Israel-Gaza updates: Harris to meet with Israeli war Cabinet member on Monday

Kamala Harris will meet with Benny Gantz at the White House, an official said.

More than four months since Hamas terrorists invaded Israel on Oct. 7, the Israeli military continues its bombardment of the neighboring Gaza Strip.

The conflict, now the deadliest between the warring sides since Israel's founding in 1948, shows no signs of letting up soon and the brief cease-fire that allowed for over 100 hostages to be freed from Gaza remains a distant memory.

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What we know about the conflict

The latest outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that governs the Gaza Strip, has passed the four-month mark.

In the Gaza Strip, at least 30,228 people have been killed and 71,377 others have been wounded by Israeli forces since Oct. 7, according to Gaza's Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health.

In Israel, at least 1,200 people have been killed and 6,900 others have been injured by Hamas and other Palestinian militants since Oct. 7, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

There has also been a surge in violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israeli forces have killed at least 395 people in the territory since Oct. 7, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The ongoing war began after Hamas-led militants launched an unprecedented incursion into southern Israel from neighboring Gaza via land, sea and air. Scores of people were killed while more than 200 others were taken hostage, according to Israeli authorities. The Israeli military subsequently launched retaliatory airstrikes followed by a ground invasion of Gaza, a 140-square-mile territory where more than 2 million Palestinians have lived under a blockade imposed by Israel and supported by Egypt since Hamas came to power in 2007. Gaza, unlike Israel, has no air raid sirens or bomb shelters.

Netanyahu adviser says Israel helped coordinate US airdrops in Gaza

An adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied the US airdrops of aid in Gaza are a sign the Biden administration has lost confidence in the Israeli government’s ability or willingness to get a grip on the humanitarian crisis there.

In an interview with ABC News on Sunday, Netanyahu advisor Ophir Falk said the U.S. airdrops on Saturday were "fully coordinated with Israel."

Falk pushed back on any suggestion Israel was not letting enough aid into Gaza while children were starving to death, saying Israel "is enabling thousands of trucks to get into Gaza."

Falk denied that people are dying of starvation in Gaza, despite a statement Sunday from a UNICEF official that at least 10 children have reportedly died of malnutrition recently at a northern Gaza hospital. Some doctors working in Gaza have also reported the deaths of children as a result of malnutrition.

Falk said "maybe tens of thousands" of aid trucks have gone into Gaza since the beginning of the war in October.

"No other country would do that," Falk said.

Israel has said it is trying to prevent aid from ending up in the hands of the Hamas terrorist organization.

"We have to verify it’s not being stolen by Hamas," Falk said, something he claimed is happening "on a daily basis."

-ABC News' Tom Soufi Burridge

VP Harris to hold White House meeting with Israeli war Cabinet member: Official

Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with Israeli war Cabinet member Benny Gantz at the White House on Monday as part of an ongoing effort to engage with a wide range of Israeli officials on the war in Gaza, a White House official has confirmed to ABC News.

During the meeting, Harris is expected to reiterate Israel's right to defend itself in the face of threats by Hamas and the urgency of securing a hostage deal, the White House official said. Harris and Gantz are also planning to discuss the dire need to increase the aid flow into Gaza through continued U.S. airdrops and work on a maritime corridor to deliver aid directly by sea, according to the official.

While reiterating the need to reduce civilian casualties, Harris is expected to express the Biden administration's concern for the safety of the 1.5 million people reportedly taking shelter in the city of Rafah, the official said.

In their discussion of the ongoing war, Harris and Gantz are also expected to focus on "the day after the fighting ends" and plans to eventually rebuild Gaza and the Palestinian Authority so that it may govern a unified Gaza and West Bank in creating a "hopeful political horizon for the Palestinian people," the official said.

Harris previously met Gantz in 2022 at the Munich Security Conference. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will also meet with Gantz separately, according to the White House.

-ABC News' Noah Minnie

Malnutrition reportedly kills at least 10 children in northern Gaza: UNICEF

At least 10 children have reportedly died in recent days from dehydration and malnutrition while at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, a UNICEF official said Sunday.

The children died at the Kamal Adwan Hospital, Adele Khodr, UNICEF's regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

"These tragic and horrific deaths are man-made, predictable and entirely preventable," Khodr said in the statement. "The widespread lack of nutritious food, safe water and medical services, a direct consequence of the impediments to access and multiple dangers facing U.N. humanitarian operations, is impacting children and mothers, hindering their ability to breastfeed their babies, especially in the northern Gaza Strip."

Khodr said the disparity in conditions in Gaza's north and south "is clear evidence that aid restrictions in the north are costing lives."

Nearly 16% of children, or one in six, under the age of 2 in the northern Gaza Strip are acutely malnourished, said Khordr, citing malnutrition screenings in January by UNICEF and the U.N. World Food Program.

Khodr said similar screenings conducted in southern Gaza found that 5% of children under 2 are acutely malnourished.

"Now, the child deaths we feared are here and are likely to rapidly increase unless the war ends and obstacles to humanitarian relief are immediately resolved," Khodr said.

Khodr's statement came a day after the U.S. Department of Defense conducted its first combined humanitarian assistance airdrop across Gaza with the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

About one-quarter of Gaza's population -- 576,000 people -- are "one step away from famine" and facing a "grave situation," Ramesh Rajasingham, director of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said last week..

-ABC News Nadine Shubailat

Ceasefire deal talks underway amid plans for future Gaza aid

Hours after the U.S. Department of Defense conducted its first combined humanitarian assistance airdrop in Gaza with the Royal Jordanian Air Force, senior administration officials asserted this would be part of a sustained effort to scale up life-saving aid into Gaza and confirmed significant progress on a six-week hostage ceasefire deal currently in the hands of Hamas.

Senior administration officials said they are exploring every channel possible to get assistance into Gaza and that the Department of Defense is currently planning additional drops. However, they say their biggest obstacle is opening more avenues to get aid into Gaza, including a martine route that would deliver assistance directly by sea.

"We're looking at the land routes, we're looking at the sea route, we're looking at the air route, to really ensure that we're exploring every opportunity to get assistance in," officials said Saturday.

Officials confirmed this was the first U.S. airdrop conducted in Gaza since the war began and that U.S. and Jordanian C-130 aircraft were operated jointly out of Jordan to distribute aid.

Administration officials suggested the removal of police from the U.N. and other humanitarian convoys has exacerbated the lawlessness already prevalent in the region as gangs allegedly take and resell aid. Officials said the way to address this problem is by flooding the market with aid to discourage the commercialization of assistance.

Officials said a ceasefire is essential for the distribution of life-saving aid throughout Gaza. A deal is on the table and in the hands of Hamas, according to officials.

Senior administration officials told reporters there would be a six-week ceasefire as soon as today if Hamas agreed to release a defined category of vulnerable hostages, which include the sick, elderly, and women.

When asked about the specifics of these progressions towards a ceasefire hostage deal, admin officials said they'd worked hard with the Israelis to develop a framework which the admin believes is now "in the zone of a compromise amongst all the positions that had been on the table," after several meeting in Israel last week.

Admin officials hope to have this deal in place by Ramadan, confirming significant progress has been made over the last few weeks.

"The onus right now is on Hamas, their talks still underway," a senior admin official said Saturday.

They continued, "There has been significant progress over the last few weeks. But like all things, until the deal is actually done, It's not done. The Israelis have basically signed on to the elements of the arrangement. And right now, the ball is in the court of Hamas, and we are continuing to push this as hard as we possibly can."

-ABC News' Noah Minnie