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Monday, Jun 17th

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Israeli airstrike in Rafah kills 12 Palestinians, wounds others

Rafah airstrike kills 12Israeli forces killed at least 12 Palestinians in a dawn airstrike on Rafah in southern Gaza on Thursday and fighting raged in several other areas of the coastal enclave, Gaza medics said.

Israel pressed on with its offensive on Rafah a day after saying its forces had taken control of a buffer zone along the nearby border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, giving it effective authority over Gaza's entire land frontier.

It said the buffer zone's capture had cut off a route used by the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas to smuggle arms into Gaza during more than seven months of war, which has laid waste to much of the territory and raised fears of famine.

Gaza medical sources said the 12 Palestinians, whom it said were civilians, had been killed and an unspecified number of others wounded in an Israeli airstrike as they tried to recover the body of a civilian in the center of Rafah.

Another Palestinian civilian was killed in an airstrike on Al-Shati refugee camp west of Gaza City in the north of the densely populated enclave, the medics said.

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In a first, OpenAI removes influence operations tied to Russia, China and Israel

Open AI

Online influence operations based in Russia, China, Iran, and Israel are using artificial intelligence in their efforts to manipulate the public, according to a new report from OpenAI.

Bad actors have used OpenAI’s tools, which include ChatGPT, to generate social media comments in multiple languages, make up names and bios for fake accounts, create cartoons and other images, and debug code.

OpenAI’s report is the first of its kind from the company, which has swiftly become one of the leading players in AI. ChatGPT has gained more than 100 million users since its public launch in November 2022.

But even though AI tools have helped the people behind influence operations produce more content, make fewer errors, and create the appearance of engagement with their posts, OpenAI says the operations it found didn’t gain significant traction with real people or reach large audiences. In some cases, the little authentic engagement their posts got was from users calling them out as fake.

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North Korean missile debris found in Ukraine: Defense intelligence report

NK leader with Putin

Remnants of ballistic missiles produced in North Korea have been found throughout Ukraine, further confirming U.S. accusations that Pyongyang is arming Russia’s war effort, according to a new unclassified report released Wednesday by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Since November, the West has assessed that North Korea has been providing artillery shells, rockets and missile to Russia to support the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine, a claim Pyongyang has staunchly denied. The shipments from North Korea are considered a violation of numerous U.N. sanctions on both countries.

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From Allies and Advisers, Pressure Grows on Biden to Allow Attacks on Russian Territory

Heavy smoke from strike on Kharkiv

President Biden is edging toward what may prove to be one of his most consequential decisions in the Ukraine war: whether to reverse his ban on shooting American weapons into Russian territory.

He has long resisted authorizing Ukraine to use U.S. weapons inside Russia because of concern it could escalate into a direct American confrontation with a nuclear-armed adversary.

Now, after months of complaints about the restrictions from Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, the White House has begun a formal — and apparently rapid — reassessment of whether to take the risk. Approving further uses of U.S. weapons would give Kyiv a way to conduct counterattacks on artillery and missile sites that now enjoy something of a safe haven just inside Russia.

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Ukraine Should Be Allowed To 'Neutralise' Russian Military Bases: Macron

remote controlled evacuation stretcher

Ukraine should be allowed to use its allies’ weapons to “neutralise” Russian military bases used to fire missiles into Ukraine, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, said on Tuesday. But he added: “We should not allow them to touch other targets in Russia, and obviously civilian capacities.”

  • Macron commented during a state visit to Germany, whose chancellor, Olaf Scholz, appeared to back Ukraine on the matter as well – saying he agreed with the French president as long as the Ukrainians respected the conditions of the weapons’ suppliers. The chancellor has however refused to supply Germany’s Taurus cruise missiles – sought by the Ukrainians and capable of powerful strikes on Russian positions inside Ukraine and deep into Russia.

  • The Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, told the Economist that alliance members should let Ukraine strike deep into Russia with western weapons. But the White House on Tuesday ruled out such a possibility for US-supplied weapons. “There’s no change to our policy at this point. We don’t encourage or enable the use of US-supplied weapons to strike inside Russia,” said John Kirby, national security council spokesperson.

International Outrage Over Israel’s Rafah Tent Massacre Has Not Slowed IDF Offensive

Camp at Tal al SultanDespite immediately facing outrage from the international community for killing dozens of displaced Palestinians in an attack that set a tent camp in Rafah, Gaza, ablaze, Israel is continuing its deadly military offensive that is destroying so-called safe zones that are housing people with nowhere else to go.

Israeli forces bombed a displacement camp in Tal al-Sultan on Sunday night, engulfing the tents sheltering Palestinians in flames. Gruesome footage showed charred corpses, people burned alive and children’s bodies torn apart. The Israeli attack killed at least 45 people and wounded hundreds more, and it resulted in condemnation and expressions of horror from many in the international community.

Despite the Israel Defense Forces claiming the attack was precision-based, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the bombing was a “tragic mistake.” But less than 48 hours later, Israel bombed another makeshift tent camp in a designated civilian evacuation zone.

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Spain to give Ukraine €1bn in military aid in decade-long defence deal

Spain gives Ukraine billions in aid

Spain will provide Ukraine with €1bn in military aid this year after the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, met in Madrid to sign an “enormously important”, decade-long defence and security deal.

Although the precise details of the agreement have not been made public, the Spanish government said its assistance would “allow Ukraine to prioritise its capacities, including its air defences”.

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