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White House spokesman lauds Israel for efforts to protect Gaza civilians

IDF introduces new digital map to enable civilians to flee warzones

IDF operations in Gaza (Photo: IDF)

White House spokesman John Kirby lauded Israel’s efforts to protect Gazan civilians and told ABC News that Israel responded positively to U.S. calls to be more deliberate about helping civilians in the Gaza Strip move to safe areas.

“We believe they have been receptive to our messages here of trying to minimize civilian casualties,” he said, referring to the IDF’s new digital map designed to assist Gazan civilians in escaping conflict zones during the Israel-Hamas war.

The map splits the Gaza Strip into hundreds of numbered cells, allowing Israel Defense Forces to identify specific locations for civilians to find shelter by pinpointing safe zones.

The IDF announced: “The people of Gaza are not our enemies. For this reason, as of this morning, the IDF is leading controlled and specific evacuations of Gaza residents in order to remove them as much as possible from areas of combat.”

“There’s not a whole lot of modern militaries that would do that… to telegraph their punches in that way. So they are making an effort,” Kirby emphasized.

An Israeli source confirmed that the IDF adapted its plans for the continuation of the ground operation in the southern Gaza Strip after the U.S. stressed its concerns. “We did not ignore the American points, and this will become clear in the coming few days,” the official told Israel's Channel 12.

Among other officials, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris had criticized Israel for not doing enough to protect innocents in Gaza.

“Too many innocent Palestinians have been killed,” Harris said on Saturday. “Frankly, the scale of civilian suffering and the images and videos coming from Gaza are devastating.”

Soon after the start of the war, the U.S. sent military advisors to Israel to share their experience of fighting in dense urban environments full of civilians, such as the battles against insurgents in Iraq.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Saturday that he had “learned a thing or two about urban warfare” fighting in Iraq and leading the campaign against the Islamic State terror group (ISIS).

“Like Hamas, ISIS was deeply embedded in urban areas. And the international coalition against ISIS worked hard to protect civilians and create humanitarian corridors, even during tough battles,” Austin said.

“The lesson is that you can only win in urban warfare by protecting civilians,” he stressed. “If you drive [Gaza’s civilians] into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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