US, Israeli officials talking alternative Rafah invasion plans

US, Israeli officials talking alternative Rafah invasion plans

World

The United States wants Israel to consider alternatives to a ground invasion of Rafah.

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior US and Israeli officials planned to hold a virtual meeting on Monday (April 1) to discuss the Biden administration's alternative proposals to an Israeli military invasion of Rafah, according to a US official.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called off a planned visit to Washington last week by a senior Israeli delegation after the US allowed passage of a Gaza ceasefire resolution at the United Nations on Monday, marking a new war-time low in his relations with President Joe Biden.

Two days later Israel asked the White House to reschedule a high-level meeting on military plans for Gaza's southern city of Rafah, officials said, in an apparent bid to ease tensions between the two allies.

The United States, concerned about a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, wants Israel to consider alternatives to a ground invasion of Rafah, the last relatively safe haven for more than 1 million displaced Palestinian civilians.

The US team in the talks will be led by Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, the official said.

More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed, including 63 in the past 24 hours, in Israel's six-month military offensive in Gaza, according to the Palestinian health authorities.

Israel's retaliation began after an Oct 7 attack in which Hamas militants breached the Israeli border to kill 1,200 people and take 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.
 




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