No genocide in Gaza or on October 7, US defense chief says

The United States does not have evidence that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza as it carries out its war against Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tells a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

“We don’t have evidence of that,” Austin tells the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He also declines to term Hamas atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7 a genocide, but does call them a “war crime.”

Austin says a pier being built by US troops meant to facilitate humanitarian deliveries via a maritime route will be ready by the third weekend of this month.

He says it is still being worked out who in Gaza will distribute the aid brought to the pier.

Austin’s opening remarks are temporarily interrupted by protesters lifting a Palestinian flag and shouting at him to stop sending weapons to Israel. “Stop the genocide,” they say, as they lift their hands, stained in red, in the air.

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