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US ‘reviewing’ Hamas response, urges Israel not to attack Rafah

US embassy in Israel tells employees, families to restrict movements
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The United States said Monday it was reviewing a response from Hamas to a ceasefire proposal as it renewed calls on Israel not to attack the packed Gaza city of Rafah.

“I can confirm that Hamas has issued a response. We are reviewing that response now and discussing it with our partners in the region,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

CIA Director Bill Burns “is in the region working on this in real time,” Miller said.

He declined to characterize the Hamas response, which the militants said was an acceptance of a ceasefire, but said the United States backed a deal to halt the fighting and free hostages.

“We continue to believe that a hostage deal is in the best interests of the Israeli people; it’s in the best interests of the Palestinian people” Miller said.

As the United States reviews the Hamas reply, President Joe Biden’s administration renewed calls on Israel not to attack Rafah after it issued evacuation orders.

“We have not seen a humanitarian plan that is credible and that is implementable,” Miller said.

“We believe a military operation in Rafah right now would dramatically increase the suffering of the Palestinian people (and) would lead to an increase in loss of civilian life,” he said.

Biden earlier Monday spoke by telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the White House saying the president reiterated his “clear” stance on Rafah.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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