Friday Briefing: Gaza Cease-Fire to Begin Today

The scene of an Israeli strike in Rafah on Thursday.Credit…Said Khatib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The cease-fire in Gaza is expected to begin today

The Qatari government, which has brokered negotiations between Israel and Hamas, said a four-day pause in fighting in Gaza would begin this morning, followed by the hostage and prisoner releases. The events could lead to a significant diplomatic breakthrough in the war, now in its seventh week. Here’s the latest.

Israel and Hamas have been negotiating to clinch the final details of the agreement to exchange at least 50 women and children held in Gaza for 150 Palestinian women and minors imprisoned in Israeli jails. The agreement was announced on Wednesday, but the talks have snagged on key details, underscoring the fragility of the deal and the intense mutual mistrust.

Continued fighting: Israeli airstrikes and ground troops pummeled northern Gaza amid the countdown to the pause in fighting. Numerous clashes were reported in Jabaliya, an area just north of Gaza City that Israeli officials have called a stronghold of Hamas.

Details: A spokesman for Qatar’s foreign ministry told reporters that the pause in fighting would begin at 7 a.m. Gaza time. A first group of 13 hostages would be released starting at 4 p.m. along with an undisclosed number of Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas’s military wing confirmed in a statement that the cease-fire would begin at 7 a.m. The Israeli prime minister’s office did not confirm the timing, but said it had received an initial list of the names of hostages who would be released and had contacted their families.

Past swaps: Roughly three Palestinian prisoners will be returned for every one Israeli hostage. Israeli governments have long been determined to bring back captured civilians and soldiers — even at steep costs. Here is a look at how these deals have played out.

A children’s hospital in Beijing on Thursday.Credit…Jade Gao/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The W.H.O. asked China about a surge in respiratory illnesses

The World Health Organization has requested that China share detailed information about a recent increase in respiratory illnesses in children. Chinese media reports have described long lines and overcrowding at pediatric hospitals.

Doctors have said that the wave this year appeared to be more severe. Chinese officials have attributed the illnesses to known pathogens such as influenza, the coronavirus behind the pandemic and mycoplasma pneumoniae, a common bacterium that typically causes mild illness. But some reports have described crowds of children at hospitals with pneumonia, without specifying the exact cause of illness.

Background: During the outbreaks of SARS in 2003 and of the coronavirus, China’s surveillance and reporting of infectious diseases drew global scrutiny and criticism. Officials covered up early cases both times and stonewalled requests from outside health officials, including the W.H.O., for more information and access to patient data.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Biden in June.Credit…Tom Brenner for The New York Times

India faces questions about another assassination plot

U.S. officials said they had expressed concerns to the Indian government about a thwarted plan to kill a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, months after Canada accused New Delhi of being involved in the killing of a Sikh separatist in British Columbia in June.

News outlets reported on Wednesday that the Biden administration had told the Indian government it had information possibly linking New Delhi to the failed attempt to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a vocal advocate of Sikh separatism.

The White House’s National Security Council said that the issue had “been raised by the U.S. government with the Indian government,” and India’s foreign ministry issued a statement that acknowledged discussing the matter with the U.S. There has been no public accusation.


Asia Pacific

Ram Bibi, the wife an Afghan migrant who was arrested and deported from Pakistan.Credit…Insiya Syed for The New York Times
  • Rights activists say hundreds of families in Pakistan are being ripped apart as a result of a government campaign to deport Afghans.

  • A court in South Korea handed down a suspended sentence to a Chinese dissident who traveled from China to South Korea on a Jet Ski-type vehicle.

Around the World

Police officers at the scene of an attack in Dublin.Credit…Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters
  • Three young children were among five people injured in a knife attack near a school in Dublin. The police have a suspect in custody and said it was not an act of terrorism.

  • Officials said that there was no “known terrorist connection” in the fiery car crash that killed two people on a bridge between the U.S. and Canada on Wednesday.

  • In an election result that sent shock waves across Europe, Geert Wilders, a far-right politician, became closer than ever to becoming prime minister of the Netherlands.

  • A woman filed a lawsuit accusing New York Mayor Eric Adams of sexually assaulting her in 1993 when he was a member of the Police Department.

Other Big Stories

  • Heavy rains and floods have killed scores of people and displaced hundreds of thousands of others across eastern Africa in recent weeks.

  • Legal immigration into Britain climbed to a record 745,000 in 2022, despite the governing Conservative Party’s vow to curb the number of arrivals.

  • A model filed a lawsuit against the fashion photographer Terry Richardson, accusing him of sexually assaulting her during a photo shoot.

A Morning Read

Geoffrey Holt in 2020.Credit…Ed Smith, via Associated Press

Geoffrey Holt lived a quiet life in a trailer park in a small New Hampshire town, blending in with its 4,000 residents while mostly keeping to himself. When he died in June at 82, his will revealed a secret: He was a multimillionaire. And he had decided to leave all his wealth — $3.8 million — to the town.


A scene from “Squid Game: The Challenge.”Credit…Netflix

A ‘Squid Game’ reality show

The Netflix series “Squid Game,” about wealthy VIPs watching the poor and desperate compete to the death for a payout, wasn’t subtle, our critic James Poniewozik writes. But it had something to say, and it did so with style.

For those craving a real-life adaptation, you’re in luck. Or maybe not.

The new reality show spinoff, “Squid Game: The Challenge,” obviously loses all the murder. It keeps the drama’s kaleidoscopic set design, its outfits and many of its competitions. Unfortunately, it also loses everything its inspiration had that cut to the jugular — in particular, the commentary about how capitalism pits ordinary people in gladiatorial combat.


Credit…Vaughn Vreeland and Scott Loitsch

Prepare: This lemony whipped feta with charred scallionscan be served with pita chips or buttery crackers.

Read: The winner of the Booker Prize will be announced on Sunday. Here are the six titles on the shortlist.

Watch: Bradley Cooper delivers an intimate portrait of Leonard Bernstein in “Maestro.”

Enjoy: New research suggests keeping a secret to yourself can be energizing.

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

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

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