Friday Briefing

Smoke billowing during an Israeli bombardment in Gaza City on Thursday.Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Fears of an Iranian strike drew a U.S. general to Israel

The U.S. sent its top military commander for the Middle East to Israel to discuss a widely expected retaliatory attack from Iran, officials said.

Iran’s leaders have repeatedly vowed to punish Israel for an April 1 strike in Syria that killed several senior Iranian commanders. Israel has put its military on alert, and President Biden said that Iran was threatening a “significant” attack. Gen. Michael Kurilla, the American commander, will also discuss the war in Gaza and humanitarian aid operations there.

Biden, who has become increasingly critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conduct of the Gaza war, said that American support for Israel in the face of danger from Iran was “ironclad.”

Netanyahu said that his country was prepared for other challenges. “We have determined a simple rule: Whoever harms us, we will harm them,” he said.

Hostages: A senior Hamas official said that the group did not have 40 living hostages who met the criteria for a proposed exchange with Israel, raising fears that more hostages could be dead than previously believed.

Famine: The director of the United States Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, said this week that a famine is underway in northern Gaza.

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