Civilian death toll in Gaza ‘far too high’: Pentagon chief

Civilian death toll in Gaza ‘far too high’: Pentagon chief

Washington (Web Desk): US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has told his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant that the civilian death toll is “far too high” in the Gaza Strip.

Speaking at the start of a meeting with Gallant on Tuesday in Washington, DC, Austin said the amount of humanitarian aid reaching Gaza also remains “far too low”.

“Gaza is suffering a humanitarian catastrophe, and the situation is getting even worse,” the Pentagon chief said.

“And we need immediate increases in assistance to avert famine, and our work to open a temporary humanitarian corridor by sea will help, but the key is still expanding aid deliveries by land.”

Israel has blocked the entry of critical humanitarian assistance to Gaza, prompting warnings that the Palestinian territory is facing “famine-like conditions”.

Gallant’s trip to the US capital also came as the UN Security Council voted on Monday in favour of a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, where more than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched its military offensive in early October.

The US abstained from that ceasefire vote instead of using its veto, a move that experts said highlighted President Joe Biden’s frustrations with the Israeli leadership, including most notably Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.