WASHINGTON: The Biden administration wants to ensure safe passage for people out of Gaza, especially for US citizens, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Monday.

“We still want to see safe passage out and particularly for the several hundred American citizens that we know are in Gaza and want to leave,” Kirby said.

Kirby said US and Israeli officials have had frank discussions about Israel’s pending Gaza ground invasion, but said the timing and other details were ultimately up to Israeli officials.

Kirby said that ongoing humanitarian assistance - food, water and medical supplies - is critically important and supplies need to make into the region as soon and as much as possible, whether or not there is an Israeli ground invasion.

Kirby said the administration shares concerns that some of the humanitarian aid will be diverted for Hamas purposes, but he says there has been no evidence that has happened.

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