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Biden backs Gaza ceasefire for first time in call with Netanyahu

President Biden expressed support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in a call on Thursday evening with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said in a statement.

Why it matters: This is the first time since the beginning of the crisis last Monday that Biden or any other U.S. official has publicly backed a ceasefire. It will increase pressure on Israel to seek an end to the conflict, which Netanyahu has insisted will continue until Hamas' ability to attack Israel is further degraded.

During the call, Biden reiterated his support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks while encouraging Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties, the White House said.

  • Gaza health officials says at least 212 Palestinians have been killed over the past week, including 61 children. Most of the casualties are the result of Israeli air strikes.
  • Ten Israelis have been killed, including two children, as Hamas has fired thousands of rockets at Israel — most of which have been intercepted.

What to watch: Biden and Netanyahu discussed U.S. engagement with Egypt and other partners towards a ceasefire, the White House said.

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