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Israeli action that rescued hostages challenges US diplomacy

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan declined to say on Sunday whether the White House was comfortable with the Israeli hostage rescue mission that Gaza officials said killed more than two hundred Palestinians.

“Innocent people were tragically killed in this operation. We don’t know the exact number, but innocent people were killed and it’s heartbreaking. This is tragic,” Sullivan told Dana Bash from CNN in the “State of the Union”.

“The president himself has said in recent days that the Palestinian people are going through hell in this conflict because Hamas is operating in a way that puts them in the crossfire, that they are holding hostages right in the heart of crowded civilian areas,” he added.

The Israeli military rescued four hostages in a special operation in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, which Gaza authorities said killed 236 people and injured more than 400.

A CNN there is no way to verify the number of victims reported by Palestinian authorities in Gaza. Medical records in the war-torn enclave do not distinguish between dead civilians and militants. An Israeli military spokesman estimated the number of victims from the operation at “less than 100” and had no information on how many of them were civilians.

Pressed by Bash about whether the US was comfortable with how the mission was carried out, Sullivan called for a diplomatic solution “where there is no need for military operations to extract every last hostage.”

“Unfortunately, we will continue to see ongoing conflicts and military operations in which Israel makes efforts to recover its citizens and, frankly, to recover American citizens. What we would prefer to see is a ceasefire in which the hostages leave peacefully,” he said.

A CNN previously reported that an American cell in Israel supported efforts to rescue the four Israeli hostages, but Sullivan did not elaborate.

“The United States has been providing support to Israel for several months in its efforts to help identify the location of hostages in Gaza and to support efforts to try to secure their rescue or recovery,” he said, declining to elaborate on operational details. .

Sullivan added: “We did not participate militarily in this operation.”

The U.S. has not confirmed Hamas’ claims that other Israeli hostages held inside Gaza were killed during the mission, but Sullivan has broadly said that is “always a risk,” going on to defend the cease-fire agreement under which President Joe Biden has been lobbying in recent days.

“The best way to bring all the hostages home and protect Palestinian civilians is to end this war. And the best way to end this war is for Hamas to say ‘yes’ to the deal,” he said, calling it “the only credible path forward.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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