Signup to receive the Early Edition in your inbox here.

A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news


Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has vowed revenge for the attack on an Iranian consulate building in Damascus, which both Iran and Syrian officials have blamed on Israel. In a series of posts on X, Khamenei said that Israel “will receive a blow for their actions,” adding, “The zionist entity’s attack on our consulate in Syria will not solve its problems in Gaza.” In a separate message posted in Hebrew on X, Khamenei said, “With God’s help we will make the Zionists repent of their crime of aggression.” E.U. foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on X today that he has spoken with Iran’s foreign minister about the strike. NBC News reports. 

The United States, Britain, and France yesterday opposed a Russian-drafted U.N. Security Council statement that would have condemned the consulate attack. According to diplomats, the United States, backed by France and Britain, said that many of the facts of what happened on Monday in Damascus remained unclear, and there was no consensus among Council members. Russia’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said in a post on X, “This serves as a clear illustration of the double standards employed by the Western ‘troika’ and their actual, rather than declarative, approach to legality and order in the international context.” Michelle Nichols reports for Reuters.


World Central Kitchen (WCK) today called on the home countries of its employees who were killed in an Israeli airstrike this week to join it in “demanding an independent, third-party investigation” into the attack. The victims were British, Australian, Polish, Palestinian, and a dual U.S.-Canadian national. WCK founder José Andrés yesterday called out the Israeli military, saying the aid convoy was “systematically” targeted “car by car.” “This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,” Andrés said. “Even if we were not in coordination with the [Israeli military], no democratic country and no military can be targeting civilians and humanitarians.” The Washington Post reports. 

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said yesterday that his group was sticking to its conditions for a ceasefire in Gaza, including an Israeli military withdrawal. “We are committed to our demands: the permanent ceasefire, comprehensive and complete withdrawal of the enemy out of the Gaza Strip, the return of all displaced people to their homes, allowing all aid needed for our people in Gaza, rebuilding the Strip, lifting the blockade and achieving an honourable prisoner exchange deal,” Haniyeh said in a televised speech. Israeli officials visited Egypt earlier this week in a renewed effort to secure a deal, but a Palestinian official close to the mediation efforts said there was no sign of a breakthrough. Nidal Al-Mughrabi reports for Reuters.

The Israeli military has been using artificial intelligence to help identify bombing targets in Gaza, according to an investigation by +972 Magazine and Local Call. The investigation by the online publication, jointly run by Palestinians and Israelis, cited six Israeli intelligence officials involved in the alleged program, who said the AI-based tool had a 10% error rate. When asked about the report, the Israel Defense Forces did not dispute the existence of the tool, but denied that AI was being used to identify suspected terrorists. Tara John reports for CNN.

Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz yesterday called for early elections to be held in September. Speaking at a press conference, Gantz said, “In order to maintain our unity, the public needs to know that we are going to ask for its trust again soon and that we don’t disregard the Oct. 7 tragedy. This is why we need to agree on a date for an early election during September.” Gantz said he discussed the matter with Netanyahu yesterday and stressed he would resign if he felt Netanyahu was sabotaging efforts to secure a hostage deal. Barak Ravid reports for Axios.


President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are expected to speak by phone today. It will be their first direct communication since an Israeli strike killed seven WCK workers in Gaza, and comes after Biden on Tuesday delivered some of his harshest criticism of Israel since the start of the war. Monica Alba and Zoë Richards report for NBC News.

A virtual meeting on Monday between top U.S. and Israeli officials to discuss Israel’s plans to invade Rafah grew contentious after Washington pushed back on Israel’s proposal to evacuate Palestinian civilians sheltering there. Israel’s minister of strategic affairs, Ron Dermer, began yelling and waving his arms around as he defended the plan, according to U.S. officials familiar with the meeting, adding that U.S. officials present kept calm and did not respond in kind. Israel proposed to move 1.4 million civilians over several weeks from Rafah to tents that would be set up north of the city, but the proposal did not include plans to address sanitation needs or an assessment of how much food and water would be required and where it could come from, the officials said. NBC News reports. 

In a tense phone call yesterday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confronted his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, over Israel’s attack on the WCK aid convoy in Gaza. “Secretary Austin expressed his outrage at the Israeli strike on a World Central Kitchen humanitarian aid convoy that killed seven aid workers, including an American citizen,” the Pentagon’s press secretary said in a statement, describing the call. He added, “Secretary Austin stressed the need to immediately take concrete steps to protect aid workers and Palestinian civilians in Gaza after repeated coordination failures with foreign aid groups.” Despite the tough language, there was no indication that Austin has threatened to halt U.S. arms transfers or place conditions on U.S. weapons sales to Israel. The New York Times reports. 

The Biden administration has no plans to change its policy toward Israel following its deadly strike against WCK aid workers in Gaza, according to two senior U.S. officials. While Biden has publicly expressed his outrage over the incident, that is as far as he and the White House will go for now, the officials said. Alexander Ward reports for POLITICO.

Israel’s killing of aid workers in Gaza will not interfere with U.S. plans to build a pier to deliver aid to the enclave, a State Department spokesperson said yesterday. “It will not affect our efforts to stand up the pier to deliver aid through sea,” Matthew Miller told reporters, adding, “That effort is ongoing.” The New York Times reports.  

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said today he supports Benny Gantz’s call for early elections. In a post on X, Schumer wrote, “When a leading member of Israel’s war cabinet calls for early elections and over 70% of the Israeli population agrees according to a major poll, you know it’s the right thing to do,” referencing statistics from a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute in February that found a majority of Israeli voters wanted early elections. NBC News reports.


Three former British Supreme Court justices have joined more than 600 legal experts in calling for the U.K. government to halt weapons sales to Israel. In a letter to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, they said exports must end because the nation risks breaking international law over a “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza. While British sales are lower than those of other countries, a ban would add diplomatic and political pressure on Israel as its conduct in the war comes under increased scrutiny. Emily Atkinson and Adam Durbin report for BBC News.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese today criticized Israel’s explanation for the killing of the seven WCK workers in Gaza. On Tuesday, Netanyahu acknowledged the airstrike and said, “This happens in war.” Apparently referencing that remark, Albanese said at a news conference today, “We need to have accountability for how it’s occurred. And what isn’t good enough are the statements that have been made, including that this is just a product of war.” CNN reports. 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said yesterday that explanations provided by Israel for the aid convoy strike were “unacceptable” and “insufficient.” “We are awaiting a much stronger and more detailed clarification, after which we’ll see what action to take,” Sanchez told a news briefing while visiting Qatar. Reuters reports. 


Iran and its proxy militias denounced Israel and the United States yesterday in an unusual televised show of unity and defiance. Speaking on a joint broadcast from various locations, the leaders delivered scathing speeches ahead of Quds Day, a show of solidarity with Palestinians held each year on the last Friday of Ramadan. In addition to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the speakers included the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis, as well as Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest militant group in Gaza, and Hashd al-Shaabi, an Iraqi Shiite militia. Haniyeh said that the United States had aided crimes committed by Israel by supporting it financially, adding, “The Al Aqsa Flood united the Muslim people and this collective unity has manifested with the help of Iran on battlefields in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq.” Farnaz Fassihi and Hwaida Saad report for the New York Times.

Eight gunmen and five members of Iranian security forces were killed in clashes at two separate points in southeastern Iran, Iranian state media said today. The fighting occurred in Sistan and Baluchistan province when gunmen opened fire on a Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps post. AP News reports. 


In a rare phone call yesterday, Russia’s defense minister warned his French counterpart against deploying troops to Ukraine and noted Moscow is ready to partake in talks to end the conflict. Sergei Shoigu told French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu that if Paris follows through on its statements about sending a French military contingent to Kyiv, “it will create problems for France itself,” according to a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry. Shoigu also noted Moscow’s “readiness for dialogue on Ukraine,” emphasizing that a planned round of peace talks in Geneva would be “senseless” without Russia’s involvement. AP News reports. 

British foreign secretary Lord Cameron yesterday ruled out sending Western troops to Ukraine to avoid giving President Vladimir Putin “a target,” but acknowledged that the “war will be lost if the allies don’t step up.” Cameron added that he is making his second visit to the United States next week and plans to urge Congress to increase financial support to Ukraine, which “could change the narrative.” BBC News reports. 

An overnight Russian attack using Iranian-designed drones killed four people and wounded 12 in Kharkiv, local authorities said. Three first responders were killed when Russia struck a multistory building, and another six were wounded. Another 14-story building was hit by a drone, killing an older woman. Hanna Arhirova reports for AP News.

The Czech Republic will donate tens of millions of euros to an initiative it is leading to purchase artillery ammunition rounds for Ukraine, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said yesterday. The Czech-led donation effort has gained the support of about 18 countries, with Germany pledging the highest contribution so far. Reuters reports. 


The head of Russia’s National Security Council yesterday contended that the United States shares blame for the Moscow concert hall attacks, even though a branch of the self-styled Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility. AP News reports. 

Russia-NATO relations are deteriorating but Moscow has no intention of entering a conflict with a NATO country, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said in an interview published today. In comments to mark NATO’s 75th anniversary, Grushko told Russian state news agency RIA that relations were “predictably and deliberately deteriorating” adding that Washington and Brussels had brought all dialogue between Moscow and NATO to a “critical zero.” Reuters reports. 

Turkey’s highest electoral authority yesterday restored the right of a newly-elected pro-Kurdish mayor to hold office, overturning an earlier decision by a lower body that had sparked widespread protests. AP News reports. 

A Singapore court today jailed a second defendant in its biggest-ever money laundering probe, in a case which has seen the seizure or freezing of $2.2 billion of assets. Xinghui Kok reports for Reuters.

Voting is underway today in Kuwait’s first election since Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah assumed power late last year. Reuters reports. 


The ex-military member charged with crashing his SUV into a barricade at the FBI office in Atlanta on Monday had online links to QAnon-related content and had a history of promoting conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, according to an open-source investigation by the group Advance Democracy. Ervin Lee Bolling currently faces a count of destruction of government property, according to an FBI affidavit, but has not yet entered a plea. Ryan. J Reilly reports for NBC News.


A Manhattan judge yesterday denied Trump’s attempt to delay the start of his New York hush money trial, court records show. Trump had asked to delay the trial, set for April 15, until the Supreme Court rules on his presidential immunity claims. Judge Juan Merchan wrote that Trump had “myriad opportunities to raise the claim of presidential immunity well before March 7, 2024.” “Defendant’s motion is DENIED in its entirety as untimely,” Merchan wrote. Shauneen Miranda reports for Axios.