An Early Morning Strike on Iran

Happy Friday! Prince Harry is now officially a resident of the United States. In response to an actual member of the British royal family deciding he likes America better—and on behalf of the Founding Fathers—we’d just like to say: 🇺🇸 🦅. 

Taylor Swift was quick to react to the news, including a song called “So Long, London” on her new album that came out this morning.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Unnamed U.S. and Israeli officials said early Friday morning that Israel had struck Iran in a retaliatory attack that followed Tehran’s launch of more than 350 explosive drones and missiles at Israel last weekend. While the scale of the purported Israeli drone strike was not immediately clear, the target seemed to have been a military base near the central Iranian city of Isfahan. Early reports suggested the Iranian nuclear facility near the city was not a target. Senior U.S. and Israeli officials had met virtually on Thursday to discuss the potential Israeli invasion of Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, after Iran’s weekend attack on Israel postponed a planned trip by Israeli officials to Washington, D.C. American officials have expressed concerns that a ground assault on Rafah, where more than a million Gazans are thought to be sheltering, would result in significant civilian casualties. Meanwhile, the U.S., in concert with Western allies, announced additional sanctions against Iran on Thursday, targeting the country’s missile and drone program.
  • Police in Germany arrested two men—reportedly of dual German and Russian citizenship—on Wednesday whom authorities alleged were Russian agents planning to bomb key German military and industrial sites in an effort to disrupt the delivery of military aid to Ukraine. “It is a particularly serious case of alleged spy activity for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s criminal regime,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said on Thursday. The Russian embassy in Germany denied the allegations.
  • Google fired 28 employees on Wednesday over their participation in sit-ins to protest the tech giant’s cloud computing contracts with the Israeli government, which have been in place since 2021. “Physically impeding other employees’ work and preventing them from accessing our facilities is a clear violation of our policies, and completely unacceptable behavior,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement. Meanwhile, officers of the New York Police Department arrested 108 people on Thursday as they broke up a pro-Palestinian encampment on Columbia University’s campus that had been erected on Wednesday. The arrests come a day after Columbia’s president, Minouche Shafik, and other university leadership testified before Congress about rising antisemitism on her campus.
  • All 12 jurors—plus an alternate—were officially seated in former President Donald Trump’s New York criminal trial as of Thursday evening. Earlier on Thursday, two of the previously seated seven jurors were dismissed—one who was concerned she couldn’t be fair after details of her identity were disclosed and another who suggested he may have been inaccurate in some of his statements to the court. The work of selecting the remaining alternates will resume today, setting up the possibility that the prosecution could begin presenting its case early next week. Also on Thursday, the prosecution accused the former president of seven violations of the gag order imposed on him—which forbids him from speaking about jurors, potential witnesses, court employees, and the families of the judge or the district attorney, Alvin Bragg. Trump has repeatedly shared content on his social media platform that was critical of potential witnesses and the jury. The judge overseeing the case, Juan Merchan, said he would address the concerns next week.
  • The House Rules Committee voted 9-3 late Thursday night to send the three foreign aid bills for Israel, Ukraine, and the Indo-Pacific to the floor, the first procedural hurdle to clear the way for debate and eventually final passage. In a break with tradition, Democrats voted in favor of the rule backed by Republican leadership as GOP hardliners—Reps. Thomas Massie, Ralph Norman, and Chip Roy—voted against advancing the legislation. Full House votes on the pieces of legislation are currently scheduled for Saturday.
  • Existing home sales fell 4.3 percent in March from their February levels, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors released Thursday, with sales down 3.7 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was up a quarter point this week to 7.1 percent, according to Freddie Mac, marking the highest level since late November and the largest single-week increase in almost a year. 

An Alleged Israeli Counterattack

An Iranian woman in Tehran watches Iranian news after reports of "massive explosions" in central Isfahan province. (Photo by HOSSEIN BERIS/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images)
An Iranian woman in Tehran watches Iranian news after reports of "massive explosions" in central Isfahan province. (Photo by HOSSEIN BERIS/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images)

As we were putting the finishing touches on this morning’s newsletter, we got the news we’d been anticipating all week: Around 10 p.m. ET (6 a.m. in Iran), U.S. officials confirmed to multiple outlets that Israel had struck Iran. What appears to be a retaliatory attack came five days after Tehran launched some 350 drones and missiles at Israel, marking Iran’s first direct military assault on Israel. 

We’ll learn more in the coming hours and days about exactly what happened and what it might portend for a region destabilized by Iranian brinkmanship. Even so, we thought it was important to highlight what we know so far. 

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