Blinken says more civilians in Gaza have been killed than terrorists

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday the U.S. believes more civilians in Gaza have been killed than terrorists.

CBS’s Margaret Brennan asked Blinken on “Face the Nation” whether the U.S. shares the same assessment of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who she said recently said Israel has killed 14,000 terrorists and 16,000 civilians in its war against the militant group Hamas.

“Yes, we do. And I think the report makes clear that while Israel has processes, procedures, rules, regulations, to try to minimize civilian harm, given the impact that these operations, the war in Gaza, has had on the civilian population … those have not been applied consistently,” Blinken said in the interview.

Blinken’s interview comes days after President Biden said he’ll stop sending offensive weapons to Israel if it invades Rafah — where more than a million civilians are estimated to be sheltering from the war. World leaders and humanitarian aid groups have sounded the alarm about Israel’s efforts in the Gaza Strip, warning it is putting civilians in harm’s way.

Blinken also spoke about a recent review from the State Department about Israel’s war conduct, which raised “serious concerns” about its actions in Gaza.

“Our assessment will be ongoing. But as I said, given the totality of what we’ve seen in terms of civilian suffering, in terms of children, women, men caught in this crossfire from officers who’ve been killed or been injured. It’s reasonable to assess that in a number of instances, Israel has not acted in a manner that’s consistent with international humanitarian law,” he said.

The war in Gaza has left more than 34,000 Palestinians dead, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatant and militant deaths. The war began shortly after Hamas militants attacked southern Israel, killing about 1,200 Israelis and taking more than 200 people as hostages.

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