US urges Israel not to expand Gaza op without plan to protect displaced civilians

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

White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby reiterates the Biden administration’s opposition to Israel expanding its military incursion into southern Gaza unless it demonstrates how it’ll protect the Palestinian civilians it ordered to evacuate to that region from the north.

Kirby says during a press briefing that Israel must have “a clearly articulated plan for how they’re going to protect the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people that have now been added to the population because they were asked to leave by the Israelis. There’s an obligation there for [Israel] to factor that into their planning.”

Biden officials have been making this point publicly since Sunday after privately urging Israel to limit strikes in southern Gaza for weeks, a US official told The Times of Israel.

While the army has indeed urged Gazans to evacuate the northern Strip, it says it will continue operating against Hamas in all parts of the enclave.

The IDF also notes that it still takes measures to warn civilians before carrying out airstrikes, while Hamas continues to use Gazans as human shields.

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