Israel-Hamas war, 7 aid workers killed in Gaza strike

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A Palestinian-American doctor walked out of a meeting with US President Joe Biden before it was over Tuesday evening, underscoring the high tensions, anger and concern from Arab, Palestinian and Muslim-American communities around the Israel-Hamas war. 

Dr. Thaer Ahmad, an emergency physician from Chicago who traveled to Gaza earlier this year, told CNN he abruptly left the meeting that included Vice President Kamala Harris, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, other administration officials and a small group of Muslim community leaders.  

Following the meeting, a White House official said in a statement that the president and vice president “know this is a deeply painful moment for many in the Muslim and Arab communities.”

Biden, the official said, expressed commitment “to continue working to secure an immediate ceasefire as part of a deal to free the hostages and significantly increase humanitarian aid into Gaza.”

Ahmad traveled to Gaza as part of a delegation of doctors from the NGO MedGlobal, working in the city of Khan Younis as fighting raged around the Al Nasser hospital. He discussed his experience there, citing massive numbers of displaced, injured and dying people, and he spoke out against an expected Israeli offensive in Rafah.

“I said it was disappointing I’m the only Palestinian here, and out of respect for my community, I’m going to leave,” Ahmad said he told the president.  

Before he left, he handed Biden a letter from an 8-year-old orphaned girl, Hadeel, who lives in Rafah.  

“I beg you, President Biden, stop them from entering Rafah,” a translation of the letter shared with CNN says. Hadeel is referring to Israel’s declared plan to enter the southern Gaza city, which the US has said Israel should not do without a comprehensive plan to protect civilian lives.

Biden told him he understood that he needed to leave, Ahmad said. 

CNN previously reported that what was supposed to be an iftar dinner to break the Ramadan fast was changed to a meeting because participants didn’t feel comfortable having a celebratory meal while hundreds of thousands in Gaza are on the brink of famine.


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