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Israel needs 'clear plan' to protect Gaza civilians, Blinken says

The top US diplomat said Israel must take steps to protect civilians in southern Gaza once the fighting resumes, including creating safe zones.
Blinken Israel

WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday urged Israel to exercise restraint in the Gaza Strip and abide by international humanitarian law as it plans for a resumed offensive against Hamas. 

At a press conference in Tel Aviv on Thursday, Blinken said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that Israel plans to restart its military operations in the Palestinian territory once the militants stop releasing hostages. 

As US officials have stressed for weeks, Blinken said the administration remains supportive of Israel’s fight to destroy Hamas, but “the way Israel defends itself matters.”

“We made clear the imperative that before any operations go forward in southern Gaza that there be a clear plan in place that puts a premium on protecting civilians,” Blinken told reporters. “The Israeli government agreed with that approach.” 

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