Biden expresses support for ceasefire in call with Israeli PM

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U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday voiced support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"The President expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed U.S. engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end," according to a White House readout of the phone conversation.

Biden "encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians," said the readout.

Meanwhile, Biden reiterated support for Israel's right to defend itself against rocket attacks. "The two leaders discussed progress in Israel's military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza," it said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier in the day held multiple phone conversations over the issue with his regional counterparts, including Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

The Monday call between Biden and Netanyahu was the third in less than a week as violence escalated between the Israeli security forces and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

The call also came as the Biden administration faced mounting pressure from a group of Democratic senators urging an immediate ceasefire to prevent loss of civilian life.

The ongoing conflict, the worst violence between Israel and the besieged Palestinian enclave since 2014, has killed 204 Palestinians, including 59 children, and 10 Israelis, including a five-year-old boy and a soldier.

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