US says Israel taking into account its concerns over Rafah military operation

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Israel has taken US concerns into account as it wages military operations in the Gaza city of Rafah, which is packed with refugees, a senior United States official said Tuesday.

“It’s fair to say, I think the Israelis have updated their plans. They’ve incorporated many of the concerns that we have expressed,” the official told reporters.

“This is an ongoing discussion, ongoing conversation. It’s been constructive,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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The person was referring to talks that US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had with senior Israeli officials last weekend in Israel, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“What matters is what actually happens,” the official said. “We don’t greenlight Israeli operations. It’s not our role.”

President Joe Biden has said publicly he does not want Israel to wage a major ground offensive in Rafah, which is in the far south of the Gaza Strip and packed with Palestinians displaced by the war between Israel and Hamas.

Israel launched its ground assault on parts of Rafah early this month, defying international opposition including from top ally Washington, which feared for the more than one million civilians trapped there.

Israel has ordered mass evacuations from Rafah where it has vowed to destroy Hamas and its tunnel system and rescue remaining hostages.

Read more:

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Israel says more troops to ‘enter Rafah’ as operations intensify

Sullivan, Israeli officials discuss Rafah operation alternatives: White House

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