Gaza toll rises as Israel launches intense strikes
The death toll in Gaza, reported by the Hamas-run health ministry, rose sharply yesterday, after Israel said it had struck hundreds of targets in the territory in one of the biggest barrages of airstrikes in recent days.
The health ministry said that Israeli airstrikes had killed at least 436 people “in the past hours,” bringing the death toll to more than 5,000 since Oct. 7, when Israel began launching airstrikes in retaliation for an attack by Hamas that killed 1,400 people.
Hamas, which controls Gaza, released two additional hostages yesterday, according to the group and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Their release, which Hamas said was for “humanitarian and health reasons,” came three days after the group set free an Israeli-American mother and daughter. Israel raised the number of people kidnapped to 222, 10 more than a day earlier.
A third convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid began entering Gaza from Egypt, and aid workers began distributing relief supplies in southern Gaza, but conditions remained dire.
Germany has a new political party
Sahra Wagenknecht, one of Germany’s most prominent leftist politicians, announced that she was forming her own party, which could become another populist force scrambling German politics.
The party is named after herself: the Sahra Wagenknecht Coalition, or BSW in the German acronym, making it the first party in postwar Germany built entirely around one figurehead. Wagenknecht is a frequent presence on television debate shows and on the floor of the parliament, where she is a member of the Left party. She said that the new party would stand for “reason and fairness” and be a home for those who feel abandoned by mainstream politics.
Support: A poll taken over the weekend by Bild found that 27 percent of voters would consider voting for Wagenknecht’s party, even if little concrete information about her actual platform was available.
Background: For decades after World War II, Germany was governed by just two major parties. But Germany’s political landscape has been fracturing for a decade or more as traditional parties lose ground to populist elements.
Women in Iceland to strike for gender equality
Tens of thousands of women and nonbinary people in Iceland are expected to participate today in a one-day strike, which organizers called the country’s largest effort to protest workplace inequality in nearly five decades.
Alongside gender wage and pay parity, the protest will highlight the problem of violence against women. Organizers have urged women and nonbinary people to stop all work, including household errands and child care. Even the country’s prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, said she would take part.
Context: Iceland has made big strides toward gender equality, but problems persist. Parity scores in wages and in representation among senior officials have slipped since 2021, and the numbers are now closer to 2017 levels, according to a World Economic Forum report.
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Baaba Maal’s Dakar
The musician Baaba Maal, whom many fans know from the soundtracks of “Black Panther” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” moved to Dakar, Senegal’s capital, to pursue a law degree. Once he arrived, he knew his life would take a different course.
“What was really, deeply strong inside me — which is to be a singer, to be a performer — came out when I got to Dakar,” he said. He gave The Times a tour of his five favorite places in the city where he found his voice.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Jonathan
P.S. The Times has an editors’ note on our coverage of the Gaza hospital explosion.
You can reach Jonathan and the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.