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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Blinken Says ‘Far Too Many Palestinians Have Been Killed’ in Gaza


Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken mentioned on Friday that “far too many Palestinians have been killed” in Gaza, within the newest indication that the Biden administration is rising more and more involved concerning the civilian demise toll underneath Israel’s bombardment and floor invasion.

“Rather more must be finished to guard civilians and to make it possible for humanitarian help reaches them,” Mr. Blinken informed reporters in New Delhi after a diplomatic tour by way of Center Jap and Asian nations. “Far too many Palestinians have been killed. Far too many have suffered these previous weeks. And we need to do all the pieces potential to forestall hurt to them and to maximise the help that will get to them.”

He added that United States officers would proceed to debate “concrete steps” with Israel to recuperate not less than 240 hostages held by Palestinian militants and get humanitarian help into the Gaza Strip, which Hamas controls.

Mr. Blinken’s remarks additionally prompt that the Biden administration is stepping up strain on Israel to do extra to restrict the hurt to civilians in its marketing campaign in opposition to Hamas, as outrage grows from the United Nations and plenty of nations over the mounting toll in Gaza. The USA has staunchly supported Israel since Hamas attacked it on Oct. 7, killing about 1,400 folks, in accordance with Israeli officers, but it surely has additionally urged Israeli leaders to train restraint of their marketing campaign.

President Biden solid doubt final month on the casualty figures launched by the Gazan well being ministry, which mentioned this week that greater than 10,000 folks had been killed. However U.S. officers have acknowledged in current days that hundreds of civilians have been killed since Israel started its retaliatory marketing campaign for the Hamas assault.

Requested about Palestinian civilians, American officers have emphasised that they don’t have the power to confirm any toll, and mentioned that Hamas makes use of civilians as human shields.

They’ve, although, made broad assessments. On Tuesday, the U.S. nationwide safety spokesman, John Kirby, informed reporters, “There have been many hundreds killed, and every one is a tragedy.” On Wednesday, Barbara Leaf, the assistant secretary of state for Close to Jap affairs, informed a Home committee that U.S. officers thought the civilian casualties have been “very excessive, frankly, and it could possibly be that they’re even greater than are being cited.”

And the Biden administration has been pushing Israel to decide to humanitarian pauses in order that extra Palestinian civilians might flee to southern Gaza from the north, the place Israel has concentrated its floor operation in opposition to Hamas. After days of strain from U.S. officers, Israel agreed to every day four-hour pauses in some areas of northern Gaza, the White Home introduced on Thursday.

Mr. Kirby mentioned the pauses would facilitate the supply of humanitarian provides and probably assist the discharge of a number of the hostages held by Hamas.

American officers have additionally spoken concerning the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, echoing the warnings of United Nations officers and help staff that greater than one million folks have been displaced from their houses. The United Nations has referred to as for a cease-fire, which U.S. and Israeli officers have resisted, arguing that it might give Hamas time to regroup.

The U.N. help workplace mentioned on Friday that it might not ship help to a number of hundred thousand Palestinians in northern Gaza, the place Israel has warned folks to flee and the place its troops are conducting a floor operation.

“If there’s a hell on earth, it’s northern Gaza,” the help workplace’s spokesman, Jens Laerke, informed reporters on Friday.

He mentioned the Rafah gate, at Gaza’s southern border with Egypt, had been designed as a pedestrian crossing level and was ill-suited for big help convoys. Just a few convoys have been capable of cross the border to this point, and U.N. and American officers have mentioned that vastly extra is required to assist civilians in Gaza, who face dwindling provides of meals, clear water and medication.

Nailah Morgan and Nick Cumming-Bruce contributed reporting.

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