White House: Israel agrees to reschedule talks on Rafah

The US says Israel has agreed to reschedule talks between the two countries on the planned Israeli ground offensive in southern Gaza Strip. This came after Israel canceled a delegation's visit to Washington this week.

US President Joe Biden conveyed his concern over mass civilian casualties should Israel attack Rafah when he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 18. He asked Netanyahu to send a delegation to discuss the matter.

But on Monday, Israel canceled the visit to protest the United States' failure to veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Wednesday that Netanyahu's office had agreed to reschedule the meeting.

She stressed the importance of making sure there is a plan to protect civilians, calling it "urgent."

Israeli forces are set to proceed with the planned ground offensive on Rafah, where 1.5 million people are taking shelter.

They have been bombarding Rafah almost daily. Israel says that Hamas militants remain in the area.

The Qatar-based satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday that 24 people, including women and children, had been killed in the previous 24 hours.