US and Israeli defense chiefs to meet Tuesday as tensions rise over Gaza

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The Pentagon says Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will meet with Israel’s minister of defense and discuss ways to address the Hamas threat other than conducting a ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah. Tuesday's meeting comes at a time of rising tensions between the two countries. The Pentagon spokesman, Maj. Gen.

FILE - Israel Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant, right, speaks during a joint statement with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Dec. 18, 2023. The Pentagon says Austin will meet with Gallant on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, and discuss ways to address the Hamas threat other than conducting a ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

“There are ways to go about addressing the threat of Hamas, while also taking into account civilian safety. A lot of those are from lessons, our own lessons, conducting operations in urban environments,” Ryder said. “I would expect the conversations to cover those kinds of things.

The dispute signals an erosion in the U.S.-Israel relationship that has been under a microscope for months as the military assault on Hamas continues, escalating the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

 

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