Wednesday Briefing

Palestinian civilians at the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday. They were taken there after they were wounded in what Gaza officials said was an airstrike on the Ahli Arab Hospital.Credit…Abed Khaled/Associated Press

Hundreds killed in blast at Palestinian hospital

Hundreds of people were killed by an explosion at a hospital in Gaza City where thousands of civilians had been sheltering last night, local officials said, a devastating loss of life that ignited protests against Israel and the U.S. across the Arab world. The Health Ministry in Gaza said the number of casualties was expected to rise.

Photographs and videos showed bloodied and charred bodies strewn across the courtyard of the Ahli Arab Hospital. Blankets, backpacks and mattresses lay nearby, traces of families who had come to seek refuge at the hospital after their homes had been destroyed.

Palestinian officials said the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike. Israeli officials said the explosion was the result of a failed rocket attack by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an armed group aligned with Hamas, which a spokesman for the group denied. The Times could not verify either claim.

Context: The deadly explosion came as conditions in Gaza grew ever more desperate. Food, fuel and water supplies are dwindling fast. Israel said yesterday that it had intensified its bombing in the southern cities of Khan Younis and Rafah. Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has killed 2,800 people and wounded 10,000 others, Palestinian officials said, and Israel’s orders to evacuate northern Gaza have displaced at least 600,000, according to the U.N.

Rising anger: Aid and human rights groups have stepped up criticism of Israel’s bombing campaign and evacuation orders which are taking an ever deadlier toll on civilians.

First person: “I can’t describe what I saw. I swear to God — I witnessed the killing of my family, but I couldn’t even handle what I saw today,” Ali Jadallah, a longtime war photographer, said of the hospital blast. “I can’t handle what is happening.”

President Biden departing Joint Base Andrews in Maryland en route to Israel on Tuesday.Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times

President Biden will not attend summit in Jordan

President Biden is set to land today in Israel, in a politically and personally treacherous trip in the midst of an ever-worsening war. His visit had been intended to deter Iran and its proxy forces in the region and prevent the conflict from expanding beyond Israel and Hamas.

But the trip, which also was meant to show solidarity with Israel and urge it to avoid civilian casualties, has already hit hurdles: White House officials yesterday said that a planned summit in Jordan, during which Biden planned to stress to Middle Eastern leaders the risks of the crisis expanding beyond Gaza, had been canceled.

Officials said the decision to cancel the Jordan meeting was “made in a mutual way” between Biden and King Abdullah II of Jordan after Mahmoud Abbas, the leaderof the Palestinian Authority, said that he wanted to cut his own trip to Jordan short to return home.

Quotable: Biden said that he was “outraged and deeply saddened” by the devastating blast that struck the Ahli Arab Hospital just hours before he left Washington. “The U.S. stands unequivocally for the protection of civilian life during conflict,” he said, “and we mourn the patients, medical staff and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy.”

Analysis: “The timing and optics of such a significant visit couldn’t be any worse,” said Charles Lister, the director of counterterrorism at the Middle East Institute. “Whatever the circumstances behind this strike at the hospital in Gaza, it doesn’t really matter at this point. The tensions have been inflamed beyond anything we’ve seen over the last week.”

Ukrainian troops using reconnaissance drones to search for Russian positions near Berdiansk, Ukraine, in July.Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

Ukraine uses long-range missiles against Russia

Ukraine’s forces struck Russian air bases using powerful American-made long-range missiles, after President Biden overcame his longstanding reluctance to providing the weapons. It represented a shift by the U.S. at a time when the Ukrainian military is struggling in a counteroffensive in the country’s south and east.

Here’s the back story on how Biden decided to reverse course and give the missiles to Ukraine.

Related: Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, the leaders of Russia and China, will meet in Beijing this week. They are expected to demonstrate the strength of their “no limits” partnership in challenging the Western-dominated global order.


Around the World

Credit…Sajjad Hussain/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • India’s Supreme Court unanimously rejected a plea to legalize same-sex marriage, with the chief justice saying it was up to Parliament to legislate.

  • A 45-year-old man who was shot dead after he gunned down two Swedish nationals in Brussels was known to Belgian security services, officials said.

  • Unlicensed people are posing as lawyers in Kenya, a scam that has become more common amid inflation and higher taxes.

Other Big Stories

Credit…Bruno Kelly/Reuters
  • A severe drought has pushed the Amazon rainforest, which holds a fifth of the world’s fresh water, to the brink.

  • Representative Jim Jordan lost his first bid to be elected speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, prolonging a fight that has paralyzed a branch of the government.

  • The U.S. will prohibit companies from selling advanced computer chips that power A.I. to China.

  • The U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force have struggled to attract recruits. With a marketing strategy based on swagger, the Marines have plenty.

What Else is Happening

  • Britney Spears wrote in her much-awaited memoir that she had an abortion during her relationship with Justin Timberlake, according to excerpts.

  • United Airlines will board those in window seats before people in the middle and aisle seats.

  • A grand jury will consider whether to refile a charge against Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of the film “Rust” in 2021.

  • A decade-old research project is making new discoveries about the secret lives of deer.

A Morning Read

Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Across the U.S., working Americans are living in their cars and sleeping in parking lots. They earn too little to afford rent but too much to receive government assistance and so have turned their vehicles into a form of affordable housing.

“Tens of thousands of people are living in their vehicles,” said Graham Pruss, an applied anthropologist studying the trend. “It’s huge.”

Lives Lived

Roland Griffiths helped pioneer a new era of research on psychedelics, which he saw as a way to alleviate suffering and even reach a mystical state. He died at 77.


How not to score: Alan Shearer’s guide to missing chances.

David Raya: An interview with the Arsenal and Spain goalkeeper.

Injury comeback: Daniel Ricciardo’s Formula 1 return.


Credit…The New York Times

New York City’s silhouette king

A fit pic provocateur, full-time flâneur and occasional stylist, Beenslackin, 24, was born Menelik Demissie in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and moved to the U.S. at 11.

Over the last three years, he has made a name in downtown New York as a street-level avant-gardist, dressing in chaotically ecstatic single-designer outfits with ease, confidence and low-key experimental flair.

“My mom had a boutique, literally the only place in Ethiopia where you could buy Ralph Lauren and, like, Cavalli,” he told The Times. “Whenever someone asks me, when did you get into fashion, it really has been in me since I was born.”


Credit…Christopher Simpson for The New York Times.

Cook spicy butternut squash pasta with spinach.

Watch “The Sea Beyond,” an Italian melodrama about a youth detention center in Naples.

Read “Tremor,” the new novel by Teju Cole.

Check your iron levels. (Roughly 35 percent of women under 50 are iron deficient.)

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

P.S. Read about El Times, our Spanish language newsletter.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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