Israel-Gaza war: Is US president Joe Biden warning Israel not to re-start its bombing campaign on Gaza? Will ceasefire truce be extended?
In a tweet, Mr Biden suggested Israel should not continue its war on Hamas, saying the militants attacked Israel on October 7 because it fears "nothing more than Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace". "To continue down the path of terror, violence, killing, and war is to give Hamas what they seek," he said.
The intervention by the US president comes as talks continue in Qatar with intelligence authorities from Egypt, the US and Israel, over a possible continuation of the ceasefire.
Mr Biden has previously backed Israel, saying it has a right to defend itself. His team has since backtracked, saying his tweet was "not a change in policy” and the words came from a longer speech he delivered last week.
"He meant that we can’t lose hope for peace, ultimately, in the region, that it’s still incredibly important that we continue to lay the groundwork for, and create the conditions for, a lasting peace, and that involves a two-state solution," the official said, speaking to Jewish Insider.
Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners – now numbering 180 in total – from Israeli jails on Tuesday as part of the existing truce deal, as well as 12 Israeli hostages taken captive by Hamas on October 7 – a total of 81 people. The ceasefire is now in its sixth day, having been extended by two days already. Most of the Palestinians freed from jails in Israel are women and teenage boys.
US national security spokesman John Kirby warned Israel needed to "make sure that as they start to plan for operations in the south, whatever that looks like, that they have properly accounted for … the extra innocent life that is now in south Gaza".
Many Gazans fled the north of the territory after Israel told them to flee and are living in temporary accommodation – some in tents – in the south. More than 1.7 million people are estimated to be displaced within Gaza.
The Gaza health ministry says 14,800 people have been killed since Israel began its retaliatory attacks, including about 6,000 children.
The World Health Organisation has warned more people could die as a result of disease outbreaks than have been killed in the war so far. It said more than 100,000 people were so far suffering respiratory infections, while others had illnesses including diarrhoea, chicken pox and jaundice.
Humanitarian groups have welcomed the extensions of the ceasefire so far, which have allowed essential aid into Gaza. The group meeting to discuss potential further extensions are those who brokered the deal in the first place, raising hopes that a further extension could be agreed.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to resume the offensive in Gaza to "eliminate Hamas" and could potentially refuse to budge from that position.
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