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U.S. Persists in Efforts to Secure Release of Hamas' Hostages Amidst Israel's Expanded Ground Assault in Gaza: Sullivan

"White House Prioritizes Hostage Release Amidst Israel's Gaza Ground Assault: Sullivan Affirms Ongoing Efforts

As Israel expands its ground assault in Gaza, Jake Sullivan, the White House's national security adviser, emphasized on Sunday that freeing American, Israeli, and other hostages remains a top priority. Sullivan stated that efforts are underway to explore possibilities for the safe release of hostages, expressing the willingness to support humanitarian pauses to facilitate their safe exit.

Sullivan, speaking on ABC's "This Week," highlighted the commitment to securing the return of American citizens and supporting the repatriation of citizens from other countries, including Israelis. While he couldn't predict the exact course of action, Sullivan assured that every effort is being made, including undisclosed ongoing initiatives involving regional partners and Israel.

The current situation involves Hamas reportedly holding 230 captives, with four hostages released so far, according to an Israeli military spokesperson. Israel's ground forces, including tanks, have entered the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas, intensifying retaliatory operations against the militants.

The toll of the conflict is alarming, with over 8,000 casualties and 21,400 injuries in Gaza, where 70% of the victims are children, women, or older individuals, as reported by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. In response to Hamas attacks on October 7, Israeli officials claim over 1,400 people were killed.

Sullivan reiterated the Biden administration's support for Israel's right to self-defense against Hamas but stressed the importance of balancing this with Israel's obligations to protect civilians and provide humanitarian aid in Gaza. Acknowledging the enduring blockade on Gaza for over 15 years, Sullivan emphasized the U.S.'s commitment to core principles, emphasizing Israel's duty to distinguish between terrorists and civilians, and ensuring humanitarian assistance reaches those affected by the conflict."

"White House Acknowledges Israel's Response to Terrorist Attack, Urges Caution on Civilian Protection

In the aftermath of the brutal terrorist attack on Israel, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan emphasized Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas. Sullivan acknowledged the challenging situation, highlighting Hamas's tactic of hiding among the civilian population in Gaza, which places an added burden on Israel to distinguish between terrorists and innocent civilians.

Sullivan reiterated the U.S.'s commitment to asking tough questions about Israel's decision-making process and emphasized that U.S. weapons transfers to Israel come with conditions, including efforts to minimize civilian casualties. While expressing condolences for the tragic deaths in Gaza, Sullivan condemned Hamas for using civilians as human shields, complicating Israel's efforts to target terrorist infrastructure.

Pressed on whether Israel is losing the international information battle, Sullivan did not provide a direct answer but acknowledged the widespread perception of the conflict as a deep and heartbreaking tragedy. Regarding concerns about a broader conflict in the Middle East, Sullivan acknowledged the potential for an expanding war, particularly after the Pentagon struck facilities associated with Iranian-backed militant groups targeting U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria. Despite efforts to differentiate between responses, Sullivan acknowledged the possibility of a widening conflict in the region."

"Iranian Message Received: White House Affirms Vigilance to Prevent Escalation

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan asserted that the message conveyed to Iran has been understood, emphasizing the importance of taking every necessary measure to safeguard U.S. forces. Sullivan highlighted the commitment to heightened vigilance, working collaboratively with regional partners to prevent the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza from escalating further.

While expressing confidence in the understanding of the message by the Iranian authorities, Sullivan acknowledged the real and tangible risk, underscoring the imperative for sustained vigilance. The White House remains resolute in its efforts to navigate the complexities of the situation, collaborating internationally to mitigate the potential spillover of the conflict beyond its current boundaries.

In Sullivan's words, 'The risk is real, and therefore, vigilance is high,' signaling a proactive stance in addressing the evolving dynamics in the region and averting any further escalation."

"In conclusion, the remarks by White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan reflect a clear and vigilant approach to the complex challenges stemming from the conflict in Israel and Gaza. Emphasizing the understanding of the conveyed message by Iran, Sullivan underscores the commitment to protecting U.S. forces through every necessary measure. The collaborative efforts with regional partners aim to prevent the current conflict from spiraling further.

Sullivan acknowledges the real and present risk, highlighting the imperative for sustained vigilance in the face of evolving circumstances. The concluding message is one of unwavering commitment to diplomatic and strategic measures, aiming to navigate the delicate situation and avoid any potential escalation. As the region faces heightened tensions, the White House remains focused on mitigating risks and fostering stability in collaboration with international partners."