Pentagon chief speaks with Gallant, says Israel must safeguard civilians in Rafah

File: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (L) and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant give a joint press conference in Tel Aviv on December 18, 2023. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)
File: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (L) and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant give a joint press conference in Tel Aviv on December 18, 2023. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant held another call, the Pentagon says.

A readout from the US Defense Department stresses “the importance of safeguarding civilians and ensuring the movement of and access to humanitarian assistance before any operations against Hamas in Rafah.”

It also says the two discussed the Israeli operation to rescue two hostages in Rafah and the negotiations on a hostage deal, adding that Gallant briefed Austin about Israel’s offensive in Khan Younis.

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