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Israel lacks ‘credible plan’ to safeguard Rafah civilians: Blinken

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has defended a decision to pause a delivery to Israel of 3,500 bombs over concerns they could be used in the southern city of Rafah, saying Israel lacked a “credible plan” to protect 1.4 million civilians sheltering there.

Speaking to ABC News, Blinken said President Joe Biden remains determined to help Israel defend itself and the shipment of 2,000-pound (900kg) and 500-pound (225kg) bombs was the only US weapons package being withheld.

That could change, he said, if Israel launches a full-scale attack on Rafah, a move that Israel says is imminent.

Biden has made it clear to Israel that if it “launches this major military operation to Rafah, then there are certain systems that we’re not going to be supporting and supplying for that operation”, Blinken said.

“We have real concerns about the way they’re used,” he continued. Israel needs to “have a clear, credible plan to protect civilians, which we haven’t seen”.

Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna reports from Washington, DC.

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Al Jazeera, Antony Blinken, Benjamin Netanyahu
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