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Biden expresses ‘grave concern’ over recent violence to Netanyahu

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.

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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.”

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

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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