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Early Edition: June 14, 2024

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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news:

ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR

Hamas does not know how many of the remaining 120 Israeli hostages are still alive, a senior official said yesterday. “I don’t have any idea about that. No one has an idea about this,” Hamas spokesperson Osama Hamdan told CNN. Hamdan alleged, without providing evidence, that the Israeli operation to rescue four hostages on Saturday resulted in the deaths of three others, including a U.S. citizen. Ben Wedeman, Muhammad Darwish and Ivana Kottasová report for CNN.

ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — U.S. RESPONSE 

The White House yesterday said it viewed the U.S.-backed ceasefire deal for Gaza as still possible, based on Hamas’s latest response to the plan. “We are working actively to generate a path forward based on what Hamas has come in with,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the G7 summit. President Biden struck a more pessimistic note, saying “Hamas needs to move,” but added, “I haven’t lost hope.” Adam Cancryn reports for POLITICO; Leo Sands, Loveday Morris, Hajar Harb, and Sammy Westfall report for the Washington Post

Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressed Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in early May to release frozen Palestinian Authority (PA) tax revenues, U.S. and Israeli officials said. The Biden administration is concerned the PA could collapse if the tax revenues are not transferred soon, according to U.S. officials. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.

The U.S. military may again temporarily dismantle the pier off the coast of Gaza due to rough sea conditions, U.S. officials said. Natasha Bertrand, Oren Liebermann and Jennifer Hansler report for CNN.

GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS

G7 leaders yesterday agreed on a plan to give Ukraine a $50 billion loan to help it buy weapons and begin rebuilding its damaged infrastructure. The loan is expected to be repaid using interest earned on $300 billion in frozen Russian assets, which are mostly in European banks. While Washington will underwrite it, U.S. officials say they expect their allies, including E.U. members, to provide some of the funds. David E. Sanger and Steven Erlanger report for the New York Times; Jaroslav Lukiv and Jean Mackenzie report for BBC News.

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been indicted on espionage charges and referred to a trial court, Russian authorities said yesterday. Gershkovich, whom the U.S. government deems wrongfully detained, has been held in Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison since March 2023, and now faces the prospect of secret, closed-door hearings. Ann M. Simmons reports for the Wall Street Journal.

Negotiations are continuing in South Africa over the formation of a new government after the ruling African National Congress party lost its majority in last month’s elections. South Africa’s parliament is due to meet for the first time today, where MPs are expected to elect a speaker, deputy speaker, and the next president. Barbara Plett Usher and Farouk Chothia report for BBC News.

A Chinese court today found two activists guilty on charges of “inciting subversion of state power.” Sophia Huang Xueqin, an independent journalist known for her role in China’s #MeToo movement, and Wang Jianbing, a labor activist, were convicted and sentenced to five and three and a half years in prison respectively. Shibani Mahtani reports for the Washington Post.

The U.S. Navy has sent a nuclear-powered submarine to Guantánamo Bay after a fleet of Russian warships and a submarine arrived at the island Wednesday ahead of planned military exercises. The stop is “part of a routine port visit,” U.S. Southern Command said in a post on X. Ellen Mitchell reports for The Hill.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said yesterday that NATO members will take stronger action against Russian spies in response to Moscow’s campaign of cyberattacks and acts of sabotage. Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana reports for POLITICO.

A possible imminent visit by Russian president Vladimir Putin to North Korea could strengthen bilateral military ties in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, U.S and South Korean officials warned today. Hyonhee Shin and Josh Smith report for Reuters.

Iran has started up new cascades of advanced centrifuges and plans to install others in the coming weeks, the U.N. atomic watchdog said today. Jon Gambrell reports for AP News.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS

World leaders will meet this weekend at the Ukraine summit in Switzerland. Russia was not invited and has dismissed the summit as a sham. Some countries that maintain ties with Russia are expected to attend, including India, Turkey, and Hungary, but others will not despite intense Ukrainian and Swiss lobbying, most notably China. Dave Graham and Tom Balmforth report for Reuters

NATO countries are slated to sign off on a new plan for the alliance to take over from the United States in coordinating military aid to Ukraine. The shift is broadly viewed as a move by Europe to “Trump-proof” the Ukraine Defense Contact Group ahead of the November U.S. presidential election. Stuart Lau reports for POLITICO.

A new raft of U.S. sanctions has shaken Russia’s financial system. The sharp escalation in sanctions by the Treasury Department on Wednesday forced Moscow’s main financial trading platform to halt dollar and euro transactions yesterday, and prompted Russian officials to call on the population to “inflict maximum harm” on the West in retaliation. Catherine Belton and Jeff Stein report for the Washington Post.

ISRAEL-HEZBOLLAH TENSIONS

Escalating violence continued along the Israel-Lebanon border for the second day in a row. Lebanon’s Hezbollah responded yesterday to Israeli airstrikes in Lebanon with ramped-up rocket and drone assaults on Israel. The Israeli military said in the afternoon Hezbollah had launched more than 40 rockets, with a spokesperson calling it the most serious attack since the Gaza war erupted on Oct. 7. Aaron Boxerman and Euan Ward report for the New York Times.

The United States, France, and Israel will work together to push forward a roadmap presented by Paris earlier this year to defuse Israel-Hezbollah tensions, French president Emmanuel Macron said yesterday. Reuters reports.

HOUTHI DEVELOPMENTS 

The U.S. military launched airstrikes that destroyed three anti-ship cruise missile launchers in Houthi-controlled Yemen late yesterday, U.S. Central Command said. The Houthis struck a Ukrainian-owned Polish-operated bulk carrier en route to Italy, injuring a crew member. The British maritime agency also said it received a report from an officer of a second ship that there was an explosion near the vessel. Anjana Sankar reports for the New York Times.

DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS

Biden said yesterday he will not commute Hunter Biden’s eventual sentence in his gun trial and repeated that he would not pardon his son’s conviction. Biden’s remarks come after the White House on Wednesday appeared to not rule out a possible commutation. Erin Doherty reports for Axios.

Former President Trump yesterday returned to Capitol Hill to meet Republicans in his first visit since the Capitol Hill riots on Jan. 6, 2021. Delivering a message of unity, Trump promised to “work out” any lingering differences within the party. He met later in the day with an association of 200 corporate leaders. Bernd Debusmann Jr and Rachel Looker report for BBC News.

A Texas man was charged yesterday with threatening an FBI agent apparently involved with Hunter Biden’s investigation. Timothy Muller, 43, allegedly vowed that agents would be thrown in jail after a new president is elected. Phil Helsel reports for NBC News.

The recent arrest of eight Tajik nationals believed to have connections to the self-styled Islamic State has raised concerns among national security officials that an affiliate group could carry out an attack on U.S. soil, according to U.S. officials. Katie Bo Lillis and Josh Campbell report for CNN.

The post Early Edition: June 14, 2024 appeared first on Just Security.

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