Defense: Austin urges israeli counterpart to de-escalate conflict with Hamas

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Israeli counterpart Defense Minister Benny Gantz this morning and again urged de-escalation in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said.

Washington, May 19, 2021.- Kirby spoke at a press «gaggle» and said the secretary underscored his support for Israel’s right to defend itself. Gantz reviewed the military campaign in Gaza with Austin.

Hamas has launched thousands of rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip. Israel replied to the attack. People on both sides of this conflict have been killed and wounded.

President Joe Biden has been in close contact with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu since the fighting started. He has continually urged the Israeli leader to de-escalate the situation. U.S. officials want to see the violence and loss of innocent lives ended.

«We want to see the violence come to a close. The secretary shares the sentiments … expressed by the President,» Kirby said. «Certainly, the secretary expressed [to Gantz], again, our deep concerns over the loss of innocent lives. We don’t believe that violent conflict there is in anybody’s interest.»

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