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US expresses concern about planned Israeli assault on Rafah

IANS | April 19, 2024 10:29 AM

WASHINGTON: US officials have met Israeli leaders to discuss the situation in the embattled city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has confirmed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to launch an Israeli ground assault against Rafah, which is now packed with hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who fled Israeli attacks elsewhere in the Gaza Strip.

The US, Germany and other Israeli allies have been urging restraint instead and warning against the fallout from a direct attack on the city, which is located on the border with Egypt.

Kirby, speaking to reporters in Washington on Thursday, declined to comment on the precise content of the talks or identify the participants, saying he would provide details once the meetings are over.

"The main purpose is really to talk about Rafah ... and also share our continued concerns over a major ground offensive there, " he said.

A meeting with an Israeli delegation had been planned this week to discuss the concerns of the US side.

Prior to the major Iranian air attack on Israel over the weekend, Netanyahu had announced last week that the assault on Rafah had already been scheduled.

However, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant contradicted Netanyahu's remarks shortly afterwards.

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