Israel Palestine Conflict

Blinken says ‘far too many’ Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday denounced the soaring number of Palestinians killed as Israel pushed ahead with its war against Hamas in Gaza, saying more needs to be done to protect the civilians.

In his strongest comments to date on civilians bearing the brunt of the war, Blinken welcomed the four-hour humanitarian Israeli pauses the White House announced on Thursday but said further action was required to protect Gaza’s civilians.

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Speaking to reporters in New Delhi as he wrapped up a nine-day trip to the Middle East and Asia, he said: “Far too many Palestinians have been killed; far too many have suffered these past weeks.

“And we want to do everything possible to prevent harm to them and to maximize the assistance that gets to them,” he said, adding that Washington would be discussing further steps with Israel to advance these objectives.

Israel has been pounding Gaza from the air and sea and on the ground since Hamas gunmen broke through the enclave’s border fence on Oct. 7 and carried out an attack in which Israel said 1,400 people were killed and about 240 abducted.

Palestinian officials say more than 11,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel began its military campaign, and Gaza’s hospitals are struggling to cope, with medical supplies, clean water and fuel to power generators running out.

The White House said on Thursday that Israel agreed to pause military operations in parts of north Gaza for four hours a day, and the army said Palestinians on Friday were allowed to leave over seven hours along a road south, but there was no sign of a let-up in the fighting that has laid waste to the seaside enclave.

Blinken said the United States had concrete plans to get more humanitarian assistance in and steps to ensure more protection for the civilians but achieving those objectives was a process.

“This is a process, and it’s not always flipping a light switch, but we have seen progress. We just need to see more of it,” he said.

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