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A top US official has confirmed that “innocent people were killed” during an Israeli military operation that resulted in four hostages being freed.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed on CNN’s “State of the Union” that civilians lost their lives during an Israeli military rescue operation in central Gaza. The mission, conducted over the weekend, successfully freed four hostages but reports from two local hospitals suggest that at least 236 people were killed.


When asked about how many the US believed were killed, he said, “We, the United States, are not in a position today to make a definitive statement about that. The Israeli defense forces have put out one number. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has put out another number. But we do know this, Dana. Innocent people were tragically killed in this operation. The exact number we don’t know, but innocent people were killed. And that is heartbreaking. That is tragic.”

Sullivan also reiterated calls for a ceasefire, saying it’s “the best way to get all of the hostages home is in a deal where they’re brought out diplomatically, where there’s no need for military operations to get every last hostage out.” He added, “In the absence of that, Biden’s Hamas saying yes to the deal, unfortunately, we are going to continue to see ongoing conflict and”military operations.”

This comes as the Gaza Health Ministry reported that the operation led to the death of at least 274 Palestinians and injured another 700.


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