Israeli attack on Rafah will not eradicate Hamas, says Biden Aide

Kirby also sought to allay concerns that the United States was breaking with its closest ally in the Middle East.

“The argument that we are somehow moving away from Israel is at odds with the facts,” Kirby said Thursday, citing Biden's visit to Israel in the days of the Oct. 7 attack, providing money and military expertise for his war and send American fighter pilots into the sky to shoot down Iranian drones.

He said the United States believes Israel has “exerted enormous pressure on Hamas, and that there are better ways to pursue what remains of Hamas in Rafah than a major ground operation.”

Kirby said the United States is still working with Israel on how to help it defeat Hamas, such as ensuring that the Gaza-Egypt border cannot be used to smuggle weapons and target Hamas leaders .

He also noted that while the United States has temporarily suspended the transfer of bombs, Israel “is still receiving the vast majority of everything it needs to defend itself,” and that a recent funding package approved by Congress will continue to send billions to Israel.

Biden's decision to suspend some weapons shipments to Israel underlined growing frustrations between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said Israel would go ahead with the Rafah invasion even without global support. Over the past week, Israeli forces have carried out a series of targeted attacks in Rafah and shown other signs of a major ground invasion, including the evacuation of more than 100,000 people.

The Israeli leader said on Thursday: “If we need to be alone, we will be alone. I said that if necessary we will fight tooth and nail. But we have much more than nails and with that same strength of spirit, with God's help, together we will win.”

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