Live updates: Israel-Hamas war rages as Gaza evacuations continue


Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the press in New Delhi on Friday. Jonathan Ernst/Pool/Reuters

When United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken lamented the civilian death toll in Gaza on Friday, it marked a subtle but notable shift in US language toward the Israeli government.

For weeks, the Biden administration has strongly backed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s military offensive following Hamas’ brutal October 7 attack, but a rising death count in the besieged enclave, enormous pro-Palestinian protests across the globe and increasing discomfort inside the White House has put considerable strain on the US’ posture.

“Far too many Palestinians have been killed. Far too many have suffered these past weeks,” the top US diplomat said in New Delhi. “We want to do everything possible to prevent harm to them and to maximize the assistance that gets to them.”

“To that end, we’ll be continuing to discuss with Israel the concrete steps to be taken to advance these objectives,” Blinken added.

Administration officials argue they have had success in some areas as they work to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The White House said Thursday that Israel had agreed to move forward with daily four-hour pauses of military operations in areas of northern Gaza.

The number of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7 has surpassed 11,000, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, drawing from sources in the Hamas-controlled territory.

The ferocity of the military operation shows no sign of letting up. On Friday, Israeli tanks surrounded a Gaza hospital, its director told CNN, as the territory’s largest healthcare facility came under a reported “bombardment.”

The IDF has said Hamas is embedding itself in civilian infrastructure and that it will strike Hamas “wherever necessary.” CNN cannot verify those claims.

Netanyahu insisted Thursday that there would be “no ceasefire” without the release of hostages held by Hamas.

Meanwhile, major world cities — including London, Istanbul, New York, Baghdad and Rome — have seen their centers filled with pro-Palestinian demonstrators calling for a ceasefire, with more protests planned this weekend.

Concerns about the conflict widening and the potential for further diplomatic fallout overseas remain top of mind in the US as well. The Biden administration has received stark warnings from American diplomats in the Arab world that its strong support for Israel’s military campaign “is losing us Arab publics for a generation,” according to a diplomatic cable obtained by CNN.

Read more about the current US stance on the war.


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