Wednesday Briefing: Gaza Death Toll Climbs

The Israeli military said yesterday that it had stepped up its bombardment of Gaza, where Palestinian officials said that hundreds of people had been killed. Diplomatic pressure grew for Israel to delay its ground invasion of the enclave.

Israel said it had struck more than 400 targets in the past 24 hours — on top of more than 320 a day earlier — in some of the most intense aerial attacks on Gaza in recent days. The Gaza Health Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, said it had recorded the highest single-day death toll of the war: at least 704 people, killed in dozens of strikes on homes, a refugee camp and other places. It was not possible to verify the toll independently.

What’s next: Israeli military officials say they are well prepared for a ground assault in Gaza, but it remains unclear when and if such an invasion will occur. U.S. officials have said Israel’s military is not yet ready.

Analysis: Israel has set itself a stiff challenge in aiming to destroy Hamas. But an even bigger question looms: Who will govern Gaza if Hamas is gone? A ground war in Gaza could produce fierce street-to-street fighting. Here’s what the urban warfare might look like.

Aid: Six hospitals across the Gaza Strip have had to shut down because they are out of fuel, the W.H.O. said. While some aid convoys have made it into Gaza, humanitarian groups have called for fuel to be supplied along with the food, water and medicine being sent in.

Hostages: One of the two hostages released on Monday, Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, told reporters in Tel Aviv that she had “gone through hell.” The other released hostage was identified as Nurit Cooper, 79. According to the Israeli military, about 20 hostages among the roughly 220 people Israel believes were taken prisoner are under the age of 18.

Gen. Li Shangfu, who had been appointed China’s defense minister in March, was dismissed from his post after being out of public view for nearly two months. He is the second senior official to be purged from the government this year without explanation and under a cloud of suspicion.

The announcement by China yesterday leaves open questions about whether Li is being investigated for any offenses. U.S. officials said last month that Beijing had placed him under investigation for corruption.

What’s next: There is no word on who might replace Li as defense minister, but whoever does will likely play a major role in talks with the U.S. if the two sides restart high-level military contacts.

Tom Emmer dropped his bid to become speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday after narrowly securing a nomination for the top post from fellow Republicans. The lawmaker drew a backlash from the right, including from Donald Trump, that left his candidacy in shambles.

Emmer’s abrupt exit signaled that Republicans were as far as ever from breaking a deadlock that has left Congress leaderless and paralyzed for three weeks. He was the third Republican this month to be chosen to become speaker, only to have his bid collapse.

Investors and media companies are trying to capitalize on a relatively small — but loyal and growing — American audience for cricket. Investors have poured more than $1 billion into expanding the sport in the U.S., and have spent more than $100 million to build cricket stadiums for a new league.

But while businesses see the sport as an opportunity, many of the five million Americans of South Asian descent see the game as a link to a life they have left behind.

Park Seo-Bo, who died this month in Seoul at 91, was known for his elegantly furrowed monochromatic paintings and indefatigable drive that made him a pillar of the Korean art world.

Park used his work to transmute the intense emotions of South Korea’s civil war, postwar poverty and military dictatorship, as well as his own difficult personality, into a kind of everyday serenity. He was typical of what came to be called the Dansaekhwa group, a loose term for artists who used minimal colors and process-based work to break with Korea’s official artistic establishment of the 1960s and ’70s. He also promoted others whose work he admired, making him a vital link between Korean artists and the world.

“Without Park Seo-Bo,” said Joan Kee, an art history professor, “there would not be a modern history of Korean art as we know it.” Read more about his art.

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