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White House says it's 'right time' for Israel to scale back Gaza war

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White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said Sunday that it is the “right time” for Israel to scale back its war in Gaza.

CBS’s Margaret Brennan asked Kirby on “Face the Nation” if the U.S. is pushing Israel to move toward lower-intensity fighting as the war hit its 100th day on Sunday. Israel has signaled in recent days that it will tone down the fighting as it withdraws and rotates out several military units in Gaza amid U.S. pressure.

“I can tell you, Secretary Blinken just came from the region, that we have been talking to them intensely about a transition to low-intensity operations. We believe it’s the right time for that transition,” Kirby said on Sunday. “And we’re talking to them about doing that.”

“Now they have done some precursory steps to try to kind of get to that point. They’re some … pulling some troops out; they’re relying a little less on airstrikes,” he added.

Kirby said the “next logical phase” of the war is to move to lower-intensity operations, including “more precise raids” and “less airstrikes.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken was recently in the region to discuss the state of the war and the situation in Gaza with Israel and other world leaders.

“We believe it’s time to make that transition. And we have had that conversation with them,” Kirby said on CBS.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has reported more than 24,000 deaths in Gaza since the start of the war. The ministry does not distinguish between civilian and combatant deaths. In addition, about 85 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been displaced, according to The Associated Press.

About 1,200 Israelis were killed in the initial Hamas attacks last October that sparked the war and about 240 were captured as hostages by the militants. Just more than 100 hostages were released during a temporary cease-fire in November, but no hostages have been released since.


Source: The Hill

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