The Israeli military launched an intense bombardment of the Gaza Strip this evening and said it was “expanding” its activity there. Cellular and internet service were cut off for much of the territory, and Palestinians said fear and panic were spreading.
The escalation came after two consecutive nights of raids into Gaza by Israeli forces, which officials described as laying the groundwork for the next phase of the war.
“It’s really unclear what’s going on. Clearly, something unusual is happening,” Patrick Kingsley, the Times Jerusalem bureau chief, said on The Headlines: War Briefing podcast.
“It could be that an invasion is already underway and the military is keeping mum about it,” he added. “Or this could be a pressure tactic, an attempt to make Hamas and other militias inside Gaza feel that they are about to be overrun by the Israeli military.”
An Israeli military official said the campaign was aimed at destroying underground “terrorist infrastructure” in Gaza, where Hamas has spent years stockpiling fuel, food, medicine ammunition and weapons in miles of tunnels.
A Saudi warning: Officials have told the U.S. in recent days that an Israeli invasion of Gaza would be catastrophic for the Middle East.
Elsewhere in the region, the U.S. carried out two airstrikes against facilities used by Iran and its proxies in eastern Syria, intended to deter further attacks on U.S. forces. Hours later, the proxies fired back.
The manhunt widens in Maine
Federal, state and local law enforcement officials are nearing the end of their second day searching the vast and thickly wooded region of southern Maine for the gunman who killed 18 people in the city of Lewiston on Wednesday night.
Authorities were focused in part on a section of the Androscoggin River near the spot where the suspected gunman’s car was found. In the meantime, the officials urged tens of thousands of residents to stay indoors for their safety, and many schools and businesses remained closed for a second day. The search could take a long time, state officials warned.
The House speaker’s worldview is dictated by the Bible
Before Representative Mike Johnson was elected speaker this week, he was far from a household name. He played a pivotal role in Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, but his policies and positions were little known outside of Washington.
Last night, he laid out his priorities: He said his worldview comes directly from the Bible, that abortion rights should be decided by the states and that he wants a vote on Ukraine aid separated from a vote on aid to Israel.
Is the Republican speakership cursed? The G.O.P. has a history of turning sour on their speakers.
Sam Bankman-Fried admits ‘significant oversights’
The disgraced cryptocurrency mogul took the witness stand today in hopes of convincing a jury at his criminal fraud trial in New York that he was an overwhelmed founder, working impossible hours, who let risk management slip by the wayside.
Over several hours of testimony, the FTX founder denied that he committed fraud. But he also acknowledged that he ultimately had “the authority” and “made a number of small mistakes, and a number of larger mistakes,” which hurt his customers.
More top news
Health: Few Americans have been immunized against the coronavirus this fall, the C.D.C. said.
Politics: Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota launched his last-minute, long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Economy: The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge remained steady last month as American consumers spent at a robust clip.
International: War-torn Sudan is on the verge of becoming “the worst education crisis in the world,” with 19 million children out of school.
Congress: Representative George Santos pleaded not guilty to 10 new felony counts, and could soon face a House expulsion vote.
Business: Adidas tolerated years of abusive and antisemitic conduct by Kanye West before ending a lucrative partnership.
Sports: The boxers Amanda Serrano and Danila Ramos will face off in a title fight tonight, following the same format used for men’s fights.
Halloween: The cost of candy jumped over the past year, driven by a spike in sugar and cocoa prices.
TIME TO UNWIND
In the year since Elon Musk bought Twitter …
On this day last year, Elon Musk officially assumed control over Twitter for $44 billion, vowing to create a digital town square. “That said,” he wrote, “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape.” Yet study after study has suggested that Musk’s platform — now named X — has become exactly that.
For many users, the social media service has changed drastically. Some miss when it was a destination for news and delightful conversation; others appreciate the newly loosened content moderation rules.
One community that hasn’t abandoned the app: sports fans.
An unexpected World Series matchup
Few fans expected the underdog Texas Rangers or the Arizona Diamondbacks to face off in baseball’s championship series, which begins tonight at 8:03 p.m. Eastern. Some have dismissed the series as a battle of who could care less.
But my colleagues at The Athletic disagree. They’re particularly excited to see the clash between young stars and ring-chasing old-timers. The Rangers are favored, but not by much.
Dinner table topics
Bad art: The late Italian mogul Silvio Berlusconi bought some 25,000 paintings, many on TV shopping binges. No one knows what to do with them.
Hair science: A chemist’s chain of Paris salons offers options for people with coiled or curly hair.
TikTok auteur: Martin Scorsese’s daughter shows the director’s lighthearted side in her social media feed.
Farm prom: Young agrarians who gave up urban desk jobs celebrate the harvest in the Hamptons.
WHAT TO DO THIS WEEKEND
Cook: Gruyère takes this sweet potato gratin to the next level.
Watch: If you like drama, our TV critic recommends “In Love & Toxic: Blue Therapy.”
Read: Alan Moore’s “Illuminations,” a collection of eerie stories, is now in paperback.
Listen: Mr Eazi’s new album is some of the best new music this week.
Brush: A dentist suggests eating Halloween candy after meals to protect your teeth.
Decorate: Hanging curtains is harder than it looks. Here are some tips.
Compete: Take this week’s news quiz.
Play: Here are today’s Spelling Bee, Wordle and Mini Crossword. Find all our games here.
ONE LAST THING
The city where Celine Dion is often blasting
Members of Pacific Islander communities in Porirua, New Zealand, have been gathering for “siren battles,” competing to see who can play music the loudest from cars and bicycles wired to loudspeakers and emergency sirens. Celine Dion songs are a particular favorite, apparently because they are so heavy on the treble.
Some in the town have complained about the ear-piercing music, which can play late into the night. Practitioners counter that the battles are a positive social outlet that keep participants out of trouble.
Have an electric evening.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back next week. — Matthew
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