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US, Israeli Defense Chiefs Discuss Iran, Gaza

19.04.2024 09:57

Lloyd Austin discusses 'importance of increasing and sustaining the flow of humanitarian aid to Gazan civilians,' says Pentagon.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant discussed the situation in the Middle East, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

In a phone call on Thursday, Austin and Gallant exchanged views on the "regional threats and Iran's destabilizing actions in the Middle East," Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement.

Austin also discussed the "importance of increasing and sustaining the flow of humanitarian aid to Gazan civilians, including via the new route from Ashdod Port in Israel," Ryder said.

The phone call came after an Israeli government spokesperson said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set a date for invading Gaza's city of Rafah, where more than 1.5 million people have taken refuge from Israel's ongoing war on the Palestinian enclave, despite opposition from several countries, including the US.

The US position has been "pretty clear," Ryder said on Thursday at a press briefing.

"Our position has not changed in terms of the importance of ensuring that humanitarian assistance and civilian safety are taken into account as Israel conducts its operations against Hamas," he said. -

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