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Biden expresses ‘grave concern’ over recent violence to Netanyahu

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US President Joe Biden, in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed his "grave concern" Saturday over the flareup of violence in Israel and Gaza, the White House said.

Speaking on the sixth day of a paroxysm of Israeli-Palestinian violence that has left scores dead or wounded, Biden expressed his "strong support" for Israel's right to defend itself against rocket attacks by "Hamas and other terrorist groups."

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"He condemned these indiscriminate attacks against towns and cities across Israel," the White House statement said.

But Biden also raised concerns about the safety of journalists after Israeli airstrikes on Saturday flattened a building in Gaza housing The Associated Press and other international media outlets.

Biden, who up to now has said little publicly about the flareup, voiced US support for a negotiated two-state solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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He made the same point in a separate phone call with president Mahmud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, the White House said, highlighting "strong commitment to a negotiated two-state solution as the best path to reach a just and lasting resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

The US leader, in his first call with Abbas since taking office, also "stressed the need for Hamas to cease firing rockets into Israel."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a meeting with Israeli border police in the central city of Lod, near Tel Aviv, on May 13, 2021, a day after Israeli far-right groups clashed with security forces and Arab Israelis. - Late on May 12, Israeli far-right groups took to the streets across the country, clashing with security forces and Arab Israelis. Police said they had responded to violence in multiple towns, including Lod, Acre and Haifa. A state of emergency has been declared with entry restrictions and a curfew in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod, where an Arab resident was shot dead and a synagogue torched. (Photo by Yuval CHEN / POOL / AFP)


Israel pummelled the Gaza Strip with airstrikes on Saturday, killing 10 members of an extended family, as Palestinian militants fired back barrages of rockets.

Clashes also swept the occupied West Bank.

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