US Secretary of State urges Israel to better protect civilians in Gaza

dd Copyright JONATHAN ERNST/AFP or licensors
By Daniel Bellamy with AP
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Antony Blinken urges Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to better protect civilians in Gaza after thousands have been killed in Israeli airstrikes.


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday in Tel Aviv as Israeli troops tightened their encirclement of Gaza City.

Tensions escalated along the northern border with Lebanon ahead of a speech planned later Friday by Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Hamas ally. It is his first public speech since Hamas attacked Israel last month, stoking fears the conflict could become a regional one.

Roughly 800 people - including hundreds of Palestinians with foreign passports and dozens of injured -have been allowed to leave the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing under an apparent agreement among the US, Egypt, Israel and Qatar, which mediates with Hamas.

Israel has allowed more than 260 trucks carrying food and medicine through the crossing, but aid workers say it’s not nearly enough. Israeli authorities have refused to allow fuel in, leaving hospitals with dwindling supplies.

The Palestinian death toll in the Israel-Hamas war reached 9,227, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. In the occupied West Bank, more than 140 Palestinians have been killed in violence and Israeli raids.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, most of them in the 7 October Hamas attack that started the fighting, and 242 hostages were taken from Israel into Gaza by the militant group.

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