The United States expressed deep regret for the loss of life and injuries sustained by those involved in the flotilla of aid-laden ships heading for Gaza, after the wake of the ships being stormed by Israeli commandos on Monday.

Striking a cautious note, however, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Public Affairs, Philip Crowley, said in a statement that the U.S. was “working to ascertain the facts, and expect that the Israeli government will conduct a full and credible investigation.”

Mr. Crowley noted the U.S. continued to be “deeply concerned by the suffering of civilians in Gaza,” and would seek to expand the range of goods that were allowed to enter Gaza to address the full range of the population's humanitarian and recovery needs. This would require engaging with the Israelis on a “daily basis,” he added.

The State Department however made a distinction between the Palestine Authority and Hamas. It clarified that while it would work closely with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to provide humanitarian goods and reconstruction materials, “while bearing in mind” the “Government of Israel's legitimate security concerns… Hamas' interference with international assistance shipments… and its use and endorsement of violence, complicates efforts in Gaza.”

Mr. Crowley noted that mechanisms did exist for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza by governments and other groups and these should be used for the benefit of all those in Gaza.

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