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Israel-Gaza live updates: More than 19,000 children orphaned in Gaza

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(NEW YORK) — Iran on Saturday night unleashed a retaliatory strike against Israel, sending a volley of more than 300 uncrewed drones and missiles toward targets throughout the country, Israeli military officials said. All but a few were intercepted by Israel and its allies, including the United States, officials said.

The attack on Israel came more than six months after Hamas terrorists invaded the country on Oct. 7, after which the Israeli military began its bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Here’s how the news is developing:

Apr 16, 3:48 PM
Blinken to Israeli war cabinet: ‘We do not want to see further escalation’

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz, during which Blinken “continue[d] to send the same messages in all his conversations — which is we do not want to see further escalation of the conflict,” according to spokesperson Matt Miller.

Miller declined to say whether the U.S. assessed the threat of escalation had fallen, but an administration official said the amount of time that has already elapsed since Iran’s weekend attack had boosted hopes that Israel would exercise constraint.

Miller batted down reports that Iran and the U.S. were communicating through intermediaries in the wake of Tehran’s attack on Israel.

“There have not been such messages delivered. It’s been days since we’ve communicated — since we’ve sent messages to the government of Iran,” Miller said. “And I say that as a reminder of something we’ve said before: Oftentimes, the Iranian government has misled the world about either messages they’ve passed to us or messages that we have passed to them.”

-ABC News’ Shannon Crawford

Apr 16, 3:36 PM
UK prime minister ‘gravely concerned’ about humanitarian situation in Gaza

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. While Netanyahu thanked Sunak for the U.K.’s support to counter Iran’s weekend attack on Israel, Sunak also had harsh words for Netanyahu about the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“On Gaza, the Prime Minister said he remained gravely concerned about the deepening humanitarian crisis,” a Downing Street spokesperson said. “The U.K. wanted to see a massive step change in aid access to flood Gaza with vital supplies, including Israel opening up new aid routes as quickly as possible. The Prime Minister said it was deeply disappointing that Hamas blocked a deal at the weekend that would have saved Palestinian lives and secured the safe release of hostages.”

Apr 16, 3:23 PM
Israeli war cabinet meeting ends again with no final decision on response: Source

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet met for the third day in a row on Tuesday to consider an Israeli response to Iran’s weekend attack.

But Tuesday’s meeting ended with no final decision made about an Israeli response, according to an Israeli source with knowledge of the meeting. A variety of options are still being considered, the source said.

Apr 16, 2:13 PM
Iran foreign minister says ‘no intention of further escalating the situation’

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on a call that “Iran is willing to exercise restraint and has no intention of further escalating the situation,” according to the Chinese foreign ministry’s readout of the conversation.

Apr 16, 1:56 PM
More than 19,000 children orphaned in Gaza

Over 10,000 women have been killed in Gaza during the war, according to a report from UN Women, the United Nations’ entity for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Out of those 10,000 women, 6,000 were mothers, who have left behind 19,000 orphaned children, according to the report.

-ABC News’ Kori Skillman

Apr 16, 11:18 AM
Israel focused too intensely on Iran’s nuclear threat at expense of ballistic threat: IDF

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israel focused too intensely on the Iranian nuclear threat at the expense of its ballistic threat.

A senior U.S. official told ABC News the U.S. also relied too heavily on the misguided conception that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was cautious and would never order a direct attack on Israel, and that this weekend’s attack and the general U.S. assessment of Iran now requires study and reassessment.

Sima Shine, a former head of the Iran desk at Israeli espionage agency Mossad, also said Israel’s assessment was wrong, and said “the rules of the game” have changed. A huge barrage of missiles was considered possible, but highly unlikely, Shine said.

Shine said any Israeli response under the new conception requires the assumption that Iran will follow up with its threat of another salvo of missiles. That said, Shine believes that Iran and the supreme leader do not want a full-scale war because it would be unpopular in Iran and the U.S. could get involved.

-ABC News’ Matt Gutman

Apr 16, 9:18 AM
Yellen to Iran: US ‘will not hesitate’ to issue new sanctions

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is warning Iran that the U.S. “will not hesitate” to impose new sanctions in response to Iran’s “unprecedented attack” on Israel.

“Treasury will not hesitate to work with our allies to use our sanctions authority to continue disrupting the Iranian regime’s malign and destabilizing activity,” Yellen is expected to say at a Tuesday press conference. “The attack by Iran and its proxies underscores the importance of Treasury’s work to use our economic tools to counter Iran’s malign activity.”

Yellen’s message follows President Joe Biden’s Sunday meeting with the G7 nations, during which the leaders discussed a coordinated effort on sanction measures.

Apr 16, 6:31 AM
Israeli war cabinet to consider response again Tuesday

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet is expected to meet again on Tuesday to consider an Israeli response to Iran’s weekend attack.

“We are closely assessing the situation. We remain at our highest level of readiness,” Herzi Halevi, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, said on Monday. “Iran will face the consequences for its actions.”

Halevi added Israel would “choose our response accordingly.”

Apr 16, 6:14 AM
UN watchdog calls for de-escalation in Israel-Iran conflict

United Nations officials called on Tuesday for Israel and Iran to de-escalate their conflict, saying the retaliatory military attacks “violate the right to life and must cease immediately.”

“All countries are prohibited from arbitrarily depriving individuals of their right to life in military operations abroad, including when countering terrorism,” the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a press release, quoting U.N. officials described as “experts.”

The retaliatory strikes by both countries may constitute the “international crime of aggression by civilian and military leaders responsible,” those officials said, according to the statement.

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