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April 16, 2024 - Israel-Hamas war

What we covered here

  • The United States plans to impose new sanctions targeting Iran after its unprecedented attack on Israel over the weekend, according to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
  • This comes as Israel's war cabinet met to discuss a potential response to Iran as sources told CNN that the US expects Israel’s reaction will be limited in scope. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned that the “smallest action against Iran’s interests” would be met with a “severe, extensive and painful” response.
  • The Israel Defense Forces said it killed three Hezbollah fighters, including two commanders, in airstrikes in southern Lebanon Tuesday.
  • In Gaza, at least 13 people were killed, including seven children, and more than 25 people were wounded after a strike Tuesday targeted the Al-Maghazi refugee camp, according to hospital officials.
  • Here's how to help humanitarian efforts in Gaza and Israel.
11:59 p.m. ET, April 16, 2024

Our live coverage of Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza has moved here.

2:38 a.m. ET, April 17, 2024

Prime minister denies strikes on Israel launched from Iraqi territory

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani listens as US President Joe Biden (not pictured) speaks in the Oval Office of the White House on April 15, in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Israel said some of Iran's missiles on Saturday were launched from Iraq, but Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani denied it to CNN Tuesday.

"It was not proven to us through the military reports we've received that any missiles or any drones were launched from Iraq," al-Sudani told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an interview on Tuesday.
"Certainly, our position is clear; we do not allow any non-governmental body to use Iraq to bring it back into the battle. We have been taking the legal procedures to keep Iraq safe and to distance Iraq away from the conflict arena," al Sudani added.

Al-Sudani spoke with Amanpour from Washington, D.C., after he met with US President Joe Biden on Monday. Both leaders discussed the importance of de-escalating tensions in the Middle East.

9:50 p.m. ET, April 16, 2024

US conducts another airdrop of food into northern Gaza, CENTCOM says

The US military conducted another aid drop into northern Gaza on Tuesday, dropping approximately 25,300 meal equivalents, US Central Command said in a post on X.
"The joint operation included two C-130 U.S. Air Force aircraft, and U.S. Army Soldiers specialized in aerial delivery of U.S humanitarian assistance supplies," CENTCOM said.

To date the US has dropped 891 tons of humanitarian assistance, CENTCOM said.

Remember: Humanitarian organizations have warned that airdrops are "good photo opportunities but a lousy way to deliver aid."
10:19 p.m. ET, April 16, 2024

US sanctions are planned for Iran after its attack on Israel. Here's what you should know

Objects are seen in the sky above Jerusalem after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, in Jerusalem on April 14. Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

The United States is planning to impose new sanctions targeting Iran after it launched a large-scale attack on Israel in retaliation for a suspected Israeli strike on an Iranian diplomatic complex in Syria, according to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
Earlier Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced the Biden administration would use sanctions “to continue disrupting the Iranian regime’s malign and destabilizing activity.” 

“From this weekend’s attack to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, Iran’s actions threaten the region’s stability and could cause economic spillovers," she said at a news conference.

Here are headlines you should know:
  • More from Iran: Israel’s war cabinet met again on Tuesday to discuss Israel’s response to Iran’s attack. After Iran closed its nuclear facilities on Sunday for "security considerations," Rafael Grossi, International Atomic Energy Agency director general, told CNN that its inspectors are back in the facilities and the "situation seems to be business as usual." Also, the US will restrict the movements of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his delegation while they are in New York this week, a source familiar told CNN. 
  • Developments on the ground: At least 13 people were killed, including seven children, and more than 25 people were wounded after a strike targeted the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza on Tuesday, according to Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital officials. Elsewhere, the Israel Defense Forces said its airstrikes killed three Hezbollah fighters, including two commanders, in southern Lebanon on Tuesday. 
  • World Central Kitchen updates: The US is continuing to review the findings of the Israeli investigation into the deadly strike on a World Central Kitchen convoy, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Tuesday. The United States is “not at this time” calling for an independent investigation, Miller said. He said he did not have a timetable for when its assessment will be completed.
  • Palestinian child’s death probe: The US will be going to Israel with new information from a Washington Post report that contradicts the results of an Israeli investigation into the death of 5-year-old Palestinian girl Hind Rajab, who was found dead in Gaza in February. The US called on Israel to investigate Rajab’s death earlier this year, and Miller now says the US “would still welcome a full investigation into this matter, and how it occurred in the first place.”
  • Probe problems: A United Nations Commission of Inquiry accused Israel of actively obstructing its efforts to collect evidence from victims and first-hand witnesses of Hamas’ attacks in southern Israel on October 7. The commissioner appealed to the Israeli government to cooperate and urged victims and witnesses to the events in southern Israel to contact the commission. 
8:10 p.m. ET, April 16, 2024

US to impose new sanctions on Iran in the coming days, national security adviser says

 The United States is planning to impose new sanctions targeting Iran after its attack on Israel over the weekend, according to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
“Following Iran’s unprecedented air attack against Israel, President Biden is coordinating with allies and partners, including the G7, and with bipartisan leaders in Congress, on a comprehensive response,” Sullivan wrote in a statement. “In the coming days, the United States will impose new sanctions targeting Iran, including its missile and drone program as well as new sanctions against entities supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s Defense Ministry. We anticipate that our allies and partners will soon be following with their own sanctions.” 
Earlier Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced the Biden administration would use sanctions “to continue disrupting the Iranian regime’s malign and destabilizing activity.” 

In addition to new sanctions, Sullivan wrote Tuesday the administration will “continue to work through the Department of Defense and U.S. Central Command to further strengthen and expand the successful integration of air and missile defense and early warning systems across the Middle East to further erode the effectiveness of Iran’s missile and UAV capabilities.”

7:37 p.m. ET, April 16, 2024

Analysis: Netanyahu is betting Israeli blood on Iran’s read of his rift with America

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech on July 5, 2023. Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images/File

Israel, aided by its allies, dodged a bullet Sunday.

To be more precise, 60 tons of explosives aboard more than 350 Iranian projectiles, some bigger than a family car, failed to dodge Israel’s defenses.

Yet Israel, in defiance of US President Joe Biden’s warnings to “take the win” and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s threat of a “severe, extensive and painful” response to any retaliation, is contemplating just that.

Deterrence, shorthand for “meanest S.O.B. in the room,” Israel believes, is the cornerstone of its survival. Iran is stealing that brick.

When faced with existential threats in the past, Israel has executed the most audacious raids the region has ever witnessed. The point being, Israel won’t telegraph its attack plans as Iran did at the weekend.

Aside from the core members of Israel’s war cabinet, more than a dozen other people have sat at the table deep inside the Kirya, Israel’s maximum security defense headquarters in Tel Aviv, thrashing out their next move.

Netanyahu’s next move will likely try to lock in sanctions, and strike before negative Gaza headlines dump the international good will filling his sails.

The clock is ticking. He needs two things, time to prepare a significant surprise strike, and time to coalesce international diplomacy. As both march to different beats, his legendary political acumen faces one of its stiffest tests yet.

Netanyahu is famed as a political survivor. But now he faces the biggest gamble of his career. He is betting the blood of his nation over Iran’s read of his rift with America.

Read more.
5:05 p.m. ET, April 16, 2024

Israel's sense of reason has been replaced by revenge, new Irish prime minister says

Taoiseach Simon Harris appears on CNN on Tuesday, April 16. CNN

Ireland's newly appointed prime minister told CNN that Israel's sense of reason has been "replaced by revenge" as he addressed recent tensions between the Israeli and Irish governments.  

In his first television interview since being appointed last week, Taoiseach Simon Harris hit back at recent criticisms from the Israeli foreign ministry and the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Dana Erlich, accusing the country of being "on the wrong side of history" when it comes to the war in Gaza. 

"Excuse me for finding it a little bit hard to see where the representative of the (Benjamin) Netanyahu government is talking about being on the wrong side because I think the actions of the Netanyahu government right now, in terms of allowing this humanitarian catastrophe to unfold in Gaza, and the impact on women, children, civilians and civilian infrastructure is profound," Harris told CNN's Christiane Amanpour. 
Harris went on to say that "Ireland is extraordinarily clear in its condemnation of Hamas ... and of the right of Israel to be able to live in safety and security. But we also believe that reason has now been replaced by revenge."

The prime minister doubled down on his call for "an immediate cessation of hostilities" in Gaza alongside his plan to convince fellow European Union leaders to formally recognize the state of Palestine. Harris laid out his belief that a peaceful solution to the war in Gaza "involves a number of countries that are like-minded coming together to recognize the state of Palestine." 

He reiterated that "Ireland stands ready to recognize the state of Palestine" and is very keen to do so alongside other EU member states to increase the "potential positive momentum."  

The Israeli foreign ministry has condemned Ireland's intention to recognize Palestinian statehood, maintaining in a press release last week that doing so would be awarding Hamas a "prize for terrorism."


5:10 p.m. ET, April 16, 2024

IDF says its airstrikes in Lebanon killed 3 Hezbollah fighters

The Israel Defense Forces said its airstrikes killed three Hezbollah fighters, including two commanders, in southern Lebanon on Tuesday. 

Muhammad Hussein Shahouri, "the Commander of the Rockets and Missiles Unit of Radwan Forces' Western Region," was killed in an airstrike in Kfar Dounine in south Lebanon, an IDF statement said. "As part of his role, Muhammad planned and promoted rocket and missile launches toward Israeli territory from the areas of Lebanon's central and western regions." 

Mahmoud Ibrahim Fadlallah, "an operative of Hezbollah's Rockets and Missiles Unit," was also killed in the same airstrike, the IDF added.

Earlier, the IDF said in a separate statement that its airstrike killed Ismail Youssef Bazz, "the commander of Hezbollah's coastal sector, in the area of Ain Ebel in Lebanon," in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah confirmed the deaths of its three fighters without providing details on the circumstances of their deaths or ranks. 

3:46 p.m. ET, April 16, 2024

At least 13 people killed, including 7 children, after strike on central Gaza's Al-Maghazi refugee camp

At least 13 people were killed, including seven children, and more than 25 people were wounded after a strike targeted the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza on Tuesday, according to Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital officials.

Graphic video obtained exclusively by CNN from eyewitness Nihad Owdetallah shows several casualties scattered on the floor, including children, with blood streaming around the area. Dozens of people appear to be running around in panic, screaming and trying to count and carry the dead bodies. A foosball table covered in dust is seen among the dead bodies. 

Owdetallah, who lives in the camp, told CNN he heard an explosion at around 3:40 p.m. local time on Tuesday. 

"I immediately walked to see what happened and found dead bodies thrown on the ground. People screaming, kids screaming. Kids dead on the ground. They were just playing foosball, and they were martyred," he said.

Footage shot for CNN from inside Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital shows a continuous flow of causalities and injured people being ushered in, as the emergency room is crowded with patients, including several wounded children, crying out on the floor.

Video from inside a morgue at the hospital shows families trying to identify their loved ones among the deceased. Fatmeh Issa points to a white body bag with a young boy’s bloodied face exposed, telling CNN, "This is my son."

Another man cries out, “They have nothing to do with anyone! They are civilians. Have mercy on us. You are killing children. You are not killing an army or fighters; you are killing children who were peacefully playing in the street."

Video shows him handing a young girl’s dead body to another man, both men crying out Quranic verses and sobbing. The man who receives her body is seen placing her on the ground, and covers her body with a jacket, telling CNN she is his daughter.

"This is my oldest daughter … her name is Lujain, she is 9-years-old. A strike hit them while they were playing out in the street. They are all just children,” he said.CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces for comment but has not yet received a response.