Up First briefing: Gazans struggle to survive; Biden seeks Israel and Ukraine aid

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announces plans to reopen the Rafah border crossing for humanitarian aid in Gaza, while the White House intends to request foreign aid from Congress for Ukraine and Israel.

Key Middle East Developments: The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza is set to reopen, according to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
* The situation in the Gaza Strip, according to NPR’s Aya Batrawy, is one of “sheer terror and a struggle to survive”, particularly as food, water and fuel supplies dwindle.

Conflict Toll: The conflict has already resulted in significant casualties, with 1,300 Israelis and over 2,700 Palestinians reported dead.
* Hamas military leader, Mohammed Deif, is thought to be behind the attacks on Israel.

US Domestic Response: Two-thirds of Americans believe in supporting Israel, but diverse opinions exist along racial and generational lines.
* In a related incident, a 71-year-old man in Illinois was charged with a hate crime following an assault related to the Israel-Hamas war that fatally injured a 6-year-old boy and his mother.

Financial aid requests: The White House is asking Congress for billions in foreign aid for Ukraine and Israel.
* While support for these requests is generally bipartisan, some Republicans including Jim Jordan, a candidate for House speaker, have reservations.

Observations abroad: The international political situation is being watched by both allies and adversaries, with the likes of China, Iran and Russia keeping a keen eye for signs of faltering alliances.

In other news: A U.S. federal court judge will consider a request for a gag order on former president Donald Trump and his lawyers, related to his ongoing criminal election interference trial.

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