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White House acknowledges ‘innocent’ Palestinians killed in Israeli hostage rescue mission

Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed reports that civilians appeared to have been killed during Israel’s mission to rescue four hostages held by Hamas over the weekend but said that the US was not in a position to verify an exact or estimated death toll from the operation.

Sullivan appeared across the Sunday show circuit as the Biden administration appeared to be taking something of a victory lap on the development. He had, a day earlier, congratulated Israel’s government and military for the successful rescue in a statement which did not mention civilian casualties, even as initial reports across Saturday indicated that dozens of civilians had been killed in the operation.

Palestinian health officials have said that more than 270 civilians were killed during the attack; IDF commanders have put their estimation at less than 100.

“We the United States are not in a position today to make a definitive statement about that,” said the president’s national security adviser on Sunday. “But we do know this, Dana, innocent people were tragically killed in this operation. The exact number we don’t know, but innocent people were killed.”

While acknowledging that Palestinian civilians living in Gaza were going through “hell”, Sullivan stuck to the Biden administration’s refrain: that the blame lies solely with Hamas for operating in areas tightly-packed with civilians.

“Every day that we see more innocent people lost is another horrible, awful, tragic day,” said Sullivan.

Israeli forces separately issued a statement denying reports that emerged on social media claiming the attack was carried out by Israeli forces concealed within aid trucks brought into Gaza by the floating pier set up by the US military to

Read more on independent.co.uk