mexican metals that come from China.

Evacuation Orders

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) ordered all residents of Gaza City on Wednesday to immediately evacuate the “dangerous combat zone.” Dropped leaflets instructed Palestinians to head south via two designated safe routes, marked as roads leading to shelters in Deir al-Balah and al-Zawaida in central Gaza, as Israel intensifies its combat operations in the north. The IDF claims that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have regrouped in Gaza City since the start of 2024.

This is the first time since last October that all residents of Gaza’s largest city have been ordered to evacuate the area, where more than a quarter of a million people are currently living. Locals report that Israeli strikes began targeting the city before dawn on Monday and have continued with little reprieve, similar to how the IDF began its operation three months ago to retake Al-Shifa Hospital from Hamas militants.

The United Nations Human Rights Office has condemned the ongoing strikes. The U.N. is “appalled” by the IDF ordering Palestinians to flee to “areas where Israeli military operations are ongoing and where civilians continue to be killed and injured,” the agency said on Tuesday. The press release follows an Israeli missile hitting a school in southern Gaza where displaced Palestinians were watching a soccer game. At least 31 people were killed in Tuesday’s strike, and more than 50 others were injured. The IDF said it used a “precision munition” there to target a militant who had taken part in Hamas’s Oct. 7, 2023, attack on Israel.

Additional Israeli bombardments on Wednesday struck four houses in Deir al-Balah and the nearby Nuseirat refugee camp, killing at least 20 people. One of the homes hit was located in the “humanitarian safe zone” where Israel told Palestinians on Wednesday to flee to. “Civilians, especially children, must not get caught in the crossfire,” the German Foreign Ministry posted on X on Wednesday. “The repeated attacks on schools by the Israeli army must stop and an investigation must come quickly.”

The U.N. also warned of overcrowding in Deir al-Balah as well as limited humanitarian access across Gaza. The Palestinian Red Crescent announced on Tuesday that it will close all of its stations and clinics in Gaza City due to ongoing IDF operations there. Only 13 of the enclave’s 36 hospitals are functioning—and only partially.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told the Knesset on Wednesday that Israeli forces have killed or wounded 60 percent of all Hamas fighters since the war began last October. In the past nine months, more than 38,200 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza. Cease-fire talks resumed in Doha, Qatar, this week between Egyptian, U.S., and Israeli intelligence chiefs. But Hamas said that Israel’s renewed assault on Gaza City could “reset the negotiation process to square one.”

Today’s Most Read

What We’re Following

NATO summit, day two. NATO members at the 2024 summit in Washington on Wednesday promised to unveil a series of new aid deals for Ukraine over the next few days. According to a joint communique seen by Reuters, NATO intends to provide Ukraine with at least 40 billion euros in funding within the next year as part of a one-year commitment. The group has so far failed to commit to a multiyear military package.

The proposals will also include air defense deliveries, such as F-16 fighter jets, to Kyiv to “make sure that Ukraine can continue to effectively defend itself against the Russian aggression,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. The United States, Denmark, and the Netherlands announced on Wednesday that they have already sent their first batch of F-16 planes to Ukraine.

NATO members reiterated on Wednesday that they promise to help Kyiv prepare for future accession to the alliance, which a joint communique called “irreversible.” The alliance maintains that Ukraine will not be allowed to join the group, though, until its war with Russia concludes. NATO also promised on Wednesday to establish a mechanism to help coordinate the provision of military equipment and training to Ukraine.

Metals tariffs on Mexico. The Biden administration announced new tariffs on Wednesday against Mexican metals that are partially made in China. This includes a 25 percent tariff on Mexican steel that is melted or poured outside of North America as well as a 10 percent tariff on Mexican aluminum that contains metals that have been smelted or cast in China, Belarus, Iran, or Russia.

The tariffs, which go into effect immediately, aim to close a trade loophole allowing cheap, state-subsidized Chinese metals to circumvent existing U.S. tariffs by traveling through Mexico. Beijing produces more than half of the world’s steel. According to the White House, around 13 percent of Mexican steel imports and roughly 6 percent of Mexican aluminum imports last year came from outside of North America.

Blocked membership bid. The European Union formally halted Georgia’s accession bid on Tuesday over last month’s passage of a foreign agents law. The bloc also froze $32.5 million in financial support earmarked for Georgia’s Defense Ministry in 2024. “This is only the first step,” EU Ambassador to Georgia Pawel Herczynski said. “It is sad to see EU-Georgia relations at such a low point, when they could have been at an all-time high.”

Under Georgia’s foreign agents law, civil society organizations and media outlets that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad must register as “agents of foreign influence.” Rights activists have argued that the legislation mimics a Russian-styled effort to limit free speech and stymie dissent. Brussels previously warned Tbilisi that enacting the policy would be incompatible with EU membership.

Odds and Ends

Residents of Barcelona are up in arms over excessive tourism—that is, if you count water guns as “arms.” Thousands of Spaniards took to the streets over the weekend to protest inflated costs of living due to overtourism, with some marchers spraying tourists with water guns. The demonstration’s organizer, the Neighborhood Assembly for Tourism Degrowth, said it did not instruct protesters to use water guns but recognized that the method is “not violent.” Among the group’s demands, it seeks restrictions on tourist accommodations, fewer cruise terminals, and an end to tourism advertisements using public money.

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