(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – US President Joe Biden has called for a “pause” in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The president was making a campaign speech in Minneapolis when a heckler urged him to call for a ceasefire.
“I think we need a pause,” he replied, saying that it would allow for hostages to get out.
An unconfirmed number of American citizens left Gaza on Wednesday, as part of the first group to depart since war broke out. Another 400 are on a list to leave on Thursday.
The Okals, a suburban Massachusetts family, were visiting relatives in Gaza when the conflict began. They are among those on the list provided by Gaza’s border authority.
Family friend Sammy Nabulsi told the BBC that Abood Okal, Wafaa Abuzayda and their one-year-old son, Yousef, have been living in “dire and dangerous” circumstances.
There are no Canadians on the list on Wednesday or on the list for Thursday. Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said there were 400 Canadian citizens, mostly dual nationals, trapped in Gaza.
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 9,000 people have been killed since Israel’s retaliatory bombing began.