U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says “far too many” Palestinians have died and suffered as Israel wages a relentless war against the militant Hamas group in the Gaza Strip.
Antony Blinken said, “some progress” has been made toward protecting Palestinian civilians, but that “much more needs to be done” to minimize casualties and deliver humanitarian assistance to war-stricken Gaza.
“We have seen progress, we just need to see more of it,” Blinken told reporters in New Delhi at the end of a nine-day, eight-country tour that focused in large part on the worsening Middle East conflict.
Israel on Thursday agreed to pause its military operation against Hamas militants in certain areas of northern Gaza for four hours each day, according to White House officials.
The pauses are aimed at allowing the flow of more humanitarian aid, as well as Palestinians who want to flee areas where the Israeli ground operation and airstrikes are most intense.
On Thursday, Israel also opened a second corridor along Gaza’s coast, which will allow more Palestinians to flee, White House officials said.
“What Israel announced yesterday will help,” Blinken said, adding that the U.S. is also discussing “concrete steps” that would allow more regular deliveries of humanitarian aid, as well as fuel for vital facilities, such as hospitals and water treatment plants.
More than 10,000 people, about 40% of them children, have been killed during Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza over the past month, according to Palestinian officials.