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Friday, April 19, 2024

Biden and Netanyahu agree to continue flow of aid into Gaza, White House says

President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Sunday, the White House said in a statement. The two leaders discussed developments in Gaza and the surrounding region as well as the release of two American hostages, who were freed by Hamas on Friday.

The call came as the United Nations announced that 14 trucks carrying humanitarian aid were allowed to enter Gaza, and one day after the firsttrucks carrying aidwere allowed into Gaza from Egypt to address the unprecedented humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s sealing off of the strip in the wake of Hamas fighters’bloody rampage on Oct. 7.

“The leaders affirmed that there will now be continued flow of this critical assistance into Gaza,” said the White House readout of the call.

Mr. Biden also expressed his appreciation for Israel’s role in helping to secure the release of an American woman and her teenage daughter on Friday. The two women, who are dual Israeli-American citizens, were the first captives to be freed by Hamas.

“The leaders discussed ongoing efforts to secure the release of all the remaining hostages taken by Hamas – including U.S. citizens – and to provide for safe passage for U.S. citizens and other civilians in Gaza who wish to depart,” the readout said, adding, “The President and the Prime Minister agreed to stay in close touch.”

Mr. Biden on Sunday also issued a joint statement on the Israel-Hamas war with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom.

The leaders reiterated their support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism, while also calling for the protection of civilians and adherence to international law. They welcomed both the release of the two hostages and the arrival of the first humanitarian convoys to deliver aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

The leaders in the statement said they are “committed to continue coordinating with partners in the region to ensure sustained and safe access to food, water, medical care, and other assistance required to meet humanitarian needs.”

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