Israel said it would continue to reduce the number of troops in Gaza.Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times
Israel announced a new military phase in Gaza
Israel said its military was starting to shift from a large-scale ground-and-air campaign in the Gaza Strip to a more targeted phase, with fewer troops and airstrikes, in its war against Hamas. Israeli officials have privately told their U.S. counterparts that they hoped the transition would be completed by the end of the month, U.S. officials said.
Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, is in Israel to press officials there to curtail their campaign in Gaza and to prevent the war from spreading across the region. An Israeli strike last week killed senior Hamas leaders in Lebanon, and Hezbollah said yesterday that one of its commanders had also been killed in a strike in southern Lebanon.
U.S. officials said they expected the transition to rely more on surgical missions by smaller groups of elite Israeli forces that would move in and out of population centers in the Gaza Strip to find and kill Hamas leaders, rescue hostages and destroy tunnels.
By the numbers: The number of Israeli troops in the northern part of Gaza is believed to have dropped to less than half of the roughly 50,000 soldiers that had been present as recently as last month during the height of the campaign, according to U.S. officials.
Analysis: “We can expect more targeted operations rather than wide maneuvers,” Patrick Kingsley, The Times’s Jerusalem bureau chief, said. “Whether that alleviates civilian suffering remains to be seen. The strikes are clearly still continuing, killing scores every day.”
In other news from the war:
Israel will face accusations at the International Court of Justice this week of committing genocide in the Gaza war. It rejects the allegations as a “blood libel.”
TikTok quietly curtailed a tool used to measure the popularity of trends after results were used to scrutinize content related to geopolitics and the Israel-Hamas war.
France’s prime minister resigned
Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne of France resigned yesterday ahead of a widely expected cabinet reshuffle by President Emmanuel Macron. She was appointed as prime minister in May 2022 and is the second woman to occupy that position.
In her resignation letter, Borne made it clear that it was Macron who had decided to replace her, and she suggested she would have preferred to stay on. But her tenure has been marked by political and social unrest, and Macron has appeared increasingly intent on appointing a fresh face as he attempts to inject new energy into his presidency.
Macron’s office said he had accepted her resignation and said that she would continue to handle “current affairs” until a new cabinet is appointed.
Background: Prime ministers play an important role in France. Under the Constitution, it is through their leadership that the government “determines and conducts the nation’s policies.” They are directly accountable to Parliament, and they oversee much of the domestic day-to-day running of the country.
Boeing 737 Max 9 investigation continues
Investigators are looking into what caused a part of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 plane to be blown out in midflight on Friday, including how a critical component was installed and whether the airline appropriately handled pressurization warnings aboard the plane.
While no serious injuries were reported, the accident could have been catastrophic, especially if the plane — which had taken off 10 minutes earlier and made an emergency landing back in Portland — had been at a higher altitude, experts said.
Related: The Alaska Airlines plane had previously been restricted from long flights over water.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
Ukraine has shifted almost entirely into a defensive mode. Its soldiers say that operating near the front line is more dangerous than ever.
China said it had detained a foreign consultant and accused him of spying for Britain.
India’s top court restored life sentences for 11 Hindu men who were convicted of gang-raping a Muslim woman during Hindu-Muslim violence in 2002.
Pope Francis called surrogate motherhood “despicable,” urging a universal ban for its “commercialization” of pregnancy.
Other Big Stories
Ultraconservative House Republicans pledged to vote against the deal Speaker Mike Johnson made with Senate Democrats to fund the government and avert a shutdown.
A bold engineering project might show a way to slow sea-level rise — and bring new imagination to the fight against climate change.
A year ago, protesters in Brazil stormed government offices to try to overturn an election — much like what occurred in the U.S. on Jan. 6, 2021. But the aftermath of the two attacks has been very different.
The first NASA-financed commercial mission to send a robotic spacecraft to the surface of the moon most likely will not be able to make it there.
What Else Is Happening
A.I. chatbots are set to advance rapidly this year. They may expand beyond text and start to behave more like humans.
Many African raptor species have suffered declines over the past few decades, according to a new study.
“Purple Rain,” Prince’s breakout rise-of-a-rock-star film, is being adapted into a stage musical.
The latest trend in weddings: Enormous table-long sheet cakes.
A Morning Read
There was something strange going on in Rodney Holbrook’s backyard shed. For months, someone — or something — apparently tidied up after the 75-year-old retiree, placing clothes pegs, cups and even cable ties neatly in a box.
Eventually, Holbrook set up a night-vision camera and caught the mysterious visitor: a tiny mouse, tidying its tiny house.
Maddy Cusack: Why her family wants a new investigation into the soccer player’s death.
‘Der Kaiser’: Franz Beckenbauer, a towering figure in soccer who led West Germany to World Cup championships as a player and as a coach, has died at 78.
The long wait continues: After nearly 200 games with Liverpool, Joe Gomez has yet to score a goal for the club.
Tiger Woods: The golfer announced that he was no longer a Nike brand ambassador.
ARTS AND IDEAS
A dress with a mystery
It appeared to be a “textbook” silk bustle dress from the 1800s. But a secret pocket revealed a cryptic note, written on two scrunched-up translucent sheets of paper, that read in part: “Bismark Omit leafage buck bank / Paul Ramify loamy event false new event.”
Sara Rivers Cofield, who found the dress at an antique mall in Maine, was baffled. Was it a writing exercise? A list? A code? “I’m putting it up here in case there’s some decoding prodigy out there looking for a project,” she wrote on her blog in 2014.
The mystery has fascinated a community of online sleuths who for years speculated whether the owner of the dress was a spy, a romantic sending coded love notes, or a risk-taker engaged in illegal gambling. This year, Wayne Chan, a data analyst at the University of Manitoba, finally cracked the case.
Cook: Turn canned salmon into luscious patties.
Listen: Questlove made a playlist for our 6-day Energy Challenge.
Primp: Put your makeup on in good lighting.
Read: Álvaro Enrigue’s “You Dreamed of Empires” recounts the conquistadors’ arrival at Moctezuma’s gates.
Play the Spelling Bee. And here are today’s Mini Crossword and Wordle. You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Natasha
Reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].