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John Kirby likens Israeli airstrike that killed civilians to US bombings in Iraq, Afghanistan: ‘We did the same thing’

WASHINGTON — White House spokesman John Kirby defended Israel amid worldwide outrage after an airstrike reportedly killed dozens of civilians in the Gaza Strip — saying the US navy “did the same thing.”

“We have conducted airstrikes in places like Iraq and Afghanistan where, tragically, we caused civilian casualties,” he mentioned — including that the US responded the same approach as Israel in the aftermath.

“We owned up to it, we investigated it, and we tried to learn from it to make changes,” Kirby mentioned at Tuesday’s common White House briefing.

White House spokesman John Kirby defended Israel after an air strike killed Palestinian civilians.
White House spokesman John Kirby defended Israel after an air strike killed Palestinian civilians. Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP by way of Getty Images

US bombings that killed civilians included “as we pulled out of Afghanistan, where we conducted an airstrike which tragically killed a father and some of his kids,” he mentioned.

“We atoned for it, we learned from it, and we put in place procedures to try to prevent that from happening again, and that’s what our expectations would be in this case.”

Kirby, a former Pentagon and State Department spokesman, broadly defended Israel amid reporting that at the least 44 displaced Palestinians died Sunday following an airstrike.

He famous that Israel mentioned it used precision bombs and that the Hamas terrorist group acknowledged that two senior leaders have been additionally killed in the strike — indicating that they have been hiding out amongst the civilians.

The aftermath of a US airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed ten civilians on September 18, 2021.
The aftermath of a US airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan that killed ten civilians on September 18, 2021. Photo by Bilal Guler/Anadolu Agency by way of Getty Images

Kirby mentioned that preliminary Israeli navy findings counsel that an unintended secondary explosion induced the civilian deaths.

“Hamas itself put out a statement celebrating the martyrdom of two of its fighters… So I don’t know how anybody could dispute that they weren’t trying to go after Hamas in a targeted, precise way in this regard,” he mentioned.

“The Israelis have said they used 37-pound bombs, precision guided munitions. A 37-pound bomb is not a big bomb, and it is exactly the kind of munition…

Palestinians at the site of the Israeli airstrike in the tent encampment in Rafah on May 27, 2024.
Palestinians at the site of the Israeli airstrike in the tent encampment in Rafah on May 27, 2024. Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua via ZUMA Press

“If, in fact, that’s what they used, it is certainly indicative of an effort to be discrete, targeted and precise,” he mentioned.

“Now, obviously this had tragic results, and obviously that needs to be investigated, and we need to know why even using small-diameter, precision guided munitions this was able to happen, But we’ll have to let the Israelis get to the bottom of that.”

Kirby additionally chastised critics of Israel who he mentioned had “forgotten” that Hamas began the struggle with its Oct. 7 shock assault on southern Israel.

“Maybe some people have forgotten what happened on the seventh of October, but we haven’t — 1,200 innocent Israelis slaughtered, mutilated, tortured. And they’re living right next to that kind of threat, still a viable threat in Rafah,” Kirby bristled.

Palestinians mourning the bodies of relatives killed in the Israel airstrike in Rafah.
Palestinians mourning the our bodies of relations killed in the Israel airstrike in Rafah. AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi

The terrorists additionally took tons of of individuals hostage — together with 5 Americans nonetheless believed to be held in captivity.

“By the way, if you think Hamas is just gone, they’re not gone from Rafah or from Gaza, and if you think they’ve abandoned their intent towards the nation of Israel, think again. They haven’t,” he mentioned.

“So Israel has every right to not want to live next to that kind of threat, and yes, we’re going to continue to provide them the capabilities to go after it.”

President Biden initially took a stridently pro-Israel stance and visited the nation days after the battle began in a present of help, however has been more and more crucial of the Israeli navy in latest months — together with halting the supply of some heavy bombs to deter a looming offensive towards the ultimate main bastion of Hamas management.

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