Middle East Quartet Meets as Gaza Toll Hits 23 Iran condemns Israel's 'war crimes' By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Mar 12, 2012 10:28 AM CDT 0 comments Comments Ban Ki-moon, Hillary Clinton, and Sergei Lavrov pose for a photo at the United Nations in New York, March 12, 2012. (Getty Images) (Newser) – With 23 Palestinians now dead in the latest Gaza conflict, the Middle East Quartet is meeting for the first time in six months in New York. Hillary Clinton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and EU diplomat Baroness Ashton will discuss the growing violence after Israeli air raids killed five more people, including three civilians and a pair of militants. Israel yesterday sought UN Security Council action over rocket attacks from Gaza. China has also weighed in on the situation, calling on Israel to halt its air raids, the Telegraph notes. Iran has labeled the raids "war crimes," urging international condemnation against the "abhorrent violation of human rights." Among the reported dead today was a 15-year-old boy, CNN reports, though Israel said it did not bomb the area where he was killed. For its part, Israel says its attacks "destroyed launching pits" for Iranian-built rockets. Some 31 more rockets were launched from Gaza today, bringing the total to more than 200, according to the Jerusalem Post.