US does not have a date for Israeli offensive in Rafah: Blinken

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday he doubted Israel would attack Rafah before new talks next week in Washington, which has raised concerns over an assault on the packed Gaza city.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that a date was set for a ground offensive in Rafah, vowing to go ahead to root out Hamas despite international concerns over 1.5 million Palestinians sheltering in the city.

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Blinken said that Israel has not communicated a date for an operation to the United States.

An in-person meeting of Israeli and US officials on the planned operation in Rafah will take place in a couple of weeks, the White House said on Tuesday.

“I don’t anticipate any actions being taken before those talks; for that matter, I don’t see anything imminent,” Blinken told a joint news conference with British Foreign Secretary David Cameron.

“On the contrary, what we have is an ongoing conversation with Israel about any Rafah operation,” Blinken said, adding that he expected that the talks would continue next week.

“I don’t anticipate any actions being taken before those talks, and for that matter I don’t see anything imminent. But there’s a lot of work to be done and it remains our conviction that major military operations in Rafah would be extremely dangerous for civilians who would be caught in harm’s way.”

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The United States will again make the case that major military operations in Rafah would be “extremely dangerous for civilians who have been caught in harm’s way,” Blinken said.

Blinken also said the United States is continuing to work closely with Qatar and Egypt on a ceasefire agreement for Gaza.

He added that 400 trucks were cleared to go into Gaza on Monday, the most since Oct. 7, when the conflict was triggered.

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