U.S. sees urgent need for de-escalation in Israel, West Bank -White House
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is deeply concerned about recent violence in Israel and the West Bank and believes there is an urgent need for all parties to de-escalate in the region, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Friday.
The United States is aware of reports that at least 10 Palestinians, including militants, were killed in an Israeli Defense Forces counterterrorism operation and deeply regrets civilian loss of life, Kirby told reporters.
"We believe there's an urgent need here for all parties to de-escalate, to prevent the further loss of civilian life and to work together to improve the security situation in the West Bank," Kirby said.
The Israeli operation targeted the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Washington recognizes the security challenges that Israel, and well as the Palestinian Authority, faces every day, he said, adding that the United States condemns terrorist groups anywhere who are planning attacks against civilians.
"I also deeply regret the loss of innocent life and the injuries that that were incurred by civilians," Kirby said.
"We're certainly deeply concerned by this escalating cycle of violence in the West Bank. As well as by the rockets that had been apparently launched from Gaza."
Over the past few days, the Biden administration has been closely engaged with both the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority on this recent violence, he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans a visit to the region next week, from Sunday through Tuesday. Kirby said he will discuss a range of issues, including the need for calm in the West Bank.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Mark Porter and Andrew Heavens)