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Biden ‘actively working’ on deal for six-week ceasefire in Gaza : Middle East crisis live

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Published Time: 13.02.2024 - 11:40:24 Modified Time: 13.02.2024 - 11:40:24

DYLAN MARTINEZ/REUTERS Chosen by us to get you up to speed at a glanceJoe Biden has said he is “actively working” on a deal for a six-week ceasefire in Gaza

: DYLAN MARTINEZ/REUTERS

Chosen by us to get you up to speed at a glance

Joe Biden has said he is “actively working” on a deal for a six-week ceasefire in Gaza.

The US president declared that “the key elements of the deal are on the table” but admitted  there are “gaps that remain”. He welcomed Jordan’s King Abdullah II to the White House Monday for talks on how to end the months-long war and plan for what comes afterward.

Mr Biden said that “every innocent life lost in Gaza is a tragedy” amid mounting tension between the US and Israel over their expected offensive in Rafah.

William J Burns, the CIA chief, is due to travel to Cairo for hostage talks along with senior officials from the US, Egypt, Israel and Qatar, according to multiple reports.

Follow the latest updates

The Israel Defense Forces has not yet shows its government its plans to evacuate Rafah, a spokesman has said.

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner of the IDF told CNN: “The government has instructed the IDF to devise a plan to achieve our goals, our war goals, in the area of Rafah.

“The plan that you’re asking for has still yet to be presented, of course, to the government.”

There are great humanitarian concerns about the potential assault on the southern Gazan city where 1.4 million Palestinians are understood to be sheltering

Lt Col Lerner insisted it was possible to differentiate between innocent civilians and terrorists, admitting that it was “not without challenge”.

“It can be done,” he said. “We have confidence in our ability to differentiate and distinguish,”

Joe Biden is growing increasingly irritated with Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he is understood to have called an “a--hole” several times in private.

Amid mounting frustration with the Israeli leader, the US president is believed to be edging closer to a public breach with Mr Netanyahu in a bid to distance himself from the unpopular prime minister.

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