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US conveyed concerns to Israel 'about moving forward in Rafah': White House

February 13, 2024 at 5:30 pm

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby speaks at the White House Press Briefing in Washington DC, United States on January 19, 2024 [Mostafa Bassim – Anadolu Agency]

The US has communicated concerns to Israel about a possible Israeli assault on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on the border with Egypt, Anadolu Agency reports.

“We have consistently conveyed our concerns to our Israeli counterparts, including the prime minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) about moving forward in Rafah in a major way without due consideration of civilians,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

“And we have consistently conveyed privately and publicly … our concerns about the need to continue to look for ways to reduce civilian casualties. As the president (Joe Biden) said yesterday, there’s been too many,” said Kirby.

He reiterated that the US does not believe it is advisable to move forward with a major operation in Rafah unless or until there has been proper accounting for all civilians that are in the city.

During a news conference Monday with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the White House, Biden said: “Too many of the over 27,000 Palestinians killed in this conflict have been innocent civilians, including thousands of children”.

The president noted that hundreds of thousands have no access to food, water or other services and many families have lost not just one but many relatives.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he said.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since the 7 October Hamas attack, killing at least 28,340 people and injuring 67,984 others, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

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