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Tabloid publisher says he pledged to be Trump campaign's 'eyes and ears' during 2016 race

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Tabloid publisher says he pledged to be Trump campaign's 'eyes and ears' during 2016 race
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Tabloid publisher says he pledged to be Trump campaign's 'eyes and ears' during 2016 race

2024-04-24 09:25 Last Updated At:09:30

NEW YORK (AP) — A veteran tabloid publisher testified Tuesday that he pledged to be Donald Trump 's “eyes and ears" during his 2016 presidential campaign, recounting how he promised the then-candidate that he would help suppress harmful stories and even arranged to purchase the silence of a doorman.

The testimony from David Pecker was designed to bolster the prosecution's premise of a decades-long friendship between Trump and the former publisher of the National Enquirer that culminated in an agreement to give the candidate's lawyer a heads-up on negative tips and stories so they could be quashed.

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Former president Donald Trump, left, watches as David Pecker answers questions on the witness stand, far right, from assistant district attorney Joshua Steingless, in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — A veteran tabloid publisher testified Tuesday that he pledged to be Donald Trump 's “eyes and ears" during his 2016 presidential campaign, recounting how he promised the then-candidate that he would help suppress harmful stories and even arranged to purchase the silence of a doorman.

Former President Donald Trump speaks after leaving Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump speaks after leaving Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump speaks after leaving Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump speaks after leaving Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump gestures while he walks in Manhattan criminal court in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump gestures while he walks in Manhattan criminal court in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump walks in Manhattan criminal court in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump walks in Manhattan criminal court in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Former president Donald Trump returns to the courtroom after a recess in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump returns to the courtroom after a recess in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while he walks, as his criminal trial over charges that he allegedly falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 continues, at Manhattan state court in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while he walks, as his criminal trial over charges that he allegedly falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 continues, at Manhattan state court in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Judge Juan Merchan presides over Donald Trump's trial in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Judge Juan Merchan presides over Donald Trump's trial in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Defense attorney Todd Blanche, at podium, makes arguments challenging the contempt charges to Judge Juan Merchan , Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Defense attorney Todd Blanche, at podium, makes arguments challenging the contempt charges to Judge Juan Merchan , Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Former President Donald Trump appears in Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in New York. (Curtis Means/DailyMail.com via AP, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump appears in Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in New York. (Curtis Means/DailyMail.com via AP, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former US President Donald Trump, left, standing next to lawyer Todd Blanche, speaks to the press as he arrives at his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, Tuesday April 23, 2024. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (Timothy A. Clary/Pool via AP)

Former US President Donald Trump, left, standing next to lawyer Todd Blanche, speaks to the press as he arrives at his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, Tuesday April 23, 2024. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (Timothy A. Clary/Pool via AP)

Former president Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Former President Donald Trump speaks upon arriving at Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump speaks upon arriving at Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump walks in Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump walks in Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Former President Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former US President Donald Trump, right, sitting next to lawyer Todd Blanche, attends his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, Tuesday April 23, 2024. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (Timothy A. Clary/Pool via AP)

Former US President Donald Trump, right, sitting next to lawyer Todd Blanche, attends his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, Tuesday April 23, 2024. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (Timothy A. Clary/Pool via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Former president Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Former president Donald Trump speaks upon arriving at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump speaks upon arriving at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom at his criminal trial at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom at his criminal trial at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Former president Donald Trump, center, awaits the start of proceedings at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump, center, awaits the start of proceedings at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump, center, awaits the start of proceedings at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump, center, awaits the start of proceedings at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom at his criminal trial at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom at his criminal trial at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump walks next to his attorney Todd Blanche, at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump walks next to his attorney Todd Blanche, at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

The effort was a way to illegally influence the election, prosecutors have alleged in striving to elevate the gravity of the history-making first trial of a former American president and the first of four criminal cases against Trump to reach a jury. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee in this year's race faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with hush money payments meant to stifle embarrassing stories from surfacing in the final days of the 2016 campaign.

With Trump sitting just feet away in the courtroom, Pecker, the first witness, detailed his behind-the-scenes role in Trump's rise from political novice to the Republican nomination and the White House. He explained how he and the National Enquirer parlayed rumor-mongering into splashy tabloid stories that smeared Trump's opponents and, just as crucially, leveraged his connections to suppress seamy stories about Trump, including a porn actor's claim of an extramarital sexual encounter years earlier.

Pecker traced the origins of their relationship to a 1980s meeting at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and said the friendship bloomed alongside the success of the real estate developer's TV show “The Apprentice" and the program's subsequent celebrity version.

Their ties were solidified during a pivotal August 2015 meeting at Trump Tower involving Trump, his lawyer and personal fixer Michael Cohen, and another aide, Hope Hicks, in which Pecker was asked what he and the publications he led could do for the campaign.

Pecker said he volunteered to publish positive stories about Trump and negative stories about his opponents. But that wasn't all, he said, telling jurors how he told Trump: “I will be your eyes and ears.”

“I said that anything I hear in the marketplace, if I hear anything negative about yourself, or if I hear anything about women selling stories, I would notify Michael Cohen," so that the rights could be purchased and the stories could be killed.

“So that they would not get published, you mean?” asked prosecutor Joshua Steinglass.

“So that they would not get published, yes” Pecker replied.

To illustrate their point, prosecutors displayed a screenshot of various flattering headlines the National Enquirer published about Trump, including “Donald Dominates!’ and “World Exclusive: The Donald Trump Nobody Knows.” The jury was also shown disparaging and outlandish stories about Trump's opponents, including surgeon Ben Carson and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

Pecker painted Cohen as a shadow editor of the National Enquirer’s pro-Trump coverage, directing the tabloid to go after whichever Republican candidate was gaining momentum.

“I would receive a call from Michael Cohen, and he would direct me and direct Dylan Howard on which candidate and which direction we should go,” Pecker said, referring to the tabloid's then-editor.

Pecker said he underscored to Howard that the agreement with the Trump operation was “highly, highly confidential.” He said he wanted the tabloid’s bureau chiefs to be on the lookout for any stories involving Trump and said he wanted them to verify the stories before alerting Cohen.

“I did not want anyone else to know about this agreement I had and what I wanted to do,” the ex-publisher added.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges related to his role in the hush money payments. He was once a confidant of Trump's, but their relationship deteriorated in spectacular fashion. Cohen is expected to be a star government witness, and he routinely posts profane broadsides against Trump on social media.

Trump's lawyers are expected to make attacks on Cohen's credibility a foundation of their defense, but in opening with Pecker, prosecutors hoped to focus attention on a witness with a less volatile backstory. Besides maintaining that Trump is innocent, Trump lawyer Todd Blanche told jurors that Cohen cannot be trusted and has “an obsession with getting Trump.”

Pecker's testimony Tuesday followed a hearing earlier in the day in which prosecutors urged Judge Juan M. Merchan to hold Trump in contempt and fine him $1,000 for each of 10 social media posts that they say violated an earlier gag order barring attacks on witnesses, jurors and others involved in the case.

Merchan did not immediately rule, but he seemed skeptical of defense arguments that Trump was merely responding in his posts to others' attacks and had been trying to comply with the order.

Prosecutors allege that Trump sought to illegally influence the 2016 race through a practice known in the tabloid industry as “catch-and-kill” — catching a potentially damaging story by buying the rights to it and then killing it through agreements that prevent the paid person from telling the story to anyone else.

In this case, that included a $130,000 payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels to silence her claims of an extramarital sexual encounter that Trump denies. Prosecutors also described other arrangements, including one that paid a former Playboy model $150,000 to suppress claims of a nearly yearlong affair with the married Trump, which Trump also denies.

In another instance, Pecker recounted a $30,000 payment from the National Enquirer to a Trump Tower doorman for the rights to a rumor that Trump had fathered a child with an employee at Trump World Tower. The tabloid concluded the story was not true, and the woman and Trump have denied the allegations.

As Pecker described receiving the tip in court, Trump shook his head.

Pecker said upon hearing the rumor, he immediately called Cohen, who said it was “absolutely not true” but that he would look into whether the people involved had indeed worked for Trump’s company.

“I made the decision to buy the story because of the potential embarrassment it had to the campaign and Mr. Trump,” Pecker said.

When he told Cohen, Pecker said he thanked him, "And he said that the boss would be very pleased.”

Asked by the prosecutor who he understood the boss to be, Pecker replied: “Donald Trump.”

Explaining why he decided to have the National Enquirer foot the bill, Pecker recalled telling Cohen: “This can be a very big story. I believe it's important that it be removed from the marketplace.”

If he published the story, Pecker said it would be “probably the biggest sale of the National Enquirer since the death of Elvis Presley.”

Jurors viewed an internal Enquirer email and invoice describing the payments to the doorman to kill his story. One document describes the funds coming from the publication’s “corporate” account. An invoice references an “immediate” $30,000 bank transfer payment for “‘Trump’ non-published story.”

Trump's 34 felony counts arise from reimbursements that prosecutors say Trump's company made to Cohen for hush money payments and that were falsely recorded as legal expenses.

The charges are punishable by up to four years in prison, though it’s unclear whether Merchan would seek to put him behind bars. A conviction would not preclude Trump from becoming president again, but because it is a state case, he would not be able to pardon himself if found guilty. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Testimony resumes on Thursday.

Tucker reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in New York contributed to this report.

Follow the AP's coverage of former President Donald Trump at https://apnews.com/hub/donald-trump.

Former president Donald Trump, left, watches as David Pecker answers questions on the witness stand, far right, from assistant district attorney Joshua Steingless, in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Former president Donald Trump, left, watches as David Pecker answers questions on the witness stand, far right, from assistant district attorney Joshua Steingless, in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Former President Donald Trump speaks after leaving Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump speaks after leaving Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump speaks after leaving Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump speaks after leaving Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump gestures while he walks in Manhattan criminal court in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump gestures while he walks in Manhattan criminal court in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump walks in Manhattan criminal court in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump walks in Manhattan criminal court in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Former president Donald Trump returns to the courtroom after a recess in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump returns to the courtroom after a recess in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while he walks, as his criminal trial over charges that he allegedly falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 continues, at Manhattan state court in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures while he walks, as his criminal trial over charges that he allegedly falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 continues, at Manhattan state court in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Judge Juan Merchan presides over Donald Trump's trial in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Judge Juan Merchan presides over Donald Trump's trial in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Defense attorney Todd Blanche, at podium, makes arguments challenging the contempt charges to Judge Juan Merchan , Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Defense attorney Todd Blanche, at podium, makes arguments challenging the contempt charges to Judge Juan Merchan , Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Former President Donald Trump appears in Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in New York. (Curtis Means/DailyMail.com via AP, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump appears in Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 in New York. (Curtis Means/DailyMail.com via AP, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former US President Donald Trump, left, standing next to lawyer Todd Blanche, speaks to the press as he arrives at his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, Tuesday April 23, 2024. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (Timothy A. Clary/Pool via AP)

Former US President Donald Trump, left, standing next to lawyer Todd Blanche, speaks to the press as he arrives at his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, Tuesday April 23, 2024. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (Timothy A. Clary/Pool via AP)

Former president Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Former President Donald Trump speaks upon arriving at Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump speaks upon arriving at Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump walks in Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump walks in Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Former President Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former US President Donald Trump, right, sitting next to lawyer Todd Blanche, attends his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, Tuesday April 23, 2024. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (Timothy A. Clary/Pool via AP)

Former US President Donald Trump, right, sitting next to lawyer Todd Blanche, attends his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, Tuesday April 23, 2024. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (Timothy A. Clary/Pool via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 23, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Former president Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump waits for the start of proceedings in Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in New York. Before testimony resumes Tuesday, the judge will hold a hearing on prosecutors' request to sanction and fine Trump over social media posts they say violate a gag order prohibiting him from attacking key witnesses. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Former president Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Former president Donald Trump speaks upon arriving at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump speaks upon arriving at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom at his criminal trial at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom at his criminal trial at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Former president Donald Trump, center, awaits the start of proceedings at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump, center, awaits the start of proceedings at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump, center, awaits the start of proceedings at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Former president Donald Trump, center, awaits the start of proceedings at Manhattan criminal court, Monday, April 22, 2024, in New York. Opening statements in Donald Trump's historic hush money trial are set to begin. Trump is accused of falsifying internal business records as part of an alleged scheme to bury stories he thought might hurt his presidential campaign in 2016. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura, Pool)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom at his criminal trial at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom at his criminal trial at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump walks next to his attorney Todd Blanche, at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump walks next to his attorney Todd Blanche, at Manhattan state court in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

Israel was told to halt its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, but judges on the top United Nations court stopped short of ordering a full cease-fire throughout the Palestinian territory.

The International Court of Justice also ordered Israel to keep the Rafah border crossing open, saying “the humanitarian situation is now to be characterized as disastrous.”

Israel faces global criticism over the mounting death toll and devastating humanitarian crisis in Gaza. More than a million Palestinians fled Rafah in recent weeks as Israeli forces pressed deeper into the city. People displaced by fighting lack shelter, food, water and other essentials for survival, the U.N. humanitarian agency said Wednesday.

The cease-fire request is part of a case filed late last year by South Africa accusing Israel of committing genocide during its Gaza campaign. Israel vehemently denies the allegations. The case at will take years to resolve, but South Africa wants interim orders to protect Palestinians while the legal wrangling continues.

At least 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed about 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more. The Israeli army said Friday that it recovered the bodies of three more hostages killed on Oct. 7.

Currently:

— Israel’s army says the bodies of three more hostages killed on Oct. 7 were recovered overnight from Gaza.

— Top U.N. court orders Israel to halt military operation in Rafah; Israel is unlikely to comply.

— The Security Council will vote on resolution decrying attacks on the U.N. and aid workers, and demanding protection.

— Iran inters its late president at the holiest Shiite site in the nation after a fatal helicopter crash.

— More aid is getting from the U.S. pier to people in Gaza after a troubled launch.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here's the latest:

JERUSALEM — Benny Gantz, one of three members of Israel’s War Cabinet, indicated his country’s military won’t change its conduct in Rafah despite an order from the top U.N. court to halt the widening offensive there.

Gantz’s comments Friday were Israel’s most senior reaction to the International Court of Justice ruling, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not make an immediate public response.

Gantz said Israel “set out on a just and necessary campaign following the brutal massacre of its citizens,” which includes the sending troops into Rafah. Israel portrays the southern city as the last Hamas stronghold.

“We will continue operating in accordance with international law wherever we might operate, while safeguarding to the best extent possible the civilian population,” Gantz said. “Not because of the ICJ, but because of who we are and the values we stand for.”

The world court does not have a police force to enforce its orders, meaning Israel is unlikely to comply.

The court also ordered Israel to reopen the Rafah border crossing. But it did not call for a full cease-fire throughout Gaza as South Africa, which brought the case, requested at hearings last week.

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — South Africa welcomed the top U.N. court’s order for Israel to stop its offensive in southern Gaza, and said it’s up to the U.N. Security Council to take action to enforce the ruling and alleviate the dire humanitarian situation.

Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said the International Court of Justice put forth a “much stronger” set of provisional measures on Friday which were a “very clear call for a cessation.” In an interview with state broadcaster SABC, she said South Africa’s allegation that a genocide is taking place is getting “stronger and stronger by the day.”

She said the U.N. Security Council has the responsibility to now determine measures to protect Palestinians in Gaza.

“We are all seeing the horror unfold and something needs to be done. And we cannot just rely on those who are the executioners of this ongoing onslaught to be the ones to stop it,” she said.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The top United Nations court has ordered Israel to immediately halt its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah — but stopped short of ordering a full cease-fire.

Although Israel is unlikely to comply with Friday’s order, it will ratchet up the pressure on the increasingly isolated country. Criticism of Israel’s conduct in the war in Gaza has been growing, particularly on operations in Rafah.

It has even come from its closest ally, the United States. This week alone, three European countries announced they would recognize a Palestinian state, and the chief prosecutor for another U.N. court requested arrest warrants for Israeli leaders and Hamas officials.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also under heavy pressure at home to end the war.

While the ruling by the International Court of Justice is a blow to Israel’s international standing, the court does not have a police force to enforce its orders. In another case on its docket, Russia has so far ignored a 2022 order by the court to halt its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron will host Qatar’s prime minister and other officials from Arab nations for talks on the Middle East on Friday, his office said.

It says the meeting at the presidential Elysee Palace will include, along with Qatar’s prime minister, the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Saudia Arabia, and France. It says they’ll be discussing the Middle East but gave no details

Meanwhile in Washington, a U.S. official said CIA Director Bill Burns is meeting in Paris with Israelis and Qataris in informal talks aimed at getting hostage and cease-fire negotiations back on track, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the meetings.

The official gave no time for the discussions.

Burns is in close contact with Egyptian officials, the official said. The Qataris and Egyptians are serving as mediators with Hamas officials, who are not taking part in person in the talks.

__Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer contributed to this report.

BERLIN — Germany pressed Israel and Hamas on Friday to urgently allow the entry and distribution of more humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Christian Wagner said the situation in Gaza was “catastrophic and disastrous.”

“The Isreali government has stressed repeatedly that it wants to flood Gaza with humanitarian aid. Honestly speaking, that is not visible at the moment and that must urgently change,” Wagner said at a government news conference.

“For this, it is essential that more border crossings are opened,” he said. “It is also essential to secure the distribution of humanitarian assistance in Gaza. Hamas also has a responsibility here as well as the Israeli army.”

Wagner said it was important to obtain the release of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas and to keep open the prospect of a political solution to the conflict.

Later Friday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated that demand and said that “the terror organization Hamas must finally release all the remaining hostages and agree to a long-term cease-fire."

“At the same time, Israel must finally secure humanitarian supplies for the desperate people in Gaza,” he added. "Four hundred to five hundred truckloads of aid is needed every day, and it is the responsibility of the Israeli government to ensure that these deliveries arrive.”

Germany, a staunch ally of Israel, supports a revival of talks that could lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It has so far ruled out joining Norway, Ireland and Spain in recognizing Palestinian statehood, arguing that such a step should be part of the political process.

TEL AVIV, Israel — The bodies of three more hostages killed on Oct 7. were recovered overnight from Gaza, Israel’s army said Friday, as the country braces for the top United Nations court to rule on whether Israel must halt its military operations and withdraw from the enclave.

The bodies of Hanan Yablonka, Michel Nisenbaum, and Orion Hernandez Radoux were found and their families have been notified. The army said they were killed on the day of the attack at the Mefalsim intersection and their bodies were taken to Gaza.

The announcement comes less than a week after the army said it found the bodies of three other Israeli hostages killed on Oct. 7.

Hamas-led militants killed around 1,200 people, mainly civilians, and abducted around 250 others in the Oct. 7 attack. Around half of those hostages have since been freed, most in swaps for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel during a weeklong cease-fire in November.

Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The top United Nations court is ruling Friday on an urgent plea by South Africa to order Israel to halt its military operations in Gaza and withdraw from the enclave.

Israel is unlikely to comply with any such order. Even so, a cease-fire order by judges of the International Court of Justice would heap more pressure on an increasingly isolated Israel as it continues its military assault on Gaza following the deadly Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas-led militants.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also under heavy pressure at home to end the war. Thousands of Israelis have joined weekly demonstrations calling on the government to reach a deal to bring home Israeli hostages in Hamas captivity, fearing that time is running out.

The International Court of Justice has broad powers to order a cease-fire and other measures, but it does not have its own enforcement apparatus.

Friday’s ruling comes just days after the prosecutor of another court in The Hague, the International Criminal Court, announced he is seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu, as well as Israel’s defense minister and three Hamas leaders.

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to vote Friday on a resolution that strongly condemns attacks on humanitarian workers and U.N. personnel. It also demands that all combatants protect them in accordance with international law.

The Swiss-sponsored resolution expresses grave concern at the growing number of attacks and threats against U.N. and humanitarian personnel and the disregard for and violations of international humanitarian law by combatants. Switzerland’s U.N. Ambassador Pascale Baeriswyl told The Associated Press on Thursday that the resolution is about protecting those who are putting their lives at risk to help people affected by armed conflict.

The draft resolution does not single out any conflict and is being voted on as battles rage in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, Myanmar and many other hotspots around the world.

It is the seven-month war in Gaza, however, that has seen the greatest number of attacks on U.N. and humanitarian personnel. Over 190 U.N. staff have been killed, a death toll unprecedented in the United Nations’ nearly 80-year history, according to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Palestinian women weep for loved ones, a day after they were killed by Israeli bombardment, at their funeral at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Palestinian women weep for loved ones, a day after they were killed by Israeli bombardment, at their funeral at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Mourners pray over the bodies of Palestinians, a day after they were killed by Israeli bombardment, at their funeral at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Mourners pray over the bodies of Palestinians, a day after they were killed by Israeli bombardment, at their funeral at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

The flags of Spain, Ireland, and Norway are displayed on the City Hall building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, after the three countries announced this week that they would recognize Palestinian statehood, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

The flags of Spain, Ireland, and Norway are displayed on the City Hall building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, after the three countries announced this week that they would recognize Palestinian statehood, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Israeli and American activists block the entrance to the U.S. Consulate building that houses the Palestinian Affairs Unit, calling for the United States to stop providing arms to Israel for the war in the Gaza Strip, in Jerusalem, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Israeli and American activists block the entrance to the U.S. Consulate building that houses the Palestinian Affairs Unit, calling for the United States to stop providing arms to Israel for the war in the Gaza Strip, in Jerusalem, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

The bodies of Palestinians are moved to their burial, a day after they were killed by Israeli bombardment, at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

The bodies of Palestinians are moved to their burial, a day after they were killed by Israeli bombardment, at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A Palestinian man walks past burning tires during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Jenin, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A Palestinian man walks past burning tires during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Jenin, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A boy plays with his ball next to debris of a heavily damaged building after an Israeli forces raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A boy plays with his ball next to debris of a heavily damaged building after an Israeli forces raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, some are draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, some are draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Palestinians mourns over the body of the doctor Ossayed Kamal Jabareen, at the government hospital in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Palestinians mourns over the body of the doctor Ossayed Kamal Jabareen, at the government hospital in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Gunmen march as mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, some draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Gunmen march as mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, some draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Relatives and supporters of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza hold photos of their loved ones during a performance calling for their return in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Relatives and supporters of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza hold photos of their loved ones during a performance calling for their return in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

A Palestinian man inspects the damage to a building after Israeli forces raided the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that killed and wounded multiple Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group said its fighters battled the Israeli forces. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

A Palestinian man inspects the damage to a building after Israeli forces raided the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that killed and wounded multiple Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group said its fighters battled the Israeli forces. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

After being blindfolded, a Palestinian man is detained by Israeli forces during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

After being blindfolded, a Palestinian man is detained by Israeli forces during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A girl looks out from a window of a building damaged by shrapnels after an Israeli forces raid in the West Bank Jenin refugee camp, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A girl looks out from a window of a building damaged by shrapnels after an Israeli forces raid in the West Bank Jenin refugee camp, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A gunman holds up his weapon as mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, with some draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags, during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A gunman holds up his weapon as mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, with some draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags, during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

This combo from photos provided by Hostages Families Forum Headquarters shows from left, Michel Nisenbaum, 59, Hanan Yablonka, 42, and Oryon Hernandez Radoux, 30. The bodies of three more hostages killed on Oct 7. were recovered overnight from Gaza, Israel's army said Friday May 24, 2024. (Hostages Families Forum Headquarters via AP)

This combo from photos provided by Hostages Families Forum Headquarters shows from left, Michel Nisenbaum, 59, Hanan Yablonka, 42, and Oryon Hernandez Radoux, 30. The bodies of three more hostages killed on Oct 7. were recovered overnight from Gaza, Israel's army said Friday May 24, 2024. (Hostages Families Forum Headquarters via AP)

Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

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