April 3, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

By Heather Chen, Antoinette Radford, Tori B. Powell, Maureen Chowdhury and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 12:45 a.m. ET, April 4, 2024
47 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:58 p.m. ET, April 3, 2024

US Defense Secretary expresses 'outrage' over aid-worker deaths to Israeli counterpart

From CNN's Colin McCullough

A Palestinian man rides a bicycle past a damaged vehicle where employees from the World Central Kitchen were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Deir Al-Balah, central Gaza, on April 2.
A Palestinian man rides a bicycle past a damaged vehicle where employees from the World Central Kitchen were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Deir Al-Balah, central Gaza, on April 2. Ahmed Zakot/Reuters

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin expressed his “outrage” over the Israeli strike on a World Central Kitchen humanitarian aid convoy during a call with his Israeli counterpart on Wednesday.

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," according to a Pentagon readout of the call with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

A strike by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) hit a returning World Central Kitchen convoy on Monday. The victims include a dual US-Canada national, a Palestinian, three Brits, an Australian, and a Pole.

The IDF said the incident is being investigated, that the strike was a “grave mistake” and that it did not intend to harm the aid workers.

On the call with Gallant, Austin warned that the deadly strike “reinforced the expressed concern over a potential Israeli military operation in Rafah, specifically focusing on the need to ensure the evacuation of Palestinian civilians and the flow of humanitarian aid,” according to the readout.

He also stressed that the strike “makes it more difficult to flood the zone with humanitarian assistance, as Israeli officials have stated they seek to do," and raised concern over the risk of famine in northern Gaza.

Read more here:

11:03 p.m. ET, April 3, 2024

US forces destroy Houthi missile and drones launched toward warship

US forces destroyed Houthi weapons launched from Yemen toward a warship in the Red Sea on Wednesday, according to US Central Command (CENTCOM).

The USS Gravely, a guided missile destroyer, along with CENTCOM forces destroyed an anti-ship ballistic missile and two drones launched by Houthis.

There were no injuries or damage to the ship, CENTCOM said.

Around the same time, US forces “destroyed a mobile surface-to-air missile system in Houthi controlled territory,” CENTCOM said.

Some context: Iran-backed Houthi rebels have been striking ships in the Red Sea since late last year, which they say is revenge against Israel for its military campaign in Gaza.

Most of these missile and drone attacks have been intercepted by US or coalition destroyers or landed harmlessly in the water.

The United States and Britain have conducted multiple rounds of airstrikes on Houthi positions in Yemen in recent months, but that has not stopped the attacks. The rebel group has continued to fortify its weapons stockpile in Yemen, CNN previously reported.

8:24 p.m. ET, April 3, 2024

In a post in Hebrew, Iran's supreme leader warns Israel it will regret attacking consulate in Damascus

From CNN's Tawfeeq Mohammed

Emergency services work at a building hit by an airstrike in Damascus, Syria, on April 1.
Emergency services work at a building hit by an airstrike in Damascus, Syria, on April 1. Omar Sanadiki/AP

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday warned Israel that it will regret carrying out a deadly strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on Monday.

"With God's help, we will make the Zionists sorry for their crime of aggression against the Iranian consulate in Damascus," Khamenei said in an early morning post on X in Hebrew.

Iran has vowed to retaliate after it accused Israel of bombing its embassy complex in Syria's capital, in a deadly escalation of regional tensions over the war in Gaza that once again appeared to raise the risk of a wider Middle Eastern conflict.

The airstrike destroyed the consulate building in the Syrian capital, killing at least seven officials, including Mohammed Reza Zahedi, a top commander in Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and senior commander Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, according to Iran's foreign ministry.

The Israeli military told CNN it does not comment on foreign reports. However, a military spokesperson said Israel believes the target struck was a "military building of Quds forces," a unit of the IRGC responsible for foreign operations.

9:38 p.m. ET, April 3, 2024

US demanding Israeli military make changes to help protect aid workers in Gaza, US official says

From CNN's Kayla Tausche

The Biden administration, in private conversations with the Israel Defense Forces and members of the Israeli government, has demanded that the military make changes to the way information is transmitted about where aid workers are stationed, according to a US official.

President Joe Biden also plans to communicate that in his phone call Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the official added.

“Either the information [about the convoy] didn’t make it past the targeting team, or it was disregarded. Either way it’s a problem,” this official tells CNN.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant instructed forces Tuesday to “maintain an open and transparent line of communication” with international organizations on actions being taken after an Israeli airstrike killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in Gaza.

But as the rhetoric from the White House intensifies, it’s become increasingly divorced from the Biden administration’s stated policy on Israel, which continues to receive steadfast, unconditional support in the form of billions of dollars of military aid.

Asked why there had not been “consequences” for Israel as a result of the strike, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “We are having conversations with the Israeli government… those conversations have been tough.”

9:39 p.m. ET, April 3, 2024

Biden will express frustrations after death of aid workers in call with Netanyahu tomorrow, official says

From CNN's MJ Lee

People inspect the site where World Central Kitchen workers were killed in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, on April 2.
People inspect the site where World Central Kitchen workers were killed in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, on April 2. Abdel Kareem Hana/AP

US President Joe Biden will speak to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, according to a US official.

This would mark the two leaders' first conversation since Israel killed seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in a strike in Gaza.

In the aftermath of those deaths, a senior administration official said Biden is “angry” and “increasingly frustrated." The president is fully prepared to make his point of view known to Netanyahu in their conversation, the official added.

“He will express those frustrations,” the official said.

White House officials have emphasized that the US’ stance in supporting Israel’s current military operation remains unchanged.  

There has been no “shift in policy,” the official said, but rather a shift in "the president’s frustrations.”

And while the aid worker deaths will serve as the urgent backdrop, Biden is also expected to discuss other issues, including ramping up humanitarian aid to Gaza, the ongoing hostages and ceasefire deal talks, as well as the US’ concerns about a potential ground incursion into Rafah.

The post has been updated with more details from a senior administration official.

5:46 p.m. ET, April 3, 2024

Biden set to speak to Netanyahu after expressing outrage over death of aid workers. Catch up on the latest 

From CNN staff

World Central Kitchen has yet to decide when it will resume its humanitarian operations in Gaza after seven workers were killed Monday night in an Israel airstrike.

WCK founder José Andrés accused Israel of systematically targeting the aid convoy

A United Nations aid agency is also suspending its movements at night for at least 48 hours, spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said after the attack that, according to a CNN analysis, appeared to have consisted of multiple precision strikes.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden, who expressed outrage over the strike, will speak to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, according to a US official.

Here's the other news from the region:

  • Rafah offensive: The White House is looking to have an in-person meeting with senior officials from Israel next week about potential military operations in the southern Gaza city of Rafah after holding a virtual meeting earlier this week. Meanwhile, a statement signed by 13 leading humanitarian and human rights organizations Wednesday called for urgent international action to stop Israel from escalating military operations in Rafah.
  • Protests in Israel: Family members of the hostages held in Gaza stormed into a gathering of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, on Wednesday. Video posted to X by the Knesset showed family members stepping over seats and putting handprints in yellow paint on the glass above the parliament. Meanwhile, opposition figures have called for fresh elections as Netanyahu faces pressure amid war.
  • US on ceasefire: Biden “expressed his commitment to continue working to secure an immediate ceasefire as part of a deal to free the hostages and significantly increase humanitarian aid into Gaza,” during a contentious meeting with Muslim leaders at the White House on Tuesday, administration officials said on Wednesday.
5:51 p.m. ET, April 3, 2024

World Central Kitchen has yet to decide when to resume Gaza operations

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio in Jerusalem

World Central Kitchen (WCK) said in a statement Wednesday that a determination has not yet been made about when the non-profit will resume operations in Gaza. 

WCK said all of its aid ships are now back in Cyprus 

WCK suspended its operations in Gaza after Israeli airstrikes killed seven of its team members on Monday.

More about WCK: The non-profit has provided food aid in warzones and regions recovering from natural disasters since its founding by chef José Andrés in 2010. Andrés created the organization after traveling to Haiti that year to cook for civilians following a devastating earthquake. Since then, the WCK has quickly become one of the world’s foremost food aid providers.

4:32 p.m. ET, April 3, 2024

Aid boat left Gaza without offloading most of its cargo after deadly strike, Cyprus says

From CNN’s Chris Liakos and Niamh Kennedy

A cargo ship with humanitarian aid approaches the port of Larnaca, Cyprus, on April 3 after pausing the mission of delivering humanitarian aid for Gaza.
A cargo ship with humanitarian aid approaches the port of Larnaca, Cyprus, on April 3 after pausing the mission of delivering humanitarian aid for Gaza. Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters

A boat carrying roughly 332 tons of humanitarian aid left Gaza without offloading most of its cargo following the deadly Israeli military strike which killed several aid workers, according to the Cypriot foreign ministry.

The vessel organized by the non-profit World Central Kitchen (WCK) set sail back to Cyprus following the strike on Monday that killed seven WCK staff, said Theodoros Gotsis, a spokesperson for the ministry. 

After unloading some cargo on Monday, workers had planned to unload a further 240 tons of aid, Gotsis said Wednesday. But, after the strike, the WCK announced an immediate pause to operations in the region.