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Blinken and Austin bolster US support for Israel as potential ground offensive in Gaza looms
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is assuring Israel that “we have your back” as he and America’s top diplomat met with Israeli and Arab leaders
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin assured Israel that “we have your back” as he and America’s top diplomat met Friday with Israeli and Arab leaders. There was no indication the U.S. was trying to prevent an expected Israeli ground offensive into Gaza that could worsen a humanitarian crisis for the 2.3 million Palestinians trapped in the blockaded territory.
Israel demanded Friday that some 1 million civilians evacuate northern Gaza for their own safety in anticipation of the expected invasion. Palestinians did indeed begin a mass exodus toward the southern part of the besieged territory even as Hamas dismissed the evacuation as a ploy and the U.N. warned of potentially disastrous consequences of so many people fleeing.