Austin: The number of casualties in the Gaza Strip is too high

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has called on Israel to do more to protect the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip as it seeks to destroy the radical Palestinian group Hamas in the conflict that began on October 7 last year, DPA reported.

- The number of victims is too high, Austin said today on the sidelines of the meeting of defense ministers of NATO member countries in the Belgian capital Brussels, commenting on the Israeli military operation in the coastal territory.

He clarified that the achievement of military objectives and the protection of the civilian population in the territory of the military actions are not mutually exclusive, in the context of the increasing dissatisfaction of the international community with the increasing number of Palestinian victims in the enclave.

At the same time, Austin stressed that "Islamist fighters of Hamas mix with the civilian population and use civilians as human shields, which is a shameful tactic." However, the US Secretary of Defense emphasized that the protection of the civilian population is a "strategic obligation".

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