Israel on Saturday carried out its largest hostage rescue operation since the latest war with Hamas began, taking four to safety out of central Gaza in a heavy air and ground assault. At least 210 Palestinians, including children, were killed, a Gaza health official said. Israelis were jubilant as the army said it freed Noa Argamani, 26; Almog Meir Jan, 22; Andrey Kozlov, 27; and Shlomi Ziv, 41, in a daytime operation in the heart of Nuseirat, raiding two locations at once while under fire. All were well, the military said. They were taken by helicopter for medical checks and tearful reunions with loved ones after 246 days held. Argamani had been one of the most widely recognized hostages after being taken, like the three others, from a music festival. The video of her abduction showed her seated between two men on a motorcycle as she screamed, “Don’t kill me!” - AP

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Europeans in 20 countries go to the polls on Sunday, on the biggest and final day of voting for the European Parliament. In a year of pivotal elections, the EU vote is especially significant, on a continent witnessing polarised politics and increased nationalism. The run-up to the vote has been marked by violent incidents - although an attack that left Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen with minor whiplash and forced her to halt campaigning is not being seen as politically motivated. Europe’s main centre-right grouping is expected to come top across the EU when first projections emerge later on Sunday, however three parties on the far right all have their eye on winning the most seats nationally. France’s National Rally, Italy’s Brothers of Italy and Austria’s Freedom Party are leading in the polls, as is Belgium’s separatist and anti-immigration party, Vlaams Belang. - BBC

Von der Leyen Re-Election: A Relief?
Other Topics of Interest

Von der Leyen Re-Election: A Relief?

A sample of what the European press is saying about the re-election of Ursula von der Leyen as President of the European Commission.

U.S. President Joe Biden, in Paris on June 8 to meet with French leader Emmanuel Macron, restated his “strong” support for Kyiv in its fight against the Russian invasion and warned that the Kremlin will not stop at Ukraine should it succeed with its aggression there. Russian President Vladimir "Putin is not going to stop at Ukraine.... All of Europe will be threatened. We are not going to let that happen," Biden said, standing alongside Macron. "The United States is standing strong with Ukraine. We will not -- I say it again -- walk away." - RFE/RL

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Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has apologized for leaving the 80th anniversary commemorations of D-Day early in order to film a TV interview, a decision that prompted incredulity and further derailed his floundering general election campaign. Sunak attended the first part of the commemorative events in Normandy, France, on Thursday, but skipped the international ceremony at Omaha Beach, which was attended by other world leaders and veterans of the Allied operation in 1944. “The last thing I want is for the commemorations to be overshadowed by politics,” Sunak wrote in a long apology on X. “After the conclusion of the British event in Normandy, I returned back to the UK. On reflection, it was a mistake not to stay in France longer – and I apologise.” But the move had already caused anger and disbelief in Britain, and represented another major miscalculation in Sunak’s faltering election campaign. Sunak left the event to record a campaign interview with broadcaster ITV, the network confirmed, in which he defended claims about the opposition Labour Party’s tax plans which fact-checkers and a senior civil servant have said were misleading or inaccurate. - CNN

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will not attend the Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland at the end of this week, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said. When asked about a list of Guterres's trips scheduled for the next week, Dujarric said: “I think we have said that the UN will be represented at the appropriate level and all the parties organizing the summit have been informed.” While some 107 states and international organizations have confirmed their participation, Saudi Arabia and China will be absent. And even though U.S. President Joe Biden is in Europe, he’s sending Vice President Kamala Harris instead.

The daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin rarely make public appearances, but last week they took part in panels at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Maria Vorontsova and Katerina Tikhonova, believed to be in their mid to late 30s, are Putin’s daughters from his marriage to former wife Lyudmila, whom he divorced in 2013 after nearly 30 years of marriage. Putin has said his daughters work in science and education and that he has grandchildren, but he has never confirmed their names. Both of them have attended the annual St. Petersburg forum in the past, but only the younger daughter, Tikhonova, has been a speaker, according to the Russian independent outlet Novaya Gazeta Europe. - CNN

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Haiti’s newly selected prime minister, Garry Conille, was hospitalized late Saturday in the capital of Port-au-Prince just days after arriving in the country, an official told The Associated Press. It wasn’t immediately known why Conille was hospitalized. Louis Gérald Gilles, a member of the transitional presidential council that recently chose Conille as leader of the troubled Caribbean country, said he was en route to the hospital and was unable to provide further information. - AP

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