- By Antoinette Radford
- BBC News
US President Joe Biden has called for a “pause” in the Israel-Hamas conflict in a campaign speech in Minneapolis.
The president was speaking to a group of about 200 people when a woman interrupted him and asked him to call for a ceasefire.
Describing herself as a rabbi, she said: “I need you to call for a ceasefire right now.”
“I think we need a pause,” Mr Biden said. A pause would “give time to get the prisoners out”, he said.
White House officials later explained he had meant both getting hostages held by Hamas out and humanitarian aid in, the Associated press reports.
Israel has been bombing Gaza since the 7 October Hamas attacks that killed 1,400 people and saw 239 people taken hostage.
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says more than 8,700 people have been killed since Israel’s retaliatory bombing began.
Mr Biden initially threw his support behind Israel, but his position appears to have changed amid a humanitarian crisis and high civilian death toll in Gaza.
His call for a pause marks a slight change in tone from White House officials, who long maintained they would not get involved in how Israel, a close ally, carried out its military operations.
After the heckler was removed from Mr Biden’s speech, the president said the war was a “complicated” issue and he recognised the emotions around it.
“This is incredibly complicated for the Israelis. It’s incredibly complicated for the Muslim world as well… I supported a two-state solution; I have from the very beginning.”
Intense fighting in Gaza has been ongoing in Gaza for weeks.
On Thursday morning, dozens of bombs were heard landing in Gaza City on a live feed – the sound of them exploding on nearby buildings only sporadically interrupted by the firing of machine guns.
During the few brief pauses from the bombing, a rooster crowed in the city, shrouded in dust, marking the new day.
More on Israel-Gaza war
Follow us on Facebook : https://web.facebook.com/wacnews
To receive the latest news on your phone using the Telegram application, click here: https://t.me/+KMdLTc0qS6ZkMGI0
Send us a message by Whatsapp : Whatsapp +44 7476844931