Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Matt Gluck
Tuesday, May 11, 2021, 1:48 PM

After weeks of tense confrontation between Arab protesters and Israeli police in Jerusalem—including violent clashes in recent days—cross-border conflict between Israel and militant groups in Gaza escalated on Monday evening, reports the New York Times. A Hamas military spokesman, Abu Obeida, said that the militant group had launched 137 rockets at the Israeli coastal cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon within five minutes, appearing to have killed two Israelis and wounded dozens of others. Israeli military officials said that over 500 rockets had been launched from Gaza, although most of them either did not reach Israel or were destroyed by the military’s anti missile defense system. Israel launched at least 130 retaliatory strikes into Gaza on Monday and Tuesday—reportedly resulting in the deaths of at least 26 Palestinians, including nine children. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that more strikes against Hamas and other Islamist militant groups were coming, reports the Washington Post. Hamas pledged to continue conducting strikes in retaliation for Israeli police activity. 

The FBI identified and condemned a group of criminal hackers called DarkSide for the large-scale ransomware attack that has disrupted the transportation of almost half of gasoline and jet fuel supplies along the East Coast, according to the Times. The FBI also issued an emergency warning to pipeline operators to be aware of code similar to the kind that infected Colonial Pipelines. The disrupted pipeline has remained out of service since last Friday in order to prevent the malware from spreading to the control systems that operate the pipeline.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in children 12 years and older on Monday, reports the Washington Post. FDA officials said the data showed the vaccine is safe for 12- to 15-year-olds, and the vaccine appears to be even more effective among this group than it has been among 18- to 25-year-olds. 

A teenage gunman attacked a school in Kazan, Russia, killing seven children and one teacher and wounding many others, writes Reuters. A social media account appearing to belong to the alleged shooter contains posts in which the gunman said he would kill many people including himself. In light of the shooting, the Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the head of the Russian national guard to establish stronger gun regulations. 

A U.S.-Russia diplomatic conflict is brewing over the U.N.’s use of a border crossing, Bab al-Hawa, between Syria and Turkey, reports the Wall Street Journal. Russia says the crossing violates Syrian sovereignty, but Washington and its allies say closing off the area from the U.N. would endanger civilians. 

For the second time in two weeks, a U.S. ship fired warning shots as boats belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard came close to U.S. Navy vessels, according to the Associated Press. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said that on Monday 13 Iranian ships traveled at fast speeds toward six U.S. Navy vessels that were escorting a U.S. missile submarine through the Strait of Hormuz. On Sunday, the USS Monterey—which was one of the escort ships targeted Monday—had seized an arms shipment on its way to Yemen, whose Houthi fighters are backed by Iran.

According to the Global Times—a Chinese government-run publication—China’s inclusion of Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson in Beijing’s next round of 5G expansion is dependent on whether Sweden reverses its prohibition on wireless carriers from using equipment produced by Chinese telecom giant Huawei, reports the Wall Street Journal. After Stockholm’s ban went into place in October, Chinese officials condemned the decisions and threatened to retaliate against Swedish corporations operating in China. These threats led Ericsson’s Chief Executive Börje Ekholm to advocate in favor of Huawei’s position in Sweden.  

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared the next episode of the After Trump podcast series featuring a discussion of the Justice Department’s independence from the president.  

Bryce Klehm announced this week’s Lawfare Live event in which Molly Reynolds, senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, will join Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare’s editor in chief, to field questions from the Lawfare community about congressional reform. 

Reynolds provided context surrounding Congress’s consideration of the Power of the Purse Act, which seeks to provide Congress with increased control over its spending power. 

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