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Cassandra Vinograd

Bangui, Central African Republic
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About Cassandra
Cassandra Vinograd is a freelance journalist and producer specializing in conflict, human rights and migration. She previously worked for NBC News, The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal. Her reporting has taken her throughout Africa, Europe and the Middle East. 

She is HEFAT certified.
Key areas of expertise: Africa, Middle East, Europe, refugees, human rights, foreign affairs, foreign policy, terrorism, politics, U.K.

Vinograd is available to provide text // written articles, photos and unedited video for outlets.
Languages
English French Wolof
Services
Interview (Video / Broadcast) Vox Pop News Gathering
+10
Skills
Politics Current Affairs Technology
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Portfolio

Israel Pushes Into Rafah as Displaced Palestinians Search for Safety

28 May 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Israel continues its ground assault in the southern Gaza Strip, particularly in Rafah, despite international condemnation following an airstrike that killed dozens of civilians. The Israeli military claims the strike targeted a Hamas compound, while Prime Minister Netanyahu called the civilian deaths a 'tragic accident.' The United Nations reports massive displacement from Rafah, and international figures, including U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Britain's David Cameron, have called for investigations. China has also condemned Israel's actions, urging adherence to international law. Amidst the conflict, residents of Rafah face severe bombardments and displacement.

Iran Buries President Raisi in His Hometown

23 May 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi was buried in his hometown of Mashhad after dying in a helicopter crash. The crash also claimed the lives of the foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and five others. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced five days of mourning and led the funeral prayers. The Iranian government quickly appointed interim leaders to maintain stability. Raisi's death necessitates new presidential elections and may influence the selection of Khamenei's successor. The article also highlights the diplomatic efforts of the deceased foreign minister and the continued governance efforts by the interim officials.

As Slovakia’s Prime Minister Remains Hospitalized, Politics Return to a Boil

23 May 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico remains hospitalized in serious condition after an assassination attempt, exacerbating political tensions in the country. The attack has led to calls for political unity, but divisions persist, particularly over a controversial bill to overhaul the national broadcaster. The bill, criticized for potentially undermining media independence, has passed its first reading in Parliament. Opposition leaders and government officials continue to clash over the direction of the country's policies, with some warning of increased societal tensions. The suspect in the assassination attempt, a politically radicalized 71-year-old man, has been charged and remains in custody.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Leads Funeral Prayers for President

22 May 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Crowds gathered in Tehran as Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, led funeral prayers for the president. Senior officials from Iranian-backed militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah attended, highlighting Tehran’s international alliances during a turbulent period.

Israel Has Used Exploding Drones in Previous Attacks on Iran

19 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Iranian officials reported that an Israeli strike using small exploding drones, specifically quadcopters, targeted Iranian military infrastructure, following a pattern of similar attacks. The drones, possibly launched from within Iran, have been used in several incidents, including attacks on Hezbollah in Beirut, a centrifuge manufacturing center outside Tehran, a military drone plant in Kermanshah, the Parchin military site, and an ammunition manufacturing plant in Isfahan. Israel's military has not commented on the strike, and while Iran has sometimes downplayed the damage, satellite images and reports indicate significant impacts.

Israel’s Strike Was Smaller Than Expected, and So Was Iran’s Reaction

19 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Israel's limited overnight strikes on Iran and the measured response from Iranian officials have reduced the immediate risk of escalation in the conflict. Despite ongoing wars with Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the threat of a third front with Iran has decreased. International leaders had advised Israel to consider its defense against Iran's missile attack as sufficient, cautioning against further actions that could destabilize the region. The actual strike by Israel was less impactful than anticipated, allowing Iran to minimize its significance.

U.S. Vetoes Palestinian Bid for Recognition as Full U.N. Member State

18 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
The United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution to recognize Palestine as a full member state, emphasizing that statehood should come through direct negotiations with Israel. The resolution, supported by 12 countries including China, faced opposition from the U.S. and abstentions from Britain and Switzerland. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, which has resulted in significant casualties and destruction, complicates the Palestinian bid for statehood. The U.S. and its allies imposed new sanctions on Iran following its missile and drone attack on Israel, while urging Israel to avoid actions that could escalate the conflict. Efforts to mediate a ceasefire and address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza continue amid international diplomatic tensions.

Israel Weighs Response to Iran’s Attack as Allies Push for Restraint

15 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Israel's war cabinet is considering responses to Iran's missile and drone attack, with options ranging from diplomacy to military action. The United States, Britain, and other allies are urging restraint to avoid escalating tensions. Prime Minister Netanyahu faces pressure to respond without alienating allies. Iran's foreign minister warned of retaliation if attacked. The U.S. and other nations are working to de-escalate the situation. The conflict has broader implications for Israel's war in Gaza and regional stability.

Iran’s Attacks Bring Long Shadow War With Israel Into the Open

14 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
The long-standing shadow war between Israel and Iran has escalated with Iran's direct missile and drone attacks on Israel, marking a significant shift in the conflict. Historically, Iran has used proxies like Hezbollah to target Israeli interests, while Israel has conducted targeted assassinations and airstrikes to counter Iranian influence in the region. This recent development underscores the intensifying hostilities and the evolving nature of the Middle East conflict.

Pentagon Official Arrives in Israel Amid Fears of Iranian Attack

11 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
General Michael E. Kurilla, the top American military commander for the Middle East, arrived in Israel to coordinate with Israeli officials amid fears of an imminent Iranian attack. The visit follows President Biden's warning about Iran's threats and his reaffirmation of unconditional U.S. support for Israel against Iranian threats. The article also discusses the ongoing war in Gaza, including Israeli military operations and international efforts to broker a cease-fire. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is highlighted, with severe food shortages and rising malnutrition rates due to the Israeli blockade and military actions. International criticism of Israel's conduct in Gaza is growing, with calls for increased aid and protection for civilians.

U.S. Sends a Top General to Israel Amid Fears of Iranian Strikes

11 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
The United States has sent its top military commander for the Middle East, Gen. Michael E. Kurilla, to Israel following President Biden's reaffirmation of unwavering American support for Israel amid threats from Iran. Iran has vowed retaliation for an Israeli strike in Syria that killed senior Iranian commanders. Israel is on high alert, and discussions will include coordination on potential Iranian retaliation, the ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza, and humanitarian aid operations.

Israel Announces New Operation Against Hamas, After Killing Top Leader’s Sons

11 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
The Israeli military conducted an operation targeting Hamas members in Gaza, which resulted in the death of three sons of Ismail Haniyeh, a senior Hamas leader. The operation followed an airstrike that also killed three of Haniyeh's grandchildren. Israel described the operation as precise and intelligence-based, aimed at eliminating terrorist operatives and infrastructure. The military claimed the Haniyeh sons were involved in Hamas's military wing, with one son being a cell commander and the others as operatives.

Israeli Strike Killed 3 Sons of Hamas Political Leader

10 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
An Israeli airstrike killed three sons of Hamas political leader Mr. Haniyeh in the Gaza Strip, an event he described as part of the broader Palestinian suffering. Criticism is directed at Hamas leaders for living abroad while Gazans face dire conditions. The strike occurred as international mediators seek a ceasefire and the release of hostages. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is worsening, with the UN warning of a looming famine. The United States and other countries face domestic debates over military aid to Israel, with the US being the largest supplier. The article also touches on the impact of the conflict on the celebration of Eid al-Fitr in Gaza.

Iran and Israel Exchange New Threats After Strike on Iranian Commanders

10 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Following an Israeli strike in Syria that killed several senior Iranian commanders, Iran and Israel have escalated their exchange of threats. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed retaliation for the attack on an Iranian Embassy building in Damascus, while Israel's foreign minister, Israel Katz, warned of a response if Iran attacks from its territory. The U.S. is preparing for a potential Iranian response, and Israel has put its military on alert. There is concern among analysts about the risk of miscalculation leading to broader regional escalation.

Gazans Still Face Extreme Hardship as the Pace of Fighting Slows

09 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
As Ramadan draws to a close, the pace of the war in Gaza has slowed, but a lasting peace remains elusive. Cease-fire talks mediated by Egypt, Qatar, and the United States are ongoing, with Hamas skeptical of a deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated his commitment to invading Rafah, despite international warnings of a humanitarian crisis. Netanyahu's recent statements underscore his determination to eliminate Hamas's presence in the region.

Israel Withdraws Troops From Southern Gaza as War Hits 6-Month Mark

07 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
The Israeli military has withdrawn its last division of ground troops from southern Gaza, marking a significant reduction in its presence six months into the conflict with Hamas. Despite the withdrawal, Israeli officials emphasized that the military would maintain operations in other parts of Gaza. The move comes as international mediators attempt to broker a cease-fire, though skepticism remains high among Gaza residents and international observers. The Biden administration expressed uncertainty about the implications of the withdrawal. Meanwhile, Israel remains on high alert for potential retaliation from Iran following a recent strike in Syria. The conflict has reached a stalemate, with no clear resolution in sight, as humanitarian concerns grow.

Tensions Run High on Last Friday of Ramadan at Al Aqsa Mosque

05 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Israeli police arrested eight individuals at the Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem during dawn prayers on the last Friday of Ramadan. The arrests were made for incendiary chants and endorsing terrorism. The mosque, sacred to both Muslims and Jews, has been a focal point of Israeli-Palestinian tensions. With heightened concerns of violence during Ramadan, especially amidst the Gaza war, Israel has increased restrictions on Palestinian movement and exerted greater control over the compound.

Israeli Helicopter Fire Probably Killed a Hostage Grandmother on Oct. 7, Military Says

05 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Efrat Katz, a 67-year-old grandmother abducted during an Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack in Israel, was likely killed by Israeli helicopter fire aimed at the vehicle holding her and terrorists. The Israeli military acknowledged the incident and the death of most terrorists in the vehicle, stating the helicopter crew could not distinguish hostages from terrorists. The event occurred during a conflict where over 200 were taken captive, with some released during a cease-fire and others dying in captivity. Recent diplomatic efforts for another truce have been unsuccessful.

Israel Agrees to Open Erez Crossing for Gaza Aid After Biden Pressure

04 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Israel has agreed to open the Erez crossing and increase aid flow into Gaza following pressure from U.S. President Joe Biden. The decision comes after a tense phone call between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which Biden threatened to condition future support on Israel's handling of civilian casualties and the humanitarian crisis. The National Security Council confirmed the measures, which include using the port of Ashdod and increasing deliveries from Jordan. The move aims to address the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, which has been exacerbated by nearly six months of war.

Iran and Israel Have a Long History of Clandestine Attacks

02 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Israel and Iran have engaged in a covert conflict across the Middle East for decades, utilizing various means including land, sea, air, and cyber attacks. Iran often employs foreign proxies for its strikes, whereas Israel has focused on targeted assassinations of Iranian military figures and nuclear scientists.

Israeli Strikes Kill 7 Aid Workers in Gaza

02 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen were killed in Gaza by Israeli strikes, despite coordination with the Israeli military. The convoy was hit after delivering food aid, sparking international outrage. Prime Minister Netanyahu acknowledged the strike and Israel launched an investigation, citing the incident as unintentional.

Protest Outside Netanyahu’s Jerusalem Home Turns Into ‘Riot,’ Police Say

02 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Antigovernment protesters clashed with Israeli police outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's home in Jerusalem, demanding early elections and his ouster. The initially peaceful protests escalated into a riot, with attempts to breach barriers near Netanyahu's house. Police deployed riot control measures, resulting in five arrests and one injured officer. The protesters criticize Netanyahu for his handling of the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack and for not securing the release of hostages held in Gaza. Despite the war, these protests are among the most significant against Netanyahu's government, although smaller than last year's peak.

Israeli Strikes on Aid Convoy Prompts Condemnation and an Apology From Netanyahu

02 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Israeli military acknowledged responsibility for a strike on an aid convoy, resulting in the deaths of aid workers, including citizens from the United States, Poland, Australia, and Britain. Prime Minister Netanyahu apologized for the incident, which prompted condemnation from international leaders and the suspension of operations by World Central Kitchen and American Near East Refugee Aid in the region. The strike has been described as a grave mistake, and an independent investigation has been announced. The incident has raised concerns about the safety of aid workers in Gaza, where at least 196 have been killed since fighting began on October 7.

Outside Israel’s Parliament, Protesters Explain Why They Think Netanyahu Must Go

01 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Thousands of Israelis have set up a protest camp outside Israel's Parliament in Jerusalem, demanding early elections and the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Protesters, including Haggai Schwartz and Ronen Raz, criticize the government's failure to ensure citizen security and its indifference towards hostages held in Gaza. Lee Nevo, another protester, paints banners and expresses hope for governmental change. The protests, which began on a Sunday night, are part of a larger wave of anti-government demonstrations.

3 Top Iranian Commanders Are Reported Killed in Israeli Strike in Syria

01 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Three senior commanders and four officers of Iran's covert operations in the Middle East were killed by an Israeli airstrike on a building in the Iranian Embassy complex in Damascus. This incident escalates the shadow war between Israel and Iran, which has become more overt due to recent tensions over Israel's military actions in Gaza against Hamas. Syrian and Iranian officials confirmed the deaths, while Israeli officials acknowledged the strike but contested the building's diplomatic status. The Syrian ambassador to Iran condemned the attack as a violation of international norms.

Palestinian Authority Forms New Cabinet, but Doubts Remain About Its Independence

29 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
The Palestinian Authority's new prime minister, Muhammad Mustafa, presented his cabinet amid doubts of its ability to enact reform due to President Mahmoud Abbas's influence. Abbas, unpopular and ruling by decree, appointed Mustafa, a longtime insider, which is seen as a move against international demands for a more technocratic and less corrupt authority. The cabinet's key positions remain filled by Abbas's allies, with Mustafa also serving as foreign minister, signaling little policy change.

Top U.N. Court Orders Israel to Ensure Aid to Gaza

28 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
The International Court of Justice has ordered Israel to ensure the unhindered provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza, citing severe famine and malnutrition conditions. The ruling, requested by South Africa, mandates Israel to cooperate fully with the United Nations and increase the capacity of land crossing points. Israel's foreign ministry responded by accusing South Africa of exploiting the court to undermine Israel's right to self-defense. The court's decision highlights the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, with reports of malnutrition and deaths due to lack of aid. Despite the court's authority, it lacks enforcement power, relying on the global community to ensure compliance. The article also discusses the ongoing conflict, including military actions around hospitals in Gaza and the challenges faced by Israel in maintaining control. Diplomatic efforts for a cease-fire and the release of hostages continue, with significant international involvement and varying public opinions on Israel's military actions.

Fighting Rages Around Two Gaza Hospitals as Pressure on Israel Rises

28 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Israeli troops and Hamas fighters continued their conflict around Gaza's major hospitals, with battles intensifying at Al-Shifa Hospital. Despite domestic and international calls for moderation, including from hostage families, the Biden administration, and the UN, Israel remains steadfast in its offensive. The International Court of Justice has demanded Israel facilitate humanitarian aid amidst allegations of genocide, which Israel denies.

Israel and Hezbollah Trade Fire, With Deaths Reported on Both Sides

27 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Hezbollah militants launched dozens of rockets into northern Israel from Lebanon, claiming it was in retaliation for an Israeli strike in southern Lebanon. This escalation coincides with pro-Palestinian protests in Jordan and the rescheduling of a U.S. meeting with an Israeli delegation regarding a planned offensive in Gaza. The Israeli military reported targeting a significant terrorist operative in southern Lebanon.

Netanyahu Cancels U.S.-Israel Meetings on Rafah, to Protest U.N. Resolution

25 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled planned high-level meetings with U.S. officials in response to the U.S. abstention on a U.N. cease-fire resolution for Gaza. The resolution, which calls for a cease-fire during Ramadan, passed after the U.S. abstained, breaking from its previous vetoes. Netanyahu criticized the abstention as a retreat from the U.S.'s consistent position, while U.S. officials maintained there was no change in their stance. The decision highlights tensions between the U.S. and Israel, with Israeli officials expressing dissatisfaction and the U.S. emphasizing the need for a detailed plan to protect civilians in Rafah. The U.N. resolution also calls for the release of hostages held by Hamas, which welcomed the resolution and expressed willingness to engage in a prisoner exchange.

Battle at Hospital Points to Power Vacuum in Northern Gaza

20 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
The Israeli military's operations at Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza have led to significant civilian casualties and a humanitarian crisis, with displaced people and medical teams caught in the crossfire. Critics argue that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lacks a coherent plan for Gaza's governance, exacerbating chaos and suffering for Palestinian civilians. The article highlights the dire conditions in northern Gaza, where basic services and food are scarce, and aid deliveries are often blocked. Diplomatic efforts, including those by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, are ongoing to address the conflict and humanitarian needs, but tensions remain high between Israeli and American leaders over the approach to the war.

Israel’s Military Says Its Forces Are Still at Al-Shifa Hospital

19 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Israeli forces continue their raid on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, detaining numerous individuals and facing condemnation from Gazan health officials and international humanitarian organizations. The operation, aimed at targeting senior Hamas officials, has resulted in casualties and raised concerns about the safety of civilians and medical staff. The Biden administration has criticized Israel's conduct of the war, highlighting the high civilian death toll and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Abbas Expected to Name Insider as Palestinian Authority Prime Minister

13 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Mahmoud Abbas is expected to appoint Mohammad Mustafa as the new Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, following the resignation of Mohammed Shtayyeh. The new government will prioritize humanitarian aid and reconstruction in Gaza, amid ongoing conflict with Hamas and Israeli military actions. The Palestinian Authority, seen as corrupt and mismanaged, faces pressure from the U.S. for reform. The article also discusses the challenges of aid delivery to Gaza, with international efforts to establish maritime and airdrop routes. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the West Bank is highlighted, with calls for better governance and aid distribution.

First Aid Ship Heads to Gaza, but Far More Is Needed

12 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
The Open Arms ship, carrying over 200 tons of food supplied by World Central Kitchen and financed by the United Arab Emirates, left Cyprus for Gaza as the first maritime aid delivery since 2005. This EU-supported initiative aims to address the severe hunger in Gaza, exacerbated by the blockade following the Hamas-led attack on Israel. Meanwhile, tensions escalate with new clashes between Israeli forces and Hezbollah, raising concerns of a broader regional conflict.

Hezbollah Fires More Than 100 Rockets Into Israel, Drawing Retaliation

12 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Hezbollah launched over 100 rockets into northern Israel, prompting Israeli military retaliation against Hezbollah sites in Lebanon. This escalation follows months of cross-border strikes and concerns of the Gaza war expanding. Hezbollah stated the attack was in retaliation to Israeli strikes in Lebanon and in support of Palestinians in Gaza. Despite international efforts to broker a cease-fire before Ramadan, talks have stalled. The ongoing conflict has displaced thousands in both Israel and Lebanon, with Israeli leaders considering either a diplomatic agreement or a military offensive to push Hezbollah forces from the border.

Children Evacuated From Gazan Orphanage to West Bank

12 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Nearly 70 children were evacuated from an orphanage in Rafah, Gaza, to the West Bank city of Bethlehem by SOS Children’s Villages International, with assistance from the German Embassy in Israel. The evacuation, approved by Israeli authorities, aimed to protect the children from immediate danger amid ongoing conflict. The operation underscores the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where over a million people have sought refuge and thousands of children remain in peril. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plans for a ground offensive in Rafah have drawn warnings from international allies and aid groups about the potential civilian toll.

Gazans Ambush Aid Convoys Amid Food Shortages

21 Feb 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Gazans have been ambushing aid convoys amid food shortages, with attacks becoming common since Israel's invasion last year. Western officials indicate these are mostly organized by groups unaffiliated with Hamas or acts of desperate civilians. The breakdown in law enforcement and fear among Gazan policemen of being targeted by Israel have left convoys vulnerable. Foreign diplomats claim enough food reaches Gaza to prevent famine, but distribution beyond Rafah is problematic. The International Court of Justice is hearing arguments over the legality of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories, with more than 50 countries involved. The United States has defended Israel, while Russia criticized the defense of violence against Gazan civilians. Israel's military is under scrutiny for inappropriate actions during the war, and the Israeli Parliament supports Prime Minister Netanyahu's stance against unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. The Biden administration has shown signs of impatience with Israel's war conduct, and a cease-fire status remains unclear.

Israeli Raid in West Bank City of Jenin Kills 3, Military Says

21 Feb 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Israeli forces conducted an overnight raid in Jenin, resulting in three deaths and at least 14 detentions. The raid, part of a broader operation targeting terrorism in the West Bank, led to violent confrontations and significant damage. The densely populated neighborhood, historically a center of resistance, has seen increased military activity since the Hamas-led attack on Israel in October. Residents remain anxious and fearful of further raids, with some leaving for nearby towns.

A Mysterious Construction Project Takes Shape in Egypt, Near Gaza

15 Feb 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
New satellite imagery reveals construction activity south of the Rafah border crossing in Egypt, near Gaza, which began around February 5. The Egyptian government has not commented on the purpose of the construction, but it is speculated that it may be used to house displaced Gazans. Egypt has fortified its border and declined to take in Gazans displaced by the war between Israel and Hamas. Over 100,000 displaced Palestinians are estimated to be near the border in Rafah. Meanwhile, the Israeli military has been conducting operations against Hamas in Gaza, including a raid on Nasser hospital, which has been criticized internationally. The U.S. military has also carried out a cyberattack against an Iranian ship suspected of aiding Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Talks in Cairo Aim for a Deal to Halt Gaza War and Free Hostages

13 Feb 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Negotiators from multiple countries met in Cairo to discuss a temporary halt to the Gaza war and the release of hostages held by Hamas. Despite promising talks, Israel and Hamas are not close to an agreement, with disagreements over prisoner exchanges. President Biden and other international leaders are involved in pushing negotiations forward. The UN and other countries are alarmed about a potential Israeli incursion into Rafah, where many Gazans are sheltering. Israel plans to continue its offensive until hostages are released and Hamas is defeated, while Hamas demands a long-term ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli troops. The situation has also put pressure on Egypt, which is reinforcing its border with Gaza. Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts are underway to reduce tensions between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Dutch Court Moves to Block Export of Fighter Jet Parts to Israel

12 Feb 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
A Dutch appeals court has ordered the Netherlands to cease exporting F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel, citing risks of serious violations of international humanitarian law in Israel's war in Gaza. The ruling follows a lawsuit by Oxfam and other human rights groups. Despite the court's decision, the Dutch government intends to appeal to the Supreme Court. The EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell Fontelles, hinted at the need for reduced arms exports to Israel amidst the ongoing conflict that has resulted in over 28,000 Palestinian casualties.

What to Know About the 2 Hostages Israel Rescued From Rafah

11 Feb 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Israeli security forces successfully rescued two hostages, Fernando Simon Marman and Louis Har, from Rafah in Gaza, marking the second known rescue of its kind since the war began. The operation, which involved Israeli strikes that reportedly killed dozens of Palestinians, was praised by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Both hostages, dual citizens of Israel and Argentina, were in good condition and reunited with their families. The rescue was part of Israel's ongoing efforts following the October 7 raid by Hamas and other militant groups.

Iran Denies Ordering Drone Strike as Biden Weighs a Response

29 Jan 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
The deaths of three U.S. soldiers in a drone strike in Jordan, attributed to Iran-backed militant groups, are likely to increase pressure on President Biden to respond. The Biden administration is considering its options, with some Republican critics urging strikes on Iran. Iran's Foreign Ministry denies involvement, blaming Israel and the U.S. for regional instability.

Finland’s Presidential Election, First Since Joining NATO, Heads to Runoff

28 Jan 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Finland's presidential election is set for a runoff after no candidate secured a majority in the initial vote. Alexander Stubb and Pekka Haavisto, both with strong foreign policy backgrounds, emerged as the top contenders. The runoff will determine the successor to the popular outgoing president, Sauli Niinistö, who has completed two terms.

Finland to Close the Last Border Crossing With Russia for Two Weeks

28 Nov 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Finland announced the temporary closure of its last open border crossing with Russia to manage an influx of asylum seekers, which it claims is orchestrated by Moscow in retaliation for Finland joining NATO. Prime Minister Petteri Orpo stated that the closure of the Raja-Jooseppi checkpoint in northern Lapland is necessary to address the national security threat. Asylum applications will be limited to airports and seaports. The move follows similar actions by Belarus, a Russian ally, which previously directed migrants to the Polish border.

American Douglas McAuthur McCain Dies Fighting for ISIS in Syria

26 Aug 2023  |  NBC News
Douglas McAuthur McCain, an American, was killed in Syria while fighting for ISIS, as reported by the Free Syrian Army. His death was confirmed by senior administration officials and the National Security Council. McCain, originally from San Diego, California, had a history of minor criminal offenses and converted to Islam around 2004. He was remembered by friends and classmates as a cheerful person who enjoyed basketball. His social media profiles depicted his journey from an aspiring rapper to a devout Muslim with sympathies for ISIS. Concerns have been raised about Americans traveling to Syria to join extremist groups and the potential threat they pose upon returning to the U.S. The article also touches on the broader issue of foreign fighters in Syria and the impact of ISIS's propaganda, including the beheading of American journalist James Foley.

The Real Consequences of Pulling U.S. Troops out of Africa

25 Apr 2019  |  www.vice.com
In the border area between Niger and Mali, U.S.-trained Nigerian special forces face challenges in combating ISIS-linked militants. The reduction of U.S. military presence in Africa, as announced by the Trump administration, raises concerns about the effectiveness of local forces and the future of a costly new drone base in Niger. The article highlights the critical role of U.S. air support and the increased activity of ISIS in the region following the collapse of its caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

As the Trump administration hashes out its policy on South Sudan, some fear the country’s child soldiers are running out of time.

The Quiet Pill Outlaw

20 Jan 2017  |  NBC News
The article discusses the work of Dr. Rebecca Gomperts and her organization, Women on Web, which provides access to medical abortions through the shipment of abortion pills. Gomperts, who has a background in art and medicine, began with an 'abortion ship' to provide services in international waters to countries where abortion was illegal. With the advent of abortion pills, her strategy shifted to using an online platform to assist women worldwide. Despite legal challenges and the seizure of pills by customs in some countries, Women on Web continues to operate, offering consultations and shipping pills to those in need. The article also touches on the broader context of abortion laws in Europe, the challenges women face in accessing abortions even in countries where it is legal, and the potential implications for similar services in the United States.

Paris Terror Attacks: France's Jews Question Their Future

20 Jan 2017  |  NBC News
The article discusses the increasing emigration of French Jews to Israel, a movement facilitated by The Jewish Agency, due to rising anti-Semitism in France. This trend has been exacerbated by recent terrorist attacks, including the siege of a kosher supermarket in Paris by Ahmed Coulibaly, which resulted in four hostages' deaths. The Jewish Agency noted a significant rise in emigration, with 7,000 French Jews moving to Israel in the previous year and expectations of further increases. The article includes statements from agency spokesman Avi Mayer and Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, director of the American Jewish Committee in Paris, highlighting the climate of fear among French Jews. Personal accounts from individuals like Menahem Bensimon, who emigrated to Israel and lost a friend in the supermarket attack, underscore the sense of insecurity driving the Jewish community's exodus from France.

Paris Attacks: Music Fan Describes Moment ISIS Hit EODM Gig at Bataclan

20 Jan 2017  |  NBC News
Boris Rehlinger and his wife attended an Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris when it was attacked by terrorists. Rehlinger described the initial confusion, thinking the gunshots were fireworks, and the subsequent realization of the attack as he recognized the smell of gunpowder. He witnessed people being shot, heard attackers justifying their actions by referencing France's involvement in Syria, and experienced the terror of lying still among the chaos to avoid being targeted. He recalled the silence after a large detonation and the eventual rescue by French SWAT teams. Rehlinger, who managed to find his wife and friends after the attack, is still processing the traumatic event and acknowledges that the memory of the bodies will always stay with him.

A Single Goal: From Syria to Germany

20 Jan 2017  |  NBC News
The article follows the harrowing journey of Salma, a Syrian refugee, and her family as they flee the war in Syria to seek asylum in Germany. Salma, who studied English at the University of Damascus and worked at the Four Seasons, along with her husband Tarek, children, niece, mother, and best friend Nour, endure a perilous and exhausting trek. They navigate through various countries, including Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary, facing challenges such as crossing borders, dealing with traffickers, and surviving without basic necessities. Despite the hardships, Salma's determination is fueled by the hope of providing a better life and education for her children. The family's journey is fraught with uncertainty, but they persevere, eventually reaching Germany, where they are welcomed and begin to look forward to rebuilding their lives.

The frontline of the battle for Mosul has moved forward -- but retreating ISIS fighters have left a ticking time bomb in their wake. Before being driven out of Qayyarah, ISIS fighters set fire to oil wells in the area -- a scorched-earth tactic to obscure views of coalition planes. Two months later the fires are still burning, sending a toxic mix of smoke into the air. Already more than 1,000 people have been treated for respiratory issues -- and the health crisis is only expected to get worse.

Displaced Iraqis fleeing life under ISIS find overcrowded camps, uncertain future.

South Sudan’s civil war pushes the country toward famine

05 Jan 2017  |  www.vice.com
The article discusses the severe humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, where the civil war has led to widespread hunger and the threat of famine. Nyabany, a mother of five, recounts her family's struggle to survive by eating water lilies while hiding in swamps to avoid gunfire. The conflict, which has escalated since July, has displaced millions and caused the economy to plummet. The U.N. has warned of an unprecedented food security deterioration, with 4.6 million South Sudanese facing acute hunger in 2017. The World Food Program and UNICEF are working to address malnutrition, which is above emergency levels in many parts of the country. The article highlights that famine is a political crisis, exacerbated by the conflict, and not a natural phenomenon. With no political solution in sight, aid agencies fear the situation could become uncontainable.

The Revenge of Salva Kiir

02 Jan 2017  |  Foreign Policy
The article reports on the dire situation in South Sudan, where a civil war has forced thousands to seek refuge in swamps and U.N. bases to escape violence. The conflict, largely along ethnic lines between the Dinka and Nuer, has seen a breakdown of a peace agreement and the appointment of Taban Deng as vice president, which has led to further fracturing of opposition forces. The government's troops have been accused of committing atrocities such as rape, pillage, and murder against civilians. Despite the U.N.'s warning of an impending genocide and the need for an arms embargo, the Security Council failed to pass such measures. The violence has escalated, particularly in the Unity state and the Equatorias region, with reports of ethnic cleansing and mass atrocities. Civilians, confused and traumatized, continue to suffer the most, with many losing their homes and loved ones to the conflict.

Iraqi refugee camp is bracing for an influx of people escaping Mosul

25 Oct 2016  |  www.vice.com
About 500 people are arriving daily at the Debaga refugee camp in northern Iraq, with aid organizations preparing for a significant influx as the Mosul offensive continues. In September alone, 11,000 refugees arrived, with a surge following coalition forces' advance on the IS stronghold. Refugees, often arriving with minimal belongings, face further challenges upon arrival, including separation for screening and limited space. The camp, already housing 30,000 displaced Iraqis, is struggling with space and resources, with reports of shortages in essential supplies like milk. The offensive on Mosul, hindered by IS resistance, could displace up to 1 million people, exacerbating the refugee crisis.
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