middle east

Blinken says Israeli offensive into Rafah risks ‘further isolating Israel around the world’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that a looming Israeli ground offensive into the southern Gaza city of Rafah would risk “further isolating Israel around the world and jeopardizing its long-term security and standing.”

The top US diplomat’s blunt message comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — following a meeting with Blinken — doubled down on his vow to carry out the military campaign with or without US support.

Blinken said he had “candid conversations” with Netanyahu and the Israeli war cabinet, and told them the US “shares Israel’s goal of defeating Hamas” — but that “a major military ground operation in Rafah is not the way to do it.”

“It risks killing more civilians; it risks wreaking greater havoc with the provision of humanitarian assistance,” Blinken said.

Blinken would not give details on the ongoing negotiations to secure an immediate ceasefire and the release of hostages.

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