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Blinken calls on Israel to avoid ‘further civilian harm’ in Gaza

New Delhi: More than three months after the deadliest Gaza war ever, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday called for Israel to “avoid further civilian harm” in the besieged Palestinian territory, news agency AFP reported.

During a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed “America’s support for Israel’s right to prevent a repeat of the October 7 terrorist attacks,” according to State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. Confirmed.

However, Blinken also stressed “the importance of avoiding further civilian damage and protecting civilian infrastructure in Gaza,” reports AFP, where local health officials report the ongoing war has killed more than 23,000 people. went.

Miller said Blinken “reiterated the need to ensure a lasting, sustainable peace for Israel and the region, including the realization of Palestinian statehood”.

The army said its forces had killed 40 militants over the past 24 hours in “extended ground operations, including airstrikes” in Khan Yunis, and troops seized AK-47 assault rifles, rocket launchers and other weapons, AFP reported. Have done.

The war in Gaza was triggered by an unprecedented attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7, resulting in the deaths of about 1,140 people, the majority of whom were civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

According to Israel, the militants also took about 250 hostages, of whom 132 are still in captivity, at least 24 of whom have been killed.

In response to the attack, Israel has been carrying out sustained bombings and ground offensives, which have killed at least 22,722 people, the majority of whom are women and children, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would “continue its campaign to eliminate Hamas, return our hostages, and ensure that Gaza will no longer be a threat to Israel”.

Civilians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip have suffered the greatest impact of the conflict, with widespread destruction leading to mass displacement and a deepening humanitarian crisis.

In light of the widespread damage, UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said on Friday that “Gaza has become absolutely uninhabitable,” AFP reports.

The World Health Organization reported that most of Gaza’s 36 hospitals have been put out of business due to the ongoing conflict, leaving remaining medical facilities suffering from severe shortages.

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