White House says 'no red lines for Israel' as Gaza bombardment intensifies

Official says Biden administration supports 'humanitarian pauses' to get aid in and civilians out

Balls of fire rise above Gaza city during Israeli strikes on Friday. AFP
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The White House on Friday said it would not be drawing any “red lines” for Israel, even as its military intensified ground operations on Gaza and ordered more civilians in the north to leave their homes and flee to the south.

“We're not drawing red lines for Israel,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on a call. “We continue to support their security needs, that will continue.”

He said the administration of President Joe Biden supported humanitarian pauses to allow the entry of critical aid, but that it would also continue to support Israel's military needs.

The comments came after communication services in the Gaza Strip were cut amid expanded Israeli strikes on the territory, home to 2.3 million Palestinians.

Israel has been bombarding the Gaza Strip since October 7, when Hamas gunmen launched an attack on the southern part of the country, killing about 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostages.

It has also been preparing for a massive ground invasion of Gaza, aimed at destroying Hamas.

More than 7,300 Palestinians have been killed, according to local tallies, and an intense humanitarian crisis is continuing, after Israel blocked the entry of water, food, medicine and fuel.

“We have not been shy about expressing our concerns over civilian casualties, collateral damage, and the approach that they might choose to take,” Mr Kirby said.

He added that a total of 84 lorries have made their way into the tiny enclave since the start of hostilities, a fraction of what is needed. He said the UN would be able to get a limited amount of fuel in on Friday.

Mr Kirby said efforts were continuing to ensure safe passage for civilians, including American citizens, out of Gaza.

“We would support humanitarian pauses for stuff getting in, as well as for people getting out, and that includes pushing for fuel to get in and for the restoration of electrical power,” Mr Kirby said.

Updated: October 27, 2023, 10:39 PM