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US, Jordan throw their weight behind Gaza ceasefire effort ahead of new talks

“We cannot stand by and let this continue,” he said. “We need a lasting ceasefire now. This war must end.”

Israel launched a rescue mission on Monday that freed two Israeli-Argentine hostages held by Palestinian militants of Hamas in Rafah, by the Egyptian border. The two men were among 250 people seized during the Oct 7 raid on Israel by Hamas that triggered Israel’s war on Gaza.

The Palestinian Authority’s official television station, Palestine TV, said 74 people were killed during the Israeli military operation. There was no immediate confirmation from the Gaza health ministry, which is run by Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the successful mission showed that military pressure should continue in Gaza, and he brushed aside international alarm at plans for a ground assault on Rafah, where Israel says Hamas forces remain.

US FRUSTRATION WITH ISRAEL

Biden has shown increasing exasperation with Netanyahu for not heeding his advice to do more to minimise casualties and protect civilians in Gaza.

After more than four months of war, much of the densely populated enclave is in ruins, with 28,340 Palestinians dead and 67,984 wounded, according to Gaza health officials. Many others are believed to be buried under rubble.

Biden has demanded that Israel not undertake a ground offensive in Rafah without a plan to protect Palestinian civilians who are massed there, many in flimsy tents after relocating multiple times to escape conflict in other parts of Gaza.

Netanyahu last week ordered the military to create a plan to evacuate civilians to protect them during a ground offensive. Asked about evacuation plans for civilians, an Israeli military spokesperson on Monday said he still didn’t know how it would be done.

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