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Israel PM asks US for 2 more days to end Gaza offensive: sources say

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, addresses supporters at the party campaign headquarters in Jerusalem early on March 24, 2021 [EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud party, addresses supporters at the party campaign headquarters in Jerusalem early on March 24, 2021 [EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the US administration for two to three days before ending his military operation in the Gaza Strip, sources familiar with ceasefire talks between Israel and Palestinian factions told Anadolu Agency.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Israeli request came after Washington asked Netanyahu on Sunday and Monday to end the aggression on the besieged territory.

Meanwhile, Barak Rafid, the political correspondent of local Israeli media outlet Walla, told CNN that the army will "need 24-48 hours to complete the operation in Gaza".

"The message of [US President] Joe Biden's administration to Israel is that the time for [halting] the operation is running out," he said.

Following a phone call between Biden and Netanyahu last night, the White House said in a statement that Biden "expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end." During the call, Biden "reiterated his firm support for Israel's right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks," said the statement.

READ: Palestinians strike to protest Israel's assaults on Gaza

However, the sources familiar with the details of the ceasefire contacts pointed out that Netanyahu refuses to make any commitment in exchange for the ceasefire.

The Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC), citing Israeli sources familiar with the ongoing ceasefire talks, said there were "signs of optimism" regarding the possibility of ending the military operation on the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu's office, however, denied the rumours, the IPBC said, while Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told the channel that he rules out the possibility of ending the military operation in the Gaza Strip in the coming days.

At least 212 Palestinians have been killed, including 61 children and 36 women, and 1,400 others injured in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since 10 May, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Ten Israeli have also been killed.

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