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Israel-Gaza live updates: IDF denies mass grave claims

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(NEW YORK) — Israel launched a retaliatory strike against Iran early Friday morning local time, a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

The strike followed Iran’s attack on Saturday, when Tehran sent a volley of more than 300 drones and missiles toward targets in Israel, according to Israeli military officials. All but a few were intercepted by Israel and its allies, including the United States, officials said.

Iran’s weekend attack came more than six months after Hamas terrorists invaded Israel on Oct. 7, after which the Israeli military began its bombardment of Gaza.

Here’s how the news is developing:

Apr 23, 11:36 AM
Israel responds to report released on UNRWA

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, is claiming that more than 2,135 workers at UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, are members of Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“Hamas has infiltrated UNRWA so deeply that it is no longer possible to determine where UNRWA ends and where Hamas begins,” Erdan said. “Israel calls on the donor countries to refrain from transferring their taxpayers’ money to UNRWA-Gaza, as these funds will go to the Hamas terrorist organization, and that violates legislation in the donor countries themselves.”

This comes after an independent review of UNRWA released on Monday found the agency had policies in place to back up its principle of neutrality, but also found UNRWA had “serious gaps in implementation,” The Associated Press reported. The report made recommendations to improve the agency’s neutrality.

The report also found that Israel hadn’t provided evidence to back up its claim that a significant number of UNRWA employees were members of Hamas or PIJ, the AP said.

Apr 23, 11:33 AM
IDF denies mass grave claims

The Israel Defense Forces has denied accusations from the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry that they buried at least 283 bodies in a mass grave near Nasser Hospital in Gaza.

“The claim that the IDF buried Palestinian bodies is baseless and unfounded,” the IDF said in a statement. “During the IDF’s operation in the area of Nasser Hospital, in accordance to the effort to locate hostages and missing persons, corpses buried by Palestinians in the area of Nasser Hospital were examined.”

“The examination was conducted in a careful manner and exclusively in places where intelligence indicated the possible presence of hostages,” the IDF said. “Bodies examined, which did not belong to Israeli hostages, were returned to their place.”

Apr 22, 3:11 PM
Iran calls Israel’s attack ‘harassment’ that ’caused no damage whatsoever’

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani called Israel’s retaliatory strike against Iran last week “harassment” that has “caused no damage whatsoever.”

“In our opinion, this issue is not worthy of addressing,” Kanaani said Monday.

Apr 22, 2:58 PM
State Department considers Gaza a ‘severe humanitarian crisis’

The State Department has released its annual assessment of human rights across the globe.

The U.S. assessed that Israelis have killed or injured nearly 80,000 Palestinians in Gaza — accounting for 3% of the population.

The State Department stressed that Israel “must conduct military operations in accordance with international law and take every feasible precaution to protect civilians.”

“We continue to urgently raise concerns surrounding the deaths of and injuries to tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including women, children, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable persons,” the U.S. said. “We repeatedly have pressed concerns about Palestinian civilians’ access to humanitarian assistance, displacement of the majority of the population of Gaza, and the unprecedented number of journalists killed.”

The U.S. continues to review allegations that Israel violated international laws of war in Gaza and the West Bank, and part of that review will look into whether U.S. weapons were involved, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a news conference Monday.

Blinken said the process will be fair, whether a country is “an adversary or competitor, a friend or an ally.”

-ABC News’ Chris Boccia

Apr 22, 5:36 AM
Israeli intelligence chief resigns over Oct. 7

Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, the head of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate, has submitted his resignation in the wake of the Oct. 7 surprise terror attack, the Israel Defense Forces said on Monday.

“The Chief of the General Staff thanked Major General Aharon Haliva for his 38 years of service in the IDF, during which he made significant contributions to the security of the State of Israel as both a combat soldier and commander,” IDF officials said in a post on social media.

Apr 22, 5:19 AM
US drops 50,000 meals over Northern Gaza

The U.S. military on Sunday dropped 50,688 ready-to-eat meals into northern Gaza, Central Command said.

The humanitarian aid, which was dropped from four Air Force aircraft, brings the total U.S. assistance supplied by air to about 1,001 tons, CENTCOM said.

“The DoD humanitarian airdrops contribute to ongoing U.S. and partner-nation government efforts to alleviate human suffering,” CENTCOM said on social media. “These airdrops are part of a sustained effort, and we continue to plan follow-on aerial deliveries.”

Apr 22, 3:29 AM
Three injured in ‘ramming terror attack’ in Jerusalem, police say

Three people were “lightly” injured after being struck by a vehicle in a “ramming terror attack,” Israeli police said on Monday morning. The two suspects allegedly fled the scene.

The pedestrians were struck at about 8 a.m. on Mordechai Tekhelet Street, police said.

“Immediately afterward, two terrorists emerged from the vehicle armed with ‘Carlo’ type weapon, and attempted to open fire, unsuccessfully,” police said.

Investigators recovered a weapon from the area following the incident, police said.

Apr 21, 6:09 PM
Israeli Defense Minister responds to potential US sanctions on IDF battalion

Israel’s Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant held a discussion with IDF Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi regarding the developing report on U.S. intentions to impose sanctions against the IDF’s Netzach Yehuda battalion, an Israeli military unit operating in the West Bank.

“Any attempt to criticize an entire unit casts a heavy shadow on the actions of the IDF, which operates to protect the citizens of Israel,” Gallant said in a statement. “Damage to one battalion, affects the entire defense establishment – this is not the right path for partners and friends.”

Gallant urged the U.S. not to impose sanctions on the unit.

“Our friends and our enemies are closely watching the ties between Israel and the United States, now more than ever,” Gallant said. “I call on the U.S. Administration to withdraw its intention to impose sanctions on the Netzach Yehuda battalion.”

Amid reports of possible sanctions, Gallant recently completed a call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Earlier today, Minister Gallant also held a discussion with the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Jack Lew.

Apr 21, 1:38 PM
22 reported dead in strikes on Rafah: Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry

Two strikes were launched on the southern Gaza town of Rafah, killing 22 people, including 18 children, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

At least one blast occurred at the Al-Shabora refugee camp in Rafah, a spokesperson for the Kuwait Hospital in Rafah told ABC News.

The hospital spokesperson told ABC News doctors were able to rescue an unborn baby whose mother was killed in the blast at Al-Shabora camp. Officials identified the mother as Sabreen Mohamed Al-Sakani.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed the strikes, telling ABC News, “At the given times, the IDF struck several military targets of the terrorist organizations in Gaza including military compounds, launch posts and armed terrorists.”

Apr 21, 11:23 AM
14 ‘terrorists’ killed in dayslong West Bank raid: IDF

Israeli forces have withdrawn after a dayslong raid in the Nur Shams area of the Tulkarm camp in the West Bank left 14 “terrorists” dead, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Israel Border Police forces “completed extensive counterterrorism activity based on IDF and ISA (Israel Security Authority) intelligence in the area of Nur Shams,” the IDF said in a statement.

During the raid, which began Friday, “the forces eliminated 14 terrorists in close-quarters combat, apprehended 15 wanted suspects, seized numerous weapons, and destroyed dozens of explosive devices as well as two terror explosives laboratories,” according to the IDF statement.

The IDF said all of the terrorists were killed during fire exchanges with Israeli forces.

Since the raid started, nine IDF soldiers and an Israel Border Police officer were “lightly to moderately” injured in the fighting, according to the IDF.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society, the first responder service in the West Bank, also said 14 people were killed as a result of the raid.

Apr 20, 6:05 PM
Netanyahu responds after Blinken says US may impose sanctions on IDF

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the department will be announcing his determinations regarding the Israel Defense Forces under the Leahy Law — which empowers the secretary of state to withhold funding from units of a foreign military accused of human rights violations — “in the coming days.”

The State Department could announce sanctions against the IDF and withhold aid to the military.

“I think it’s fair to say that you’ll see results very soon. I’ve made determinations, you can expect to see them in the days ahead,” he told press gathered for G7 meetings.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a statement on X saying sanctions must not be imposed on the IDF.

“In recent weeks, I have been working against the imposition of sanctions on Israeli citizens, including in my conversations with senior American government officials. At a time when our soldiers are fighting the monsters of terror, the intention to impose a sanction on a unit in the IDF is the height of absurdity and a moral low,” Netanyahu said Saturday.

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