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Jun 6, 2024, 4:32pm EDT
Middle East
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Semafor Signals

Dozens killed in Israeli airstrike on UN-run school as ceasefire talks continue

Insights from The Middle East Institute, Politico, and Foreign Affairs

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Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike, as seen from central Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024.
Ramadan Abed/REUTERS
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The News

An Israeli airstrike on a United Nations-run school that was reportedly sheltering around 6,000 Palestinians in central Gaza killed dozens of people overnight, according to the UN and local health authorities.

The Israeli military claimed that the attack targeted and killed Hamas militants, some of whom were involved in the Oct. 7 attack. The UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees said women and children were among the more than 35 fatalities.

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US-made munitions were used in the strike on the school, CNN reported.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Attack comes as Israel’s diplomatic standing diminishes

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Sources:  
Middle East Institute, Modern Diplomacy

As Israel continues to push on the warfront, it’s incurring “heavy losses” diplomatically, according to the Middle East Institute. The number of countries, institutions, and businesses cutting ties to, and sanctioning, Israel is on the rise. Israel’s influence on the world stage is slipping, security analyst Alexander Gale wrote for the magazine Modern Diplomacy, adding that the broader international narrative about the war is turning against Israel. “Even if Israel is militarily successful in Gaza, it may be the long-term loser of the conflict,” Gale wrote. Thursday’s attack has drawn particular ire for its targeting of a place where civilians sheltered, though Israel has maintained that Hamas was using the school as a command center.

Biden ramps up pressure on Netanyahu to end the war

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Sources:  
Politico, CNN

US President Joe Biden has turned his bear hug approach to Israel to a “vice-like grip,” Politico reported, ramping up pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept the Israeli-proposed ceasefire deal, Politico wrote. The White House is using regional powers, allies, aid groups, and the UN itself to squeeze Netanyahu “from all sides,” in a pressure campaign that one former US defense official described as a “blunt-force instrument.” Biden even recently suggested in an interview that the embattled Netanyahu could be dragging the war out in an attempt to cling to power.

Hamas has shifted to ‘full insurgent mode’

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Sources:  
Reuters, Semafor, Foreign Affairs

After months of significant losses, Hamas is now relying on “hit-and-run insurgent tactics” to fight back against Israel, Reuters reported, instead of entering sustained fights with the IDF. Israeli authorities said the IDF is adapting to Hamas’ tactical shift, which relies on ambushes and improvised bombs. The new tactics could allow Hamas to sustain its insurgency for months, US officials said. The militant group is also seeking to maintain its influence in postwar Gaza, but its leaders want “the power to fight without the burden of governing,” a Middle East expert wrote in Foreign Affairs.

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