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The Latest | Failed rocket strike launched on US-led coalition forces base in Syria

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The Latest | Failed rocket strike launched on US-led coalition forces base in Syria
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The Latest | Failed rocket strike launched on US-led coalition forces base in Syria

2024-04-23 12:28 Last Updated At:12:31

A failed rocket strike was launched at a base housing U.S.-led coalition forces at Rumalyn, Syria, marking the first time since Feb. 4 that Iranian-backed militias have attacked a U.S. facility in Iraq or Syria, a U.S. defense official said. No personnel were injured in the attack.

Iraqi authorities said early Monday that they were searching for “outlaw elements” who launched an estimated five missiles across the border from Iraq into Syria late Sunday night targeting the base. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Israeli police detain a suspected attacker in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police said they have arrested two people after a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, lightly wounding three. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

A failed rocket strike was launched at a base housing U.S.-led coalition forces at Rumalyn, Syria, marking the first time since Feb. 4 that Iranian-backed militias have attacked a U.S. facility in Iraq or Syria, a U.S. defense official said. No personnel were injured in the attack.

Israeli police work at the scene of an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said two attackers exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police work at the scene of an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said two attackers exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police search for two suspects in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said two attackers exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police search for two suspects in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said two attackers exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police detain a suspected attacker in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said two attackers exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police detain a suspected attacker in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said two attackers exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police detain a suspected attacker in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police said they have arrested two people after a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, lightly wounding three. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police detain a suspected attacker in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police said they have arrested two people after a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, lightly wounding three. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gather to collect water from a spring to make matzoh, a traditional handmade unleavened bread for the holiday of Passover, during the Maim Shelanu ceremony at a mountain spring in the outskirts of Jerusalem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gather to collect water from a spring to make matzoh, a traditional handmade unleavened bread for the holiday of Passover, during the Maim Shelanu ceremony at a mountain spring in the outskirts of Jerusalem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, speaks in his meeting with a group of senior military leaders, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Iran's supreme leader on Sunday dismissed any discussion of whether Tehran's unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel hit anything there, a tacit acknowledgment that despite launching a massive assault, few projectiles actually made through to their targets. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, speaks in his meeting with a group of senior military leaders, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Iran's supreme leader on Sunday dismissed any discussion of whether Tehran's unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel hit anything there, a tacit acknowledgment that despite launching a massive assault, few projectiles actually made through to their targets. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Palestinians inspect the damaged vehicle in the West Bank refugee camp of Nur Shams, Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service meanwhile said it has recovered more than a dozen of bodies from an Israeli raid in the Nur Shams urban refugee camp in the West Bank that began late Thursday. Those killed include three militants from the Islamic Jihad group and a 15-year-old boy. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Palestinians inspect the damaged vehicle in the West Bank refugee camp of Nur Shams, Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service meanwhile said it has recovered more than a dozen of bodies from an Israeli raid in the Nur Shams urban refugee camp in the West Bank that began late Thursday. Those killed include three militants from the Islamic Jihad group and a 15-year-old boy. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Palestinians inspect the destruction following an Israeli military raid in Nur Shams refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 14 bodies have been recovered from the Nur Shams urban refugee camp since an Israeli military operation began in the area Thursday night. The Islamic Jihad militant group confirmed the deaths of three members. Another killed was a 15-year-old boy. The Israeli army said its forces killed 10 militants in the camp and surrounding areas while eight suspects were arrested. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Palestinians inspect the destruction following an Israeli military raid in Nur Shams refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 14 bodies have been recovered from the Nur Shams urban refugee camp since an Israeli military operation began in the area Thursday night. The Islamic Jihad militant group confirmed the deaths of three members. Another killed was a 15-year-old boy. The Israeli army said its forces killed 10 militants in the camp and surrounding areas while eight suspects were arrested. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

A photojournalist looks at part of the intercepted ballistic missile that fell near the Dead Sea in Israel, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The suspected Israeli killing of Iranian generals at an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria on April 1 prompted Iran's retaliatory barrage last weekend of more than 300 missiles and drones that the U.S., Israel and regional and international partners helped bat down without significant damage in Israel. And then came Friday’s apparent Israeli strike. (AP Photo/ Ohad Zwigenberg)

A photojournalist looks at part of the intercepted ballistic missile that fell near the Dead Sea in Israel, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The suspected Israeli killing of Iranian generals at an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria on April 1 prompted Iran's retaliatory barrage last weekend of more than 300 missiles and drones that the U.S., Israel and regional and international partners helped bat down without significant damage in Israel. And then came Friday’s apparent Israeli strike. (AP Photo/ Ohad Zwigenberg)

A Palestinian baby girl, Sabreen Jouda, who was delivered prematurely after her mother was killed in an Israeli strike along with her husband and daughter, lies in an incubator in the Emirati hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Mohammad Jahjouh)

A Palestinian baby girl, Sabreen Jouda, who was delivered prematurely after her mother was killed in an Israeli strike along with her husband and daughter, lies in an incubator in the Emirati hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Mohammad Jahjouh)

Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, some are draped in the Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant group flags during their funeral in the Nur Shams refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 14 bodies have been recovered from the Nur Shams urban refugee camp since an Israeli military operation began in the area Thursday night. The Islamic Jihad militant group confirmed the deaths of three members. Another killed was a 15-year-old boy. The Israeli army said its forces killed 10 militants in the camp and surrounding areas while eight suspects were arrested. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, some are draped in the Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant group flags during their funeral in the Nur Shams refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 14 bodies have been recovered from the Nur Shams urban refugee camp since an Israeli military operation began in the area Thursday night. The Islamic Jihad militant group confirmed the deaths of three members. Another killed was a 15-year-old boy. The Israeli army said its forces killed 10 militants in the camp and surrounding areas while eight suspects were arrested. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Relatives mourn over the body of a Palestinian man, draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags, during his funeral in the Nur Shams refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 14 bodies have been recovered from the Nur Shams urban refugee camp since an Israeli military operation began in the area Thursday night. The Islamic Jihad militant group confirmed the deaths of three members. Another killed was a 15-year-old boy. The Israeli army said its forces killed 10 militants in the camp and surrounding areas while eight suspects were arrested. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Relatives mourn over the body of a Palestinian man, draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags, during his funeral in the Nur Shams refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 14 bodies have been recovered from the Nur Shams urban refugee camp since an Israeli military operation began in the area Thursday night. The Islamic Jihad militant group confirmed the deaths of three members. Another killed was a 15-year-old boy. The Israeli army said its forces killed 10 militants in the camp and surrounding areas while eight suspects were arrested. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents watch Israeli police work at the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents watch Israeli police work at the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents watch Israeli police work at the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents watch Israeli police work at the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police examine a submachine gun recovered near the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police examine a submachine gun recovered near the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police examine a submachine gun recovered near the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police examine a submachine gun recovered near the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

A plainclothes Israeli police officer works at the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

A plainclothes Israeli police officer works at the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police investigate the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police investigate the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police investigate the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police investigate the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said they were searching for the two attackers, who they said had exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said they were searching for the two attackers, who they said had exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said they were searching for the two attackers, who they said had exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said they were searching for the two attackers, who they said had exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Also on Monday, a U.S. official said American forces had shot down two drones near al-Asad Air Base in Iraq. The circumstances are under investigation.

Israel’s defense minister on Monday visited members of an infantry battalion that could soon be blocked from receiving American aid because of human rights violations.

Yoav Gallant on Monday told members of Netzah Yehuda battalion stationed on the Gaza border that they have the full backing of the Israeli state and its military.

The decision by the U.S. may come this week and would mark the first time the country has imposed sanctions on a unit inside the Israeli military and would further strain relations between the two allies, which have grown increasingly tense during the Israel-Hamas war.

The conflict, now in its seventh month, has sparked regional unrest pitting Israel and the U.S. against Iran and allied militant groups across the Middle East. Israel and Iran traded fire directly this month, raising fears of all-out war.

The war was sparked by the unprecedented Oct. 7 raid into southern Israel in which Hamas and other militants killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250 hostages. Israel says militants are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

The Israel-Hamas war has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials, at least two-thirds of them children and women. It has devastated Gaza’s two largest cities and left a swath of destruction. Around 80% of the territory’s population have fled to other parts of the besieged coastal enclave.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $26 billion aid package on Saturday that includes around $9 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza, which experts say is on the brink of famine, as well as billions for Israel. The U.S. Senate could pass the package as soon as Tuesday, and President Joe Biden has promised to sign it immediately

Currently:

— Israel's chief of military intelligence resigns, citing failure to prevent Oct. 7 attacks

— Israeli strikes on Rafah kill 22, mostly children

— A Palestinian baby in Gaza is born an orphan

— Iran’s supreme leader tacitly acknowledges that Tehran hit little in its attack on Israel

— Israel and Iran’s apparent strikes and counterstrikes give new insights into both militaries

— Israeli leaders criticize expected U.S. sanctions against military unit in West Bank

Here is the latest:

WASHINGTON — A U.S. defense official said that a failed rocket strike was launched at a base housing U.S.-led coalition forces at Rumalyn, Syria, marking the first time since Feb. 4 that Iranian-backed militias have attacked a U.S. facility in Iraq or Syria. No personnel were injured in the attack.

Iraqi authorities said early Monday that they were searching for “outlaw elements” who launched an estimated five missiles across the border from Iraq into Syria late Sunday night targeting the base. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Also on Monday, a U.S. official said American forces had shot down two drones near al-Asad Air Base in Iraq. The circumstances are under investigation.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details that have not been made public.

From October to February, an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias calling itself the Islamic Resistance in Iraq launched regular drone attacks on bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria, which they said was in retaliation for Washington’s support of Israel in the ongoing war in Gaza and were aimed at forcing U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraq.

Those attacks halted after three U.S. soldiers were killed in a strike on a base in Jordan, near the Syrian border in late January, prompting U.S. retaliatory strikes in Iraq, including one in central Baghdad that killed a militia commander. It was not immediately clear what prompted the attacks to begin again.

JERUSALEM — Israel’s defense minister has visited members of an infantry battalion that could soon be blocked from receiving American aid because of human rights violations.

Yoav Gallant told members of Netzah Yehuda battalion stationed on the Gaza border that they have the full backing of the Israeli state and its military.

“The fact that one or two soldiers did something wrong… does not cast blame on the entire battalion,” he said.

The decision, which could come this week, would mark the first time the United States has imposed sanctions on a unit inside the Israeli military and would further strain relations between the two allies, which have grown increasingly tense during the Israel-Hamas war.

“If a soldier makes a mistake, we will hold him accountable,” Gallant said on Monday, just before the start of the Passover holiday. “This is the responsibility of the military establishment. No one in the world will teach us what are morality and what are norms.”

While U.S. officials declined to identify the unit expected to be sanctioned, Israeli leaders and local media identified it as Netzah Yehuda — an infantry battalion founded roughly a quarter of a century ago to incorporate ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military.

The unit came under heavy American criticism in 2022 after an elderly Palestinian-American man was found dead shortly after he was detained at a West Bank checkpoint.

A Palestinian autopsy said Omar Assad, 78, had underlying health conditions, but had suffered a heart attack caused by “external violence.”

JERUSALEM — Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group fired dozens of rockets into northern Israel on Monday, drawing retaliatory strikes.

The Israeli military said 35 projectiles were launched at one of its bases, without causing any casualties. It said it struck the sources of the rocket fire.

The attack came at the start of Passover, a major Jewish holiday, and set off air raid sirens as far south as Safed, a sizable town in northern Israel that has rarely been targeted.

Hezbollah claimed the attack, which it said was in response to recent Israeli strikes on towns and villages in southern Lebanon.

The two sides have traded fire on a near-daily basis along the border since the start of the war in Gaza. Hezbollah says it is acting in solidarity with the Palestinian Hamas militant group, which triggered the war with its Oct. 7 attack into southern Israel.

The low-intensity fighting has repeatedly threatened to boil over as Israel has targeted senior Hezbollah militants in recent months.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced on both sides of the border.

Hezbollah said earlier Monday that its fighters shot down an Israeli drone, the fourth to be brought down since the war began.

JERUSALEM — An Israeli human rights group says Israel has been “committing the crime of starvation” in Gaza for months in violation of international law.

B’Tselem is the latest rights group to accuse Israel of purposely starving Palestinians as part of its war against Hamas.

In a report released Monday, B’Tselem said the severe hunger in Gaza is “the product of a deliberate and conscious Israeli policy.”

International experts said in late March that famine was imminent in northern Gaza, which has been isolated and under Israeli control since late last year, and that hunger was worsening across the entire territory.

The Israeli military body responsible for civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Israel has sought to blame U.N. agencies, saying they are unable to distribute aid that piles up at border crossings. U.N. officials say distribution is hampered by the difficulty of coordinating with the military, which regularly turns back deliveries, and by the breakdown of law and order.

B’Tselem noted that Israel imposed a total blockade on Gaza immediately after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that triggered the war, only relenting weeks later under U.S. pressure. It said Israel’s cumbersome inspections system stifled deliveries, and that its offensive has almost completely destroyed the capacity to grow or produce food inside Gaza.

B’Tselem also pointed to comments from senior Israeli officials implying that the restrictions on aid were part of the war effort and aimed at putting pressure on Hamas.

Under heavy U.S. pressure after an Israeli strike that killed seven aid workers, Israel promised earlier this month to ramp up aid to Gaza.

CAIRO — The Palestinian civil defense in the Gaza Strip said Monday it had uncovered 283 bodies from a temporary burial ground inside the main hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis.

The burial area in the Nasser hospital was built when Israeli forces were besieging the facility last month. At the time, people were not able to bury the dead in a cemetery and dug graves in the hospital yard, the group said.

In a statement, the department said a total of 283 bodies have been recovered from the hospital yard since Friday.

The civil defense said some of the bodies were of people killed during the hospital siege. Others were killed when Israeli forces raided the hospital, also last month.

CAIRO — The head of the World Health Organization on Monday called for safe passage for humanitarian aid missions throughout Gaza after an aid team failed to complete its most recent trip to hard-hit northern Gaza.

United Nations agencies and aid groups say the ongoing hostilities, Israeli military restrictions on goods and the breakdown of order inside Gaza make it increasingly difficult to bring vital aid to much of the coastal enclave.

WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement that a mission by the WHO and its partners on Saturday at Kamal Adwan and Awda hospitals in northern Gaza was only partly completed “due to severe delays at checkpoints and ongoing hostilities.”

“As a result, fuel and medical supplies did not reach Kamal Adwan, for the second time in the last seven days, and partners were also unable to assess needs at Awda to support restoration of services,” he said.

He said the team managed to evacuate four patients from Kamal Adwan, along with their caretakers, including a 9-year-old boy suffering from a head tumor.

“We again call for compliance with international humanitarian law, including access to health care and humanitarian aid for civilians in desperate need of help.” He also called for a cease-fire.

CAIRO — The Gaza Health Ministry said the bodies of 54 people killed by Israeli strikes have been brought to hospitals over the past 24 hours. Hospitals also received 104 injured, it said Monday.

That brings the overall Palestinian death toll from the Israel-Hamas war to at least 34,151, the ministry said. Another 77,084 have been injured, it said.

The Health Ministry does not distinguish between fighters and civilians in its tallies but has said that women and children make up most of those killed.

The Israeli military says it has killed 12,000 militants, without providing evidence to back up the claim.

CAIRO — The Palestinian civil defense in the Gaza Strip said Monday it had uncovered 283 bodies from a temporary burial ground inside the main hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis.

The burial area in the Nasser hospital was built when Israeli forces were besieging the facility last month. At the time, people were not able to bury the dead in a cemetery and dug graves in the hospital yard, the group said.

In a statement, the department said a total of 283 bodies have been recovered from the hospital yard since Friday.

The civil defense said some of the bodies were of people killed during the hospital siege. Others were killed when Israeli forces raided the hospital, also last month.

After the military withdrew from Khan Younis earlier this month, residents have been returning to the site in search of the bodies of their loved ones with the aim of burying them in permanent graves elsewhere.

Civil defense workers began recovering bodies from the cemetery more than a week after Israel’s military withdrew its forces from the city. The International Committee of the Red Cross has given 1,500 body bags and protective gear to the civil defense to help dig up the cemetery and move the bodies, it said.

Israel sent troops into Khan Younis in December, part of its blistering ground offensive that came in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack into southern Israel.

JERUSALEM — Israelis were set to begin celebrating Passover, a holiday meant to symbolize freedom, on Monday, against the backdrop of a brutal war in Gaza and the continued captivity of over 100 hostages in the strip.

Passover is a major Jewish holiday, celebrated over the course of a week, that commemorates the biblical story of the exodus of ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Jews will gather for a meal, called a “seder,” on Monday night to read the Passover story aloud.

In Israel, some prepared to leave chairs at the seder table empty to symbolize the captives remaining in Gaza.

Of some 250 hostages captured during the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, roughly 130 remain in captivity. Efforts to strike a deal to secure their return have stalled, and Israeli officials say at least 30 are now dead.

Many Israelis also have friends or family members killed or wounded in the Hamas attack, which killed 1,200 across southern Israel, according to Israeli authorities.

“I can’t imagine celebrating Pesach, the freedom holiday, without my son,” said Dalit Shtivi, whose son Idan Shtivi is being held hostage in Gaza. “I’m begging there will be a deal.”

In Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim, families threw bread into small fires on the street and dunked dishes into cauldrons of boiling water. It’s typical for observant Jews to cleanse their homes of “chametz,” or grains, before the start of passover to commemorate the unleavened bread the Jews ate in their flight from Egypt.

JERUSALEM — Israeli police say they have arrested two suspects believed to have rammed a car into a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem Monday morning, lightly wounding three.

The police said the two suspects were found after fleeing the scene and hiding near a closed business.

The Monday attack was the latest to strike Israeli cities and towns since the war against Hamas broke out on Oct. 7. Palestinians have during that time carried out a number of attacks against Israelis, some of them deadly. During that time, violence has also surged in the West Bank.

TEL AVIV, Israel — Israeli authorities said they had arrested a suspect in the killing of a 14-year-old Jewish West Bank settler.

The teen’s disappearance earlier this month sparked rampages by Israeli settlers in a number of Palestinian communities. At least one Palestinian man was killed, Palestinian health officials said, and dozens were injured in the rampages and in confrontations with the settlers.

A joint statement Monday by the Israeli internal security agency, Shin Bet, Israeli police and the military said Ahmed Dawabsheh, 21, was arrested in an overnight raid in the Palestinian village of Duma. Duma was one of the areas where the settlers rampaged after 14-year-old Binyamin Achimair’s disappearance.

The developments were the latest tensions roiling the West Bank, which has seen surging violence since the war in Gaza began on Oct. 7.

Israeli police detain a suspected attacker in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police said they have arrested two people after a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, lightly wounding three. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police detain a suspected attacker in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police said they have arrested two people after a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, lightly wounding three. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police work at the scene of an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said two attackers exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police work at the scene of an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said two attackers exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police search for two suspects in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said two attackers exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police search for two suspects in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said two attackers exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police detain a suspected attacker in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said two attackers exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police detain a suspected attacker in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said two attackers exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police detain a suspected attacker in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police said they have arrested two people after a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, lightly wounding three. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police detain a suspected attacker in an apparent car ramming that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police said they have arrested two people after a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, lightly wounding three. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gather to collect water from a spring to make matzoh, a traditional handmade unleavened bread for the holiday of Passover, during the Maim Shelanu ceremony at a mountain spring in the outskirts of Jerusalem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men gather to collect water from a spring to make matzoh, a traditional handmade unleavened bread for the holiday of Passover, during the Maim Shelanu ceremony at a mountain spring in the outskirts of Jerusalem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, speaks in his meeting with a group of senior military leaders, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Iran's supreme leader on Sunday dismissed any discussion of whether Tehran's unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel hit anything there, a tacit acknowledgment that despite launching a massive assault, few projectiles actually made through to their targets. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, speaks in his meeting with a group of senior military leaders, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, April 21, 2024. Iran's supreme leader on Sunday dismissed any discussion of whether Tehran's unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel hit anything there, a tacit acknowledgment that despite launching a massive assault, few projectiles actually made through to their targets. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Palestinians inspect the damaged vehicle in the West Bank refugee camp of Nur Shams, Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service meanwhile said it has recovered more than a dozen of bodies from an Israeli raid in the Nur Shams urban refugee camp in the West Bank that began late Thursday. Those killed include three militants from the Islamic Jihad group and a 15-year-old boy. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Palestinians inspect the damaged vehicle in the West Bank refugee camp of Nur Shams, Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service meanwhile said it has recovered more than a dozen of bodies from an Israeli raid in the Nur Shams urban refugee camp in the West Bank that began late Thursday. Those killed include three militants from the Islamic Jihad group and a 15-year-old boy. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Palestinians inspect the destruction following an Israeli military raid in Nur Shams refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 14 bodies have been recovered from the Nur Shams urban refugee camp since an Israeli military operation began in the area Thursday night. The Islamic Jihad militant group confirmed the deaths of three members. Another killed was a 15-year-old boy. The Israeli army said its forces killed 10 militants in the camp and surrounding areas while eight suspects were arrested. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Palestinians inspect the destruction following an Israeli military raid in Nur Shams refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 14 bodies have been recovered from the Nur Shams urban refugee camp since an Israeli military operation began in the area Thursday night. The Islamic Jihad militant group confirmed the deaths of three members. Another killed was a 15-year-old boy. The Israeli army said its forces killed 10 militants in the camp and surrounding areas while eight suspects were arrested. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

A photojournalist looks at part of the intercepted ballistic missile that fell near the Dead Sea in Israel, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The suspected Israeli killing of Iranian generals at an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria on April 1 prompted Iran's retaliatory barrage last weekend of more than 300 missiles and drones that the U.S., Israel and regional and international partners helped bat down without significant damage in Israel. And then came Friday’s apparent Israeli strike. (AP Photo/ Ohad Zwigenberg)

A photojournalist looks at part of the intercepted ballistic missile that fell near the Dead Sea in Israel, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The suspected Israeli killing of Iranian generals at an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria on April 1 prompted Iran's retaliatory barrage last weekend of more than 300 missiles and drones that the U.S., Israel and regional and international partners helped bat down without significant damage in Israel. And then came Friday’s apparent Israeli strike. (AP Photo/ Ohad Zwigenberg)

A Palestinian baby girl, Sabreen Jouda, who was delivered prematurely after her mother was killed in an Israeli strike along with her husband and daughter, lies in an incubator in the Emirati hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Mohammad Jahjouh)

A Palestinian baby girl, Sabreen Jouda, who was delivered prematurely after her mother was killed in an Israeli strike along with her husband and daughter, lies in an incubator in the Emirati hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. Sunday, April 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Mohammad Jahjouh)

Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, some are draped in the Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant group flags during their funeral in the Nur Shams refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 14 bodies have been recovered from the Nur Shams urban refugee camp since an Israeli military operation began in the area Thursday night. The Islamic Jihad militant group confirmed the deaths of three members. Another killed was a 15-year-old boy. The Israeli army said its forces killed 10 militants in the camp and surrounding areas while eight suspects were arrested. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, some are draped in the Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant group flags during their funeral in the Nur Shams refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 14 bodies have been recovered from the Nur Shams urban refugee camp since an Israeli military operation began in the area Thursday night. The Islamic Jihad militant group confirmed the deaths of three members. Another killed was a 15-year-old boy. The Israeli army said its forces killed 10 militants in the camp and surrounding areas while eight suspects were arrested. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Relatives mourn over the body of a Palestinian man, draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags, during his funeral in the Nur Shams refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 14 bodies have been recovered from the Nur Shams urban refugee camp since an Israeli military operation began in the area Thursday night. The Islamic Jihad militant group confirmed the deaths of three members. Another killed was a 15-year-old boy. The Israeli army said its forces killed 10 militants in the camp and surrounding areas while eight suspects were arrested. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Relatives mourn over the body of a Palestinian man, draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags, during his funeral in the Nur Shams refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Sunday, April 21, 2024. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said 14 bodies have been recovered from the Nur Shams urban refugee camp since an Israeli military operation began in the area Thursday night. The Islamic Jihad militant group confirmed the deaths of three members. Another killed was a 15-year-old boy. The Israeli army said its forces killed 10 militants in the camp and surrounding areas while eight suspects were arrested. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents watch Israeli police work at the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents watch Israeli police work at the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents watch Israeli police work at the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents watch Israeli police work at the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police examine a submachine gun recovered near the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police examine a submachine gun recovered near the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police examine a submachine gun recovered near the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police examine a submachine gun recovered near the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

A plainclothes Israeli police officer works at the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

A plainclothes Israeli police officer works at the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police investigate the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police investigate the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police investigate the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli police investigate the scene of a suspected ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack.(AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said they were searching for the two attackers, who they said had exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said they were searching for the two attackers, who they said had exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said they were searching for the two attackers, who they said had exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Israeli forces pursue suspected attackers in a ramming attack that wounded three people on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover, in Jerusalem, Monday, April 22, 2024. Israeli police say a car slammed into pedestrians in Jerusalem on Monday, wounding three people lightly in an apparent attack. The three were injured when a car ran them over in the neighborhood of Romema, northeast of the city center. Police said they were searching for the two attackers, who they said had exited the vehicle with a submachine gun and fled the scene. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

KALAMATA, Greece (AP) — Nine Egyptian men went on trial in southern Greece on Tuesday, accused of causing a shipwreck that killed hundreds of migrants and sent shockwaves through the European Union’s border protection and asylum operations.

Outside the courthouse, a small group of protesters clashed with riot police as the proceedings got underway. There were no reports of serious injuries but two people were detained.

The defendants, most in their 20s, face up to life in prison if convicted on multiple criminal charges over the sinking of the “Adriana” fishing trawler on June 14 last year off the southern coast of Greece.

International human rights groups argue that their right to a fair trial is being compromised as they face judgment before an investigation is concluded into claims that the Greek coast guard may have botched the rescue attempt.

More than 500 people are believed to have gone down with the fishing trawler, which had been traveling from Libya to Italy. Following the sinking, 104 people were rescued — mostly migrants from Syria, Pakistan and Egypt — and 82 bodies were recovered.

The protesters could be heard inside the packed courtroom as presiding judge Eftichia Kontaratou read out the names of the nine defendants.

Defense lawyer Spyros Pantazis asked the court to declare itself incompetent to try the case, arguing that the sinking occurred outside Greek territorial waters. “The court be turned into an international punisher,” Pantazis told the panel of three judges. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres last year described the shipwreck as “horrific."

The sinking renewed pressure on European governments to protect the lives of migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach the continent, as the number of people traveling illegally across the Mediterranean continues to rise every year.

Lawyers from Greek human rights groups are representing the nine Egyptians, who deny the smuggling charges.

“There’s a real risk that these nine survivors could be found ‘guilty’ on the basis of incomplete and questionable evidence, given that the official investigation into the role of the coast guard has not yet been completed,” said Judith Sunderland, an associate director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch.

Authorities say the defendants were identified by other survivors and the indictments are based on their testimonies.

The European border protection agency Frontex says illegal border detections at EU frontiers increased for three consecutive years through 2023, reaching the highest level since the 2015-2016 migration crisis — driven largely by arrivals at the sea borders.

Police guard outside a court house in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Nine Egyptian men go on trial in southern Greece on Tuesday, accused of causing a shipwreck that killed hundreds of migrants and sent shockwaves through the European Union’s border protection and asylum operations. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Police guard outside a court house in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Nine Egyptian men go on trial in southern Greece on Tuesday, accused of causing a shipwreck that killed hundreds of migrants and sent shockwaves through the European Union’s border protection and asylum operations. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

A protester bleeds after clashes with police outside a court house in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Nine Egyptian men go on trial in southern Greece on Tuesday, accused of causing a shipwreck that killed hundreds of migrants and sent shockwaves through the European Union’s border protection and asylum operations. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

A protester bleeds after clashes with police outside a court house in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Nine Egyptian men go on trial in southern Greece on Tuesday, accused of causing a shipwreck that killed hundreds of migrants and sent shockwaves through the European Union’s border protection and asylum operations. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Police clash with protesters outside a court house in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Nine Egyptian men go on trial in southern Greece on Tuesday, accused of causing a shipwreck that killed hundreds of migrants and sent shockwaves through the European Union’s border protection and asylum operations. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Police clash with protesters outside a court house in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Nine Egyptian men go on trial in southern Greece on Tuesday, accused of causing a shipwreck that killed hundreds of migrants and sent shockwaves through the European Union’s border protection and asylum operations. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Police clash with protesters outside a court house in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Nine Egyptian men go on trial in southern Greece on Tuesday, accused of causing a shipwreck that killed hundreds of migrants and sent shockwaves through the European Union’s border protection and asylum operations. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Police clash with protesters outside a court house in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Nine Egyptian men go on trial in southern Greece on Tuesday, accused of causing a shipwreck that killed hundreds of migrants and sent shockwaves through the European Union’s border protection and asylum operations. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Two of nine Egyptian men accused of causing a shipwreck last year that killed hundreds of migrants arrive at a courthouse for the start of their trial in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The defendants face up to life in prison if convicted on multiple criminal charges. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Two of nine Egyptian men accused of causing a shipwreck last year that killed hundreds of migrants arrive at a courthouse for the start of their trial in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The defendants face up to life in prison if convicted on multiple criminal charges. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Two of nine Egyptian men accused of causing a shipwreck last year that killed hundreds of migrants arrive at a courthouse for the start of their trial in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The defendants face up to life in prison if convicted on multiple criminal charges. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Two of nine Egyptian men accused of causing a shipwreck last year that killed hundreds of migrants arrive at a courthouse for the start of their trial in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The defendants face up to life in prison if convicted on multiple criminal charges. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Two of nine Egyptian men accused of causing a shipwreck last year that killed hundreds of migrants arrive at a courthouse for the start of their trial in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The defendants face up to life in prison if convicted on multiple criminal charges. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Two of nine Egyptian men accused of causing a shipwreck last year that killed hundreds of migrants arrive at a courthouse for the start of their trial in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The defendants face up to life in prison if convicted on multiple criminal charges. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

One of nine Egyptian men accused of causing a shipwreck that killed hundreds of migrants waves as he is led by police to a courthouse in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The defendants face up to life in prison if convicted on multiple criminal charges. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

One of nine Egyptian men accused of causing a shipwreck that killed hundreds of migrants waves as he is led by police to a courthouse in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The defendants face up to life in prison if convicted on multiple criminal charges. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

One of nine Egyptian men accused of causing a shipwreck last year that killed hundreds of migrants waves as he is led by police to a courthouse in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The defendants face up to life in prison if convicted on multiple criminal charges. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

One of nine Egyptian men accused of causing a shipwreck last year that killed hundreds of migrants waves as he is led by police to a courthouse in Kalamata, southwestern Greece, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. The defendants face up to life in prison if convicted on multiple criminal charges. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

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