Monday Briefing: Israel Extends Gaza Ground Campaign


The Israeli military yesterday signaled a heavier assault on Gaza and warned with increasing “urgency” that Palestinian civilians should move to the southern part of the coastal Gaza Strip.

The number of soldiers who had been sent into Gaza since Friday remained unclear. The Israeli military’s chief spokesman said that the country was “gradually expanding the ground activity and the scope of our forces,” and “progressing through the stages of the war according to plan.”

Videos released by the Israeli military and geolocated by The Times indicated that there were at least three separate places where troops had crossed the border into northern Gaza.

Phone and internet service had been knocked out in the enclave as Israel began an intensified ground operation on Friday. Connectivity in Gaza partially returned yesterday morning, according to the head of the main Palestinian telecommunications company.

The communications executive said that his company had not made any repairs and suspected that Israel was responsible for the service stoppage. Two American officials told The Times that the U.S. believed Israel was responsible for the communications loss. Officials in Israel have declined to comment on accusations that the country instigated the blackout.

Here’s the latest.

The toll: Deaths in Gaza since Oct. 7 have surpassed 8,000 people, which includes 3,342 children, a spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry said yesterday.

Hospitals: Al Quds Hospital in Gaza City said that it received a warning from Israel that it should evacuate before an airstrike hit it — and that it could not follow the order. An Israeli official declined to say whether the military told the hospital that it would be directly targeted. The director general of the World Health Organization called the reports “deeply concerning.”

Fuel: Israel has committed to allowing 100 trucks of aid per day into Gaza, a senior U.S. official said. The aid would include limited fuel for the U.N. to distribute to key humanitarian infrastructure.

Lebanon: Israel said that it had responded to attacks from the north and bombarded targets belonging to Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that has sought to show solidarity with Hamas. Both groups are backed by Iran, whose president, Ebrahim Raisi, again raised the specter of a wider conflict by saying yesterday that Israel had crossed a “red line which may force everyone to take action.”

With winter approaching, Ukrainian officials are desperate for more air defenses to protect their power grids from Russian strikes, leading Kyiv to experiment with a monster of a weapons system.

Originally the brainchild of Ukraine, these somewhat makeshift weapons are now being pursued by the Pentagon. U.S. officials call it the FrankenSAM program, combining Western surface-to-air missiles with refitted Soviet-era launchers or radars that Ukrainian forces have on hand. Two variants have been tested on military bases in the U.S. and are set to be delivered to Ukraine this fall, officials said.

The Great Read: They met when they were boys in western Ukraine, bonded by their love of outdoor adventure. When Russia invaded, they fought on the front line together. Read their story.

A rare criticism: At a public protest, families of missing Ukrainian soldiers demanded answers about their status from the government.

Seoul marked a somber anniversary over the weekend, a year since the deadly crowd surge in Itaewon, a popular nightlife district. The Times photographer Chang W. Lee captured the scene: The authorities were out in force, but crowds in the typically bustling neighborhood were sparse.

Oct. 29, 2022, began as a long-awaited Halloween celebration, the first in several years in South Korea that was free of pandemic restrictions. A mass of revelers and a bottleneck of human traffic in a cramped alley that night killed nearly 160 people.

Haunted by guilt and vilified online: Survivors of the disaster and relatives of victims have wrestled with unanswered questions and grief as they push for official accountability.

It’s a good time to be a witch. Those steeped in the “craft” are part of a $2.3 billion industry in the larger psychic-services universe, a field that includes palm reading, tarot cards and astrology. These practitioners no longer lurk in dark alleys or back rooms, but on Etsy and TikTok.

Lives lived: Matthew Perry, who portrayed Chandler Bing in the acclaimed sitcom “Friends,” died at 54.

As richer countries reckon with aging populations, Africa is experiencing what some experts call a “youthquake.” The median age on the continent is 19, a full 20 years younger than that in China and the U.S. By the 2040s, two out of every five children will be born in Africa.

“Experts say this approaching tide of humanity will push Africa to the fore of the most pressing concerns of our age, like climate change, the energy transition and migration,” Declan Walsh, who covers Africa for The Times, reports. In a new Times series, Old World, Young Africa, reporters followed young people searching for jobs. They traveled with migrant workers, spoke to people who returned from studying in China, and interviewed young people who challenged aging leaders.

“The world is changing,” Edward Paice, the author of “Youthquake: Why African Demography Should Matter to the World,” told Walsh. “And we need to start reimagining Africa’s place in it.” — Lynsey Chutel, Briefings writer based in Johannesburg

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