Biden, Netanyahu discuss ‘ongoing efforts’ to free hostages, increase humanitarian aid

President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke Sunday morning about efforts to locate and secure the release of more than 220 Israeli hostages and about efforts to “significantly increase” the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

“The President and Prime Minister discussed ongoing efforts to locate and secure the release of hostages, to include American citizens who remain unaccounted for and may be held by Hamas,” according to a White House readout of their call.

Biden also “underscored the need to immediately and significantly increase the flow of humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of civilians in Gaza.”

The call comes as Israel begins a ground expansion into Gaza with the stated intention of driving out Hamas from the territory and retrieving the hostages that Hamas took captive on Oct. 7.

As Israel has continued its barrage of airstrikes on Gaza, calls have increased around the world to ensure humanitarian assistance gets delivered promptly to citizens.

Biden also reiterated to Netanyahu his position that “Israel has every right and responsibility to defend its citizens from terrorism” but stressed the need to do so in a way that is ”consistent with international humanitarian law that prioritizes the protection of civilians.”

“The President and the Prime Minister agreed to remain in regular consultation both directly and through their respective national security teams,” the readout said.

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