White House: Israel has right to defend itself, but hospitals should be protected as much as possible

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

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington on January 11, 2024. (Saul Loeb/ AFP)
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington on January 11, 2024. (Saul Loeb/ AFP)

Responding to questions regarding the IDF reportedly operating around a pair of hospitals in Khan Younis, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reiterates the US position that it does not want to see hospitals turned into war zones. He stresses also, however, that Hamas uses such infrastructure to store weapons and that Israel has a right to thwart such efforts.

“We know that Hamas deliberately uses places like hospitals to store weapons, house their fighters, even to some degree, for command and control. So that places a special need on the Israeli Defense Forces, but also a special burden,” Kirby says during a briefing.

Kirby says Israel had a right to defend itself but adds: “We expect them to do so in accordance with international law and to protect innocent people in hospitals, medical staff and patients as well, as much as possible.”

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