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US says Israel has Biden’s unwavering support for its security, urges calm

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

For the second time in less than three days, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan calls his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat to express continued US concern over the escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council says in a statement.

During the call, Sullivan condemns ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza, including launches aimed at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the statement says.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, listens as National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, right, talks to the media in Anchorage, Alaska on March 19, 2021. (Frederic J. Brown/Pool via AP)

Sullivan “conveyed [US President Joe Biden’s] unwavering support for Israel’s security and for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians,” the statement adds, in an apparent reference to US concern over the deaths of Palestinians in Israeli counter-strikes.

Sullivan “also conveyed the United States’ encouragement of steps toward restoring a sustainable calm,” the White House says, adding that the sides agreed to remain in touch.

The US national security adviser also held talks today with officials in Cairo who have been involved in mediating between Israel and Hamas in an effort to reach a ceasefire.

“They discussed steps to restore calm over the coming days and agreed to stay in close touch,” the White House says.

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