The unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7 killed 1,200 people (file)


The White House believes Israel is “striving” to minimize civilian deaths in Gaza, a senior official said on Sunday, as international concern grew over the death toll in the renewed war with Hamas.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also stressed on Sunday US talk shows that US intelligence was unaware of any secret, preliminary plans by Hamas for its brutal October 7 attack on Israel that sparked the conflict.

The New York Times reported last week that Israeli authorities had received such a document a year before the attack.

Hamas says more than 15,500 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began, but Kirby told ABC’s “This Week” that Israel had responded to U.S. appeals to protect civilians.

“We believe they have been receptive to our messages to minimize civilian casualties,” he said, including by publishing online a map of places where Gazans could go to find safety .

“There aren’t many modern military people who would do that… to announce their strikes in that way. So they try hard.”

However, US Vice President Kamala Harris appeared to strike a different tone in her remarks from Dubai, where she attended the COP28 international climate conference.

“Too many innocent Palestinians have been killed,” she said Saturday. “Frankly, the level of civilian suffering and the images and videos from Gaza are devastating.”

The comments came as Israel resumed intense air and ground combat following a week-long ceasefire.

Ron Dermer, Israel’s strategic affairs minister, stressed to ABC that efforts to minimize civilian casualties were deliberate and “unprecedented.”

“If we wanted to do it quickly,” he said, “we would harm a lot more civilians.”

International concern is growing over the death toll in Gaza.

“I cannot find words strong enough to express our concern about what we are experiencing,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Sunday on X, formerly Twitter, calling for a “ceasefire. NOW.”

Kirby was also asked about the New York Times report on the Hamas attack plan, which the newspaper said Israeli officials dismissed as being beyond the group’s ability to carry out.

“Our intelligence community is investigating this,” Kirby said, adding that there is “no indication that we, the intelligence community of the United States, had prior knowledge of or insight into this document.”

According to Israeli authorities, the unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7th killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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