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Biden calls for Israel-Gaza ceasefire

By BBC
Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 07:49 | < 1 min read
President Joe Biden. Photo/AFP

US President Joe Biden has voiced his support for a ceasefire after eight days of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Mr Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US was working with Egypt and other countries on halting hostilities.

But the US again blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for a cessation of violence.

The conflict is now in its second week, with little sign of ending.

At least 212 people, including 61 children, have died in Gaza, and 10, including two children, in Israel.

Israel says most of those killed in Gaza are militants and that any civilian deaths are unintentional.

But Hamas, the militant group that runs the territory, disputes this.

According to a White House statement, Mr Biden "encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians".

"The two leaders discussed progress in Israel's military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza," it added.

President Biden "expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end", it said.

The violence has prompted increasing concern internationally.

World leaders and humanitarian organisations have called for measures to prevent the deaths of residents and the chaos wrought by the destruction of buildings and infrastructure.

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