US, Israel to hold virtual meeting Thursday on Rafah

By Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior U.S. and Israeli officials will hold a virtual meeting on Thursday about Israel’s plans for the southern Gaza city of Rafah as Washington seeks alternatives to an Israeli offensive, a U.S. official said.

The meeting is a follow-up to a similar meeting held on April 1.

President Joe Biden has urged Israel not to conduct a large-scale offensive in Rafah to avoid more Palestinian civilian casualties in Gaza, where Palestinian health authorities say more than 32,000 people have been killed in Israel’s assault.

The meeting comes as Israel considers launching an attack on Iranian targets in response to Iran’s launching of a barrage of drones and ballistic missiles last weekend against Israel.

Washington is trying to dissuade the Israelis from retaliatory strikes to avoid inflaming an already tense situation, a second U.S. official said.

Israel’s strategic affairs minister Ron Dermer and national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi are again expected to head the Israeli delegation in the virtual talks, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Plans for in-person talks on Rafah have been delayed in the aftermath of Iran’s drone and missile attack on Israel, the source said.

In Ramallah, the Palestinian government called on the Biden administration to “intervene immediately to stop the ongoing Israeli aggression against our Palestinian people.”

(Reporting by Steve Holland, Matt Spetalnick in Washington and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top