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Israel to begin 4-hour daily truce in Gaza for aid to flow

Washington, Nov 9 (IANS) Israel will commence a 4-hour truce daily in military operations in selected areas of northern Gaza where its forces are fighting the Hamas fiercely in order to allow humanitarian aid from UN and other agencies to flow into the enclave, the White House announced on Thursday.

The pauses are meant to allow for humanitarian assistance to get into the besieged enclave and allow civilians to flee the fighting zone, media reports said quoting White House officials.

John Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, said Israel would announce the timing of the pauses three hours beforehand.

“We’ve been told by the Israelis that there will be no military operations in these areas over the duration of the pause, and that this process is starting today,” Kirby said, calling it “steps in the right direction”.

Israel’s crucial decision to allow four-hour pauses came after “an awful lot of engagement by the administration to try to make sure that humanitarian assistance could get in and people could get out safely”, Kirby said adding the pauses would provide “brief windows of opportunity” for safe passage of hostages being held by Hamas.

The Israeli decision for humanitarian pauses daily in the besieged enclave followed intense discussions between President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, characterized as a “significant” first step.

There were also followup discussions at the top levels of bureaucratic hierarchy in both governments, media reports said.

“We have been urging the Israelis to minimize civilian casualties and to do everything that they can to reduce those numbers,” Kirby said, adding they would provide “breathing space for a few hours” for civilians to move out of harm’s way, CNN reported.

Israel has been repeatedly warning civilians to move to southern Gaza as it attacks targets in the north, but southern Gaza is no safe zone either for them as the attacks have left that perimeter in rubbles and there is acute shortage of essentials for daily living.

Civilians are unable to leave Gaza in large numbers since the war began; groups of foreign nationals and some injured Palestinians were allowed out of the enclave recently, reports said .

The US would like to see the daily pauses continue for as long as humanitarian assistance in Gaza is sustained at the required levels.

President Joe Biden told reporters he has been advocating for a humanitarian pause longer than three days. On whether Netanyahu was pressedfor a three-day pause in military operations, he said: “I’ve been asking for a pause for a lot more than three days. Yes.”

Biden added: “I’ve asked for even a longer pause for some of them.”

On whether he was frustrated with Netanyahu and whether the Israeli prime minister listened to things the president has asked for, he downplayed concerns saying it has “taken a little longer than I hoped”, CNN reported.

–IANS

ash/pgh

Indian Abroad News Desk
Indian Abroad News Deskhttps://www.indianabroad.news
Indian Abroad is a news channel and fortnightly newspaper meant for Australia’s Indian community and, besides news, focuses on lifestyle subjects like health, travel, culture, arts, beauty, fashion, entertainment, Bollywood, etc. Our YouTube channel here features daily news bulletins besides infotainment videos on lifestyle subjects.

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