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Biden and Trump during a 2020 presidentila debate. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty

President Biden on Friday revoked the sanctions imposed by his predecessor on officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Secretary of State Tony Blinken said in a statement.

Why it matters: Biden had promised to lift the sanctions during the campaign, but he delayed doing so at the request of Israel, which was attempting to block an ICC investigation into the situation in the West Bank and Gaza.

Behind the scenes: Blinken notified his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi of the decision during a call earlier on Friday, sources familiar with the call say.

  • Israeli officials say Biden stalled for as long as he could, but once the ICC prosecutor decided last month to open the investigation, there was no value to keeping the sanctions.
  • The Trump administration had imposed the sanctions to object to the looming Israel-Palestine probe and another investigation into the war in Afghanistan, which could implicate U.S. troops and the CIA.

What they're saying: Blinken said the decision reflected the Biden administration’s assessment that the measures adopted by the Trump administration were inappropriate and ineffective. 

  • “We continue to disagree strongly with the ICC's actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations. We maintain our longstanding objection to the Court’s efforts to assert jurisdiction over personnel of non-States Parties such as the United States and Israel," he said in the statement.
  • Blinken added that the Biden administration believes that its concerns about these cases will be better addressed through engagement with the ICC, rather than sanctions.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

In photos: Students evacuated as wildfire burns historic Cape Town buildings

Firefighters try, in vain, to extinguish a fire in the Jagger Library, at the University of Cape Town, after a forest fire came down the foothills of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, on Sunday. Photo: Rodger Bosch/AFP via Getty Images

A massive wildfire spread from the foothills of Table Mountain to the University of Cape Town Sunday, burning historic South African buildings and forcing the evacuation of 4,000 students, per Times Live.

The big picture: Visitors to the Table Mountain National Park and other nearby attractions were also evacuated and several roads including a major highway, were closed. South Africa's oldest working windmill and the university's Jagger Library, which houses SA antiquities, are among the buildings damaged.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

3 killed, 2 wounded overnight in Kenosha bar shooting

Three people died and two others were hospitalized with serious injuries after a gunman entered bar in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, the police department said in a statement on Sunday.

The latest: Officers arrested a "person of interest" Sunday afternoon in connection with the 12:42 a.m. shooting and there's "no threat to the community at this time," per a later police statement.

Updated 4 hours ago - Sports

Big European soccer teams announce breakaway league

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) after striking the ball during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Liverpool F.C. and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, England, last Wednesday. Photo: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

12 of world soccer's biggest and richest clubs announced Sunday they've formed a breakaway European "Super League" — with clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona Real Madrid, Juventus and A.C. Milan among those to sign up.

Why it matters: The prime ministers of the U.K. and Italy are among those to express concern at the move — which marks a massive overhaul of the sport's structure and finances, and it effectively ends the decades-old UEFA Champions League's run as the top tournament for European soccer.