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


Iran’s president has warned of a severe response if any of its interests are targeted. Ebrahim Raisi said yesterday that the “smallest action” by Israel or its allies against Iran’s interests will be met with a “severe, extensive and painful response,” adding that Iran’s weekend attack on Israel was a “legitimate” act of defense. Separately, Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahia, said yesterday that Iran was not seeking war. “I reiterate that we are not seeking to increase tensions in the region, but we warn that if American bases are used or the airspace of regional countries are used to attack Iran, we would have no choice but to target the American bases in those countries,” Amir-Abdollahian said, according to Iranian state media. Meanwhile, Iran’s deputy foreign minister told state TV last night that Tehran’s response would come in a “matter of seconds, as Iran will not wait for another 12 days to respond.” Farnaz Fassihi reports for the New York Times; Adam Pourahmadi and Mostafa Salem report for CNN; James Mackenzie reports for Reuters.

Israel’s war cabinet met yesterday to weigh possible responses to Iran’s missile and drone attack over the weekend. It comes as the United States, Britain, and other allies have strongly urged Israel to show restraint. An Israeli official briefed on the cabinet discussions said several options were being considered, ranging from diplomacy to an imminent strike, but gave no further details. Cassandra Vinograd, Isabel Kershner and Michael Levenson report for the New York Times.

The White House reiterated yesterday that President Biden is focused on preventing Iran’s attack against Israel from escalating into a wider regional conflict. “Just because Iran conducted this unprecedented attack, which we and our Israeli partners and other partners thwarted, doesn’t mean that we should just accept a constant rising escalation in the region,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told CNN. When pressed on the Biden administration’s position on whether Israel should not retaliate, Kirby said it was ultimately the Israeli government’s decision but that the United States wants to see tensions deescalate. 

U.S. officials expect a possible Israeli response to Iran’s attack over the weekend to be limited. According to four U.S. officials, it will likely involve strikes against Iranian military forces and Iranian-backed proxies outside Iran. The U.S. assessment is based on conversations between U.S. and Israeli officials on Saturday before Iran’s attack took place. The U.S. officials stressed that they have not been briefed on Israel’s final decision about how to respond and that the options could have changed since the attack. Courtney Kube, Monica Alba, and Mosheh Gains report for NBC News

Jordan allowed Israeli fighter jets into its airspace to intercept Iranian missiles and drones, an Israeli air force official said today. The U.S.-coordinated effort is thought to be the first time the two countries’ militaries have fought alongside each other. In a statement yesterday, Jordan’s government said the interceptions were made to protect its citizens, rather than to defend Israel. Raf Sanchez reports for NBC News.

Israel’s foreign minister Israel Katz said today he was urging 32 countries to impose sanctions on Iran and proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. 

China said it noted Iran’s statement that its actions against Israel were an “exercise of the right of self-defense” and did not condemn the weekend attack on Israel. During a phone call yesterday between the foreign ministers of the two countries, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told his counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahia that Israel’s strike on Iran’s consulate building in Damascus “seriously violates international law and is unacceptable.” Manveena Suri, Simone McCarthy, and Wayne Chang report for CNN


Hamas has reduced the number of hostages it is willing to release during the first phase of a proposed ceasefire deal by more than half, according to an Israeli source. In its latest counterproposal, Hamas offered to release fewer than 20 hostages in exchange for a six-week ceasefire. It follows months of negotiations based on the release of 40 hostages and marks a major step backwards in the talks. A senior U.S. official confirmed that Hamas is focused on those 20 for the first phase of a potential deal and that Hamas is telling mediators it only has around 20 remaining hostages who are women or sick, wounded, and elderly men. Jeremy Diamond reports for CNN.

Israeli civilians fatally shot two Palestinians in the West Bank yesterday, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials, as tensions continue to spike in the Israeli-occupied territory. The Israeli military said the two men were killed during a “violent exchange” between Israeli civilians and Palestinians following a report of a Palestinian attacking an Israeli shepherd, and that an initial probe indicated the gunfire “did not originate” from Israeli soldiers. Aaron Boxerman reports for the New York Times.

Fifteen more bodies were recovered yesterday from around Al-Shifa Hospital following the Israeli military’s withdrawal from the area two weeks ago, Gaza residents and medical crews told CNN. Health workers and residents in northern Gaza have been searching for what they believe are mass graves and looking for their loved ones, after they said Israeli forces killed hundreds of Palestinians and left their bodies to decompose during their two-week siege of the complex. 


Humanitarian aid shipments entering the Gaza Strip have increased “quite dramatically,” with more than 2,000 trucks entering the enclave in the past few days, John Kirby said yesterday on MSNBC. When asked whether the Biden administration was satisfied with Israel’s efforts at increasing aid to Gaza, Kirby said, “The aid is getting in. That’s important but it has to be sustained.” In a recent statement provided to the Israeli Supreme Court, the Israeli government cited difficulties impeding aid access efforts including gaps in the collection of aid on the Palestinian side, Hamas’s attempts to loot supplies, and restrictions on movement due to damaged infrastructure. Meanwhile, the U.N. human rights office told a press briefing today in Geneva that Israel “continues to impose unlawful restrictions on the entry and distribution of humanitarian assistance.” Andrew Jeong reports for the Washington Post

The White House yesterday announced its opposition to a standalone Israel aid bill without aid to Ukraine. “A standalone would actually not help Israel and Ukraine. It would actually delay … the needed aid,” White House Press Secretary Jean-Pierre said, calling instead for the House to pass the Senate’s $95 billion Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan aid bill. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) had said the House will vote on aid to Israel this week, but not whether that will include Ukraine and Taiwan aid. Andrew Solender reports for Axios.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked roads, highways, and bridges across the United States yesterday, blocking traffic and sparking arrests. Protesters in San Francisco parked vehicles on the Golden Gate Bridge, stopping traffic in both directions for four hours yesterday morning, while hundreds of demonstrators blocked a highway in nearby Oakland. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations were also reported in Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami, and San Antonio. Daniel Wu and Niha Masih report for the Washington Post.


The Israeli military said four soldiers were wounded by an explosion overnight along the northern border with Lebanon. The military said the source of the explosion was still unclear. Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah said yesterday that mines they set up in southern Lebanon near the border detonated after Israeli ground troops encroached on Lebanese territory, resulting in casualties. AP News reports. 

A Lebanese money changer under U.S. sanctions over his alleged role as a financial middleman between Hamas and Iran was found shot to death at a villa near Beirut, Lebanon’s state news agency reported. Lebanon’s interior minister said on Sunday the initial findings suggest the killing “was carried out by intelligence services” and that he believed Mossad was responsible. The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Muhammed Srour, 57, in August 2019 alleging he had provided financial and material support to Hamas and that he had ties with Hezbollah. Euan Ward reports for the New York Times.

Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry is expected to visit Turkey this weekend to discuss tensions in the Middle East and the situation in Gaza with his counterpart, according to a Turkish diplomatic source. The foreign ministers will also evaluate the latest developments in ceasefire negotiations. The Times of Israel reports via Reuters. 


Russian forces continue to pummel eastern Ukraine in a bid to advance farther into the Donetsk region, while Ukraine continues to suffer shortages on the battlefield. The commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, said yesterday that Russian forces were aiming to capture the town of Chasiv Yar in Donetsk by May 9, the date on which Russia commemorates Soviet victory in World War II. Holly Ellyatt reports for CNBC.


Fears are growing that Germany’s far right party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), is becoming a tool of Russian influence operations. In just the past few months, a leading AfD politician was accused of taking money from pro-Kremlin strategists, one of the party’s parliamentary aides was exposed as having ties to a Russian intelligence operative, and some of its lawmakers flew to Moscow to observe Russia’s stage-managed elections. “The AfD keeps acting like the long arm of the terrorist state Russia,” Roderich Kiesewetter, the deputy head of the Parliament’s intelligence committee, wrote on social media. The AfD has called such comments “baseless.” Erika Solomon reports for the New York Times.

The president of the Philippines said yesterday he has no plan to give the United States access to more Philippine military bases and stressed that the U.S. military’s presence in several sites was sparked by China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has allowed U.S. forces and weapons access to four additional Philippine military bases since he took office in 2022. Aaron Favila reports for AP News.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday that he will step down on May 15 after two decades in office and hand power to his deputy and finance minister, Lawrence Wong. Lee, 72, announced last November his plans to retire. Wong has unanimous support of lawmakers in the ruling People’s Action Party and will be sworn in at the national palace, Lee’s office said in a statement. ABC News reports. 

Armenia today urged the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to hold Azerbaijan responsible for what it said was the ethnic cleansing of Armenians from the Nagorno-Karabakh region.​​ “After threatening to do so for years, Azerbaijan has completed the ethnic cleansing of the region and is now systematically erasing all traces of ethnic Armenians’ presence,” Armenia’s representative said on the second day of hearings. Reuters reports. 


The White House yesterday informed House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY) that President Biden will not accept his invitation to testify in a committee impeachment inquiry hearing, according to a letter obtained first by CNN. “Your impeachment investigation is over,” Special Counsel to the President Richard Sauber wrote to Comer. “We decline your invitation for President Biden to testify.” House Republicans have not uncovered evidence of wrongdoing by the President and currently do not have the votes in the House to impeach him. Annie Grayer reports for CNN

A new Pentagon review of the events leading up to the bombing that killed 13 American service members in August 2021 at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan has reaffirmed earlier findings that U.S. troops could not have prevented the fatal violence. The review’s conclusion focuses on the final moments at Abbey Gate before the attack, which also killed as many as 170 civilians. The review provides new details about the Islamic State bomber who carried out the suicide mission, including how he merged into the crowds trying to evacuate the capital’s airport just moments before detonating explosives. Eric Schmitt reports for the New York Times.

The FBI confirmed yesterday that its agents have boarded the cargo ship that struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore last month. The news follows several reports that the FBI has opened a criminal investigation related to the collision in what appears to be a separate probe from the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation. Ivana Saric reports for Axios.


Former President Trump’s hush money trial began yesterday. Join Just Security Journalism Fellow, Adam Klasfeld’s Daily Dispatches from the Trump Trial Courtroom in New York for updates from inside the courtroom. 

The New York Judge overseeing Trump’s hush money trial said yesterday that the former President cannot attend arguments on presidential immunity at the Supreme Court. It came after the Judge Juan Merchan earlier delayed a decision on allowing Trump to attend his son Barron’s high school graduation in May. Under New York state law, Trump is required to attend the entirety of his trial, expected to last weeks or months, unless he gets special judicial permission to be absent. Meanwhile, Judge Merchan set an April 23 hearing date over the prosecution’s request that Trump be held in contempt of court for violating his gag order, following a string of attacks made by Trump against people involved in the case. Ella Lee reports for The Hill; Sareen Habeshian reports for Axios.