Too early to assess if Israel heeding US calls to protect civilians -US spokesperson By Reuters

© Reuters. An Israeli tank and armored personnel carriers (APC) maneuver near Israel’s border with southern Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Israel, December 4, 2023. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It was too early to make a definitive assessment of whether or not Israel was heeding U.S. calls to protect civilians in its renewed military operations in Gaza, the State Department said on Monday.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters that Israel’s targeted evacuations were an improvement compared to telling an entire city to vacate. Washington had seen some aspects of Israel’s operations in south Gaza that do not look like the earlier assault on the north, Miller said.

Intense Israeli air strikes hit the south of the Gaza Strip on Monday, killing and wounding dozens of Palestinians, including in areas where Israel had told people to seek shelter, residents and journalists on the ground said.

Israel’s closest ally the United States has urged it to do more to safeguard civilians in the southern part of Gaza than in last month’s campaign in the north. But about 900 people have been killed in Israeli air strikes since a week-long truce ended on Friday, Gaza health authorities said.

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