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Biden calls for immediate cease-fire in Gaza

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President Joe Biden called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza on Thursday, days after Israeli defense forces there killed seven humanitarian aid workers.

In a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden said the situation was unacceptable, according to a readout of the call provided by the White House.

Biden also emphasized several clear-cut points, according to the White House.

“He made clear the need for Israel to announce and implement a series of specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers,” according to the readout. “He made clear that U.S. policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel’s immediate action on these steps.”

Biden further “underscored that an immediate ceasefire is essential to stabilize and improve the humanitarian situation and protect innocent civilians, and he urged the prime minister to empower his negotiators to conclude a deal without delay to bring the hostages home.”

The seven workers were slain Monday.

World Central Kitchen, an internationally recognized humanitarian organization, said the workers were employed with them and targeted. The group has demanded an independent investigation into the deaths.

In a statement from Javier Garcia, the executive co-chairman and treasuer, and CEO Erin Gore, World Central Kitchen said, “This was a military attack that involved multiple strikes and targeted three WCK vehicles. All three vehicles were carrying civilians; they were marked as WCK vehicles; and their movements were in full compliance with Israeli authorities, who were aware of their itinerary, route, and humanitarian mission.”

Israel said the deaths were “a tragic event in which our forces unintentionally harmed non-combatants.”

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza began on Oct. 7 when Hamas militants crossed into Israel and killed 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians.