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Blinken: Israeli offers to increase aid to Gaza may not be sufficient

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that Israel’s efforts to expand aid to civilians in the Gaza Strip are encouraged but may not be enough to meet expectations.

Blinken said opening more border crossings could help civilians trapped in Gaza, but the US said the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) could protect civilians and aid workers. He also hopes to take concrete steps to do so, the Associated Press reported.

His remarks came after Israel announced Thursday it would approve the opening of a key border crossing in northern Gaza.

The Israeli government said it would take immediate steps to increase aid and open the Erez border because it is “necessary to prevent a humanitarian crisis, to ensure the continuation of the fighting and the achievement of war objectives.”

“We welcome the steps Israel has announced,” Blinken said. “These are positive developments, but the real test will be the results, and that is what we look forward to in the coming days and months.”

Blinken also said the U.S. wants “a better system for deconfliction and coordination” to ensure the safe delivery of aid to and from Gaza, the Associated Press reported.

Blinken added that there needs to be an “independent, thorough and well-publicized investigation” into the Israeli airstrike earlier this week that killed seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) employees.

Earlier this week, Israel claimed responsibility for the airstrike, which drew international criticism and prompted the Biden administration to call for dramatic changes in the ongoing war.

President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday for the first time since the massive airstrike that killed one American citizen.

Biden reportedly called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to a ceasefire to release the remaining hostages, calling the attack “unacceptable.” He said future U.S. aid to Israel depends on whether Israel takes further action to protect its workers and civilians.

Hours later, Israel announced it was taking steps to increase the flow of humanitarian aid, including opening border crossings, the Associated Press reported.

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