ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Biden stresses need for Red Cross visits to hostages during call with PM — White House

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US President Joe Biden is greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport, in Tel Aviv, October 18, 2023. (Evan Vucci/AP)
US President Joe Biden is greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after arriving at Ben Gurion International Airport, in Tel Aviv, October 18, 2023. (Evan Vucci/AP)

US President Joe Biden expressed his deep concern regarding the roughly 135 hostages still in Gaza and reiterated the need for the Red Cross to be permitted to visit them, during his latest phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier today, the White House says in its readout of what was the 16th call between the two leaders since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7.

Biden agreed that last week’s truce fell apart because of “Hamas’s refusal to release young women, civilian hostages,” the White House says. “The leaders agreed to remain deeply engaged to pursue every possible opportunity to free the remaining hostages.”

Biden underscored the importance of a sustained flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza, giving a nod to the cabinet’s decision to expand fuel deliveries “but stressed that much more assistance was urgently required across the board,” the White House readout says.

The US president also raised the need for Israel to do more to protect innocent Palestinians and separate civilians from combatants through humanitarian corridors that allow safe movement away from defined areas of hostilities, according to the White House.

“Biden reiterated his concern about extremist violence committed against Palestinians and the need to increase stability in the West Bank,” the readout adds.

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