World Brief welcomes you back to the latest news on Israeli hostage rescue operations, protests over Pakistan’s election results, and Donald Trump’s comments about NATO. Sign up to receive World Brief in your inbox every weekday. Israeli forces successfully rescued two hostages in Rafah on Monday in the second rescue operation since the war began. The rescue drew criticism for its high casualty count, with at least 74 Palestinians killed, including women and children. There are concerns about the plight of Israeli hostages in Gaza, and Prime Minister Netanyahu is under pressure to secure the freedom of over 100 people still in Hamas captivity. Netanyahu rejected Hamas’s cease-fire proposal last week, arguing that only the continuation of military pressure will lead to the release of all captives.
There is disagreement over the prime minister’s approach, with some suggesting that a deal linked to a significant pause in fighting is necessary for the release of the hostages. Israeli forces are expected to launch a ground offensive in Rafah to combat Hamas’s alleged stronghold, prompting calls to ensure a credible plan for civilian evacuation. The international community, including U.S. President Joe Biden, has urged Netanyahu to avoid actions that could worsen the humanitarian crisis in the region. Egypt also reinforced its border with Rafah to prevent Palestinian refugees from entering the country and protect its peace treaty with Israel.
In Pakistan, thousands protested vote-rigging allegations following the parliamentary elections. The official results showed that PTI-backed candidates won 95 out of 264 seats, leading to calls for a coalition government to select the next prime minister. PTI claims that it won more seats than the official results show, alleging systematic fraud during the counting and recording of votes. Meanwhile, former U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments about NATO have drawn criticism, with the White House calling them “appalling and unhinged.” Finally, in Finland, former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb won the presidential runoff, campaigning on a hardline approach with Russia and support for Ukraine.
In Havana, Cuban authorities reported a heist where 30 Cubans allegedly stole 133 metric tons of chicken meat, causing concern as the country faces food shortages. If found guilty, the thieves could face up to 20 years in prison.