The War of the Worlds
60 pages • 2 hours read
A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.
Chapter Summaries & Analyses
Book 1, Chapters 1-8
Book 1, Chapters 9-13
Book 1, Chapters 14-17
Book 2, Chapters 1-5
Book 2, Chapters 6-10
Symbols & Motifs
Summary and Study Guide
The War of the Worlds is a landmark science fiction novel published in 1897 by English author H. G. Wells. Its nameless narrator provides a firsthand account of the arrival of Martians in the area surrounding London and their subsequent devastation of central England. Vastly outmatched by Martian technology, human civilization is brought entirely to its knees in a matter of days, although the Martians are totally eradicated by terrestrial bacteria before they can expand their devastation beyond Great Britain. Although other novels had featured a hostile alien invasion before, The War of the Worlds is the first widely successful example of this genre , and it remains a core text in the science fiction canon.
American director Orson Welles adapted The War of the Worlds and narrated the famous radio broadcast in 1938. Welles posed the fictitious episode as a news broadcast and allegedly incited panic among listeners that Martians were invading.
Get access to this full Study Guide and much more!
- 6,950+ In-Depth Study Guides
- 5,100+ Quick-Read Plot Summaries
- Downloadable PDFs
This study guide refers to the 2007 Signet Classics paperback edition.
The SuperSummary difference
- 8x more resources than SparkNotes and CliffsNotes combined
- Study Guides you won ' t find anywhere else
- 100+ new titles every month
The novel is divided into two books, each of which is subdivided into chapters. Book 1, which comprises about two thirds of the novel’s length, begins with the narrator reflecting on how unprepared and unsuspecting the world was before the invasion. Having witnessed the launching of the Martian spacecraft, the narrator becomes one of the first on the scene at the initial landing site, which happens to be quite close to his home. Although the Martians are sluggish, they quickly demonstrate their immense technological superiority by massacring any humans who get in their way. Humanity’s curiosity and peacefulness quickly gives way to attempted retaliation, but the British military is all but powerless against Martian weaponry. The narrator gets his wife out of the area but then becomes stranded in the fray without her. He falls in with an artilleryman whose company was decimated by the Martians, and they travel together until the artilleryman finds another company en route to London. After narrowly escaping another massacre, the narrator meets a curate, and the two become companions.
In the final chapters of Book 1, the narrator provides the story of his younger brother, who experienced the invasion from London and gets caught up in the torrential exodus from the panicking city. After saving two women from an attempted robbery, he travels with them, convincing them to join him in heading to the sea and seeking passage out of the country. They achieve this, and their vessel narrowly escapes an attack by the Martians in which the mightiest ship of the British navy is destroyed, albeit after taking out two Martian fighting-machines itself.
Book 2 returns to the narrator’s story. He and the curate take shelter in a house on the outskirts of London and become trapped there when another Martian spacecraft crashes overhead. Unable to escape without being detected by the Martians working outside, they remain captive for over two weeks, though the curate, who has become insensible to the point that the narrator must knock him unconscious to prevent him from alerting the Martians, dies on the ninth day when a Martian discovers his body, removes it, and presumably harvests his blood.
On his 15th day of confinement, the narrator discovers the Martians have abandoned the area. He emerges and finds the area empty of Martians but unrecognizable, ruined by their weapons and teeming with a red weed brought from their planet. Just outside London, he again encounters the artilleryman, who has deserted his unit and begun digging a tunnel to the London sewers where he dreams of establishing an underground society of resistance. Though initially inspired by the artilleryman’s ambition, the narrator leaves him after discovering he is more focused on reveling in spoils he has looted from the abandoned city. He arrives in London the next day, where he discovers the Martians have all died, later determined to be the result of their lack of immunity to terrestrial bacteria. He wanders insensible for three days before being taken in and nursed back to health by a kind family. Returning to his home, he reunites with his wife, whom he had presumed was dead. The narrator ends by emphasizing his fear that humanity has become complacent once again and the trauma that still plagues him.
Don't Miss Out!
Access Study Guide Now
Ready to dive in?
Get unlimited access to SuperSummary for only $ 0.70 /week
By H. G. Wells
The Door in the Wall
H. G. Wells
The Invisible Man
The Island of Doctor Moreau
The Red Room
The Time Machine
When the Sleeper Wakes
School book list titles.
Science & Nature
Victorian literature, victorian literature / period.
A Summary and Analysis of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds
By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)
The War of the Worlds is one of H. G. Wells’s early scientific romances: books which helped to lay the groundwork for modern science fiction. One adaptation was supposedly mistaken for a real news broadcast reporting an actual invasion, although we will come to that later on.
The War of the Worlds is probably Wells’s most famous and influential novel, so a few words of analysis are called for to explain precisely why it has become, in some ways, his most defining work.
The War of the Worlds was serialised in Pearson’s Magazine in 1897, before being published in book form the following year. Before we get to the textual analysis, here’s a brief plot summary.
The War of the Worlds : plot summary
The Martians invade England, seeking to colonise Earth, as Mars has become inhospitable. They arrive in cylinders on a common in Surrey. The novel’s narrator is nearby, writing a paper on morality, and gets to see a Martian emerging from the cylinder, about the size of a bear and possessing a ‘tentacular appendage’. The Martians attack a group of men who approach them, destroying them with a heat ray. Civilisation soon starts to fall apart as panic spreads among the English populace. Man-made guns prove useless against the Martians’ superior weapons.
Interspersed within the narrator’s own story is a second narrative, detailed within a letter the narrator’s brother sends to him and which the narrator relates to us. His brother lives in central London and his letter outlines the shift in the capital as people realise their weapons are useless against the Martians. People start fleeing London when the Martians start using black smoke – a form of chemical warfare – against the city’s inhabitants.
The narrator’s brother reports how he fled to the Essex coast, where he witnessed a sea battle between the British navy and the Martians. Even the navy’s ironclads (warships) are roundly defeated in a tense battle at the Thames estuary.
We return to the narrator’s own story. He has fled to Leatherhead to find his wife, but on the way more Martians arrive in their cylinders, and he has to take refuge in an abandoned house, where he shelters with a crazed curate.
While he’s there, he studies the Martians, undetected, close-up, and learns that they communicate via telepathy and a series of mysterious whistling sounds. He is also appalled to discover that the Martians feed on human blood. Both the curate and another man become sacrificial victims of the Martians’ bloodlust, and the narrator himself barely escapes.
He then meets an artilleryman who plans to raise a superhuman army against the Martian invaders, though he soon realises the man is all talk and his plans will come to nothing. In the end, it is the humble bacterium that proves the Martians’ undoing: such microbes were unknown to them back on Mars, and their immune systems prove incapable of defending them against their tiny parasitical invaders. The Martians perish, and the survivors begin to rebuild society as things return to normal.
The War of the Worlds : analysis
The War of the Worlds is, like all of H. G. Wells’s early scientific romances, a work of imaginative literature which immediately lends itself to multiple interpretations on various levels.
Like his first novella, The Time Machine (1895), which can be read as a commentary on everything from the ‘Two Nations’ of a class-riven Victorian Britain to an exploration of Darwinian evolution and even a riff upon the popular imperial romance, The War of the Worlds is both a superlative example of the ‘invasion’ narrative of the late nineteenth century and a commentary on imperialism.
The War of the Worlds was not the first example of the tale of foreign invasion: George Chesney’s 1871 novella The Battle of Dorking , whose first edition sold 80,000 copies, was clearly an influence on Wells. In Chesney’s tale, the Germans attack Britain and defeat them at sleepy Dorking, not too far from where Wells’s Martians land in leafy Surrey.
Wells’s innovation was to take this popular form and add a science-fiction element: what if a completely different species from another planet invaded Britain? For then, as Brian Aldiss points out in his excellent introduction to the Penguin edition of the novel, The War of the Worlds , there could be no hope of truce or communication between the two ‘worlds’ at war.
Wells uses this novel idea to explore attitudes to colonisation and imperialism, and 1897, the year the novel was serialised, was a timely year to do this. It was the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and there was much debate about the British Empire. In his poem for that occasion, ‘ Recessional ’, Rudyard Kipling had sounded a warning note:
Far-called, our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget!
Britain’s ‘pomp’ and greatness are no more: like Nineveh and Tyre, ancient civilisations of the past, it will die away to nothing.
In The War of the Worlds , then, Wells turns the tables and gives Britain a flavour of what it would be like if Victorian Britain was the colonised, rather than the coloniser. The scenes involving Londoners fleeing the capital in fear and panic are rightly praised and are among the best writing Wells ever produced; they are more powerful now after such scenes became commonplace during the two World Wars as people fled war-torn homelands in search of refuge, and such scenes remain part of the news to this day.
Nevertheless, it’s worth bearing in mind that what the Martians bring is even more nihilistic than imperialist lust for power and riches: they are bent on the entire extermination of the native peoples, with the exception of the bare minimum they need to keep alive so they can indulge their strange blood-drinking habits.
In some ways, Wells’s novel remains so relevant to us now less for its colonial inversion (though that is still important) than for its anticipation of the Blitz of the Second World War, during which the Germans sought wholesale destruction of cities such as London, or even the nuclear threat of the Cold War, where the object was to wipe out the entire population of the enemy land. And ‘population’, especially fears of overpopulation, is another theme which Wells’s novel touches upon.
It’s also worth reflecting on what Aldiss calls the ‘lesson in humility’ that Wells provides in The War of the Worlds . Up until the final ‘act’ of the novel, we cannot be sure whether humanity will triumph, and although the Martians are defeated, it is not thanks to man’s ingenuity or superior strength but thanks to a freak of nature, whereby terrestrial bacteria prove fatal to the Martians.
If they had had superior immune systems or Wells’s Mars was full of microbes, those Martian tentacles would have spread throughout all of England – and, doubtless, beyond – in a grotesque extra-terrestrial version of empire-building.
The continued relevant of The War of the Worlds can be attested by the fact that Wells’s novel is constantly being adapted for radio, film, and television. In 2019 alone, there were two television adaptations (by Fox and the BBC).
Curiously, the most famous adaptation of all, Orson Welles’s 1938 radio broadcast in the United States, is also the most misunderstood, and contrary to popular belief there was no widespread panic among Americans who thought Welles’s adaptation was a news broadcast.
But the very fact that such a myth took hold is a testament to both the power of Wells’s original novel and to its continual relevance to our own times. Fear of invasion and the collapse of civilisation as we know it are constant themes from one generation to the next.
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Discover more from interesting literature.
Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.
Type your email…
The War of the Worlds
By h.g. wells, the war of the worlds study guide.
The War of the Worlds is a science-fiction classic. First released in serial form in 1897, The War of the Worlds was later released as a book in 1898 through William Heinemann of London. Though it was published after some of Wells' major works such as The Time Machine and The Invisible Man , The War of the Worlds influenced many later works of science fiction and has been adapted numerous times.
The War of the Worlds describes the invasion of Earth by aliens from Mars; it is primarily set in the British countryside. The novel is narrated by a nameless protagonist who seeks to survive the relentless destruction caused by the Martians. The novel is written as a factual account of these fictional events. None of the main characters are named; instead, they are introduced by their occupations or social positions (in keeping with Wells' focus on social issues), and most of the novel focuses on the events occurring after the invasion of the Martians.
The War of the World’s geography is very accurate, partly because Wells used his own home as the setting for the novel. He moved to Woking, where the novel takes place, in 1895 with his second wife. Wells recounts biking around town and imagining that all the houses were burning, a mental image that helped to inspire the novel.
The War of The Worlds is heavily influenced by the scientific discoveries of the day, which is in keeping with the tendency of Wells’s work to make scientific concepts accessible to the British populace. In 1894, an astronomer thought that he had seen lights on the surface of Mars that indicated life on the planet, and this discovery inspired Wells to write the book. The novel was published after Wells published an essay about life on Mars in 1896. A less prevalent inspiration for the novel was the unification of Germany, which led to great anxiety and a number of novels describing the invasion of Britain by a foreign power. These were also written in a factual manner, which likely inspired Wells in his writing of this novel, which describes the invasion of Britain by a truly alien power.
The War of the Worlds has been adapted into films and other media quite frequently. The most famous is likely the 1938 radio broadcast, which was narrated by actor Orson Welles. It is so famous because it inspired mass panic and hysteria. Listeners didn’t realize that it was a play, and they thought that aliens were actually invading. Another well-known adaptation is the 2005 film, which stars Tom Cruise.
The War of the Worlds Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The War of the Worlds is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Which word from paragraph 4 provides context that supports the meaning of the word shivered?
You want to connect one of your choices with the word shivered?
I might consider: B - a line of flame high in the atmosphere
What two factors help the Martians overcome the gravitational differences between Mars & Earth?
From the text:
The atmosphere of the earth, we now know, contains far more oxygen or far less argon (whichever way one likes to put it) than does Mars’. The invigorating influences of this excess of oxygen upon the Martians indisputably did much...
Is the narrator more afraid of the visitors, or is he intrigued by them?
Sorry, I can't write your essay for you. The Narrator manages to survive past the end of the invasion mostly unharmed. Despite the relative stoicism he displays throughout the novel, prolonged exposure to the atrocities that the alien invaders...
Study Guide for The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds study guide contains a biography of H.G. Wells, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
- About The War of the Worlds
- The War of the Worlds Summary
- Character List
Essays for The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.
- The War of the Worlds: A Critique of Imperialism
- Influence of Darwin's "Origin of Species" on Literature
- Not Quite Safe: Concluding The War of the Worlds
- Depictions of Danger in Frankenstein and The War of the Worlds
- Martians in Wells’ War of the Worlds and Movie Adaptions: Cultural Imperialism
Lesson Plan for The War of the Worlds
- About the Author
- Study Objectives
- Common Core Standards
- Introduction to The War of the Worlds
- Relationship to Other Books
- Bringing in Technology
- Notes to the Teacher
- Related Links
- The War of the Worlds Bibliography
Wikipedia Entries for The War of the Worlds
- Scientific predictions and accuracy
- Movies based on books
- TV Shows based on books
- Who’s Who
The Magic of Translation: War of the Worlds
Penned by the illustrious author H.G. Wells , this groundbreaking novel has captivated generations with its chilling tale of a Martian invasion. This article serves as your comprehensive guide, providing a thorough book summary, an analysis of the film adaptation, and much more. So, brace yourself for an insightful journey into the world of interplanetary conflict and human resilience.
H.G. Wells: Biography and notable works
H.G. Wells, often referred to as the “father of science fiction,” left an indelible mark on literature with his visionary storytelling and exploration of futuristic themes. Born into a working-class family in Kent, England , Wells’ early experiences influenced his lifelong themes of class struggle and social justice. His education in biology under Thomas Henry Huxley at the Normal School of Science (now Imperial College London ) played a significant role in shaping his scientific perspective, which became a hallmark of his work.
- “The Time Machine” (1895) : Wells’ debut novel introduces readers to the concept of time travel through the adventures of the Time Traveller, who explores distant futures of humanity. The novel reflects on social and evolutionary progress, offering a critique of Victorian society and class divisions.
- “The Island of Doctor Moreau” (1896) : This novel delves into the ethical and moral implications of scientific experimentation and the nature of humanity through the story of a shipwrecked man who encounters the sinister Doctor Moreau and his hybrid creations.
- “The Invisible Man” (1897) : Through the tale of Griffin, a scientist who discovers the means to make himself invisible, Wells explores themes of isolation, madness, and the dangers of unchecked scientific ambition.
- “The War of the Worlds” (1898) : Wells’ iconic tale of Martian invasion of Earth is not only a thrilling narrative but also a commentary on British imperialism and the potential vulnerabilities of human civilization.
- “The First Men in the Moon” (1901) : This work combines adventure and satire, detailing a journey to the Moon and encounters with its inhabitants. It raises questions about the nature of progress and the ethical considerations of colonization.
Wells’ contributions to literature extend beyond his speculative fiction. He was also an influential figure in social commentary and history, advocating for progressive ideas such as world government, women’s rights, and social reform. His works like “The Outline of History” (1920) and “The Science of Life” (1930), co-written with Julian Huxley and G.P. Wells, reflect his broad interests and intellectual pursuits.
H.G. Wells’ legacy is defined by his ability to blend imaginative storytelling with insightful exploration of contemporary social, scientific, and ethical issues. His pioneering works not only established foundational concepts in science fiction but also continue to inspire readers, writers, and thinkers across generations.
Book summary: ‘The War of the Worlds’
“The War of the Worlds” is a gripping narrative that unfolds in the late 19th century, depicting humanity’s desperate struggle for survival against an alien invasion from Mars. The story commences when mysterious rocket-like cylinders are launched from Mars towards Earth, landing in various locations across England. From these cylinders emerge hostile Martians bent on conquering our planet.
As the Martians unleash their advanced technology and weaponry, devastation ensues, leaving humanity defenseless against their formidable foes. The narrative follows the harrowing experiences of ordinary people as they grapple with the chaos and terror wrought by the Martian invasion. Amidst the destruction, themes of resilience, courage, and the indomitable spirit of humanity emerge as survivors band together in a fight for their lives.
“The War of the Worlds” is a timeless tale that explores the fragility of human civilization in the face of extraterrestrial threat, while also reflecting on the resilience and adaptability of the human spirit. As the invasion unfolds, readers are drawn into a world of tension, fear, and survival, culminating in a thrilling climax that underscores the triumph of the human will against overwhelming odds.
Character guide: Who’s who in ‘The War of the Worlds’
“The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells is a seminal work of science fiction that explores the themes of survival, humanity, and the impact of colonization through the lens of a Martian invasion of Earth. The characters Wells introduces serve not only to propel the narrative but also to explore various human responses to an unprecedented crisis. Here’s a brief guide to the key characters:
- The Narrator : An unnamed philosopher and writer, the narrator provides a first-person account of the Martian invasion from his perspective in Woking, Surrey, and his journey through a devastated England. His scientific curiosity and observational skills offer readers a detailed and reflective view of the events and their implications.
- The Narrator’s Brother : A medical student in London, he provides a secondary viewpoint on the invasion, highlighting the chaos and societal breakdown in the city. His experiences in London and his eventual escape to the Essex coast present a broader view of the invasion’s impact across England.
- The Artilleryman : Meeting the narrator in Woking, the Artilleryman embodies the human instinct to survive and adapt. His ambitious plans for a new society underground, safe from the Martians, reflect both human resilience and delusion. His character raises questions about what it means to survive at the cost of one’s humanity.
- The Curate : A man of faith who accompanies the narrator for a portion of his journey, the Curate’s inability to cope with the invasion symbolizes the collapse of religious certainty in the face of inexplicable disaster. His panic, despair, and eventual mental breakdown present a stark contrast to the narrator’s more analytical approach to their predicament.
- The Martians : Though not characters in the traditional sense, the Martians are the central antagonists of the story, whose advanced technology and ruthless tactics in pursuing their colonization of Earth pose existential threats to humanity. Their actions and the narrator’s observations about them provoke deep reflections on imperialism, evolution, and the fragility of human civilization.
These characters, each responding differently to the crisis, allow Wells to explore the complexities of human nature and society under the pressure of an unimaginable threat. “The War of the Worlds” remains a profound commentary on human resilience, the dangers of unchecked technological advancement, and the moral questions surrounding colonization and survival.
Setting the scene: When and where ‘The War of the Worlds’ takes place
“The War of the Worlds” is situated in the late 19th century against the backdrop of London, England, and its surrounding areas. The narrative begins with the arrival of Martian cylinders in Horsell Common, a tranquil area near the narrator’s residence in Woking.
As the story progresses, the Martian invasion spreads across England, prompting frantic efforts by the characters to flee and seek refuge from the relentless onslaught. From bustling city streets to serene countryside landscapes, the settings evolve, mirroring the characters’ perilous journey and their struggle for survival against the alien invaders.
Against the iconic backdrop of Victorian England , “The War of the Worlds” immerses readers in a world gripped by fear, uncertainty, and chaos as humanity faces an unprecedented threat from beyond the stars. The setting serves as a vivid canvas for H.G. Wells to explore themes of resilience, adaptability, and the fragility of civilization in the face of extraterrestrial menace.
From book to screen: Differences between the novel and film
The adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” into Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film illustrates the challenges and creative opportunities inherent in translating a classic novel to a modern cinematic context. Here are some key differences between the novel and the film:
Setting and Time Period:
- Novel : The original story is set in late Victorian England, specifically around London and the southern counties.
- Film : Spielberg updates the setting to early 21st-century America, with the narrative unfolding primarily in New Jersey and New York .
- Novel : The protagonist is an unnamed philosopher and writer. Other significant characters include his brother, the Artilleryman, and the Curate.
- Film : The movie centers on Ray Ferrier, a dockworker and estranged father, and his two children, Rachel and Robbie, introducing a familial subplot not present in the book.
- Novel : The story provides a broad view of the Martian invasion, its impact on society, and philosophical reflections on humanity and imperialism.
- Film : While still depicting the chaos and destruction caused by the invasion, the film narrows its focus to the survival story of Ray and his children, emphasizing personal and family dynamics amid the crisis.
Technological and Martian Depictions:
- Novel : Wells describes the Martians and their technology (e.g., Tripods, Heat-Ray) in a way that mirrored the anxieties of the Industrial Revolution and fears of the unknown.
- Film : Spielberg utilizes modern special effects to reimagine the Martians and their machines, making them visually spectacular yet terrifying, aligning with contemporary fears and showcasing advancements in film technology.
Themes and Messages:
- Novel : The book delves into themes of British imperialism, the potential for human extinction, and the resilience of nature.
- Film : While maintaining the essence of an existential threat to humanity, the movie places a stronger emphasis on themes of family, unity, and personal redemption.
- Both the novel and the film conclude with the Martians succumbing to Earth’s bacteria, highlighting humanity’s inadvertent salvation by the smallest life forms. However, the film adds a more pronounced emotional resolution for the Ferrier family, underscoring the personal journey they’ve undergone.
Steven Spielberg’s “The War of the Worlds” offers a contemporary interpretation of Wells’ timeless narrative, blending high-stakes survival with the exploration of human relationships and resilience. While distinct from the novel in setting, characters, and certain thematic emphases, the film succeeds in capturing the essence of Wells’ speculative vision, demonstrating the enduring relevance of his ideas.
Director’s corner: Steven Spielberg and his notable media
Steven Spielberg, one of the most influential and celebrated filmmakers in the history of cinema, has a career that spans over five decades, marked by an extraordinary diversity of genres and themes. His films have not only achieved critical and commercial success but also left an indelible mark on popular culture. Here’s a brief look at some of his most notable works:
- “Jaws” (1975) : This thriller about a man-eating great white shark terrorizing a beach community revolutionized Hollywood , essentially creating the summer blockbuster. Spielberg’s mastery of suspense, combined with John Williams’ iconic score, made “Jaws” a cinematic landmark.
- “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) : A heartwarming story about a young boy’s friendship with an alien stranded on Earth. “E.T.” is celebrated for its emotional depth, innovative special effects, and its portrayal of childhood wonder and innocence.
- “Jurassic Park” (1993) : A groundbreaking film in terms of visual effects and animatronics, “Jurassic Park” brought dinosaurs to life like never before. Its thrilling narrative and technological innovations redefined the possibilities of the adventure genre.
- “Schindler’s List” (1993) : A profound and harrowing depiction of the Holocaust, this film is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of over a thousand Polish Jews. Spielberg’s sensitive direction and the film’s stark realism earned it widespread acclaim, including seven Academy Awards.
- “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) : Renowned for its realistic portrayal of World War II , particularly its harrowing D-Day landing sequence, this film explores themes of bravery, sacrifice, and the moral complexities of war. It’s praised for its direction, cinematography, and powerful performances.
Spielberg’s films are known for their innovative storytelling, depth of character, and technical mastery. He has a unique ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level, whether through the thrills of adventure, the joys of discovery, or the solemnity of historical events. Beyond entertainment, his works often reflect deeper themes such as humanity, ethics, and the impact of technology on society.
Throughout his career, Spielberg has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of filmmaking, making him a true pioneer and a source of inspiration for filmmakers and audiences alike.
A look at the film: ‘War of the Worlds’ movie summary
The film adaptation of “War of the Worlds” follows the story of Ray Ferrier, a blue-collar dockworker living in New Jersey. When his ex-wife drops off their children, Rachel and Robbie, for the weekend, Ray’s plans for a peaceful time together are abruptly shattered by the arrival of Martian tripods emerging from beneath the Earth’s surface.
As chaos erupts and panic spreads, Ray finds himself thrust into a desperate struggle for survival alongside his children. With the Martian invaders unleashing devastation and destruction across the landscape, Ray embarks on a tense and thrilling journey, navigating a perilous world overrun by chaos and danger.
Amidst the chaos, Ray’s primary focus becomes protecting his children at all costs and finding a way to escape the clutches of the relentless Martian invaders. As the battle for survival intensifies, Ray must confront his own fears and vulnerabilities while grappling with the enormity of the threat facing humanity.
Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise as Ray Ferrier, “War of the Worlds” delivers pulse-pounding action, breathtaking visuals, and heart-stopping suspense as it brings H.G. Wells’ classic tale of alien invasion to life on the big screen. With its gripping narrative and compelling performances, the film immerses audiences in a thrilling and unforgettable cinematic experience that explores the resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity.
Understanding the score: John Williams and his musical contributions
Exploring John Williams’ Musical Contributions to “War of the Worlds”:
John Williams, a legendary composer renowned for his iconic contributions to cinema, lends his unparalleled talent to the haunting score of “War of the Worlds.” With a career spanning decades, Williams has crafted unforgettable musical compositions for some of the most beloved films in cinematic history.
His illustrious portfolio includes iconic scores for blockbuster franchises such as “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones,” “Harry Potter,” and “Jaws,” among many others. With his masterful use of orchestration and melody, Williams has become synonymous with the magic of movie music, enriching countless cinematic experiences with his evocative compositions.
In “War of the Worlds,” Williams’ score serves as a powerful sonic backdrop that heightens the film’s tense atmosphere and enhances its emotional impact. Characterized by eerie strings, haunting brass, and pulsating percussion, the score mirrors the escalating tension and sense of dread as humanity faces the relentless onslaught of the Martian invaders.
Through his musical mastery, Williams captures the essence of H.G. Wells’ classic tale, immersing audiences in a world fraught with danger, uncertainty, and the resilience of the human spirit. His evocative compositions elevate the film’s narrative, underscoring its themes of survival, fear, and the indomitable will to persevere in the face of overwhelming odds.
In “War of the Worlds,” John Williams once again proves why he is considered one of the greatest composers in film history, leaving an indelible mark on the cinematic landscape with his haunting and emotive score.
Dressing the part: Tips for Cosplay and Dressing like Ray Ferrier and Rachel Ferrier
Cosplaying as Ray and Rachel Ferrier from “War of the Worlds” offers an exciting opportunity to bring these characters to life. Here are some detailed tips to help you accurately emulate their iconic looks from the film:
Ray Ferrier (played by Tom Cruise):
- Leather Jacket : The key piece of Ray’s costume is his rugged, dark brown leather jacket. Look for one with a distressed look to replicate the wear and tear seen in the movie.
- Dark Shirt : Beneath the jacket, Ray wears a simple, dark-colored shirt. A basic tee or a henley shirt would work perfectly.
- Jeans : Opt for a pair of straight-leg jeans in a dark wash. The more worn-in they look, the better.
- Baseball Cap : Ray is often seen wearing a classic, slightly worn-out baseball cap. A plain, dark cap would best match his style.
- Boots : Complete the look with a pair of durable work boots that have seen some wear.
- Accessories : To truly embody Ray’s character, consider adding a wristwatch and a belt that matches the rugged aesthetic of his outfit.
Rachel Ferrier (played by Dakota Fanning):
- Pink Hoodie : Rachel’s most recognizable piece is her bright pink hoodie. It’s a key part of her outfit throughout much of the film.
- Denim Skirt : Pair the hoodie with a simple denim skirt, which complements the casual, youthful look.
- Ugg Boots : For footwear, Rachel wears a pair of classic Ugg boots. Any comfortable, light-colored sheepskin boots will capture the essence of her look.
- Accessories : To complete Rachel’s outfit, consider a small backpack or a crossbody bag, which are practical and fit the style of a young girl on the run.
Remember, the goal of cosplay is not just to replicate the characters’ outfits but also to capture their essence and spirit. Whether you’re adopting Ray’s protective and determined demeanor or Rachel’s innocence and resilience, embodying the characters’ personalities will enhance your cosplay experience. And most importantly, have fun and enjoy the creativity and community that cosplay brings!
Quotable moments: Key quotes from ‘The War of the Worlds’
In both the novel and the film adaptation of “The War of the Worlds,” there are poignant and memorable quotes that resonate with audiences long after the story has ended.
From the novel:
- “No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s…” This striking opening line of H.G. Wells’ classic tale captures the ominous atmosphere that pervades the narrative, setting the stage for the impending invasion and highlighting the profound impact of the extraterrestrial threat on humanity.
From the film adaptation:
- “Rachel, I’m not leaving you. I’m going to be right here with you.” This heartfelt declaration, delivered by Ray Ferrier (portrayed by Tom Cruise) to his daughter Rachel, encapsulates the film’s central theme of familial bonds amidst chaos. In the face of overwhelming danger, Ray’s unwavering determination to protect his daughter underscores the strength of love and the resilience of the human spirit, making this quote a standout moment in the film.
- “This is not a war any more than there’s a war between men and ants.” This chilling observation, made by a character in the film, reflects the incomprehensible nature of the Martian invasion and the stark power imbalance between humanity and the technologically superior alien invaders. It serves as a stark reminder of the existential threat posed by the Martians and the daunting challenge faced by humanity in confronting an enemy beyond their comprehension.
These quotes capture the essence of “The War of the Worlds,” offering profound insights into the themes of invasion, survival, and the indomitable spirit of humanity in the face of overwhelming adversity.
Beyond the ‘War’: 10 films similar to ‘War of the Worlds’
If “War of the Worlds” has captivated you with its thrilling depiction of an alien invasion, you’re likely to enjoy a wide range of films that explore similar themes. Each of the following movies provides a distinct perspective on humanity’s encounter with extraterrestrial forces, ranging from action-packed battles to introspective dramas about communication and understanding.
- “Independence Day” (1996) : A classic in the alien invasion genre, this film combines large-scale action with memorable characters, as humanity bands together to fend off a devastating extraterrestrial threat on July 4th.
- “Cloverfield” (2008) : Presented through a found-footage format, “Cloverfield” follows a group of friends navigating through New York City during a massive monster attack, offering a ground-level view of chaos and survival.
- “District 9” (2009) : This science fiction thriller explores themes of xenophobia, segregation, and humanity through the story of an extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth, and the man who becomes their unlikely ally.
- “Signs” (2002) : Directed by M. Night Shyamalan , “Signs” is a suspenseful take on the alien invasion narrative, focusing on a family in rural Pennsylvania who discovers mysterious crop circles in their fields.
- “Battle: Los Angeles” (2011) : When Earth becomes the battleground for an alien invasion, a platoon of U.S. Marines becomes humanity’s last line of defense in Los Angeles . This film offers intense action sequences and a military perspective on alien warfare.
- “Skyline” (2010) : This film depicts a group of friends fighting for survival after a global alien invasion, using blue lights to hypnotically attract and abduct the human population.
- “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (2008) : A remake of the 1951 classic, this film presents an alien and his giant robot counterpart who arrive on Earth to deliver an important message, exploring themes of environmental protection and peace.
- “Pacific Rim” (2013) : Directed by Guillermo del Toro , “Pacific Rim” combines the alien invasion theme with giant robot (Jaeger) versus monster (Kaiju) battles, set against a backdrop of international cooperation and personal heroism.
- “Edge of Tomorrow” (2014) : This action-packed film features a soldier who finds himself caught in a time loop during an alien invasion, offering a unique twist on the battle against extraterrestrial forces.
- “Arrival” (2016) : Focusing on linguistics and communication, “Arrival” explores humanity’s attempt to understand the purpose of an alien visitation through the efforts of a linguist enlisted by the military to decipher their language.
Each of these films, while sharing the common theme of alien invasion, brings its own unique flavor and approach to the concept, ranging from blockbuster action to thought-provoking drama, ensuring a rich and varied viewing experience for fans of the genre.
Expanding your reading list: 10 novels similar to ‘The War of the Worlds’
If “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells has sparked your interest in stories of extraterrestrial encounters and speculative futures, there’s a wealth of literature waiting to be explored. Here are ten novels that delve into themes of alien invasion, interstellar conflict, and the human condition in the face of the unknown, each offering its own unique perspective on the genre:
- “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card : This novel focuses on a young boy, Ender Wiggin, who is trained through increasingly complex military simulations to prepare for an impending alien invasion, exploring themes of leadership, ethics, and the consequences of war.
- “Starship Troopers” by Robert A. Heinlein : A seminal military science fiction novel that follows a young soldier’s rites of passage during humanity’s war against an alien species, delving into themes of duty, citizenship, and the morality of conflict.
- “The Day of the Triffids” by John Wyndham : After a comet blinds much of the world’s population, society collapses, and a new, aggressive species of plant begins to take over, offering a unique take on the post-apocalyptic narrative.
- “The Andromeda Strain” by Michael Crichton : A team of scientists races against time to understand and contain a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism before it causes global catastrophe, blending hard science fiction with thrilling suspense.
- “The Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula K. Le Guin : Set on a planet where the inhabitants can choose and change their gender, this novel explores themes of gender, sexuality, and humanity’s capacity for empathy and understanding.
- “Rendezvous with Rama” by Arthur C. Clarke : Humanity encounters a vast alien spacecraft entering the solar system. A team of explorers is sent to investigate, uncovering the mysteries of an advanced civilization.
- “Childhood’s End” by Arthur C. Clarke : This novel explores the peaceful invasion of Earth by the mysterious Overlords, leading to a golden age but at the cost of human identity and culture, questioning progress and its implications.
- “The Forever War” by Joe Haldeman : Telling the story of soldiers fighting an interstellar war against an alien species, this novel also examines the effects of time dilation on the human psyche and relationships.
- “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson : A fast-paced cyberpunk novel that combines Sumerian mythology, computer science, and a vision of a future America fragmented into corporate city-states, exploring the impact of information technology on society.
- “Dune” by Frank Herbert : Set in a distant future amidst a feudal interstellar society, this epic saga addresses themes of politics, religion, and power through the story of a young nobleman rising to power on a desert planet.
Each of these novels offers a unique entry point into speculative fiction, pushing the boundaries of imagination while exploring profound questions about society, humanity, and the cosmos.
For the parents: ‘The War of the Worlds’ parent guide
As a parent, it’s important to note that both the book and film contain scenes of violence and destruction, which may be disturbing for younger children. However, they also present opportunities for discussions about courage, resilience, and the importance of family. Always consider your child’s sensitivity to such themes before introducing them to this narrative.
Book club corner: Discussion questions for ‘The War of the Worlds’
Book Club Corner: Discussion Questions for “The War of the Worlds”
If your book club is delving into the timeless classic “The War of the Worlds,” consider exploring the following thought-provoking questions:
- Exploring Themes : How does the novel explore themes of survival and humanity in the face of overwhelming adversity? What insights does it offer into the resilience of the human spirit and the lengths people will go to in order to survive?
- The Unnamed Narrator : What is the significance of the unnamed narrator in the novel? How does their perspective shape the reader’s understanding of the Martian invasion and its impact on society? What role does the narrator’s anonymity play in the narrative?
- Setting and Tension : How does the setting contribute to the story’s tension and atmosphere? In what ways does H.G. Wells use the Victorian-era setting of late 19th century England to enhance the sense of dread and uncertainty surrounding the Martian invasion?
- Comparing Adaptations : How does the film adaptation of “The War of the Worlds” differ from the novel, and what do these differences reveal about the respective eras they were created in? Consider elements such as character development, plot changes, and thematic interpretation. How does each adaptation reflect the concerns and anxieties of its time period?
These discussion questions will prompt insightful conversations and provide a deeper understanding of the themes, characters, and historical context of “The War of the Worlds,” enriching your book club’s exploration of this enduring sci-fi classic.
Curious bits: Interesting facts and curiosities about ‘The War of the Worlds’
“The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells has captivated readers and audiences for over a century, not only through its compelling narrative but also through its influential adaptations and Wells’ legacy in the science fiction genre. Here are some interesting facts and curiosities about this iconic work:
- Orson Welles’ 1938 Radio Drama : This adaptation is perhaps the most famous instance of the story’s impact. Broadcast in a series of news bulletins, many listeners tuned in late and missed the disclaimer that it was a work of fiction, leading to widespread panic in the United States as people believed they were actually under attack by Martians.
- H.G. Wells – The “Father of Science Fiction” : Wells is often accorded this title for his pioneering works that introduced concepts such as time travel, alien invasion, and scientific exploration to the literary world. His imaginative storytelling laid the groundwork for the modern science fiction genre.
- Influence on Real Science and Technology : Wells’ depiction of the Martian Tripods inspired real-world scientific and engineering advancements, including the development of the tank. Winston Churchill even acknowledged Wells’ influence in a 1931 article, suggesting that the concept of the tank was derived from the Martian machines described in the novel.
- First Published in 1897 : “The War of the Worlds” was first serialized in 1897 in “Pearson’s Magazine” in the UK and “Cosmopolitan” magazine in the US before being published as a novel. Its enduring popularity is a testament to Wells’ ability to engage readers with his visionary ideas and exploration of human nature.
- Global Adaptations and Influence : Beyond the famous radio drama, “The War of the Worlds” has been adapted into numerous films, television series, comic books, and even video games, each interpreting the story in unique ways. This includes Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film adaptation, which modernized the setting while retaining the core themes of the novel.
- Impact on Popular Culture : The story has permeated popular culture and inspired various other media, including Jeff Wayne’s musical version, which combined rock music with narration and became a classic in its own right.
- Themes of Imperialism and Evolution : Wells wrote “The War of the Worlds” against the backdrop of British imperialism. The novel can be read as a critique of colonialism, with the Martians’ invasion of Earth mirroring European powers’ colonization of other lands. Additionally, Wells, a student of biology, wove themes of natural selection and survival into the narrative, exploring the potential consequences of evolutionary processes on a cosmic scale.
“The War of the Worlds” remains a seminal work in science fiction, notable not just for its thrilling narrative but also for its profound influence on literature, science, and popular culture. H.G. Wells’ masterpiece continues to resonate with readers and audiences, demonstrating the power of speculative fiction to challenge, entertain, and inspire.
Shopper’s guide: Buying guide and gift ideas for ‘The War of the Worlds’ fans
From collector’s edition books to film memorabilia, there are countless gift ideas for ‘The War of the Worlds’ fans. Consider purchasing a vintage book edition for the bibliophile, a poster or DVD of the film for the cinephile, or even Martian-inspired jewelry for the fashion-forward fan. Remember, the best gifts are those that reflect the recipient’s passions and interests.
In conclusion, “The War of the Worlds” stands as a timeless masterpiece, captivating audiences with its gripping narrative of survival and human resilience. From the pages of the book to the thrilling scenes of the film adaptation, this iconic work continues to resonate with readers and viewers alike, inviting exploration and discussion.
Whether you’re a seasoned fan who has delved into the depths of its story numerous times or a newcomer eager to uncover its mysteries, “The War of the Worlds” offers endless opportunities for discovery and contemplation. Its themes of survival, humanity, and the resilience of the human spirit transcend time and space, leaving a lasting impact on those who engage with its narrative.
So, as you continue your journey through the world of literature and cinema, remember to keep exploring the depths of “The War of the Worlds,” keep questioning its nuances and themes, and above all, keep reading. For in the boundless realms of imagination and storytelling, there is always more to discover, more to learn, and more to experience.
War of the buttons (2011): comparing book and film, from warcraft to movie: a comprehensive analysis of both works, jane thomper.
Hi there! I'm Jane Thomper, and I'm thrilled to be your go-to movie expert. With a genuine passion for all things film-related, I've dedicated my life to exploring the captivating world of cinema. From an early age, movies held a special place in my heart. The way they transported me to different worlds, evoked emotions, and sparked my imagination left an indelible mark. It was no surprise that I decided to pursue a degree in Film Studies, where I deepened my understanding of the art and craft of filmmaking. Throughout my academic journey, I delved into the rich history of cinema, analyzing groundbreaking films and studying the techniques used by master storytellers. From silent classics to contemporary blockbusters, I've explored a vast array of genres and styles, developing a keen eye for detail and an appreciation for the nuances that make each film unique. But my expertise extends beyond the theoretical. I've also immersed myself in the practical side of the industry, gaining hands-on experience in various aspects of movie production. This firsthand knowledge has given me a comprehensive perspective on the collaborative efforts required to bring a vision to life on the silver screen. Now, as a seasoned movie critic and writer, I'm thrilled to share my insights and recommendations with you. Whether you're seeking thought-provoking analysis, in-depth reviews, or expert recommendations, I'm here to provide you with engaging and informative content that will enrich your movie-watching experience. So, join me on this cinematic journey as we explore the captivating world of film together. Let's dive into the magic of storytelling, unravel hidden gems, and celebrate the power of movies to entertain, educate, and inspire.
- The Magic of Translation: Odette Toulemonde
- From Bookshelf to Theater: Odds Against Tomorrow
- From Words to Frames: the Magic of Octonauts
When Words Come Alive: the Success of October Sky
From Oblivion to movie: A comprehensive analysis of both works
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Browse by Category
- Who's Who
Browse by Tags
"WFTS - Waiting for the Sequel" is an exciting new blog that dives deep into the world of movies and TV series adapted from books. We explore the creative process of bringing beloved literary works to life on screen, analyze the key elements that make these adaptations successful, and eagerly await the sequels that keep us on the edge of our seats.
Browse by tag
© 2023 Wating for the sequel
Discover more from Waiting for the sequel
Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.
- International edition
- Australia edition
- Europe edition
Middle East crisis live: ‘promising’ signs of progress on new Gaza hostage deal, says Israel war cabinet member
Comments by Benny Gantz come as Israel continues to threaten a ground invasion of Rafah
- 2m ago UK and Jordan drop aid supplies to a Gaza City hospital
- 26m ago UK parliament descends into chaos over Gaza ceasefire vote – video report
- 36m ago Eight wounded in gun attack near occupied West Bank settlement, say police
- 52m ago Opening summary
UK and Jordan drop aid supplies to a Gaza City hospital
The UK has worked with Jordan to drop aid to a hospital in northern Gaza, reports the Press Association (PA).
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the UK-funded consignment was delivered by the Jordanian air force to the Tal Al-Hawa hospital on Wednesday. The hospital, set up by the Jordanian air force, is located in Gaza City .
Supplies included essential medicines, fuel and food for patients and staff. Foreign secretary David Cameron said thousands of patients will benefit from the airdrop. He said:
We have worked closely with our Jordanian partners to get these life-saving supplies directly to the Tal Al-Hawa hospital. The situation in Gaza is desperate and significantly more aid is needed – and fast. We are calling for an immediate humanitarian pause to allow additional aid into Gaza as quickly as possible and bring hostages home.”
The medicine and fuel included in the four-tonne delivery is part of an agreement signed by the UK this week with the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation (JHCO) to deliver £1m of aid to Gaza .
Dr Hussein Shabli , secretary-general of the JHCO, said: “We welcome this partnership with the UK to provide life-saving aid to those who need it most in Gaza. We thank our UK partners for working with us and we will continue to work with them on getting aid into Gaza for as long as it’s needed.”
An Australian logistics expert who is working at a hospital in Rafah has warned that “everyone here is struggling” while raising fears of a “catastrophic” Israeli ground offensive in the southern Gaza city.
Lindsay Croghan, who is on assignment with Médecins Sans Frontières , also said there must be an “immediate and unconditional ceasefire” because a prolonged debate “equates to more deaths”.
The US used its veto power to block a ceasefire resolution at the UN security council on Tuesday, arguing that it would undermine ongoing negotiations aimed at securing the release of hostages held by Hamas.
The Australian government joined Canada and New Zealand last week to warn Israel against carrying out a “devastating” ground offensive in Rafah, saying there was “simply nowhere else for civilians to go”.
UK parliament descends into chaos over Gaza ceasefire vote – video report
Dozens of lawmakers stormed out of the UK ’s parliament on Wednesday with tempers flaring as the three biggest political parties sought to outmanoeuvre each other over a vote on a ceasefire in Gaza .
The uproar followed a decision by the speaker to ignore precedent and allow a vote which helped the opposition Labour party avoid a large-scale rebellion among its own lawmakers over its position on the Israel - Hamas war. Lawmakers from the governing Conservatives and the opposition Scottish National Party (SNP) left the debating chamber in protest and some tried to take the rare step of holding proceedings in private.
The speaker, Lindsay Hoyle , eventually apologised and said he had made his decision to allow lawmakers to vote on a range of views because he was concerned about their security after some had faced threats of violence over their stance on the war.
Eight wounded in gun attack near occupied West Bank settlement, say police
Three gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons on several vehicles near a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank Thursday, wounding eight people in a “terror attack”, police said.
The news agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP), report that the incident occurred near Maale Adumim settlement , east of Jerusalem . Police said the attackers had arrived in a vehicle.
“The three terrorists … got out of their vehicle and started shooting from automatic weapons at vehicles that were standing in a traffic jam on the road towards Jerusalem,” police said in a statement. “Two terrorists were neutralised on the spot. In the searches conducted at the scene, another terrorist was located who tried to escape and he was also neutralised.”
Eight people with varying degrees of injuries were evacuated from the scene by medics, the police said.
Thursday’s shooting comes after two people were shot dead on Friday at a bus stop in southern Israel near the town of Kiryat Malakhi .
It has gone 9am in Gaza and Tel Aviv and this is our latest Guardian blog on the Middle East crisis.
Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz has said there are “promising early signs of progress” on a new deal to release hostages from Gaza amid regional talks to secure a pause in the war.
His comments came as US media reported that CIA chief William Burns was expected in Paris for hostage talks.
Meanwhile, the UK parliament had a fractious and occasionally chaotic parliamentary debate on Gaza on Wednesday evening.
MPs voted unanimously for a Labour motion calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, but only after the speaker of the House of Commons , Lindsay Hoyle, upended years of parliamentary precedent to allow the party to bring its motion to a vote.
More on that in a moment, but first here’s a summary of the day’s other main news:
Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said a Knesset vote endorsing his stand against a unilaterally declared Palestinian state was supported by an “overwhelming majority against the attempt to impose on us the establishment of a Palestinian state, which would not only fail to bring peace but would endanger the state of Israel.”
The US has told the International Court of Justice in The Hague that the Hamas attack on 7 October demonstrated Israel’s “legitimate security needs” in any solution to conflict in the region. The US urged the court not to “find that Israel is legally obliged to immediately and unconditionally withdraw from occupied territory”, but instead “preserve and promote the established framework” for reaching a two-state solution. Russia and France will make oral submissions to the court later on Wednesday.
New fighting and a deepening breakdown in public order in northern Gaza have derailed a humanitarian effort to avert a famine in parts of the battered territory, with senior aid officials describing an “incredible level of desperation” as food supplies run out.
The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel says it found evidence of “systematic and intentional” rape and sexual abuse during the Hamas attack on 7 October , and claimed that Hamas chose to use “sadistic sexual crimes” in order to “harm Israel strategically”. Orit Sulitzeanu, CEO of the organisation, said “The report, submitted to decision-makers at the UN, leaves no room for denial or disregard. Silence is no longer an option. We expect international organisations to take a clear stance”.
At least two people have been killed by what has been described by Syria’s media as an Israeli airstrike on Damascus. A residential building was struck in the Kafr Sousa district of the capital. Israel’s military have not commented on the claim.
The UK government will consider suspending arms export licences to Israel if Benjamin Netanyahu goes ahead with a potentially devastating ground offensive on Rafah in southern Gaza. Ministerial sources said the UK had the ability to respond quickly if the legal advice to ministers said that Israel was in breach of international humanitarian law.
- Middle East and north Africa
- Middle East crisis live
- Israel-Gaza war
February 20, 2024 - Russia-Ukraine news
By Kathleen Magramo , Deva Lee, Jack Guy, Antoinette Radford, Aditi Sangal , Elise Hammond , Maureen Chowdhury and Tori B. Powell , CNN
Our live coverage of Russia's war in Ukraine has moved here .
Russia produces "thousands of drones a day," defense minister says
From CNN’s Mariya Knight in Atlanta
Russia produces “thousands of drones a day,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in an interview with state media TASS on Tuesday.
Shoigu said Russia had made a "giant step" in making uncrewed aircraft "over the past eight to nine months."
"Today, our use of FPV drones amounts to hundreds per day, and production amounts to thousands per day,” Shoigu told TASS, adding that drone production “requires constant and continuous improvement.”
According to Shoigu, the significant increase in production was possible in part due to “the new generation of entrepreneurs” who got involved in drone and military equipment production.
Ukraine also plans to ramp up its drone production this year.
During a press conference in December, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv plans to produce one million drones in 2024.
2 killed and 1 injured after Russian drone hits car in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region
From CNN’s Mariya Knight and Maria Kostenko
Two men were killed and one woman was injured after a Russian drone hit a car with civilians in Ukraine's northeastern region of Kharkiv, a military official said on Telegram Wednesday.
A man with his wife and a driver were on their way home from work at a local farm when the strike took place in the village of Petropavlivka, said Oleh Syniehubov, the head of Kharkiv regional military administration.
The woman was taken to the hospital after the strike, Syniehubov said.
11 Ukrainian children return home after repatriation from Russia, Ukrainian parliament commissioner says
From CNN’s Mia Alberti
Eleven Ukrainian children reunited with their families after being repatriated from Russia on Tuesday, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets said on X .
"There are 6 girls, including two twin two-year-old sisters, and 5 boys. The youngest returned child is 2 years old, the oldest is 16 years old," Lubinets wrote.
Oleksandr, 16, told Agence France-Presse (AFP): "Everything will get better. After all, with loved ones, life will be easier from now on."
The children were repatriated from Russia through Qatari mediation and with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund.
Russian troops to keep advancing into key eastern Ukrainian town. Here are the latest headlines
From CNN staff
An Ukrainian commander stationed on the outskirts of Avdiivka said Russia has the capacity to continue its advance into the eastern town and will "continue to do so."
Maksym Zhorin, deputy commander of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade, posted to Telegram on Tuesday that Ukrainian troops are "clearly aware that the Russians have enough forces in the town itself to continue their offensive."
He said Russian troops were headed in the direction of Lastochkyne.
Here are the latest headlines:
- US to impose sanctions on Russia: The US will announce a major sanctions package against Russia on Friday, a White House official said. It is intended to hold President Vladimir Putin accountable for his two-year war on Ukraine — and for the death of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny .
- Navalny: Navalny's mother released a video Tuesday appealing to Putin to allow her to see her son. Navalny's body will not be returned to the family for at least two weeks, according to a his spokesperson. Meanwhile, Navlany's younger brother, Oleg Navalny , has been added to Russia's wanted list, according to Russian state media TASS.
- Putin awards military honors to high-ranking prison official: Putin awarded Valery Boyarinev, the deputy director of the Russian Prison Service, a special rank of Colonel-General of Internal Service, according to Russian state news agency TASS. Boyarinev’s promotion comes three days after Navalny died and some of Navalny’s allies are drawing a link between the promotion and his death. Russian government spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denied on Tuesday that there is any link between the death of Navalny and this promotion. CNN cannot verify this claim.
- Navalny widow asks EU to not recognize Russia's election: Navalny's widow has urged the European Union to not recognize next month's Russian elections . A transcript released Tuesday revealed Yulia Navalnaya's passionate plea to the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union as she blamed Putin for killing her husband.
- Russian attack in Sumy region: Five people, including a mother and her sons, have been killed by a Russian drone attack in the Sumy region of northeastern Ukraine, according to the region's military administration.
- Ukraine commits to democracy despite remaining under martial law: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the nation is staunchly committed to democracy , even as it is unclear if elections will be held this year during the country's war against Russia. Elections usually occur every five years in Ukraine — with the last held in 2019— but do not take place while the country is under martial law .
- US dual citizen arrested in Russia: The FSB security service arrested a dual US-Russian citizen on charges of treason for collecting funds for Ukrainian organizations and openly supporting Kyiv. FSB said Ksenia Pavlovna Karelina, a 33-year-old Los Angeles resident, was detained in the city of Yekaterinburg.
- Russian defector reportedly dead: A Russian helicopter pilot Maxim Kuzminov who defected to Ukraine in a dramatic operation is dead , Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Directorate (GUR) told CNN. The statement comes as Spanish authorities investigate the killing of a man shot dead in Spain a week ago.
First group of Ukrainian pilots to complete US F-16 training by summer
From CNN's Oren Liebermann
The first four Ukrainian pilots are scheduled to complete training on F-16 fighter jets by summer, according to the Arizona National Guard. The pilots began training in mid-October with the 162nd Fighter Wing in Tucson, Arizona. The Pentagon said the training process would take several months to complete.
A second group of another four pilots began training in January, according to Capt. Erin Hannigan, a spokeswoman for the Arizona National Guard, while a third group of four is currently going through English-language training, which is required to fly the fourth-generation US fighter jet.
All of the pilots are expected to complete their training between May and August, said Hannigan, though the exact timeline depends on the progress of the program.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky requested F-16 fighters for months, believing the advanced US jets would be able to challenge Russia's aerial power over the battlefield.
Last summer, a coalition of nations led by Denmark began training Ukrainian pilots on the US jets. The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway have pledged to provide Ukraine with the F-16s jets after the training program. The US also committed to approving the transfer of the jets as soon as training was completed.
Estonian government says officials arrested several people with ties to Russian-directed influence operation
From CNN’s Xiaofei Xu
Estonia has detained 10 suspects for “acting on behalf of a Russian special service” in connection to influence operation on its territory, its government announced Tuesday.
The people arrested by the Estonian Internal Security Service include both Russian and Estonian nationals , officials said. The goal was for the Russian group to "spread fear and create tension in Estonian society,” the Estonian Internal Security Service said in a statement.
Investigators suspect these people were recruited by the Russian special service to gather information and perform various actions — like vandalizing the cars of the interior minister and several monuments. Some of those arrested were recruited via social media, according to Margo Palloson, director general of the Estonian Internal Security Service.
Russia has not yet responded to these claims.
More context : With Russia's war in Ukraine raging in the region, the arrests in Estonia come as the tension between Talinn and Moscow has continued to rise in recent days.
Estonia joined NATO in 2004 and has been a particular target because of its substantial Russian-speaking minority — nearly 25% of the population. The Kremlin is also directly involved in shaping Russian influence operations in neighboring countries, according to Presidential Administration documents leaked last year.
CNN's Jim Sciutto contributed reporting to this post.
Putin calls Ukraine's withdrawal from Avdiivka an “unconditional success"
From CNN’s Mariya Knight
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Avdiivka “an unconditional success” during his meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in the Kremlin on Tuesday.
However, Putin said the success in Avdiivka “needs to be developed” and Russian troops have to push further, well prepared “with personnel, weapons, equipment, and ammunition.”
Putin noted that he would talk to Shoigu separately about meeting the needs of the military in this area.
Shoigu echoed Putin, agreeing that the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Avdiivka is “a great success for the mixed group of troops, units, formations, everyone without exception.”
“For nine years, day after day, underground passages, concrete structures were made, special lines were made so that one could move without going to the surface,” Shoigu said, adding that Russian air force, army and attack aviation played a major role in capturing Avdiivka as Russia carried out “about 460 aerial strikes” daily before the withdrawal from the city.
Shoigu claimed that Ukrainian armed forces leadership was ordered to withdraw from the city when the Ukrainian troops “were already on the move and leaving this settlement” and called it “a chaotic retreat.” Shoigu noted that while retreating, a lot of Ukrainian soldiers were captured as they were wounded in the process and were unable to escape.
The defense minister also claimed that Krynky, a small riverside village situated on the left bank of Dnipro river in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, is “completely” under Russian control at the moment.
Ukraine's Operational Command "South" denied Russian claims of being in control of Krynky after Shoigu's announcement and called it “a manipulation and falsification of facts.”
“The defense forces of southern Ukraine continue to hold their positions, inflicting significant losses on the enemy,” the command said.
US officials were planning for a new sanctions package before Navalny's death, senior official says
From CNN’s Kevin Liptak
US officials had been working on a new sanctions package for Russia ahead of last week's death of Alexey Navalny , and are now supplementing them in the wake of the opposition leader's death, according to a senior US official.
The package will be timed around the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and officials are coordinating with European partners on the new package, the official said.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday the new measures would be a "substantial package" that covers a wide range of elements linked to the Russian defense industrial base and sources of revenue for the Russian economy that power the country's "war machine."
Sullivan described the package as "another turn of the crank" after withering western sanctions on Moscow since the start of the Ukraine war. While those sanctions have hampered Russia's economy, they haven't deterred President Vladimir Putin from proceeding with the invasion.
Existing sanctions have "isolated" Russia on the world stage, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said aboard Air Force One Tuesday. American assistance has degraded the country's military, she said.
Jean-Pierre said the White House was being careful in detailing the exact parameters of the sanctions to avoid capital flight before the punishments are in place.
President Joe Biden plans to confer with fellow G7 leaders on a conference call Friday timed around the anniversary of the start of the Ukraine war.
Middle East Crisis Israel Strikes in Lebanon After Deadly Rocket Attack
- Share full article
- An Israeli medical team in Safed, Israel, transporting someone wounded in a rocket attack from Lebanon. Jalaa Marey/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
- An Israeli police officer in Safed inspecting a crater left by a rocket fired from Lebanon. Jalaa Marey/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
- Palestinians leaving Rafah, in southern Gaza. Haitham Imad/EPA, via Shutterstock
- A banner hanging from a bridge in Tel Aviv aims to keep the Israeli hostages being held in Gaza in the public eye. Susana Vera/Reuters
- More than a million displaced Palestinians are sheltering in Rafah. Unicef has said that more than 600,000 of them are children. Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
- Israeli strikes hitting Khan Younis, which is just north of Rafah. Said Khatib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
- Israeli protesters at the Nitzana border crossing with Egypt who say aid deliveries help Hamas and should stop until the remaining hostages are freed. Ohad Zwigenberg/Associated Press
- Palestinians on Rafah's Mediterranean coast on Wednesday. Haitham Imad/EPA, via Shutterstock
A member of the war cabinet warns that Israel could strike at the Lebanese military.
Israel carried out extensive and lethal airstrikes in southern Lebanon on Wednesday in response to a deadly rocket attack on northern Israel, escalations in recent fighting that threaten to derail diplomatic efforts to prevent a major expansion of the war in the Gaza Strip.
The rocket attack from Lebanon was the second in two days to cause casualties in northern Israel, striking a military base near the city of Safed — beyond the border zone Israel has evacuated for months because of the fighting. A soldier was killed, the military said, identifying her as serving with Israel’s border protection service. Eight other people were wounded, according to Magen David Adom, the emergency medical service.
Reported strikes in Lebanon after a deadly rocket attack in Israel
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion quickly fell on Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia allied with Hamas, the armed group Israel been battling in Gaza for more than four months. Hezbollah and Israel have launched dozens of tit-for-tat strikes across the border, fueling fears that the exchanges could expand to a full-fledged second front in the war.
Within hours of the rocket attack, Israel’s military said that it had carried out strikes against “a series of Hezbollah terrorist targets,” including compounds and control rooms. Lebanese broadcasters showed images and videos of smoke plumes and destruction. The state news agency reported that strikes hit at least eight areas, killing a woman and her two children ; Hezbollah said that three of its fighters had also been killed, and a senior official with the group, Hashem Safieddine, vowed a response.
On Wednesday night, Lebanon’s state media reported that an Israel drone strike on an apartment building killed four more people in Nabatieh, in southern Lebanon, all members of the same family. The regional governor said that amid the escalating violence, schools and government offices in Nabatieh would be closed on Thursday.
Israeli officials have warned repeatedly that they would take much stronger military action in Lebanon if the cross-border violence continued; Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and 2006 in response to such attacks.
Benny Gantz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s emergency war cabinet, said on Wednesday that Israel could target the Lebanese military in addition to Hezbollah. Any incursion into Lebanon or strikes on the Lebanese military would mark a major escalation in the conflict.
“It is important that we be clear — the one responsible for the fire from Lebanon is not only Hezbollah or the terrorist elements that carry it out, but also the government of Lebanon and the Lebanese state that allows the shooting from its territory,” Mr. Gantz said, adding: “There is no target or military infrastructure in the area of the north and Lebanon that is not in our sights.”
The Israeli military’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, cautioned that “this is not the time to stop” striking Hezbollah — which, like Hamas, is backed by Iran — and warned that “there is still a long way to go.”
Hezbollah has been equally defiant. Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s leader, said on Tuesday, “You escalate, we escalate.”
The latest strikes threatened to derail diplomatic efforts by the United States and others to defuse the cross-border tensions. A Western diplomat said on Tuesday that France had presented a proposal to Israel, Lebanon’s government and Hezbollah. The French proposal details a 10-day process of de-escalation and calls for Hezbollah to withdraw its fighters to a distance of about six miles from the border, according to the diplomat, who is involved in the talks and who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive deliberations.
The clashes between Hezbollah and Israel have displaced more than 150,000 people on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border since the war with Hamas began.
Mr. Netanyahu has been wary of opening a second front while the Israeli military continues to press its invasion of Gaza, but he has faced calls from some of the displaced residents and political hard-liners — including some in his own far-right governing coalition — to take stronger action.
Avigdor Liberman, a former top adviser to Mr. Netanyahu who now leads an opposition party, accused the government of waving a “white flag” at Hezbollah by failing to take strong enough steps to stop the rocket attacks.
“The war cabinet surrendered to Hezbollah and lost the north,” he wrote on social media on Wednesday after the attack on Safed.
Israel’s military said that the rockets from Lebanon had landed in the areas of Netu’a, Manara and a military base near Safed, a city of nearly 40,000 people, about eight miles south of the border. Four Israeli military bases sit near Safed, and rocket warnings there are not uncommon, but fatalities and direct hits are rare, said Tamir Engel, a spokesman for the city.
In early January, Hezbollah fired rockets toward a small military base in the area. The group said that it was retaliating for the assassination days earlier of a senior Hamas commander in Lebanon; Israel said at the time that the attack had caused no casualties.
Euan Ward , Adam Sella and Johnatan Reiss contributed reporting.
An earlier version of this article misstated the day on which Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, warned of further Israeli strikes in Lebanon. His comments were on Wednesday, not on Monday. The article also misspelled the surname of Hezbollah’s leader. He is Hassan Nasrallah, not Nazrallah.
How we handle corrections
— Gabby Sobelman , Hwaida Saad and Cassandra Vinograd
The W.H.O. worries that southern Gaza’s largest hospital will soon cease to function.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday expressed fears that an important hospital serving southern Gaza might soon stop functioning, saying that it had been cut off by fierce fighting and that Israel had refused to allow in medical resupply missions, an allegation the Israeli military has denied.
The hospital, the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, has been surrounded for more than a week by Israeli forces, and on Tuesday the Israeli military ordered civilians sheltering there to evacuate . A video shared on social media on Wednesday and verified by The New York Times showed crowds of people carrying belongings and bedding leaving Nasser Hospital as explosions are heard in the background.
In the intensifying hostilities, at least 10 civilians have reportedly been killed, a perimeter gate demolished and two warehouses holding stocks of medicines largely destroyed, according to Rik Peeperkorn, the W.H.O.’s representative for the West Bank and Gaza.
The W.H.O. last had access to the hospital, the largest in southern Gaza and one of the few still functioning in the territory, on Jan. 29, Dr. Peeperkorn said. Speaking by video link from Rafah, in southern Gaza, he said the W.H.O. had applied to Israel to conduct two missions in the last five days to resupply the hospital with medicine and to assess its condition, but Israel had denied both requests.
“Without this support, and without being able to access this hospital, it might well become nonfunctional,” Dr. Peeperkorn said.
On Monday, after the head of the W.H.O. said that an agency team had been denied access to Nasser Hospital, COGAT, the Israeli body that coordinates policy for the Palestinian territories, said that the agency had “never submitted a coordination request” and that the W.H.O. should avoid “baselessly accusing” Israel.
Nasser Hospital was treating about 400 patients on Wednesday, including roughly 80 in intensive care and 35 who were receiving dialysis, Dr. Peeperkorn said. But any movement outside the complex was dangerous because of fighting in the area, he added, and it was unclear where civilians should go because other hospitals were overcrowded.
Al-Najjar Hospital, the main medical center in Rafah, to the south of Khan Younis, was treating more than 300 patients in a facility with 65 beds, leaving many to receive treatment on the floor, he said. Al-Najjar had served only as a primary health center before the war began on Oct. 7.
United Nations agencies and the W.H.O. have been obstructed by Israel’s repeated denials, delays and postponements of proposed aid convoys, Dr. Peeperkorn said. U.N. officials have reported that northern Gaza has been largely cut off from assistance this year. But since January, he said, Israel has facilitated fewer than half the proposed aid convoys to the south.
“Even when there is no cease-fire,” Dr. Peeperkorn said, “humanitarian corridors should exist so that W.H.O., the U.N. and parties can do their job.”
— Nick Cumming-Bruce reporting from Geneva
Maps: Tracking the Attacks in Israel and Gaza
See where Israel has bulldozed vast areas of Gaza, as its invasion continues to advance south.
Hostages’ families denounce reports that Israel has pulled out of Gaza cease-fire talks.
As talks continued in Cairo toward an Israel-Hamas cease-fire, Israeli media reported on Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told his negotiators not to take part, infuriating some family members of hostages still in Gaza who say that the government is not doing enough to rescue their relatives.
Mr. Netanyahu’s office did not directly confirm or deny the reports, instead issuing a statement saying that Hamas had not made any new proposal, but that “a change in Hamas’s position will allow progress in the negotiations.”
Mr. Netanyahu later posted on social media that “strong military pressure and very tough negotiations” would be key to freeing more of the remaining hostages seized during the Hamas-led assault on Israel on Oct. 7. He praised the Israeli military operation that freed two hostages held by Hamas in Rafah on Monday.
Officials from Israel and the United States met this week with Hamas mediators from Qatar and Egypt to discuss a possible deal to trade hostages for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons and to suspend the four-month war in Gaza.
Those talks are still underway in Cairo, but, according to Israeli news outlets, Mr. Netanyahu told Israel’s representatives not to return to Cairo.
The Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum , the main alliance of the hostages’ family members, responded to the reports by protesting outside the homes of Mr. Netanyahu; Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defense minister; and Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, on Wednesday evening.
“This decision amounts in effect to sacrificing knowingly all of the hostages’ lives,” the Hostages and Missing Persons Families Forum said in a statement.
The group has mounted increasingly aggressive protests against Mr. Netanyahu’s government to urge it to prioritize the release of their family members. More than 130 hostages captured by Hamas on Oct. 7 remain in Gaza, including at least 30 who are believed to have died, according to the Israeli security services.
Other family members have said that the Israeli military should continue its war against Hamas until it has reached its goals, even if that means their relatives must remain in captivity.
Officials have said that in negotiations, Israel and Hamas were far apart on the number of imprisoned Palestinians who would be exchanged for the hostages and on the duration of a cease-fire. Hamas has demanded an end to the war and the withdrawal of Israeli troops, while Israel insists that it will only agree to a temporary pause in the fighting.
The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, called on Wednesday for Hamas to speed up an exchange of hostages for prisoners to spare Palestinian people further “catastrophe” in the war, according to Wafa, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency.
— Johnatan Reiss and Gaya Gupta
The F.B.I. director makes a secret trip to Israel.
Christopher A. Wray, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, made an unannounced trip to Israel on Wednesday to meet with officials from the country’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies, the F.B.I. said.
As part of the visit, his first to Israel since the Hamas-led terrorist attacks of Oct. 7, Mr. Wray also spoke with F.B.I. agents working in Israel, the bureau said in a statement on Wednesday, stressing the importance of their efforts to counter threats from Hezbollah and Hamas. The United States designates both as terrorist groups.
Mr. Wray spoke with officials from Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency; Shin Bet, Israel’s equivalent of the F.B.I.; and the Israeli National Police, according to a person familiar with his trip to Israel, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Details of the trip were made public after Mr. Wray had departed Israel.
The F.B.I. has been working closely with its counterparts in Israel after the attacks on Oct. 7, which Israeli authorities say killed about 1,200 people. About 250 others, including American dual nationals, were abducted in the attacks. The F.B.I. has opened cases involving crimes against Americans committed by Hamas or others.
“The F.B.I.’s partnership with our Israeli counterparts is longstanding, close and robust,” Mr. Wray said in a statement, “and I’m confident the closeness of our agencies contributed to our ability to move so quickly in response to these attacks, and to ensure our support is as seamless as possible.”
The United States has created a C.I.A. task force to help Israel hunt down Hamas’s top leaders while America’s spy agencies have also raised the priority of intelligence collection on Hamas. The C.I.A. has also been heavily involved in negotiations for the release of hostages held in Gaza by Hamas and its allies, and President Biden has dispatched the agency’s director, William J. Burns, to join the cease-fire talks in Cairo.
After the visit, Mr. Wray headed to Germany for the Munich Security Conference.
— Adam Goldman
Hostages’ relatives rally in The Hague to draw attention to a war crimes complaint against Hamas.
Relatives of hostages being held in Gaza flew from Israel to The Hague on Wednesday on an emotional trip designed to draw attention to a complaint filed a day earlier against the leaders of Hamas at the International Criminal Court, accusing them of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including hostage-taking, killings and acts of sexual violence.
The hostage families, numbering about 100 people and accompanied by two former hostages who were released in November, said they had come to try to make sure that justice would be done. The case is being led by the legal team of the Hostage and Missing Families Forum, an Israeli nongovernmental organization advocating for the release of the captives, and the Canada-based Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights.
“The goal of so many families coming here together is to give backup to the complaint,” said Amit Levy, 21, the brother of Naama Levy, 19, who was seen in a harrowing video soon after her abduction from Nahal Oz being dragged by her hair from the back of a jeep in Gaza, her sweatpants bloodied.
“Those responsible must pay some kind of price,” Mr. Levy said.
After arriving in the Hague, the families appeared at a rally in support of their cause in a square near the court, holding up portraits of the captives, as hundreds of supporters stood under umbrellas in the driving rain, waving Israeli flags and chanting, “Bring them home now!”
“It is heartwarming to see,” said Moshe Or, 33, whose brother, Avinatan Or, 31, was kidnapped along with his partner, Noa Argamani, as they tried to flee from the Nova music festival.
“It’s important to use the international tools that are more often used against Israel,” he added, of the effort to seek international justice.
More than 250 people were abducted to Gaza during the Hamas-led attack of Oct. 7, mostly from border communities, army bases, and an outdoor music festival. About half remain in captivity, though Israel has confirmed that at least 31 are dead .
The Israeli government does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction and is not a signatory to its founding treaty. But unlike the International Court of Justice, the top U.N. court where South Africa has filed a case accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, the International Criminal Court allows people to bring cases against individuals suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, must now evaluate the evidence submitted to the court, based on the testimony of about 100 witnesses, according to Dana Pugach, a member of the hostage forum’s legal team. Some witnesses are expected to testify in person at The Hague.
The prosecutor will then decide whether to press charges against the accused Hamas leaders, who have not been publicly named by the legal team, and whether to issue arrest warrants.
“We came to sue Hamas,” said Shani Yerushalmi, 25, who was traveling with her sister May, 21. Their sister Eden, 24, was kidnapped from the music festival and remains in Gaza.
The sisters, who in recent months have gone with hostage family delegations to Paris and Washington, said they hoped their action would put pressure on Hamas and have some influence on world opinion. Their mother mostly stays home surrounded by friends, they said, and their father prays much of the time while they “do the journeys.”
— Isabel Kershner reporting from The Hague
Biden shields Palestinians in the U.S. from deportation.
President Biden on Wednesday shielded thousands of Palestinians in the United States from deportation for the next 18 months, using an obscure immigration authority as he faces mounting criticism over U.S. support for Israel in the Gaza war.
About 6,000 Palestinians are eligible for the reprieve under a program called Deferred Enforced Departure, which allows immigrants whose homelands are in crisis to remain in the United States and work legally.
In a memo obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Biden said that “many civilians remain in danger” in Gaza after the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas.
“Therefore, I am directing the deferral of removal of certain Palestinians who are present in the United States,” he said.
The decision comes as Mr. Biden faces pressure over the war, particularly among Arab Americans who were once a reliable constituency for him . In recent weeks, pro-Palestinian groups have been demonstrating outside his campaign stops, chanting “Genocide Joe.”
While Mr. Biden’s criticism of the war has grown more forceful since the Oct. 7 attack, the United States has not signaled that it plans major policy changes such as putting conditions on billions of dollars in military aid to Israel.
Israel’s war against Hamas has killed more than 28,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry. Much of Gaza has been left in ruins as Israel bombards the territory in retaliation for the attacks on Oct. 7, when Hamas killed more than 1,200 people in Israel .
Abed Ayoub, the executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, praised the decision to exempt Palestinians from deportation.
“There is a desperate need for this,” he said. “We see the situation in Gaza and Palestine is not getting better, and this is something that is welcome, and we are glad to see it implemented. We hope other measures can come into place.”
There are some exemptions to Mr. Biden’s order. Palestinians who have been convicted of felonies or those “who are otherwise deemed to pose a public safety threat” would not be protected from deportation, Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, said in a statement.
Some Republicans, meanwhile, have pushed for a crackdown on Palestinians. Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana, a former Trump administration official, introduced legislation in November that would have revoked visas from Palestinians and prevented them from receiving refugee status or asylum in the United States.
Mr. Biden’s decision to shield Palestinians from deportation has been in the works for some time. More than 100 staff members at the Department of Homeland Security signed an open letter to Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, in the fall, saying the agency should extend some protections to Palestinians.
Some congressional Democrats have also called on the administration to find a way to protect Palestinians in the United States.
“In light of ongoing armed conflict, Palestinians already in the United States should not be forced to return to the Palestinian territories, consistent with President Biden’s stated commitment to protecting Palestinian civilians,” they wrote in November in a letter, which Senators Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and others signed.
The lawmakers said the population should be covered under Deferred Enforced Departure or a similar program known as Temporary Protected Status, which has been used to help people from Venezuela, Afghanistan, Ukraine and elsewhere. (Deferred Enforced Departure is currently being used to help people from Hong Kong and Liberia.)
Ahilan Arulanantham, a director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at the U.C.L.A. School of Law, said the short-term practical effect was the same under both programs.
“Every qualifying individual would have protection from deportation and the ability to obtain employment authorization,” he said.
But he cautioned that the longer-term differences could be significant. Palestinians could be more at risk of having the protections lapse in 18 months because they are at the discretion of the president, Mr. Arulanantham said.
Temporary Protected Status, by contrast, requires agency officials at the Department of Homeland Security to assess the protections before they expire.
Earlier this month, Mr. Biden ordered financial and travel sanctions on four Israeli settlers accused of violent attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank. While the war is centered in Gaza, there is also growing violence in the West Bank , which Israel has occupied since 1967 and is home to more than 2.5 million Palestinians.
— Hamed Aleaziz Reporting from Healdsburg, Calif.
An Israeli minister blocks flour from reaching UNRWA in Gaza.
The Israeli finance ministry has blocked deliveries of food for Gaza because the shipments were intended to reach the main U.N. agency for Palestinians, Israel’s finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, said on Tuesday.
Mr. Smotrich, a hard-right settler leader, said in a statement that he had issued a directive not to transfer flour shipments to the agency, known as UNRWA, citing allegations that some of its employees were affiliated with Hamas , including 12 accused of participating in the armed group’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
Last week, a subcontractor handling the shipments for UNRWA received a call from Israel’s customs agency — which is housed in Mr. Smotrich’s ministry — ordering it not to process any UNRWA goods in its warehouse, said Juliette Touma, an UNRWA spokeswoman.
About 1,050 containers — much of it flour — have been held up at the Israeli port of Ashdod, Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, told reporters on Friday. The amount was enough to feed 1.1 million Gazans for a month, he said. Mr. Lazzarini said UNRWA still has enough supplies to feed Gazans for three months, but only because the food is now being routed through Egypt rather than Israel.
Israel’s action once again put it at odds with the Biden administration, which has criticized the Israeli conduct of the war in increasingly blunt terms. “That flour has not moved the way that we had expected it would move, and we expect that Israel will follow through on its commitment to get that flour into Gaza,” Jake Sullivan, president Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.
Mr. Smotrich said another aid distribution mechanism would be found “that would not reach Hamas,” which he said was utilizing UNRWA as a “key part of its war machine.” UNRWA has said it is investigating the allegations, but has stood by its work as essential humanitarian relief in a complex situation.
In an effort to get more aid into Gaza, American, British and European officials pushed last month for Israel to facilitate the entry of aid through Ashdod . Humanitarian aid already enters Gaza by land via the Rafah crossing with Egypt and the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel, although it can be “very challenging to get deliveries going outside of Rafah north,” Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for the U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, said on Tuesday.
Under the plan, shipments would arrive at Ashdod before entering the Strip through Kerem Shalom. After a visit from Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken last month, Israeli officials indicated that the initiative would proceed. But their signals came before the allegations were unearthed, and the proposal, for now, appears to have been complicated by Mr. Smotrich’s order blocking the shipments.
The move could also complicate Israel’s international standing. The International Court of Justice last month ordered the Israeli government to take action to prevent genocide in Gaza, including by ensuring the provision of more humanitarian aid to ease the enclave’s worsening humanitarian crisis.
Aid officials say far more relief is necessary to ease the humanitarian crisis affecting the more than two million Palestinian residents of Gaza amid dire shortages of food , water and medicine.
Roughly 1.7 million people in the territory have been displaced, many of whom are facing extreme hunger, according to the United Nations. More than one million people have squeezed in and around the southern city of Rafah, joining swelling tent cities near the Egyptian border.
Farnaz Fassihi and Erica L. Green contributed reporting.
— Aaron Boxerman and Patrick Kingsley reporting from Jerusalem
The State Department is assessing reports of civilian harm in Gaza from U.S.-made arms.
The State Department is reviewing reports of harm to Gazan civilians by Israel’s military as part of a new U.S. program that tracks cases in which foreign militaries use U.S.-made weapons to injure or kill civilians.
A State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller, told reporters on Tuesday that the Biden administration was “reviewing incidents” in the Gaza war under what it calls Civilian Harm Incident Response Guidance, which The Washington Post reported was established last August, several weeks before Hamas led sweeping attacks on Israel on Oct. 7.
The policy was instituted to create greater accountability for the use of American weapons by U.S. allies and partners. It aims to improve assessments of military incidents involving civilians and to create recommendations based on them but does not include automatic triggers for policy responses or penalties.
Mr. Miller suggested that the review was not likely to lead to short-term changes in America’s military support for Israel, which has become a polarizing political issue for the White House. The Biden administration has repeatedly bypassed Congress for weapons sales to Israel since the war began, and the Senate passed a foreign aid package on Tuesday that included more than $14 billion in aid for Israel, though the bill still faces uncertainty in the House.
“That process is not intended to function as a rapid response mechanism,” Mr. Miller said. “Rather, it is designed to systematically assess civilian harm incidents and develop appropriate policy responses to reduce the risk of such incidents occurring in the future.” He added that it also intended to promote “military operations in accordance with international humanitarian law.”
The State Department has not publicly discussed details of the policy before. But President Biden mentioned it in a Feb. 8 national security memorandum.
That memorandum instructed the secretaries of State and Defense to, among many other things, provide an assessment within 90 days of credible reports determining whether U.S.-supplied weapons had been used in ways that did not follow “established best practices for mitigating civilian harm.” It also ordered them to catalog any “incidents reviewed pursuant to the Department of State’s Civilian Harm Incident Response Guidance.”
— Michael Crowley
The War of the Worlds
H. g. wells, everything you need for every book you read..
Gaza death toll rises to 29,313, Rafah residents killed in strike
By Bassam Masoud, Ibraheem Abu Mustafa and Nidal al-Mughrabi
RAFAH, Gaza Strip/CAIRO (Reuters) - Israel stepped up its bombardment of the southern city of Rafah, residents said on Wednesday, as the death toll in the war across the devastated Palestinian strip rose to 29,313, according to the Gaza health ministry.
In its daily summary of events in Gaza, the Israeli army said it had intensified its operations in Khan Younis, a city just north of Rafah. It did not mention any attacks on Rafah itself, and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
About 1.5 million people are estimated to be crammed into Rafah, on the southernmost fringe of the enclave close to the boundary with Egypt, most of them having fled their homes further north to escape Israel's military onslaught.
Israel has said it was preparing for a ground assault on Rafah, despite mounting opposition from foreign countries, including its staunch ally the United States, over concern for civilian lives.
Residents said Israeli tanks had advanced west from Khan Younis into Al-Mawasi, previously an area of relative safety where the army had told Palestinians to seek shelter.
The tanks reached the coastal road, effectively cutting off Khan Younis and Rafah from the rest of the strip, though they retreated after a few hours, according to local residents.
Rafah residents reached by text message reported several air strikes and large explosions in the city, as well as naval boats opening fire on beachfront areas.
Reuters video journalists filmed the aftermath of a strike on the home of the Al-Noor family in Rafah, which was reduced to rubble, showing more than a dozen bodies wrapped in white or black shrouds and bereaved relatives at a Rafah hospital.
Abdulrahman Juma said his wife Noor, who was from the Al-Noor family, as well as his one-year-old daughter Kinza, had both been killed in the strike, along with Noor's parents, brother and other relatives.
Juma was holding Kinza's body, wrapped in a bloodstained white shroud.
"This one, who is on my lap, took my soul away ... She is one-and-a-half years old," he said.
ANGER AT UNITED STATES
At the site of the bombed house, neighbours and relatives vented their anger at the United States, which on Tuesday vetoed a draft United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
"Since October 7 and until this moment, the U.S. has been supporting Israel with rockets, aircrafts and tanks. All of these massacres are because of America," said Youssef Sheikh Al-Eid, whose brother had been living in the bombed house.
Residents of Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza and Khan Younis also reported overnight strikes and deaths, and multiple funerals were taking place on Wednesday morning.
The Israel Defence Forces' daily summary mentioned a targeted raid in the Zaytun area in northern Gaza, and operations in Khan Younis.
"Troops of the Givati Brigade conducted activities in eastern Khan Younis and killed approximately 20 terrorists in encounters over the past day," it said.
"IDF Paratroopers expanded activities in western Khan Younis, targeting and killing terrorists with precise sniper fire and striking terror infrastructure. Additionally, two armed terrorists on bicycles approached IDF troops, who responded and killed them."
Gaza's health ministry said a total of 69,333 people had been injured in Gaza since the start of the war on Oct. 7, in addition to the 29,313 deaths, with 118 killed in the past 24 hours.
The war was triggered by Hamas militants who attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 253 hostage, according to Israel.
Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel has responded with an air and ground assault on Gaza that has displaced most of the population of 2.3 million, caused widespread hunger and laid waste to much of the territory.
(Additional reporting by Ahmed Elimam in Dubai and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Writing by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Sharon Singleton)