The United States has asked the Israeli government to distinguish between Hamas terrorists and Palestinian civilians as Israel intensified its retaliation in the region after Hamas launched a surprise attack on October 7.
"We have raised directly with the Israeli Government about the need to distinguish between Hamas terrorists and Palestinian civilians. This is something that the Secretary has raised directly on his travels. We even laid out that we believe that there are commitments that can be made additionally on dealing with protecting civilian life more effectively, and we're watching very closely to make sure that happens," said US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel.
The remarks came during the US Department of State's weekly press briefing on Tuesday.
He also went on to clarify the US stand on the 'humanitarian pause' in Gaza adding that it wants to make sure that with the entrance of aid in Gaza, Hamas will not again regroup and a passage for releasing hostages will be ensured.
"We have also been incredibly clear to Hizbollah and any other malign actors that they should not use this opportunity to widen this conflict. And when we're talking about a humanitarian pause, what we are talking about is conditions that simultaneously ensure that Hamas is not in a position in which it can regroup, restrengthen itself, position itself in a way to further conduct attacks on the Israeli people while also creating conditions that perhaps will allow for the further provision of humanitarian aid into Gaza that will perhaps allow conditions that other hostages can be released as well," he said.
He added further, "We want conditions created that will allow for the entrance of additional humanitarian aid into Gaza. We want the conditions to be such that will allow potentially for additional hostages to be released by Hamas."
Meanwhile, the Israeli Foreign Ministry published data and said that Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip have fired more than 9,500 rockets at Israeli territory since Hamas launched its multi-pronged attack on the Jewish state one month ago.
Israel said the numbers are not final and are constantly being updated. Throughout Tuesday, multiple air-raid sirens were activated in central Israel and localities near the border with Gaza.
Hamas is believed to be holding at least 239 people hostage in Gaza. Along with Israeli citizens, this figure includes 25 Thai nationals, 21 Argentinians, 18 Germans, 10 Americans, seven French, seven Russians, four Hungarians, three Poles, three Portuguese, two Brits, two Filipinos, two Romanians and two Tanzanians.
In addition, the terror group is holding hostage individual nationals of Canada, Austria, Brazil, China, South Africa, Denmark, Ireland, Lithuania, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, Serbia, Ukraine and Uruguay.
More than 330,000 Israeli citizens have returned from abroad since the start of "Operation Swords of Iron," the Israel Airports Authority announced on Tuesday, increasing the Jewish state's population by almost 3.5 per cent.
At the same time, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics recorded a sharp decrease in foreigners, including tourists, entering the country. Approximately 98,600 visitors travelled to Israel in October, a decrease of 73 per cent compared to the same month in 2022.
Since Oct. 7, the Israel Defence Forces has attacked over 14,000 terror targets in Gaza, IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Daniel Hagari said on Tuesday night. Troops have killed "thousands of terrorists above and beneath the ground" in the coastal enclave, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.