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Friday Briefing: Many Killed in Gaza as Israelis Open Fire

WorldAsiaFriday Briefing: Many Killed in Gaza as Israelis Open Fire

Israeli forces opened fire yesterday as a crowd gathered near an aid convoy in Gaza City, leaving dozens killed or injured, according to the Palestinian Authority news agency and an Israeli official.

The details of what happened were unclear, and Palestinian and Israeli officials offered starkly different accounts. Here’s the latest.

The Gazan health authorities said that more than 100 people had been killed and more than 700 injured in a “massacre.” The official Palestinian Authority news agency, Wafa, reported that “Israeli tanks had opened fire with machine guns at thousands” waiting for aid to arrive.

The Israeli official acknowledged that troops had opened fire but said most of the people had been killed or injured in a stampede several hundred yards away. The Israeli military said that Gazans had surrounded aid trucks and “looted the supplies.” As a result, dozens were “killed and injured from pushing, trampling and being run over by the trucks.” It did not directly address the Palestinian claims of machine gun fire and said it was investigating.

A Hamas official warned that the killings might derail cease-fire talks. President Biden, after expressing hope earlier in the week that a deal could be reached by Monday, agreed that the shooting was likely to complicate negotiations.

A grim milestone: The death toll in Gaza passed 30,000 people since the war began on Oct. 7, roughly one person killed for every 73 Palestinians in the enclave. The figures, provided by the Gazan health ministry, are probably an undercount, experts said.

President Vladimir Putin said in his annual state-of-the-nation speech that the West faced the prospect of a nuclear response if it intervened more directly in the war in Ukraine.

The Russian leader alluded to comments by President Emmanuel Macron of France this week raising the possibility of sending NATO troops to Ukraine. Putin said that NATO countries that might consider such a move “must, in the end, understand” that “all this truly threatens a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons, and therefore the destruction of civilization.”

Background: Putin has repeatedly made veiled nuclear threats against the West since he invaded Ukraine two years ago. He had appeared to dial down that rhetoric in the past year. But yesterday, he returned to it, coupling his threats with a claim that he was ready to resume arms-control negotiations with the U.S.

Military aid: The Biden administration is considering providing Ukraine with arms by tapping into Pentagon stockpiles again, even though the government has run out of money to replace those munitions, according to officials.

The Supreme Court tossed Donald Trump a legal lifeline on Wednesday when the justices decided to consider his claim that he is immune from prosecution on charges of plotting to overturn the 2020 election. The court’s decision aided his efforts to delay the trial and increased the chances that he will not face a jury by Election Day in November.

The justices scheduled a hearing on the issue in late April. The legal calendar now suggests that if the justices issue a ruling by the end of the court’s term in June, and find that Trump is not immune from prosecution, the trial could start by late September or October.

What’s a stake: If Trump is elected president before he faces a trial, he could dismiss the case altogether.

Cole Brauer is the youngest competitor in the Global Solo Challenge, a nonstop solo sailing race around the world. While she might be alone on the waves, she’s bringing hundreds of thousands of people along through Instagram.

“Dune: Part Two” is opening around the world this weekend. Our critic Manohla Dargis wrote that it wasted no time picking up where the first film left off — and in bold style. In short, she said, “it’s a blast.”

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