Israel-Gaza live updates: Israelis fired 3 missiles in limited strike

pawel.gaul/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Israel, early Friday morning local time, launched a retaliatory strike against Iran, a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

The strike follow Iran's attack last Saturday, where the country sent a volley of more than 300 uncrewed drones and missiles toward targets throughout the country, Israeli military officials previously said. All but a few were intercepted by Israel and its allies, including the United States, officials said.

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

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country's war cabinet have met several times since the Iran strikes, and as ABC News previously reported, at least two strikes were previously aborted.

Here's how the news is developing:

Apr 19, 12:22 PM
G7 foreign ministers: Iran should be held accountable for 'malicious and destabilizing actions'

The foreign ministers at the G7 meeting in Capri, Italy, issued a lengthy statement condemning Iran’s weekend attack on Israel.

"We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, condemn in the strongest terms Iran’s direct and unprecedented attack against Israel of April 13-14, which Israel defeated with the help of its partners. This was a dangerous escalation, as Iran fired hundreds of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones," the leaders said.

"We will hold the Iranian government accountable for its malicious and destabilizing actions and we stand ready to adopt further sanctions or take other measures, now and in response to further destabilizing initiatives," the leaders said.

They added, "In light of reports of strikes on April 19th [from Israel to Iran], we urge all parties to work to prevent further escalation."

The G7 leaders also called on Israel to do more to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.

-ABC News’ Anne Flaherty

Apr 19, 11:24 AM
House votes to advance foreign aid bills, including $26B for Israel

The House on Friday cleared a key procedural hurdle in passing foreign aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan, despite dozens of Republican defections, with Democrats helping Speaker Mike Johnson avoid a defeat.

The Israel bill would provide roughly $26 billion in aid.

Its passage means the House will debate the bills Saturday morning before voting Saturday afternoon to send it to the Senate.

Apr 19, 11:08 AM
Israelis fired 3 missiles in limited strike

Three missiles were fired from Israeli fighter aircraft outside of Iran in Friday morning’s very limited strike, according to a senior U.S. official.

The Israelis were targeting an air defense radar site near Isfahan that’s part of the protection of the Natanz nuclear facility, the official said. The first assessment is that the strike took out the site, but assessment hasn’t been completed, the official said.

The strike was intended to send a signal to Iran that Israel has these capabilities, but was not looking to escalate the situation, according to the official.

Apr 19, 7:46 AM
Blinken says US 'not involved' in Israel's strike on Iran

United States Secretary of State Antony has denied any U.S. involvement in Israel's retaliatory strike on Iran.

Blinken was asked at a press conference early Friday morning if Israel told the United States in advance of the strikes in Iran.

“I’m not going to respond,” Blinken said. He went on to say that “the U.S. was not involved in any U.S. offensive.”

Apr 19, 4:14 AM
No damage to Iran’s nuclear sites after Israeli strike: IAEA

Iran's nuclear sites have not been damaged by Israel's strike on Iran early Friday morning, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In a statement released on social media, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi says he "continues to call for extreme restraint from everybody and reiterates that nuclear facilities should never be a target in military conflicts."

Apr 19, 12:49 AM
Flight operations resume in Iran: State media

After suspending flights at several airports following reports of an explosion in Iran, Iranian state media said early Friday normal operations have resumed.

Apr 18, 10:31 PM
Flights to Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz suspended after reports of explosion in Iran: Iranian state media

Flights to Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz have been suspended following reports an explosion was heard in the city of Qahjavaristan, Iranian state media reported.

The city of Qahjavaristan is located near Isfahan Airport and the 8th Shekhari Base of the Army Air Force in the northwest of Isfahan.

Apr 18, 9:27 PM
Israeli missiles have hit a site in Iran

A U.S. official confirmed to ABC News Israeli missiles have hit a site in Iran. The official could not confirm whether Syria and Iraq sites were hit as well.

Apr 18, 4:19 PM
In meeting with Israelis, US officials 'expressed concerns' over Rafah

In a Thursday meeting between U.S. and Israeli officials, the two sides discussed the attack by Iran as well as the Israeli military's plans for an operation in Rafah in Gaza, according to the White House.

During the meeting, the "U.S. participants expressed concerns with various courses of action in Rafah," according to a White House readout.

"Israeli participants agreed to take these concerns into account and to have further follow up discussions between experts, overseen by the U.S.-Israel Strategic Consultative Group," and the officials agreed to meet again "soon," according to the White House.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan convened the meeting and the Israeli side was led by Minister for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer and national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi.

Apr 18, 2:38 PM
Israel makes significant process in preparations for Rafah evacuations: Source

Israel has made significant progress in preparations for the evacuation of around 1 million civilians from Rafah ahead of the Israeli military’s impending operation in the southern Gaza city, according to an Israeli source.

Preparations have been ongoing for over a month, including repairing water and sewage pipes and amassing thousands of tents, the source said

There are around 1.5 million Palestinians estimated to be in the Khan Younis and Rafah areas in southern Gaza. It’s believed around 1 million people would evacuate north. The evacuation process, which could take weeks, would not start until after Passover.

State Department principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel stressed to reporters that "any kind of forced relocation or displacement of the Palestinian people within Gaza cannot and should not be part of any plan or an operation."

Apr 18, 12:52 PM
US, Israeli officials to hold high-level meeting on Rafah plans

U.S. and Israeli officials will hold a high-level, virtual meeting on Thursday about alternative plans for an Israeli military operation in Rafah, a White House official confirmed to ABC News.

The official said that it will be a secure video meeting that will follow up on discussions from earlier this month. National security adviser Jake Sullivan will lead the meeting for the U.S. side, the official said.

The meeting was first reported by Axios.

"The main purpose really is to talk about Rafah ... and also share our continued concerns over a major ground offensive there," White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby said.

Apr 18, 9:41 AM
US sanctions 16 people, two groups after Iran attacks

The U.S. is sanctioning two groups and 16 people it says enabled Iran's drone production following Iran's attack on Israel last weekend.

"Today, in coordination with the United Kingdom and in consultation with partners and allies, we are taking swift and decisive action to respond to Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. "We’re using Treasury’s economic tools to degrade and disrupt key aspects of Iran’s malign activity, including its UAV program and the revenue the regime generates to support its terrorism."

The Treasury Department said it’s sanctioning Khuzestan Steel Company, Iran's largest steel producer. The Treasury Department said Iran's metals sector generates "several billion dollars in revenue annually."

The U.S. is also targeting the Iranian carmaker Bahman Group for its role in making vehicles used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for military operations.

The sanctions also target people who work for Iran-based drone manufacturers, including executives of the Mado Company, which the U.S. says produced drone engines used in Iran's Shahed UAVs. The U.S. also sanctioned members of the IRGC who it says help supply proxy groups, like the Houthis in Yemen, with drones that have attacked U.S. service members in the Red Sea.

Yellen added that the U.S. would "continue to deploy" sanctions to counter any further action by Iran, with the goal of making it harder and more expensive for Iran to undertake destabilizing actions.

Apr 17, 6:16 PM
Israel not likely to carry out strike until after Passover: US official

Israel is unlikely to carry out a strike on Iran until after Passover, a senior U.S. official told ABC News, although that could always change.

Passover begins on Monday and ends after nightfall on April 30.

The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and other leadership are still on a high state of alert, with some in safe houses and underground facilities, the official said.

Apr 17, 5:50 PM
Israel aborted strikes against Iran 2 nights this week: Sources

Israel prepared for and then aborted retaliatory strikes against Iran on at least two nights this past week, three Israeli sources told ABC News.

Iran attacked Israel with more than 300 drones and missiles on Saturday night into Sunday morning local time in Israel. Israel has been weighing how and when to respond to Iran's attack since then, holding war cabinet meetings on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

The members of the Israeli war cabinet are Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister Benny Gantz and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

A range of responses have been presented to the Israeli war cabinet. The potential responses include options ranging from attacking Iranian proxies in the region but not on Iranian soil to a potential cyber attack, sources told ABC News.

There was no war cabinet meeting on Wednesday, but Netanyahu told his government cabinet that while he appreciates the advice from allies, Israel will "make our own decisions, and the State of Israel will do everything necessary to defend itself."

-ABC News' Matt Gutman and Jordana Miller

Apr 17, 3:02 PM
Iranian president: Israel invasion would be met with 'massive' response

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said at an army parade Wednesday that "the tiniest invasion" from Israel will be met with a "very massive and harsh response."

Apr 17, 2:26 PM
House GOP package totals $14.1 billion for Israel

House Republicans have posted the legislative text for three national security bills, addressing Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific.

For Israel, lawmakers have crafted a package totaling $14.1 billion, including: $4 billion for missile defense; $1.2 billion for Iron Beam; $4 billion replenishment of stocks to the Department of Defense; and $3.5 billion for Israel to purchase U.S. weapons.

"The House must pass the package this week and the Senate should quickly follow," President Joe Biden said in a statement. "I will sign this into law immediately to send a message to the world: We stand with our friends, and we won’t let Iran or Russia succeed."

Apr 17, 1:12 PM
Netanyahu: Israel 'will make our own decisions' on how to respond to Iran

After meeting with U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he appreciates their advice, but added, "We will make our own decisions and the State of Israel will do everything necessary to defend itself."

Cameron told reporters after the meeting in Jerusalem, "It's clear the Israelis are making a decision to act."

"We hope they do so in a way that does as little to escalate this as possible, and in a way that -- as I said yesterday -- is smart as well as tough," Cameron added.

Cameron also reiterated that the "real need is to refocus back on Hamas, back on the hostages, back on getting the aid in, back on getting a pause in the conflict in Gaza."

"That's why I'm here today to talk to the Israeli government, to talk to the Palestinian Authority to try and push those things forward," Cameron said.

-ABC News’ Ellie Kaufman

Apr 16, 7:04 PM
US says it will impose new sanctions on Iran in coming days

The United States announced Tuesday it will impose new sanctions targeting Iran in the coming days following its "unprecedented air attack against Israel."

The sanctions include targeting Iran's missile and drone program and new sanctions against entities supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran’s Defense Ministry, according to the White House's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.

"We anticipate that our allies and partners will soon be following with their own sanctions,” Sullivan said in a statement. "We will not hesitate to continue to take action, in coordination with allies and partners around the world, and with Congress, to hold the Iranian government accountable for its malicious and destabilizing actions."

The U.S. is telegraphing its sanction plan in advance to underscore the large international response that the U.S. is coordinating and to signal to Iran there will be diplomatic costs to what they've done, a senior administration official told ABC News. The official said they believe this will have an impact, in part, by bringing other countries on board.

Apr 16, 4:08 PM
IDF's conduct, ethics under scrutiny following soldiers' social media posts

Six months into the Israel-Hamas conflict, the conduct and ethics of some Israel Defense Forces members have increasingly come under the microscope.

Incidents ranging from pranks to potentially criminal acts are being exposed to the world, often by videos soldiers themselves have posted online, according to critics and Israeli officials.

In many pictures and videos that have circulated since the conflict began, and which were reposted by pro-Palestinian activists to millions of followers, IDF soldiers are seen blowing up buildings in Gaza while in combat, waving women’s underwear like flags and rifling through the possessions of Gazans with gleeful expressions.

Younis Tirawi, a Palestinian activist, says he’s seen thousands of videos of IDF soldiers reportedly behaving improperly.

"You can see all the soldiers liking their posts," Tirawi told ABC News.

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.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

For second time in a week, Russian strike in Ukraine kills and wounds dozens of civilians

Getty Images - STOCK

(LONDON) -- For the second time this week, Russian strikes have caused significant civilian casualties in a key Ukrainian city as Russian missiles hit areas around the southeastern city of Dnipro on Friday, killing at least 8 people -- including two children -- and wounding nearly 30 more.

Two days earlier, Russian missiles struck the center of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine, killing at least 18 and injuring nearly 80 more -- one of the deadliest strikes in months.

Friday’s strikes in Dnipro damaged several floors of a residential building as well as the station, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a statement.

The strikes underline a shift in the war that has intensified in the past few weeks that has seen far more Russian airstrikes start to get through and Russian bombing broaden in scale as Ukrainian air defenses run out.

Russian bombing using missiles and drones now hit Ukrainian cities virtually every night, and in some cities, appear to have become once again more indiscriminate. The number of civilians dying has dramatically risen as have the number of successful Russian strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure.

Pennsylvania board's cancellation of gay actor's school visit ill-advised, education leaders say
The United Nations says it has recorded a steep rise in the number of civilian casualties as the U.N. Human Rights Monitoring mission says it has verified at least 604 civilians killed or injured in March, a 20% increase from February.

Russia has improved its tactics for launching air attacks at the exact same time as Ukraine’s air defense has become far more porous as the are now short on ammunition with American military aid stalled in Congress.

While Ukraine has been largely able to protect Kyiv and Lviv, it lacks sufficient air defense systems to cover most keys cities outside the capital. Some experts and Ukrainian officials have expressed particular fear for Kharkiv, saying they worry Russia hopes to use constant strikes to make Ukraine’s second largest city -- home to a million people -- unlivable.

Meanwhile, President Zelensky has urged Ukraine’s allies to provide more air defense support urgently.

He and other Ukrainian officials have also noted that the U.S. and other western countries had intervened with their own militaries to protect Israel from the massive missile and drone attack launched by Iran on Sunday, suggesting the same could be done to shield Ukraine.

Zelensky on Friday, again, said Ukraine’s partners had the means to help stop Russian strikes.

“The world can guarantee this, the partners have the necessary capabilities. This has been proven particularly in the skies of the Middle East, and it should work in the skies of Europe,” Zelensky wrote in a post on his Telegram account.

The U.S. House of Representatives is poised to vote on the long-stalled security package worth tens of billions of dollars in military aid for Ukraine this weekend after Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson moved to put it forward along with separate aid bills for Israel and Taiwan.

The vote’s outcome still hangs in the balance, however, with far right, pro-Trump Republicans threatening to try to oust Johnson if he goes ahead with it. Johnson has vowed to put the measures to a vote even if it costs him his job.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

How the UN Plastics Treaty aims to tackle the pollution crisis

Scavengers collect plastic waste to sell to a recycling centre at a landfill in Medan, North Sumatra, March 27, 2024. (Kartik Byma/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) -- As Earth Day 2024 puts a spotlight on the world's climate crisis, negotiators from 175 countries are gathering for the fourth round of the United Nations Plastics Treaty negotiations next week in Canada.

Held in Ottowa, Canada, from April 23-29, the last major round of negotiations will bring together the treaty's Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to draft a global, legally binding agreement by the end of 2024, according to the U.N.

The negotiations begin immediately following Earth Day on Monday, April 22.

"Global plastic production and consumption has grown exponentially since the 1950s and is set to increase by 70% by 2040 if business continues as usual," the INC reported in a press release ahead of the negotiations.

"This requires a new, shared global vision where plastic pollution is not an option, coupled with the set of targets, policy instruments and mechanisms that will lead and enable the shift towards this vision," the committee reported.

The agreement is titled "End Plastic Pollution: Towards an internationally legally binding instrument" and is expected to be finalized in late 2024 in Busan, Korea.

The INC previously met for negotiations in December 2022 in Uruguay, May 2023 in France and November 2023 in Kenya.

What is the UN Plastics Treaty?

The U.N. Plastics Treaty will be a legally binding global agreement between 175 countries that will dictate the action and timeline needed to mitigate the production and consumption of high-risk plastic, according to the intergovernmental organization.

Addressing the "full lifecycle of plastic from source to sea" the U.N. will bring together heads of state, ministers of environment and other representatives from U.N. Member States to agree upon the treaty.

According to the U.N.'s resolution, published after the negotiations in Kenya, some key points the treaty may include are:

  • Determining where the life cycle of plastic production begins, and potentially capping primary plastic polymer production.
  • The "Zero Draft" of the plastics treaty aims to promote better the sustainable production of plastics for packaging through product design and environmentally sound waste management
  • Addressing the world's oceans, the treaty may aim to advance national and international cooperative plastic reduction measures aimed at pollution in marine environments.
  • Specifying national reporting to the INC, when appropriate, and assessing the progress and effectiveness of the agreement.
  • Initiating a multi-stakeholder action agenda, including the private sector, to promote cooperation at the local, national, regional and global levels.
  • The treaty may aim to specify arrangements for capacity-building and technical assistance, mutually agreed technology transfer terms and financial assistance.

These are key points that may not be in the finalized treaty, however, are areas of interest in the negotiation process.

Why plastics are a problem

The rate of plastic production has grown faster than any other man-made material since the 1970s, according to the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP).

Approximately 36% of all plastics produced are used in packaging, which includes single-use plastic for food and beverage containers, the U.N. reports, noting, approximately 85% of those single-use products end up in landfills or as unregulated waste.

If there is no action to mitigate the production of single-use plastics, global production is forecast to reach 1,100 million tonnes by 2050, the U.N. reports.

Approximately 98% of single-use plastic products are produced from fossil fuels, according to the U.N., and by 2040, fossil fuel-based plastics are forecast to grow to 19% of the global carbon budget by 2040.

"Plastic has been found everywhere, not only in ecosystems in the atmosphere, but also in the food we eat, the water we drink, and even inside of our bodies," Renee Sharp, director of Plastics and Petrochemical Advocacy for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said during a webinar on April 17.

Serious human health problems associated with plastics include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, respiratory issues, reproductive and hormone problems, asthma and more, according to Sharp.

Plastics may contain any mix of more than 16,000 different chemicals, and at least 4,200 of those chemicals are "highly hazardous to human and environmental health," according to a PlastChem Project study, released in March.

"The science around plastic and the health of chemicals in plastic points to the need for a collective global response," Sharp said. "This is not an issue that we can solve country by country, state by state -- we really have to be thinking about this internationally."

What experts are saying about the treaty

Inger Andersen, executive director of the UNEP, said the agreement is the most important international multilateral environmental deal since the Paris climate accord.

"It is an insurance policy for this generation and future ones, so they may live with plastic and not be doomed by it," Andersen said in a press release following the treaty negotiations in Kenya.

A Greenpeace International survey published in April found 82% of respondents from 19 different countries support cutting the production of plastic to stop plastic pollution and 90% of respondents endorse transitioning away from single-use plastic packaging.

Graham Forbes, Greenpeace's head of delegation to the Global Plastics Treaty negotiations believes, "The vast majority of people want a Global Plastics Treaty that cuts plastic production and ends single-use plastic. It is time for world leaders to listen and rise to the occasion," he said in an April 4 press release.

Benny Mermans, chair of the World Plastics Council, said an "effective global agreement" is needed to "incentivize the billions of dollars of additional investment required to tackle plastic pollution," he said in an April 15 press release.

"Our members are investing billions of dollars in infrastructure to scale-up the supply of circular plastics, so that used plastics are prevented from entering the environment as waste, landfill or via incineration, and instead become new plastics," Mermans said.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Injured in a Russian strike, a 13-year-old Ukrainian girl runs to raise money for other victims

Unbroken Ukraine

(KYIV, Ukraine) -- A Russian missile strike on April 8, 2022, changed Yana Stepanenko's life forever.

She was at a railway station in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, with her mom, Natalia, and brother, Yaroslav, when a missile hit, killing more than 60 people. She lost her legs. Her mom lost the left one. 

A tragic story of loss turned into an example of resilience and growth thanks to the Ukrainian and American doctors who treated the girl. Stepanenko, who is now 13, ran a 5K at the 2024 Boston Marathon on Saturday to show the courage and strength of Ukrainians and to raise money for a Ukrainian soldier.

After a few months of treatment in Lviv, in western Ukraine, the family went to San Diego thanks to Peter Harsch Prosthetics and The Right to Walk Foundation.

It was the most difficult year of their life, the family recalled. But thanks to the American surgeons and physiotherapists, Natalia and Yana quickly gathered their shattered selves together, and the girl even started swimming in the pool again. But, as she's still growing, she constantly needs to change her prosthesis, so there's still a lot ahead, her mom said.

Despite all the horrors and difficulties, Yana set a big goal for herself.

In August 2023 she came back to Lviv, to continue rehabilitation at the Unbroken Ukraine center. She became an ambassador of the clinics, raising money for the kid's treatment. And later at this center she got acquainted with Oleksandr Riasnyi, a soldier who lost his limb in fighting.

As he aims to get back to service and start running, Yana decided to help him raise money for a new prosthesis. Part of the campaign was her own challenge -- the girl registered to run the 5K in Boston.

"I never thought I would participate in such a race. I was really, really nervous!" Yana said, recalling the start of her training three months ago.

Yana was invited to the United States by One World Strong organization, which is helping people get back on their feet after losing their limbs.

The girl was persistently training four times a week, supported by her family and Ukrainian doctors.

Right before the marathon, the fear kicked in, she said.

"I was afraid I just won't be able to even walk the whole distance," she said.

And yet in several minutes she crossed the finish line running with a smile on her face, greeted by her mom, brother and friends.

"I'm incredibly proud! She's a wonderful kid, a wonderful family! They are all fantastic to work with," said Dave Fortier from One World Strong. "Yana uses movement to heal. And we set up our organization to help people to do that. So, to give them the opportunity to do things just like this, no matter where they are from in the world!"

Yana turned 13 on April 16. And she said she got the best present ever.

"We raised half a million hryvnias for a running prosthesis for Oleksandr! Now he will be able to run like me," she said. "I'm incredibly happy!"

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Some Iranian women say they fear war with Israel amid violent hijab crackdown

KeithBinns/Getty Images

(LONDON) -- In the wake of Iran's unprecedented airstrikes on Israel, dozens of Iranians gathered in Tehran's Palestine Square earlier this week to celebrate what the Iranian regime described as a retaliatory attack.

But interviews with women on the ground indicate that the scene, broadcast by Iranian state-run media in a country that lacks a free press, is not representative of how many other Iranians -- particularly women -- are feeling as Israel weighs its response.

ABC News spoke to several women in Iran who said the fear of an imminent war has been added to a long list of worries and hardships they have been grappling with for years. Their names have been changed due to concerns for their safety.

"The fear of the war is so crippling," Ramesh, a 30-year-old designer and architect, told ABC News via telephone on Wednesday. "And imagine on top of that is the anxiety of getting arrested by the hijab police and the stress of not being able to afford the rent for our flat every single month."

Iran sent a barrage of more than 300 different types of drones and missiles toward Israel late Saturday, days after a suspected Israeli airstrike hit the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria. The strike on the consulate killed seven people, including a top Iranian commander. Israel has not confirmed that it was behind the attack on the Iranian consulate but has not denied it.

All but a few of Iran's missiles and drones were intercepted by Israel and its allies, including the United States, officials said.

The incident over the weekend came six months into a brutal war between Israel and Hamas, an Iran-backed Palestinian terrorist group that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas led a surprise incursion into neighboring Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, killing about 1,200 people and taking more than 200 others hostage, with 129 believed to still remain in captivity in Gaza, according to the Israeli Prime Minister's Office. Since Oct. 7, Israeli forces have killed almost 34,000 people and injured more than 76,000 others in Gaza amid ongoing ground operations and aerial bombardment of the strip, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health.

A few hours after Saturday's retaliatory attack on Israel, Iranian authorities launched a new operation to arrest women who refuse to abide by the country’s law mandating they wear a hijab, covering their entire body except for their face, hands and feet. The operation, introduced by the police and dubbed "The Light Plan," aims to detain women who have ignored previous warnings about their dress from the country's so-called morality police, who regularly patrol the streets of Tehran and other cities, the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) reported.

Images and videos of the latest hijab crackdown have surfaced on social media, with several Iranian women posting photos of what they say are bruises from being beaten by the morality police. One video purportedly shows Iranian police officers surrounding a woman and forcing her into a white van during a patrol.

"Imagine you turn on your TV to get news about the war and the danger you are living, and what you see is the news about the new round of the morality police operation," Ramesh said. "It seems what the regime cares about most is that if there is a war and my house collapses over my head, my corpse is dragged out of the rubble with a scarf covering my hair."

"We are on the verge of an all-out war and what is it that the state media tells us? A new round of the hijab police activities," she added. "Iran says its attack on Israel was a retaliation for the 12 people Israel killed in Syria. But we know at the end we, 80 million Iranians, will be paying the price."

Azam, a 35-year-old housewife and mother, said she "couldn't sleep" the night she saw the news about Iran's strikes on Israel.

"I went to my daughter's room and held her and grabbed her from sleep, and then I went to my son's room and held him," Azam told ABC News via telephone on Tuesday. "All I am worried about now is that if there is a war and they attack us, we may get hurt or separated."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel "will make our own decisions [about its response to Iran's attack] and the State of Israel will do everything necessary to defend itself." U.S. and U.K. officials have said they don't wish to see the situation escalate.

Maral, a 28-year-old website developer, said she and her family are living in "a horrible atmosphere of distress and anxiety," fearing they are "just tools in the hands of those in power."

"I am in shock and very worried about Israel's response," Maral told ABC News via telephone on Tuesday, adding that she has urged relatives who live in a town near one of Iran's nuclear facilities to pack their things and come stay with them in case Israel decides to target such sites.

"Another bitter thing here is the divide between people," she said. "The minority that are still supporters of the regime keep saying we need to stick together if the war happens, but many others are tired of the regime. Everything is so expensive and I am afraid of things getting even more expensive."

Iran's economy and, subsequently, its people have suffered under years of widespread corruption and international sanctions. The value of the country’s currency, the rial, has plummeted 22 times in the past 10 years. In 2019, following the failure of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, one U.S. dollar was equal to 130,000 Iranian rials. This week, after the Iranian strikes on Israel, the rial fell to 650,000 per dollar.

The high inflation rate and currency devaluation have left many Iranians struggling to afford basic necessities, including food. Zahra, a 65-year-old housewife and grandmother, said a kilogram (just over 2 pounds) of beef currently costs 7 million rials (about $11), which is expensive for a household that only earns 100 million rials (about $150) per month.

"We don't buy red meat or even chicken as much," Zahra told ABC News via telephone on Wednesday.

Zahra said she fears things will get worse if Israel's war in Gaza, which the United Nations warns has triggered a humanitarian crisis and imminent famine, spreads to her own doorstep in Iran. The concern of a wider war in the Middle East has been echoed by many regional analysts and experts.

"I have seen how innocent children are being killed, I have seen the hospitals being targeted in Gaza," Zahra added. "I told my granddaughter that everything was going to be alright and I kept telling myself the same, too."

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Polish citizen accused of spying for Russia in potential plot to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- A Polish citizen was arrested for allegedly spying for the Russian government as part of a potential assassination attempt against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the top prosecutors in Poland and Ukraine said Thursday.

The Polish citizen, identified as Pawel K., was charged with readiness to act for foreign intelligence against the Republic of Poland, the Polish National Prosecutor's Office said in a press release.

The suspect allegedly "proactively established contact" with Russian military command representatives and "informed them of his readiness to cooperate" with the Russian Federation's foreign military intelligence agency, according to Andriy Kostin, the Ukrainian prosecutor general.

The suspect's alleged tasks for the Russian government included collecting and providing the agency with information on the security of the Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport, an international airport in Jasionka in southeastern Poland, Polish and Ukrainian officials said.

"This was to help Russian special services plan a possible assassination attempt on the Ukrainian President during his presence in Poland," Kostin said in a statement on X.

The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine forwarded information about the suspect to their Polish counterpart and "key evidence" was obtained by Ukraine during the investigation, the Polish National Prosecutor's Office said in the release. The suspect was detained on Wednesday and the investigation is ongoing, the office said.

If convicted, the suspect could face up to eight years in prison, the office said.

"This case underscores the persistent threat Russia poses not only to Ukraine and Ukrainians but to the entire free world," Kostin said. "The Kremlin's criminal regime is constantly trying to undermine European and global security. It organizes and carries out sabotage operations on the territory of other sovereign states."

Zelenskyy last visited Poland in April 2023, receiving a massive welcome from its citizens and President Andrzej Duda. Poland lies on the western border of Ukraine and took in many refugees who fled from Ukraine in the immediate aftermath of the Russian invasion.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Israel should not directly attack Iranian soil, ex commanders say

An Israeli army F-15 fighter jet flies over central Israel on April 15, 2024. (Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images)

(TEL AVIV, Israel) -- Two former senior Israeli military officials said a direct military strike against Iranian territory would not be in Israel's best interests.

Retired Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland, who was head of Israel's National Security Council from 2004 to 2006, said the alliance that helped Israel successfully defend itself from Iran's first-ever direct attack against Israeli territory on Sunday has proven "that Israel cannot do everything alone."

Eiland said Iran's attack and the defensive military support and intelligence Israeli received from a coalition -- led by the U.S. and including European and Arab states -- has reversed Israel's growing isolation in relation to the war in Gaza. That sentiment is shared by retired Israeli Col. Miri Eisin.

Both former Israeli officers told ABC News that Israel should now capitalize on that sense of renewed support, both from allies and other regional players, like Jordan and Saudi Arabia, who also view Iran as a regional threat.

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.

Eisin said Israel now needs to deter Iran and other adversaries from conducting future attacks. However, she said, effective deterrence would also mean working with the consent of key partners, such as the U.S., adding that allies should not be kept "out of the room."

The Biden administration has said it would not take part in any Israeli response. U.S. officials, however, are urging Israel to show restraint.

Eiland, who led the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) planning branch from 2001 to 2003, said the Israeli military is, theoretically, capable of causing "terrible destruction to the Iranian energy sector" -- either to its oil fields or by orchestrating an attack that could "shut down the electricity" to Tehran.

The Israeli government has not ruled out a direct military strike against Iranian military territory, and Eiland conceded there was a "temptation" for Israel "to try something dramatic."

Israel is unlikely to carry out a strike on Iran until after Passover, which ends after nighfall on April 30, a senior U.S. official told ABC News, although that could always change.

However, Eiland said a direct military strike against Iran would risk sparking "a real cycle of violence" between Israel and Iran that would endanger the entire region.

He also warned that Israel might not be ready or have the ammunition to conduct a drawn-out war with Iran. As a former officer he would not have access to information on Israel's current ammunition stocks, however Israel is hoping that the U.S. Congress will soon sign-off on additional military aid for the IDF.

Congress is set to vote on the matter on Saturday, although Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson is facing opposition from some fellow Republicans on a separate vote for aid for Ukraine.

Eiland said Israel does have the capability to carry out more covert forms of attacks against Iranian territory, which would not involve a kinetic military strike.

He said cyberattacks could be one possible category of covert attack that Israel could consider but said there could be "some other creative solutions," which, because of their sensitive nature, he could not disclose.

Instead of a direct military strike against Iranian territory, Israel should increase attacks against Iran's proxies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon, both former Israeli military officers said.

Eisin, who is now managing director of the International Institute for Counterterrorism, an Israeli think-tank, said Israel should ensure that through its response it retakes the "initiative" and "defines the rules," by significantly increasing attacks on pro-Iranian Shiite militias in Syria, as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The IDF announced on Tuesday that it had killed two Hezbollah commanders in two separate attacks in Lebanon. However, there has been no official confirmation that those attacks were part of Israel's response to the Iranian attack on Saturday night.

That attack, widely attributed to, but not officially claimed, by Israel, killed seven members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, including two generals, and precipitated Saturday's first-ever direct missile and drone attack by Iran against Israeli territory.

Eiland denied Israel miscalculated by not anticipating that Iran would launch a direct military strike involving more than a hundred ballistic missiles, and argued that by degrading the capabilities of Iran's proxies in the region, Israel was conducting self defense.

The former Israeli major general also said Israel should issue an ultimatum to Hezbollah for it to halt its attacks, which have been occurring on a daily basis across Israel's northern border since Israel launched its war in Gaza following the Oct. 7 terror attack in southern Israel.

For more than six months, around 70,000 Israeli citizens have been displaced from their homes in communities near the Israeli border with Lebanon.

Eiland said Israel should threaten another major ground war against Lebanon if Hezbollah refused to halt its attacks.

At the same time, he argued that Israel should halt its war against Hamas in Gaza in return for the release of all of the remaining hostages.

Hezbollah and the Yemen-based, Iranian-backed Houthis have said their attacks against Israel are a response to Israel's war in Gaza.

However, the Israeli government has repeatedly said the war in Gaza cannot end before Israel launches a military ground operation into the southern city of Rafah, where it believes thousands of Hamas fighters are still stationed.

The former major general said an offensive in Rafah would make little difference to the security threat posed by Hamas, because "80%" of its military capabilities had already been destroyed. 

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Prince William attends first royal engagement after Kate Middleton cancer announcement

Prince William, Prince of Wales visits a housing workshop to discuss solutions to support local families at risk of homelessness, in Sheffield, northern England on March 19, 2024. (Temilade Adelaja/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(LONDON) -- Prince William returned to work this week in his first official public appearance since his wife Kate, the princess of Wales, revealed she had been diagnosed with cancer.

William is traveling to Surrey on Thursday to visit Surplus to Supper, a nonprofit organization that distributes surplus food to people in need.

The royal engagement is the first for William since March, when Kate shared publicly for the first time that she was diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing preventative chemotherapy.

Kate shared her diagnosis in a video message released March 22, the same day that William and Kate's three kids, Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte, began an Easter holiday break from school.

Kensington Palace said at the time that William would return to public duties once George, Charlotte and Louis returned to school.

In her video message, Kate asked for privacy for her family.

Kensington Palace has said only that Kate will return to public duties once she is medically cleared to do so.

The family has stayed out of the spotlight since Kate's announcement, including not attending Easter service at St. George's Chapel with other members of the royal family.

Since Kate's announcement, the only sighting of members of the Wales family came on April 11, when William and George attended an Aston Villa soccer game in Birmingham, England.

William's return to royal duties is a needed boost for Britain's royal family.

In addition to Kate taking a pause from royal duties, her father-in-law King Charles III is on a reduced workload due to his own battle with cancer.

The palace has not specified the type of cancer Charles was diagnosed with, the stage of cancer or the type of treatment he is undergoing.

In Charles and Kate's absence, the pressure has fallen on William, as well as Charles' wife Queen Camilla, to be the most public faces of the royal family.

Buckingham Palace has not said when Charles will fully resume public duties.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Dubai sees severe flooding after getting 2 years' worth of rain in 24 hours

Christopher Pike/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(DUBAI, United Arab Emirates) -- Flood conditions continued to impact Dubai on Wednesday, after two years' worth of rain fell in just 24 hours, records show.

Over a half foot -- 6.26 inches -- of rain was recorded in the United Arab Emirates city between 10 p.m. local time Monday and 10 p.m. local time Tuesday, according to the Dubai Meteorological Office.

Dubai receives 3.12 inches of rain per year on average, according to the World Meteorological Organization, meaning two years' worth of rain fell in 24 hours.

The Dubai International Airport, the world's second-busiest airport, said Wednesday it was facing "operational challenges" and advised passengers not to arrive as runways continued to be inundated with water. It said the "recovery process will take some time."

Egyptian and Iraqi national carriers temporarily suspended flights to and from Dubai due to bad weather, EgyptAir and Iraqi Airways said on Wednesday.

Flydubai, UAE's low-cost carrier, resumed partial operations Wednesday afternoon local time after temporarily suspending all of its flights departing from Dubai. There were further flight cancellations, it said.

The Dubai International Airport had temporarily diverted inbound flights that arrived Tuesday evening local time due to "exceptional weather," the airport said in an alert.

All Dubai government entities and private schools were instructed to work remotely on Tuesday due to the weather conditions.

Dubai receives nearly all of its annual rain (over 92%) between the months of November and March. On average, Dubai typically receives just 0.13 inches of rain during the month of April.

United Arab Emirates saw the heaviest rain ever recorded in the country on Tuesday, killing at least one person and damaging homes and businesses, according to the UAE government.

The extreme weather hit other locations in the Gulf Peninsula. In neighboring Oman, at least 19 people died in severe flooding over three consecutive days, according to state media.

Human-amplified climate change is causing extreme rainfall events to become more frequent and more intense, according to the U.S. government's Fifth National Climate Assessment.

More intense extreme rainfall events also increase the frequency and scale of flash flooding as the influx of water is more than the infrastructure was built to handle.

Climate change can increase the intensity, frequency and variability of extreme weather events.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Biden administration to end sanctions waiver on Venezuelan oil

Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- The Biden administration is conceding the reality of the last six months: Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro does not intend to hold free and fair elections.

Six months after lifting U.S. sanctions on Venezuela's key oil and gas sectors, the Treasury Department announced Wednesday it will let those temporary licenses expire -- saying Maduro's government did not uphold its end of the bargain.

That bargain was straightforward – Maduro and the united Venezuelan opposition signed an agreement in Barbados last October to hold free and fair elections, monitored by international observers, and in exchange the U.S. temporarily lifted some of its sanctions on Venezuela's oil, gas, gold, and sovereign debt.

It was a bold move, a gamble -- and a stark departure from former President Donald Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign -- with Biden officials saying they hoped that engaging the strongman Maduro could help find a political solution to end the turmoil in Venezuela that has sent one-fifth of its population fleeing -- more refugees than from the wars in Syria or Ukraine.

But in the months afterwards, Maduro's government harassed and arrested opposition figures and barred the opposition's candidate Maria Corina Machado, who overwhelmingly won the primary, from running for office.

A senior administration official briefing reporters claimed that Maduro had met some "key commitments," but pointed to those actions as the ways his government had "fallen short" - an understatement, to say the least.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress had urged the administration to snap these sanctions back into place, as Maduro has clearly shown no appetite to hold an election in which polls consistently find he'd lose overwhelmingly.

But the administration has waffled here as it also considers domestic priorities -- the price of gas and the crisis at the border. Venezuelans have contributed to the surge at the southern border that has overwhelmed Border Patrol agents and become a political albatross for Biden, while gas prices have risen 14% in the past year, according to AAA data obtained by ABC News.

In March, Venezuela's oil exports rose to their highest level since early 2020 as customers rushed to complete purchases ahead of this move -- one that the Biden administration warned of last March – one final warning that Maduro again ignored. But Venezuelan oil production has been low for years now because of "years of underinvestment and mismanagement," per a report by the U.S. EIA last fall.

While the U.S. is snapping back the biggest piece of leverage they had – these oil and gas sanctions – after a 45-day winddown period, this is not the end. The senior administration official told reporters they will "continue to engage in a constructive and in private, pragmatic way to try to move the election back towards a better course," adding, "We will be watching and monitoring very carefully."

For his part, Maduro told Biden publicly this week that he was willing to negotiate: "I will never close the door to dialogue with anybody. I give the following message to the negotiators and to President Biden," he said during a press conference -- before speaking awkwardly in English: "You want, I want. You don't want, I too don't want."

More important, the opposition is not giving up fighting. Machado has been barred from running, but two opposition parties were able to file their candidacies -- one of whose candidates has said he would let Machado take his spot. He has a long history with the opposition, often seen as two-timing or untrustworthy, but after a meeting today, the two sides agreed to try to work together to present a candidate to run against Maduro.

There are many roadblocks ahead, including the barriers to vote for Venezuelans overseas -- many of whom would likely oppose the president that they fled – and with the U.S. snapping back sanctions, Maduro may put in place even more. But the opposition maintains – they are "united to change Venezuela."

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

9 arrests made in $14.8 million gold heist at Toronto airport, only fraction recovered

Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

(TORONTO) -- Nine people have been arrested and search warrants are out for three others in last year's $14.77 million (20 million Canadian dollars) gold heist from the Toronto Pearson International Airport, Canadian officials announced Wednesday.

Police have only recovered six pure gold bracelets worth over $65,000 -- a fraction of the gold that was stolen from a holding cargo facility last April. Authorities announced the arrests on the one-year anniversary of the heist.

Police say 6,600 bars of pure gold weighing over 400 kilograms and foreign cash amounting to around $1.8 million were stolen in the heist. They believe that the thieves melted down the gold, sold it and then used the profits to purchase illegal firearms as part of a trafficking operation, Peel Regional Police Detective Sgt. Mike Mavity said at a press conference Wednesday.

Police have seized $312,000 worth of cash, which they believe are some of the profits suspects made after selling the gold. Police also seized smelting pots, casts and molds, which they believe were used to change the composition of the gold bars, according to Mavity.

They also found two lists accounting for $7.21 million and $10.23 million at two separate locations.

"A common term in drug trafficking investigations, we believe these lists actually show where the money was distributed when the gold was sold by the suspects," Mavity said.

In the yearlong investigation, authorities say they have have executed 37 search warrants and interviewed over 50 people. They have brought 19 charges against individuals in this case.

Canadian police worked in cooperation with the Philadelphia Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which arrested one individual in the U.S. who had 65 illegal firearms in his possession.

He was stopped during a routine traffic stop, which resulted in his arrest. He was later identified as the driver of the truck during the heist, police said.

Police are still searching for a former Air Canada employee, who they say helped the thieves, and two others involved.

The gold and foreign currency stolen in the heist were ordered from a refinery in Zurich. They had been transported on an Air Canada flight to Toronto.

Shortly after the plane landed on April 17, 2023, the gold and cargo were transported from the plane to a cargo facility, Mavity said.

A suspect driving a five-ton truck arrived at the facility later that evening, providing a fraudulent airway bill to a cargo warehouse attendant and receiving the shipment. The airway bill was a duplicate of one used the previous day to pick up a shipment of seafood, Mavity said.

The container containing the gold and foreign currency was then loaded onto the truck and the suspect drove away. The container was discovered missing later that night after Brink’s Canada employees arrived to pick up the container, Mavity said.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

US submits assurances to UK over Julian Assange extradition, moving case forward again

A protester stands with a placard in support of Julian Assange during the demonstration. Supporters of Julian Assange gathered outside the Embassy of Ecuador in Knightsbridge on the fifth anniversary of his incarceration in Belmarsh Prison. (Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

(LONDON) -- The United States has reportedly sent assurances to the United Kingdom intended to facilitate the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange -- including that he will not face the death penalty -- signaling, for now, that the U.S. is continuing to move forward with its efforts to prosecute Assange on espionage charges.

Last month, the U.K.’s High Court ordered a delay in Assange’s extradition unless the U.S. could provide assurances on a number of issues, including that he would not face the death penalty and that he will be granted the same first amendment protections as American citizens.

The U.S. embassy in London has now sent a letter to the U.K. Foreign Office, according to multiple news organizations, seeking to address those issues.

The letter referred specifically to Assange having “the ability to raise and seek to rely upon” the first amendment but also said that its applicability “is exclusively within the purview of the U.S. courts,” according to the Guardian. It also states that “a sentence of death will neither be sought nor imposed on Assange.”

It came despite President Joe Biden’s comments last week that he was “considering” an Australian request to end the prosecution of Assange, setting off speculation that the Biden administration may be seeking to avoid a contentious trial that would be fraught with media freedom issues, amid other reports the administration is looking at a plea deal.

The move is the latest development in a years-long legal battle by the U.S. to prosecute Assange over the publishing of classified military and diplomatic materials that were leaked by the former American soldier Chelsea Manning in 2010, including some that showed possible war crimes committed by American forces in Iraq.

Assange has spent five years in London’s Belmarsh prison while he fights the U.S. extradition request, and his imprisonment has been widely condemned by international human rights organizations as well as United Nations human rights officials.

The U.K. High Court in a ruling last month had set a deadline for the U.S. to provide those assurances and scheduled a hearing for May 20 to rule on whether they are sufficient to extradite Assange or if he should be allowed to appeal against it again.

Assange’s wife in a statement confirmed the letter’s existence but denounced it as “weasel words,” saying, in reality, it did not offer any real protections for Assange if he were extradited.

“The United States has issued a non-assurance in relation to the First Amendment, and a standard assurance in relation to the death penalty. It makes no undertaking to withdraw the prosecution's previous assertion that Julian has no First Amendment rights because he is not a US citizen. Instead, the US has limited itself to blatant weasel words claiming that Julian can 'seek to raise' the First Amendment if extradited. The diplomatic note does nothing to relieve our family's extreme distress about his future -- his grim expectation of spending the rest of his life in isolation in US prison for publishing award-winning journalism. The Biden Administration must drop this dangerous prosecution before it is too late,” Stella Assange said in a statement.

Assange was arrested in London in 2019, after he was evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy where he had been sheltering for seven years while facing prosecution in Sweden on sexual assault charges that have since been dropped. After his arrest by British police on charges of breaking his bail conditions related to the Swedish case, U.S. prosecutors unveiled an indictment charging him with hacking offenses related to the Manning files.

But weeks later, the Justice Department under the Trump administration brought a greatly expanded indictment, charging Assange with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act by obtaining and publishing the materials from Manning. Leading media organizations,, including The New York Times, have warned the effort to prosecute Assange using the Espionage Act threatens media freedoms in the U.S. and have urged the Biden administration to drop the charges.

Despite only ever being sentenced to 50 weeks in prison by a U.K. court for violating his bail conditions in the Swedish case -- which has since been closed -- Assange has spent five years imprisoned in Belmarsh Prison in London while he contests extradition.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

IDF's conduct, ethics under scrutiny following soldiers' social media posts

Ronaldo Schemidt/ Getty Images

(JERUSALEM) -- Six months into the Israel-Hamas conflict, the conduct and ethics of some of the Israel Defense Forces members have increasingly come under the microscope.

Incidents ranging from pranks to potentially criminal acts are being exposed to the world, often by videos soldiers themselves have posted online, according to critics and Israeli officials.

In many pictures and videos that have circulated since the conflict began, and which were reposted by pro-Palestinian activists to millions of followers, IDF soldiers are seen blowing up buildings in Gaza while in combat, waving women’s underwear like flags and rifling through the possessions of Gazans with gleeful expressions.

Younis Tirawi, a Palestinian journalist, says he’s seen thousands of videos of IDF soldiers reportedly behaving improperly. "You can see all the soldiers liking their posts," Tirawi told ABC News. "

The images and videos have been condemned by activists, and military ethics experts say some of the incidents captured on video and photos show serious violations. Israeli soldiers are prohibited from bringing phones and filming military activities in Gaza.

"The pictures [and] the videos I saw were taken by the soldiers. So it's not fabricated and they are wrong. Their activities there are wrong," said Asa Kasher, a professor at Tel Aviv University and the lead author of the IDF's code of ethics.

Oren Ziv, an Israeli journalist who was the first to report on the videos inside Israel, told ABC News the posts were emblematic of a worrying trend in Israeli society and its military.

“The loss of any moral compass and seeing the Palestinians as human beings in general…it is a long process for dozens of years," he said.

"Of course, after Oct. 7, I think it's very hard to the general Israeli public and for sure the soldiers on the front to see them as human beings and also to make the differentiation between Hamas and the people who committed the massacre on Oct. 7, and then civilians who live in Gaza," Ziv added.

U.S. officials expressed outrage after seven World Central Kitchen aid workers were killed on April 2 by Israeli air strikes.

"This week's horrific attack on the World Central Kitchen was not the first such incident. It must be the last," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said following the attack.

Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the IDF, told ABC News that he was aware of the videos posted by soldiers but maintained the army is committed to adhering to its code of ethics.

"This is the army of the people. And we follow the core, the values and the international law. Those that made the video, [and] not just a video about bragging…will be [met] with a punishment, a severe punishment," he said.

A group of Israeli soldiers is seen kneeling in what was a Gaza neighborhood before setting off explosives in a video filmed by an IDF soldier that was verified by ABC News.

The soldier said he was destroying 21 homes to commemorate the death of 21 Israeli soldiers in a Hamas ambush in January.

When asked about the video, the IDF said in a statement that it “examines events of this kind as well as reports of videos uploaded to social networks and handles them with command and disciplinary measures.”

Acts of vengeance and collective punishment are prohibited under international law, according to Professor Kasher.

Kasher told ABC News that he was disturbed by other alleged incidents by IDF members, including one in the West Bank where a soldier was filmed reciting a Jewish prayer through the speakers of a mosque that the soldiers raided.

The IDF said it removed the soldiers from duty who were seen in that video.

In another video that went viral, IDF reservist Leroi Taljaar was seen jokingly saying "everything is fine" while on duty in Gaza before IDF soldiers detonated an explosive.

Taljaar, a South African citizen, told ABC News that the video was "a joke."

"And, I definitely wouldn't put a video up of where I knew that there was innocent civilians being killed," he said. "Me and my friends went through a very, very difficult time while we were there. And our way of getting over that difficulty was making dark comedy. Maybe it wasn't at the right time, at the right place."

Taljaar said that the IDF has not spoken to him about the incident; however, South Africa has now said it would prosecute dual-national soldiers like him if they tried to return to the country.

Taljaar said he wasn't concerned about the repercussions.

"Let's first sort out the problems inside our country before we look to problems of other countries," he said. " [The South African government is] looking for problems in places where they can't really do anything anyway."

The incidents aren't limited to the rank-and-file members of the IDF.

ABC News verified a video showing a drone missile on an empty Gazan college building. The strike was ordered by a general who wasn't authorized to do so, according to officials.

Video of the strike on the Palestinian Institution of Higher Learning was posted by a soldier -- which is against IDF policy.

Israeli officials allege the building was used by Hamas as a weapons depo and said that the general who ordered the unauthorized strike was reprimanded.

Although tensions are high because of the violence of the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas attack, which was also filmed and shared on social media, Israeli forces must adhere to their code of conduct, Amos Yadlin, former head of intelligence for the IDF told ABC News.

"It's against the rules of engagement and against the ethics of the IDF, and the IDF commanders have a duty to make it not happen and to make the discipline," he said.

Editor's note: This story has been updated.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Fire rips through Old Stock Exchange building in Copenhagen as people try to rescue artwork

slobo/Getty Images

(LONDON) -- One of the oldest buildings in Copenhagen, Denmark, that was built in the 17th century has become engulfed in flames as rescue efforts are underway to salvage artwork and other valuable assets from the building.

The Old Stock Exchange, located in the heart of downtown Copenhagen next to the Danish Parliament building, became engulfed by fire early Tuesday morning as the building's iconic spire collapsed due to the flames.

People could be seen rushing into and out of the burning building attempting to salvage art work that is housed within the Old Stock Exchange.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown and no injuries have been reported as crews work furiously to extinguish the flames.

Denmark's Minister for Culture Jakob Engel-Schmidt put out a message on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying there were "terrible pictures from the Stock Exchange this morning" and that "400 years of Danish cultural heritage" had gone up in flames.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Attack on religious leader in Sydney to be investigated as terror related, police say

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb, Premier of NSW Chris Minns, NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Peter Thurtell and Ambulance Commissioner Dominic Morgan hold a press conference on April 16, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

(SYDNEY) -- An attack on a religious leader during a sermon in a suburb of Sydney, Australia, on Monday has been deemed a terror-related incident, police said.

"Anyone with information about extremist activity or possible threats to the community should come forward, no matter how small or insignificant you may think the information may be," the New South Wales Police Force said in a statement on Tuesday.

The government's Joint Counter Terrorism Team has begun an investigation into the stabbing, which was first reported to police at about 7 p.m. on Monday.

A 16-year-old suspect was arrested at the scene after being restrained by members of the congregation, police said. He was hospitalized, underwent surgery for injuries sustained during the alleged attack and remained under police guard, they said.

"There is no place for violence in our community," Anthony Albanese, the prime minister said. "There is no place for violence extremism. We are a peace-loving nation."

Albanese identified the church as Christ the Good Shepherd, in Wakeley, where an Assyrian Orthodox congregation worships.

A video of the incident, which was viewed by ABC News, appears to show a man approaching the religious leader as he speaks to his congregation. The man appears to interrupt the sermon and to begin violently attacking the man.

Officers who responded to the church on Welcome Road attended to a 53-year-old man "with lacerations to his head," police said. The man's name has not been released.

"A 39-year-old man also sustained lacerations and a shoulder wound when he attempted to intervene," a law enforcement statement said.

Both of the injured were treated by paramedics at the scene and were later taken to Liverpool Hospital, police said, adding that their injuries were not life-threatening.

Police Commissioner Karen Webb deemed the incident terror related, according to the force. It will be investigated by the NSW Police Force, Australian Federal Police, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the NSW Crime Commission, police said.

The church identified the attacked leader as Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and asked for privacy during his recovery.

"We strongly condemn this senseless act of violence that took place during his sermon," the church said in a media release.

The church added, "Such actions not only bring distress bust also contradict the cherished values of compassion and unity that are integral to our Australian identity."

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

970 KSYL On Air Now

George Noory
George Noory
12:00am - 5:00am
Coast To Coast AM

94.7 ESPN On Air Now


LSU Tiger Baseball

04/15 to 04/21

Tuesday vs New Orleans 6p

Friday vs Auburn 6p

Saturday vs Auburn 5:30p

Sunday vs Auburn 12:30p



Local Events







Station Tour

Station Tour