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Immediate Release

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Call With Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant

Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant today to continue their regular dialogue on U.S. and Israeli efforts to ensure the defeat of Hamas and secure the release of all hostages.

Secretary Austin expressed his outrage at the Israeli strike on a World Central Kitchen humanitarian aid convoy that killed seven aid workers, including an American citizen.  Secretary Austin stressed the need to immediately take concrete steps to protect aid workers and Palestinian civilians in Gaza after repeated coordination failures with foreign aid groups.  Secretary Austin urged Minister Gallant to conduct a swift and transparent investigation, to share their conclusions publicly, and to hold those responsible to account.  Secretary Austin stated that this tragedy reinforced the expressed concern over a potential Israeli military operation in Rafah, specifically focusing on the need to ensure the evacuation of Palestinian civilians and the flow of humanitarian aid.

Secretary Austin expressed his admiration for World Central Kitchen and its dedicated staff.  World Central Kitchen delivered millions of meals to Israelis displaced by the Hamas attack on October 7 and pioneered the delivery of food to Gaza by land, air, and sea—now totaling over 40 million meals to Gazans in need.  Secretary Austin stressed to Minister Gallant that this tragedy makes it more difficult to flood the zone with humanitarian assistance, as Israeli officials have stated they seek to do.  Secretary Austin also raised the need to see a rapid increase of aid coming through all crossings in the coming days, particularly to communities in northern Gaza that are at risk of famine.

Secretary Austin reiterated U.S. support for Israel's defense against a range of regional threats.