Monday Briefing: Israel’s Leader Warns of a Long War

The National Islamic Bank in central Gaza was bombed yesterday.Credit…Samar Abu Elouf for The New York Times

More than 1,100 dead after Hamas attack and Israel’s retaliation

Israeli troops were still fighting to expel Palestinian militants from Israeli territory yesterday, a day after a surge of armed militants crossed the Gaza border as part of the broadest invasion of Israel in 50 years. Israel responded to the land, sea and air assault launched by Palestinian militants on Saturday with heavy strikes on Gazan cities.

The Israeli military reported fighting in seven border communities and an army base, and tanks were seen crossing farmland in parts of southern Israel, heading south toward Gaza. Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, continued to fire rockets into Israel.

The estimated death toll hovered yesterday was more than 1,100. An Israeli defense official said that an early assessment showed that about 600 Israelis were killed on Saturday. The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said that at least 413 Palestinians had been killed since the start of the assault, including 78 children.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a “long and difficult war” ahead, saying that Israeli forces were moving into an “offensive phase, which will continue with neither limitations nor respite until the objectives are achieved.” The Biden administration condemned Hamas and promised military assistance to Israel.

Hamas has taken Israeli soldiers and civilians into captivity, which could complicate any retaliatory operations. Netanyahu warned Palestinians on Saturday to clear out of any place in the Gaza Strip where fighters might be hiding or operating, promising to turn those sites “into rubble.”

But residents said there was nowhere to run or hide. Militants live and operate among civilians in Gaza, which has a population of two million.

Region’s response: Two of Israel’s neighbors, Egypt and Jordan, joined calls to de-escalate the conflict. But in Lebanon, Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group that fought a war with Israel in 2006, said yesterday that it had fired artillery shells and guided missiles at three Israeli posts in the Shebaa Farms area, land it considers to be occupied Lebanese territory.

Israel’s next moves: Netanyahu issued a call-up of reservists, and the Israeli military said it was evacuating residents of 24 villages in the area of the border, which could indicate that Israel is preparing for a broader operation inside Gaza.

Earthquakes in Afghanistan this weekend destroyed entire villages.Credit…Samiullah Popal/EPA, via Shutterstock

Major quakes struck Afghanistan

The death toll from two major earthquakes in northwestern Afghanistan reached 813 yesterday and is expected to rise, according to the local authorities, making the dual shocks one of the deadliest natural disasters to hit the country in decades.

The two earthquakes, both 6.3 magnitude, hit Herat Province, along the country’s border with Iran, on Saturday. Aid workers who arrived yesterday in the remote, badly hit areas found that in some cases, entire families had been killed.

Context: The earthquakes were the latest natural disaster to rattle Afghanistan, which has endured enormous floods, mudslides and earthquakes in recent years.

A destroyed granary at a port in the Odesa region of Ukraine on Saturday.Credit…Nicole Tung for The New York Times

Ukrainian ports were hit for the second day in a row

The Russian military carried out overnight missile strikes on the southern region of Odesa, Ukrainian officials said on Saturday, injuring four people and damaging port infrastructure. It was the second attack on the area in two days, as Moscow continues to target ports and grain facilities in a broader effort to strangle the Ukrainian economy. A day before, Russian drones hit a grain silo near the port city of Izmail, also in the Odesa region.

Background: Ukraine has been among the world’s biggest exporters of grain. After Russia’s blockade of the Black Sea this summer, Ukraine’s wheat exports plummeted, but the country has since devised alternative routes, trying to protect a crucial source of income during the war.


Asia Pacific

Australia has been bitterly divided over a referendum on whether to set up a body to advise Parliament on Aboriginal issues.Credit…Lisa Maree Williams/Bloomberg
  • Conspiracy theories of a rigged election in Australia have rippled out from the far right of the political fringes, raising alarm.

  • Pakistan announced plans to expel more than one million Afghans living there illegally, a sign of increasing hostility between the Pakistani government and Taliban authorities.

Around the World

The presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was killed days before Ecuador’s August election.Credit…Gerardo Menoscal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • The six Colombian men accused of murdering an Ecuadorean presidential candidate were found dead in prison, the authorities said.

  • The governor of California vetoed a bill that would have made it the first U.S. state to ban discrimination based on caste.

  • Narges Mohammadi, Iran’s most prominent human rights activist and an inmate in the country’s notorious Evin Prison, was awarded the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

Other Big Stories

  • Britain’s Labour Party is holding a political conference after a big win in Scotland.

  • Puerto Rico is adding “USA” to its driver’s licenses in response to complaints from Puerto Ricans that their citizenship is questioned when they travel in the mainland U.S.

  • A Kenyan runner shattered the men’s marathon world record in Chicago.

A Morning Read

Some South Asian couples who have a foot in two cultures are making their own traditions.Credit…Chaitanya Sareen

South Asian weddings are a culture unto themselves. But recently, many young South Asian Americans have been planning weddings that represent their dual identities and modernize traditions. (Think: a reception playlist that mixes Bad Bunny and Bollywood.)

An entire industry has emerged to meet these sensibilities, and many South Asian wedding planners in the U.S. say that a hybrid approach has increasingly become the norm.


A woman getting new fake eyelashes at a beauty salon in Beijing.Credit…Giulia Marchi for The New York Times

Defying Chinese ‘beauty duty’

Legend Zhu was the conventional ideal of Chinese beauty. Tall with shoulder-length hair, she led her university’s modeling team. Over the summer, she took to Xiaohongshu, a Chinese social media platform known for its lifestyle influencers, to post a selfie with buzz-cut hair and a cosmetic-free face.

She is among a number of young women inspired by a growing trend of rejecting what is known in Chinese internet parlance as “beauty duty”: the costly and sometimes painful devotion to mainstream notions of attractiveness. The idea is to spend time and resources not on beauty standards, but on personal development, including education and career growth.

In Western countries, feminists have been calling out patriarchal attitudes for decades. But in many East Asian nations, the rejection of narrow definitions of beauty is often regarded as radical.


Credit…Armando Rafael for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Cyd Raftus McDowell.

Cook this chili macaroni, which needs only one pot and minimal chopping.

Watch a streaming action flick, like “Bad City” or “Code of the Assassins.”

Read “Family Meal,” which follows the jagged reunion of two former best friends.

Choose the best electric toothbrush.

Play Spelling Bee, the Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku. Find all our games here.

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

We welcome your feedback. Send us your suggestions at [email protected].

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