Top Biden aide appears to blame Hamas for high death toll during hostage rescue

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

A Palestinian man inspects damage a day after a hostage rescue operation by Israel in the Nuseirat camp, in the central Gaza Strip on June 9, 2024. (Eyad Baba/AFP)
A Palestinian man inspects damage a day after a hostage rescue operation by Israel in the Nuseirat camp, in the central Gaza Strip on June 9, 2024. (Eyad Baba/AFP)

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan appears to place the blame on Hamas for the deaths of Palestinian civilians in yesterday’s IDF hostage rescue operation.

“The Palestinian people are going through sheer hell in this conflict because Hamas is operating in a way that puts them in the crossfire that holds hostages right in the heart of crowded civilian areas, that puts military emplacements right in the heart of crowded civilian areas,” Sullivan tells CNN.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says at 274 Palestinians were killed, and hundreds more were wounded, in the Israeli operation that rescued four hostages held by Hamas. As usual it does not differentiate between civilians and fighters, but it says the toll, which is unverified, included dozens of minors.

Sullivan indicates that Washington’s preferred approach for releasing the hostages is through a negotiated deal, saying the Israeli proposal currently on the table awaiting Hamas’s answer is the best and surest way to do so.

The senior Biden aide calls on the international community to demand that Hamas accept the terms of the deal.

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