White House says lower-intensity fighting in Gaza doesn’t mean no civilian casualties

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

WASHINGTON — The White House stresses that Israel’s shift to low-intensity fighting in large parts of Gaza does not mean that there will not be further civilian casualties.

Asked to respond to reports of a mass-casualty incident at a shelter in Gaza, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby says he doesn’t have enough information to do so but uses the opportunity to make a broader point.

“The Israelis have taken steps to transition their operations. They have removed a division [from Gaza] — that’s thousands of troops. They are pursuing on the ground more targeted operations against the military leadership. They are relying less on airstrikes,” Kirby notes.

“[However], ‘low-intensity operations’ doesn’t mean ‘no-intensity operations.’ Even in a low-intensity environment… you’re still going to be in combat… and there are still going to be casualties. As we think about this moving forward, we should not expect that there’s going to be some violence,” he adds.

Kirby says the food situation in Gaza is “dire” and that the US is working to get more aid into the Strip.

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