US looking into report that Israel used AI to identify bombing targets in Gaza

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The United States was looking into a media report that the Israeli military has been using artificial intelligence to help identify bombing targets in Gaza, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told CNN on Thursday.

Kirby, in the CNN interview, said the US had not verified the content of the media report published in +972 Magazine and Local Call on Wednesday. It cited Israeli intelligence officials involved in the reported program known as “Lavender.”

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The Israeli Defense Forces, in statements to the media on Thursday, denied that AI was used to identify suspected extremists and targets.

The media report said the Israeli army had marked tens of thousands of Gazans as suspects for assassination, using the AI system with little human oversight.

Kirby, in the CNN interview, was also asked about an Axios report that the Israeli security cabinet had approved the opening of the Erez crossing with Gaza to allow more humanitarian aid to enter.

Kirby said that if true, the opening of the crossing would be “welcome news” and “certainly in keeping” with what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US President Joe Biden in their call on Thursday.

The White House said that Biden, in the call, threatened to condition support for Israel’s offensive in Gaza on its taking concrete steps to protect aid workers and civilians.

Palestinian militia group Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli tallies. Israel’s subsequent military assault on Hamas-governed Gaza has killed over 32,000 people, according to the local health ministry, displaced nearly all its population, caused a starvation crisis, and led to genocide allegations that Israel denies.

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