Biden tells Netanyahu a ceasefire needed in Israel-Hamas conflict

Washington: US President Joe Biden says he supports a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, a major shift from his previous position that Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks coming from Gaza.

Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu his views in a phone call on Tuesday (AEST).

US President Joe Biden expressed his support for a ceasefire in a phone call with Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit:AP

“The President expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end,” a White House summary of the leaders’ phone call said.

Netanyahu’s office told Israeli media that the PM told Biden in the call that he wants to complete all the goals of the Gaza operation.

Netanyahu said on Monday (AEST) that he did not foresee an imminent end to the conflict.

“We’re trying to degrade Hamas’ terrorist abilities and to degrade their will to do this again,” he told CBS.

“So it’ll take some time. I hope it won’t take long, but it’s not immediate.”

The Israeli military unleashed another round of heavy air strikes on the Gaza Strip overnight, saying it had destroyed 15 kilometres of militant tunnels and the homes of nine Hamas commanders.

Israel also fired artillery into Lebanese territory on Monday, a Lebanese security source told the Associated Press.

Biden’s call with Netanyahu came a day after 28 Democratic senators issued a statement calling for Israel and Hamas to reach a cease-fire agreement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu foresees an ongoing operation.Credit:AP

The Biden administration had blocked a joint attempt by China, Norway and other countries to release a United Nations Security Council statement calling for an end to the conflict.

Biden told reporters last week: “My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory.”

Israeli’s week-long military strikes have killed 212 people, including 61 children, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

The Israeli death toll from the Hamas rocket attacks stands at 10.

More to come

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