No, Sunday's Strike on Rafah Didn't Cross Biden's 'Red Line'

US officials say Israel policy won't change
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2024 12:00 AM CDT
Updated May 29, 2024 5:03 AM CDT
No, Sunday's Strike on Rafah Didn't Cross Biden's 'Red Line'
Palestinians fleeing from the southern Gaza city of Rafah during an Israeli ground and air offensive in the city on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.   (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

At least 37 more people were killed overnight Monday and into Tuesday in Israeli strikes around the same area of Rafah where Sunday strikes triggered a blaze in a tent camp for displaced Palestinians that killed at least 45 people, the AP reports. Even so, US officials said Tuesday that the Sunday strike did not cross President Biden's red line and thus would not impact US arms transfers to Israel, the New York Times reports. "We don't want to see a major ground operation," White House spokesperson John F. Kirby told reporters. "We haven't seen that." Kirby added that the deaths in Rafah were "devastating," and the Hill reports that other administration officials also used words like "heartbreaking," "tragic," and "horrific" to describe the Sunday strike—the deadliest incident in Rafah since the offensive was launched there—in press briefings Tuesday.

But, Kirby said, while Israeli tanks are on the outskirts of the city in an attempt to put pressure on Hamas, "We have not seen them go in with large units and large numbers of troops in columns and formations in some sort of coordinated maneuver against multiple targets on the ground. Everything that we can see tells us that they are not moving in a major ground operation in population centers in the city of Rafah." Those tanks, however, have recently been seen moving into central Rafah, eyewitnesses tell CNN. Biden is under increasing pressure to stop arms shipments to Israel as the death toll in Gaza mounts. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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