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Friday Briefing: Israel Continues to Search Al-Shifa

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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 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.

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.

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 the 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.”

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.

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