The official told CNN they were “not aware” of US calls for a delay to Israel’s expected Gaza ground operation, and said both Israel and the US want all the hostages released “as quickly as possible”.
But, the official added, “humanitarian efforts cannot be allowed to impact the mission to dismantle Hamas.”
Israel agreed to a US request to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, “although that was not popular in Israel,” the official stated.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that US President Joe Biden’s administration was talking to the Israeli government on a “regular basis” about the Gaza situation.
“Both of us want to make sure that the many hostages who’ve been taken come home, and that’s why we’re working on it, as I said, virtually every minute of the day” Blinken told NBC’s Meet the Press.
Hamas estimates 200-250 people are held in Gaza but said they couldn’t provide an exact number due to “operational difficulties” caused by the incessant Israeli bombardment.