Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Welcome back to World Brief, where we’re discussing escalating gang violence across Ecuador, U.S. and Palestinian goals for future governance of Gaza, and al-Shabab seizing a U.N. helicopter in Somalia. To receive World Brief in your inbox every weekday, sign up. Escalating Gang Violence Envelops Ecuador Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa has declared an “internal armed conflict” and published a list of 22 gangs deemed “terrorist organizations” in response to the increasing gang violence across the country. The move comes after a series of dramatic incidents involving gang-related violence, including the escape of a notorious gang leader, hostage situations, and explosive devices detonated in various cities. The recent spate of violence began with the escape of Adolfo “Fito” Macías, a leader of Los Choneros, one of Ecuador’s most feared gangs. Macías is known for his association with Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel and Colombia’s Oliver Sinisterra Front. Following Macías’s escape, a state of emergency was declared, and more than 3,000 police officers and military forces were deployed nationwide to search for the escaped gang leader. Meanwhile, inmates in at least six prisons across the country responded to the crackdown by sparking violent riots and taking prison guards hostage. At least eight people have been killed in Guayaquil, while two others have been killed in nearby Nobol. With the situation in Ecuador deteriorating, Noboa’s efforts to combat drug-related crimes and political corruption have been backed by allies in the Western Hemisphere, such as Chile, Colombia, and Brazil. But just as security has been beefed up along Ecuador’s border, with Peru planning to declare an emergency, other countries are taking precautions as well. China has suspended embassy and consular services in Quito, and Peru is poised to declare an emergency along its entire northern border with Ecuador. U.S.-Palestinian Diplomacy Diplomacy is underway in the West Bank as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah to discuss the Israel-Hamas war and future governance of Gaza. The Biden administration has proposed a plan for the Palestinian Authority to assume control of Gaza after the war ends. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes the idea. During the meeting, Abbas expressed Palestinians’ unwillingness to accept any agreement that would keep Gaza separate from the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority has also proposed internal reforms as part of a broader deal to end the war and take control of Gaza. Seizure of U.N. Helicopter in Somalia Al-Shabab militants in Somalia have captured a U.N. helicopter following its emergency landing in the Galguduud region. One person was killed, and six passengers were taken hostage while two escaped. The helicopter was carrying medical supplies and was expected to transport injured soldiers when it was seized by al-Shabab, an Islamist group with ties to al Qaeda. The group has been engaged in a violent insurgency for over a decade. Houthi Shipping Assault U.S. and British forces intercepted 21 missiles and drones aimed at commercial ships in the Red Sea. The Iranian-backed Houthi militia claimed responsibility for the attack, which was part of its larger protests against the war in Gaza. No casualties or damage were reported. Zelensky’s Visit to Lithuania Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Lithuania to request air defense aid as part of his diplomatic effort to bolster Western support amid wavering commitments from the United States and its allies. Zelensky emphasized that the insecurity of Western partners regarding financial and military aid to Ukraine only increases Russia’s courage and strength. Royal Keepsake Scam A man in southern England was charged with defrauding eBay buyers after falsely claiming to be selling an “antler walking stick” that belonged to the late Queen Elizabeth II, with the proceeds purportedly going to cancer research. The man was sentenced to one year of community service.

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