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Pentagon: Too Many Civilians Have Been Killed in Gaza

Pentagon says Israel should do more to minimize civilian casualties.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/1/2014, 4:14 AM

Pentagon (Illustration)
Pentagon (Illustration)
Thinkstock

The Pentagon said on Thursday that too many civilians have been killed in Gaza, calling on Israel to do more to minimize civilian casualties, Reuters reported.

"The civilian casualties in Gaza have been too high," said Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren, according to the news agency.

"And it's become clear that the Israelis need to do more to live up to their very high standards - their very high and very public standards - for protecting civilian life," Warren said.

The comments came hours after Washington blamed Israel for an attack on an UNRWA school in Gaza, saying there was little doubt Israeli artillery was the source of a "totally indefensible" strike that killed 16 people.

Warren’s comments also came merely hours after the Pentagon confirmed it had restocked Israel's supplies of ammunition.

According to a statement, the Israeli military had requested additional ammunition to restock its dwindling supplies on July 20, with the U.S. Defense Department approving the sale just three days later.

"The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

"This defense sale is consistent with those objectives."

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Thursday night that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire in the Gaza conflict.

Hamas later said it agreed to observe the ceasefire starting at 8:00 a.m. Friday morning if Israel does the same.